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Job reference closing formula: structure, examples, grades

If an employment relationship ends, employees have a legal right to be issued a written certificate. How positive this is depends to a large extent on the final formula of the job reference. The last sentences can influence and shape the overall effect. The reason: Closing formulas in the job reference form an important exception to the numerous regulations that apply to this letter.

We explain to you why the job reference closing formula is so important, what the last sentences of the certificate should contain and what meaning actually lies behind the various formulations for closing formulas in the job reference ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Job reference closing formula: Why is it so important?

There are usually only two or three sentences at the end of the letter, but the final formula of a job reference is becoming increasingly important. Regardless of how long the letter is, you can usually read more from this short section than from the rest of the text. On the one hand, this is because it is the last impression that the testimony gives. It can reinforce and refine the positive impression and round off the drawn image again. Or like a huge BUT overshadow everything before and turn the statement into the complete opposite.

The second reason is of a legal nature and weighs even more heavily than the first: The final reference is voluntary. This has already been decided by the Federal Labor Court and stipulated that the employer is not obliged to end the job reference with a closing phrase that thanks the employee for their cooperation and wishes them success in the future. Whether a closing formula is added - and what it looks like - is therefore up to the employer.

Job reference final formula missing?

This shows the true meaning of the closing formula: It is not mandatory and employees cannot insist on it in the labor court. Accordingly, their absence is interpreted as a negative sign in many cases and can at least make HR managers pay attention. Most of the time, however, they ask at the latest during the interview.

How is the closing formula in the job reference structured?

Although there is no entitlement to a final formula in the job reference, a classic structure has established itself. If such a closing formula can be found in the certificate, it can be divided into up to four parts:

Reason for termination

Who initiated the dismissal or the end of the employment relationship? For example, the phrase "At your own request ..." means that the employee has resigned himself. “By mutual consent…”, however, suggests a termination by the employer. Further examples of this part of the closing formulas are:

  • "Mr. Müller is leaving the company for operational reasons." (Termination for operational reasons)
  • "After a limited period of employment, Ms. Schmidt leaves the company." (Fixed-term employment contract)
  • "Mr. Konrad is leaving us at his own request." (Termination by employee)
  • "With effect from DD.MM.YYYY, the employment relationship was terminated by mutual consent."
  • "We had to part with Mr. Mayer on DD.MM.YYYY." (Often with termination without notice)

Regret the breakup

The same applies to the regret about the separation from the employee. Companies are reluctant to let a good employee go and say this in the closing formula. If there is no expression of regret, the employee does not seem to have been particularly convincing. Examples of regrets in closing formulas are:

  • We very much regret his decision ...
  • We very much regret losing this motivated and competent employee.
  • We regret losing him ...
  • It is difficult to say goodbye to Ms. Fischer because we are losing an employee who is always sympathetic and successful.
  • Unfortunately, Mr. Mustermann decided to leave our company.

Thanks for the cooperation

Usually the company thanks for the cooperation and the work of the employee. After all, the employee put a lot of time and energy into the work and contributed to the success of the company. Depending on the formulation, this can be particularly positive. If, on the other hand, the thanks are completely missing, this is interpreted as a negative sign. Typical job reference closing formulas for thanks are:

  • We thank you for the consistently excellent services.
  • We thank you for the good cooperation.
  • We thank Mr. Hofmann for his good work.
  • We thank you for his cooperation.
  • Thank you very much ...

Future wishes

Finally, we wish the departing employee all the best. A nice gesture and a friendly greeting for the rest of the way. Here, too, caution is advised with the formulation. You can find out where the differences can be at the end of the article. Popular formulations for wishes in final formulas are:

  • We wish you continued success and all the best
  • We wish you continued success in your professional future.
  • We wish Mr. Fischer continued success and all the best, both professionally and personally.
  • We wish you success and all the best on his further path.
  • We wish you all the best for the future.

Job reference closing formula: Very good

A final formula in the job reference is considered complete if all components are included in the formulation. If individual parts of the content are missing, a negative impression is created. For example, if no regrets are expressed, it almost seems as if the employer is happy about the employee's departure. A classic example of a closing formulation would be:

At his own request, Mr. Maier is leaving our company on DD.MM.YYYY. We very much regret this decision and thank him for the always good cooperation. We wish him continued success and all the best personally for the future.

This is a very good and positive formulation that the employee can be proud of. Anyone who applies with this final formula in the job reference collects a few plus points with the HR manager.

Closing formulas in the job reference: Differences & effects

But how do you recognize the subtle differences? At first glance, formulations in job references actually always have a positive effect. With good reason: The law stipulates that the testimonials must be worded “true” and “benevolent”. Direct criticism of the employee is therefore not allowed - which does not mean that it is not practiced anyway, just hidden. This applies not only to the main text of a job reference, but also specifically to the final formula. There is no entitlement, but if a closing formula is used in the job reference, it must meet the same conditions and be generally benevolent.

The effect and meaning of final formulas in the job reference result not only from the complete lack of such a formulation, but mostly from the small gradations that can make big differences. Apparent little things and hardly noticeable changes can completely change the meaning:

  • intensity
    The most important screw companies turn when it comes to closing formulas is the intensity of the message. Often it is just a few words that determine whether it is a very good report or a mediocre one. Terms such as “very”, “particularly”, “large”, “always” or “always” are decisive. Other positive characteristics such as “committed”, “motivated” or “successful” add value to the certificate.
  • Choice of words
    Sentences that seem positive sometimes have a tough job between the lines. Wishing an employee good luck, for example, has a nice and encouraging effect, but is generally understood as a sign that he or she will probably not be successful without the corresponding luck.
  • sentence position
    It can also be really complicated. One and the same word can have different meanings in different places in a sentence: "We wish you continued success ..." or "We wish you continued success ..." Looks almost the same - but means opposites. The first sentence suggests that the employee was successful in the company and will probably do so in his new job. The latter, on the other hand, alludes to the fact that the success has not yet materialized, but that it is "continued" to be desired. Poisoned praise.

Closing formula in the job reference: Examples

Finally, two examples that illustrate the difference the final formulas in the job reference can make.

Mr. Müller is leaving the company at his own request. We very much regret his departure and thank him for his consistently good and dedicated work. We wish you continued success and all the best, both professionally and privately.

Mr. Müller leaves the company with mutual consent. We regret this and at the same time thank you for his cooperation. Furthermore, we wish you a lot of success, both professionally and privately.

Despite the apparent similarity, the differences in the closing formulas become clear. While the first formulation corresponds to the school grade 1 and can increase the chances of subsequent applications, the second variant is more like a 4 and can ensure the opposite.


Job reference formulations:
200 codes decrypted


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