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How to Write a Congratulations Note

Recognition makes accomplishments even sweeter. Sending a few words of congratulation is like putting a little bit of sunshine in an envelope – it adds warmth to both business and personal relationships. Springtime brings natural opportunities to send good wishes for graduations and weddings, but there are many other milestones to celebrate as well.

·         Business achievements:promotion, new job, new assignment, new title, starting a new business, getting a new contract or client, favorable publicity, industry award, retirement

·         Personal achievements: graduation, academic awards, scholarships, college acceptance, successful speech or publication, winning a sports competition, receiving a prize, winning an election, joining a professional society

·         Personal milestones: engagement, marriage, birth or adoption of child or grandchild, anniversary, baptism, circumcision, confirmation, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, new home.


·         Write soon after hearing the news

·         Use the word “congratulations” early

·         Mention the occasion for congratulations in the first sentence or two

·         Tell the person how happy, proud or impressed you are

·         If possible, relate something about the person's abilities and achievements

·         If appropriate, tell how you learned about the news

·         Express your best wishes for the person and for continued success


·         Tell the recipient he/she is lucky since it implies chance rather than achievement

·         Use excessive flattery

·         Compare the news to something you once did or heard about; let your recipient enjoy the moment

  • Put a negative note into your message by using terms such as "you finally did it," "I'm so surprised," "you must have knocked yourself out."

The six elements of a basic congratulations note:

1. Salutation

Many writers forget this, but people like to see their own names.

Dear Mike,

2. Offer congratulations early and mention the occasion

Congratulations on your promotion to district manager

3. Tell how happy you are


I was thrilled when I heard the news!

4. If possible, relate something about the person's abilities


Ever since we worked together in Los Angeles, I knew you were one of the best - and I'm glad to see that your talent is being recognized.

5. Send wishes for continued success


Best of luck in your new position. I hope this is just the start of many more successes to come.

6. Close

Any of the following are suitable for business:

·         Sincerely

·         Sincerely yours

·         Cordially

·         Best wishes

·         Regards

·         Warm Regards



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