After making it through the application steps and several rounds of interviews, you’ve finally received a job offer from the company. There’s just one problem: you don’t want it. Whether it’s because of salary, the responsibilities, or any of the numerous other reasons to turn down a job, you’re faced with the tough situation of declining a job offer without burning bridges.
The good news is that declining an offer letter isn’t unprecedented, and as long as you remain professional and polite, the employer will usually understand. Follow our advice on how to professionally decline a job offer to ensure you stay on good terms.
First, before you send any correspondence, you need to make sure you really don’t want the job. If you could see yourself accepting the offer with just a few tweaks, you may want to consider negotiating for a counteroffer instead of outright rejecting it. For example, if the salary isn’t right, there may be alternative benefits you can ask for.
You also need to be certain of why you’re not interested in the position. You’ll need to include a reason when declining a job offer (even if you keep it vague). Here are some of the most common reasons to decline a job offer:
To decline a job offer without burning bridges, keep several things in mind:
Don’t keep the employer waiting or drag out the process (or worse, “ghost” them completely). If you’re prompt with your reply, they’ll be able to move on quickly without any hard feelings.
Politeness and gratitude will go a long way in your response. Thanking the hiring manager for their time shows you appreciate the opportunity they’re providing, even if ultimately you decide it’s not the right one for you. Staying polite will also help keep you in the running for any future positions at the company, too.
You don’t have to go into specifics, but including a brief mention of why you’re turning down the offer can help the employer understand your reasoning. Remember, at this phase, you’re no longer negotiating so in many cases a simple “the job isn’t the right fit” or “the position doesn’t align with my career goals” can be enough.
Along with remaining polite, this is another great way to keep the door open for future positions at the company. If you got along with everyone you had the opportunity to meet, you can provide your contact info or reach out on LinkedIn.
The last thing you want to do is give them a reason for being glad you didn’t accept the offer, and a poorly worded or typo-ridden rejection letter will reflect badly on your professionalism. Run it through a spellchecker and consider having someone else look at your email before sending it off.
Use this email template for declining a job offer to help you craft the perfect response to the employer and remain on good terms.
Dear [Name of Person Offering the Job],
Thank you very much for offering me the position of [Job Title] at [Company Name]. I truly appreciate the time everyone took throughout the interview process and enjoyed meeting the team.
Though it was a difficult decision, I must decline the offer. [Insert brief reason]
It was my pleasure to learn more about [Company] and the role, and I sincerely hope you find the right candidate.
I would like to keep in touch with you in case an opportunity arises in the future. You can always contact me at [your email and phone number], or if agreeable, we can connect on LinkedIn.
Thank you again,
Declining a job offer is difficult, but it can be necessary in order to make the right career move for you. To get more email and letter templates, or for more job search tips, head to our Job Seeker Resource Center.