Sample Sympathy Letter: Job Loss

Colleagues Need Support When They Lose Their Job

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Looking for a sample sympathy letter that you might send or email to a colleague who has lost her job?

Your goal with a sympathy letter is to let the individual know that you care about her and want to help. How you offer to help will depend on your relationship with the person and your own contacts and experience.

You can offer to help in a number of ways depending on the skills you bring to the table.

Share Job Openings: If you are aware of an opening that might fit the talents, skills, and experience of the person, refer her to the job opening or the employer with the opening.

Share Contacts: If you know your colleague’s work well enough to admire it, you can offer the name, number, and email of contacts who might have jobs available. Share contacts only if you believe the individual is qualified and a good employee.

Serve As a Reference: If you are familiar with the person’s work, you can offer to serve as a business reference. If you are not familiar with her work, but are familiar with her values, character, and strengths, you can offer to serve as a personal reference.

Introduce Your Colleague to Your Network: When an individual loses their job, whether they were fired or laid off, they often discover that their main network is comprised of people in that specific industry who are doing the same or a similar job.

Especially if your colleague is looking for a career or location change, introducing her to your network of contacts is a kindness.

Offer to Review Her Resume and Cover Letter: If job application materials are a strength of yours, offer to review hers the first few times she applies for a position. A second pair of eyes is helpful in preventing errors at a time when her applications need to be on-target and error-free.

Provide References in Social Media: Employers are increasingly using social media as a tool in employee selection. Positive references help a potential employee stand out from the crowd of applicants. Professional colleagues are keeping in touch on sites such as LinkedIn where your colleague can also participate and network in groups that relate to her career field. (If she’s not on LinkedIn or social media, take her to lunch and talk about why social media is important.)

Offer to Get Together to Talk About Her Job Search: Sometimes a colleague just needs a sympathetic friend, but she may also find it helpful to talk about her job search. Job searching ideas from the experience of friends and colleagues can help an unemployed person find a job faster.

Refer Your Colleague to Helpful Sites Online: If you have a favorite job site such as Indeed or SimplyHired, refer your friend. You can also send her to helpful sites online such as this HR site and The Wall Street Journal Careers site.

With these thoughts in mind, here is a sample sympathy letter for job loss.

Date

Dear Rashida,

I was so so sorry to hear that you lost your job. I know that you enjoyed it and felt as if you were contributing and having a positive impact on children.

Layoffs are never expected or desirable.

I want you to know that I am here for you. Let’s have lunch this week so we can talk about how I can aid your job search. For sure, I can serve as a reference. Your work at the family center was outstanding and I have missed you as a colleague.

I’d be happy to take a look at your resume and be a second pair of eyes as you apply for various jobs. We can talk about other ways that I can help you when we get together. If nothing else, I can recommend you in social media and share my favorite job search sites.

Once we talk and I know what you are looking for in your next job, we can see if there is anything else that I can do to help. In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes open for openings similar to the job that you had.

Let me know a good day this week for lunch and we can get together.

You are not in this job search mode alone.

Warmly,

Sarah

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