How To Write a Professional Congratulations Letter

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 26, 2022

Published September 7, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When a colleague or peer achieves something impressive in a professional setting, it's polite to write a letter of congratulations. A professional congratulations letter addresses their workplace successes in a polite, respectful way. If there is someone to who you would like to write a letter of congratulations, understanding what to include in it can help your letter be professional and effective. In this article, we define a letter of congratulations, describe what to include and the steps to write one, and provide templates and examples to help you write your own.

What is a professional congratulations letter?

A congratulations letter written in a professional setting is a note that expresses excitement and support for a professional accomplishment. An employee might receive these congratulatory notes after receiving a promotion or securing a high-profile client. It is important that these letters, notes, and emails convey support and encouragement while maintaining a professional tone appropriate for the workplace.

What to include in a letter of congratulations

While many elements of these letters are similar to other professional letters, it's important to include:

  • The recipient's name

  • A statement of congratulations

  • An acknowledgement of the reason for the letter

  • A statement about their skills or hard work, depending on the context

  • A signature and the author's name

Related: Writing an Excellent Letter: Tips and Examples

How to write a professional congratulations letter

Follow these steps to write a professional letter of congratulations:

1. Decide how to send the letter

Before you write a letter, consider if you want to send a handwritten note or an email. It is best to choose an option based on your working relationship with the recipient, as well as the desired length of the note. Emailing is a quick option, but a handwritten note can be more meaningful. It is also important to choose a method of communication that best suits the situation. If it's a formal communication, consider sending a letter. If you want a timely response, consider an email. The recipient is likely to feel supported regardless of the method you choose.

2. Add a heading

Typically, letters have a heading that includes the recipient's name and the date. If you write an email, be sure to include a recognizable subject line. Address the recipient using "Dear [their name]," or a similar greeting.

Related: Seven Best Email Greetings For All Situations

3. Include a congratulatory statement

To begin the content of the letter, include a congratulatory statement to show support for the recipient's success. It is best to customize this statement to be specific and to demonstrate thoughtful, genuine encouragement. You can offer congratulations at the beginning so the recipient knows the purpose of the letter right away.

4. Add encouragement or affirmation

When writing a congratulatory letter, it's often a result of the recipient's accomplishments or success. After stating the purpose of the letter, include a few details of encouragement or affirmation about their work or professional skills. For example, if the recipient received a promotion, you could name their interpersonal talents and analytical skills to encourage them.

Related: What is Corporate Culture?

5. Conclude the letter

Before sending the note or email, include a signature and your name. Various signatures include phrases like, "best regards" or "sincerely." It is best to choose a signature that matches the tone of the letter and communicates respect.

Related: How To End an Email

Letter of congratulations template

Here are two different templates for a congratulatory message:

Congratulations letter in hard copy

Here's the template for a congratulations letter you plan to send in hard copy:

[Dear recipient],

Congratulations on [accomplishment]! The team benefitted from your help tremendously. Your [skills] and [talents] are such an asset to our company.

[Signature],

[Your name]

Congratulations letter sent by email

Here's the template for a congratulations letter you plan to send as an email:

[Subject: Congrats!]

[Dear recipient],

Congrats on [accomplishment]! The team is so proud of you for [accomplishment].

Your [skills and talents] prepared you to accomplish this effectively. Great work!

[Signature],

[Your name]

Letters of congratulations examples

Here are a few examples of a congratulatory letter in a variety of situations:

Promotion

Here's an example of congratulating someone for receiving a promotion:

Dear Emily,

Congrats on receiving the promotion to Sales Lead! I was so excited to hear that the hiring team selected you for the role. I believe you're the best fit.

Your hard work as a Sales Associate the past year prepared you to succeed in this new position. Your communication skills and ability to negotiate with customers equip you for the new responsibilities.

Good luck,
Cameron Dressler

Related: How To Send a Congratulations on Your Promotion Email

First job

This is an example of a letter for someone who just accepted their first job offer:

Dear Nathan,

Congratulations on receiving and accepting your first job offer as a Marketing Associate! I am thrilled to hear the news.

Your passion for learning and ability to think strategically make you a perfect fit for this type of role. You succeeded at university, and I think you'll find success in this role as well.

Best wishes,
Charlie Williams

Changing careers

When an employee changes careers and moves to a new company, it's respectful to offer a letter of congratulations, such as:

Dear Ruby,

Congratulations on your new position as a professor. It has been wonderful having you on my research team, and I'm so excited about this new chapter in your career.

Your patience and willingness to explain complex topics equip you to be an excellent Biology professor. Your future students have the opportunity to learn so much from you. We are going to miss you on our team, but we hope you find great success in this new opportunity.

Best of luck,
Dr. Marvin Johnson

Accomplishment at work

When someone achieves success at work, encouragement motivates them to continue working hard, for example:

Dear Jeffrey,

Congratulations on executing a thoroughly successful event last week! There was a great turnout and everything seemed to go smoothly. Your planning and implementation of creative event planning strategies worked great! The entire team was very impressed.

I look forward to supporting you at other events this year. Our team is better with you on it!

Great work,
Barbara Smith

Related: Professionalism in the Workplace

Examples of a congratulatory email

If you opt for an email format when sending a note of congratulations, consider these examples to help you write your own:

Promotion

Here's an example of an email you can send to someone who received a promotion:

Subject: Congrats!

Dear Joseph,

I heard about your promotion to Marketing Manager. Let me know what your availability is for a celebratory lunch with the entire marketing department.

I am looking forward to working with you! Your leadership and creativity make you a great fit for the role.

Good work,
Robert Matthews

Work anniversary

Here is an example of a message to someone starting their first job:

Subject: Congrats for 4 years!

Dear Jane,

Congrats on reaching 4 years as a member of our data analytics team! I am so proud of your accomplishments. You have been a great addition to the team these last four years.

Thank you for your willingness to take on complex projects and to help new members of the team. Your expertise helps us do our jobs better. Here is to another fantastic year!

Best regards,
Karen Sloane

Retirement

Here's an email example for someone who is nearing retirement:

Subject: We are going to miss you!

Dear Noah,

Congratulations on your upcoming retirement. All of us at the office are cheering for you. Let us know when you're available for a farewell luncheon.

Thank you for being a great team member during your time as a receptionist at our office. We are going to miss you and wish you the best of luck in your retirement.

Best wishes,
The Entire Team at Dental Services, Inc.

Accomplishment in a new role

Here is an example of an email commending someone for their efforts at work:

Subject: Awesome job last week!

Dear Eva,

You did a great job at the sales pitch last week. Congratulations on gaining such a high-profile client! The sales team is proud of your efforts.

Your dedication to learning new sales strategies and communicating thoroughly with potential clients equips you to achieve success. We are excited to see what else you're capable of.

Thanks for your hard work.

Best,
James Franklin

Related: How To Write Please Disregard My Previous Email (With Steps)

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