How to Decline a Job Offer: Letter Writing Tips

For whatever reason you are declining a job offer, you need to write a job rejection letter. How can you write this letter without burning any bridges, meanwhile doing it succinctly so you can move on with your job search? This article includes five tips on how to deal with writing a job rejection letter.

Why Write a Job Rejection Letter

You are writing a job rejection letter so they close the file on you, for now. For whatever reason, this job is just not the one you want right now, but you may want to apply to this company in the future. By writing a graceful, gracious and thankful letter, which they may keep in a human resources correspondence file with your name on it, you are showing that you can act and communicate like a professional. It also allows them to contact the next candidate on their list, without leaving them hanging for your response. This letter should be in standard business format, similar to your cover letter, not on perfumed personal stationary or a card, and it should be proofread and checked for errors, just in case they keep it on file and consult it in the future if you reapply to that company.

Express Thanks for the Offer

It is time consuming to interview people, and the process may have been long and arduous for them. Even if you don’t want that job, have received a better offer, or are holding out for something better, at least say thanks to acknowledge their time and effort. This allows them to move on in their recruitment with little animosity.

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Keep Your Personal Reasons Private

If you are declining the job offer for a personal reason, or because you didn’t like the office environment, or even disliked your interviewers and got a bad vibe, you can keep your reasons for declining the job offer to yourself. The more you tell them about your reasons, especially if they may perceive them to be flighty or irrational, will not help you if you decide to apply for other jobs with this company. A letter of this type should also be short and to the point, and detailed reasons will undermine your brevity. The only statement you need to make is that you respectfully decline the job offer at this time, and you don’t need to provide any additional details.

Don’t Mention Salary

If it is the only reason, a low salary is not a good reason to reject a job offer. If their salary offer was too low, and this was the only reason that you rejected the offer, this is a legitimate reason for you, personally, but when saved in a job rejection letter, it can make you look greedy. You might want to take the time to school them about being cheap, but this is not appropriate. You know what you’re worth and someone else will offer it, so move on without putting a diatribe in print about them in a letter that they may keep on file.

Send the Letter Promptly

You may have walked away from the interview, slept on it and decided to remove yourself as a candidate, even before you received a letter. You know you would never work there, so close the file on this opportunity. You can write a job rejection letter before you even receive an offer. This can help you move on in your job search, or if you finished number one in the competition, may encourage a negotiation on their part to remove any obstacles.

A job rejection letter sent promptly can push you forward in your job search and let you keep searching for a suitable opportunity.

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