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Declining a job offer

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If you choose to decline a job offer, do so courteously, in writing, after making a phone call.

Never say anything negative in writing about the employer, even if you had a negative experience.

If you had a very negative experience, we encourage you to share this information with Career Services; please call for an appointment so we can direct to the appropriate staff member based on the situation.

A decision to decline an offer is usually based on the fact that another offer is a better fit for your interests and goals. It is fine to state this, without giving details about why the declined offer is not a fit.

It is not necessary to state whose offer you accepted, but you may do so if you wish.

Remember that this employer may be a contact for you in the future. Maintain the relationship with professional, courteous interactions.


Sample letter: Declining a job offer:

Hard copy format shown.

If this were sent as e-mail, your signature block (address, contact info) would appear below your name at the end, and of course there is no handwritten signature on e-mail; no date necessary since e-mail sending creates a date/time record.

900 Town Road
Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 555-9009

April 20, 20YY

Dr. Joan Swietzer
Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs
343 Third Street, NW
Washington, DC 20201-0343

Dear Dr. Swietzer:

Thank you very much for your telephone call and letter offering me the position of Assistant Project Coordinator with the Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs. While I believe firmly in the mission of your organization and appreciate the challenging opportunity you offer, I have had another offer which I believe more closely aligns with my current career goals and interests. Therefore, although it was a difficult decision, as I explained when we spoke by phone this morning, I must decline your offer. I do appreciate all the courtesy and hospitality extended to me by your office, and I wish you the best in your endeavors.

In the position I have accepted with Public Policy Watch, I will occasionally be on Capitol Hill to attend hearings and monitor legislation, so I hope we can get together again and talk about common interests.

Best regards,

(your signature)
Chris Hancock