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Declining a job offer

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 and Professional Development. Please call for an appointment so we can direct you 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 a cordial relationship with professional, courteous interactions.

Sample letter:

This sample is for email. 

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 very 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 often be on Capitol Hill to attend hearings and monitor legislation, so I hope we can get together again and talk about common interests.

Very best regards,
Chris Hancock
900 Town Road
Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 555-9009