3 Steps To Reject A Job Offer Without Burning Bridges

Hunter Joyner
by Hunter Joyner
Get The Job - 2 years ago
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Oh my, how the tides have changed.

For the past three months you’ve been applying to hundreds of jobs, and you’ve received so many rejection emails from potential employers that you lost count. Your trash section is flooding over with the deleted rejection emails, never to be gazed upon again.

But, this week your fortunes have changed. Four job offers popped up in your inbox. One is from the physical therapy company you so badly long to work for.

You know which job you’re taking, and which three you’re not. You were just the rejected, but now, now you have to do the rejecting. Funny how quickly things can change.

But, how does one properly reject a job offer without burning any bridges? Is that even possible?

It is possible, and it all depends on how well you craft your rejection letter.

First Step – Why Are You Rejecting The Offer?

Figure out why you’re rejecting the job offer.

  • Do you like the company overall, but feel that particular job is a bad fit?
  • Did you just not like the company and the hiring manager you spoke to?
  • Does the job not pay enough?
  • Did you get a better (more enjoyable) job offer?
  • Is the work too difficult, or too easy?
  • Is it too corporate for you? Perhaps an office job just isn’t your thing?
  • Too long of a commute to work?
  • Too much travel involved with the job?
  • No space to advance in the company?
  • Does the job go against your morals?

I could list reasons all day, but the bottomline is that you need to figure out what the reason is for your rejecting of their job offer.

Second Step – How Should You Frame The Rejection

Ask yourself: Is it beneficial to you, or to the company, to express exactly why you’re rejecting the job offer? Or, is it better that you stick to a more vague, respectful reason?

The answer is simple. If you’re going to express any dissatisfaction or anger with the company or staff you spoke with, it’s better to just mention something imprecise that won’t offend anyone and immediately burn all of your bridges to the ground.

You can say generalized things like:

  • This position isn’t a great fit at this point in my career
  • I’ve accepted a position with another company
  • After careful thought, I’ve decided now is not the time to leave my current position
  • Thank you for the opportunity, but I unfortunately have to decline
  • After further consideration of where I currently am in my career, I will unfortunately have to decline, as much as it pains me to do so

Okay, you get the point. You’re remaining respectful by not telling them exactly why you’re rejecting the job offer.

This leaves the door open in the future. Perhaps another job comes across the hiring manager’s desk, and, because you showed appreciation and politeness in your rejection letter, they consider you for that different position.

They could also be in communication with other employers you’re interested in. The important thing is to be appreciative, respectful, and to try and keep a few bridges in tact.

Third Step – Sit Down And Write It

Write the rejection letter.

There are three major parts:

  1. The Address- Address the letter to the person who offered you the position
  2. The Body- In no more than two paragraphs, show your appreciation for the company and briefly mention a reason for rejecting the job
  3. The Signature- Thank the company again, sign off with your signature, and then print your name below the signature if it’s in hard copy form

The Address

Include the contact information and the date first.

This should look like:

Robert Baratheon
1612 King’s Landing Ct.
Hillsborough, NC 27872

03/14/2017

The next step is to be sure the letter is addressed to the specific individual who offered you the position. This is important. If the individual’s name is Robert Baratheon, the address would look like:

Dear Mr. Baratheon,

The Body

You need to briefly mention why you’re turning the job down here.

Showing your appreciation for the company, and the opportunity and experiences they’ve presented you with, is also important.

This section should be no more than two small paragraphs and four or five sentences.

Remember, your reason for rejecting the job offer should be brief, appreciative, and never show dissatisfaction with the company.

The body should look something like this:

Thank you very much for offering me the assistant manager position at The Chive. It was a very difficult decision to make, but I have decided to accept a position with another company.

I sincerely appreciate the information you shared with me and the time you took to consider me as a potential candidate. Once again, I’d like to express my gratitude for the opportunity.

Best wishes for your continued success. (This sentence is completely optional)

Boom. Keep it simple and sweet.

The hiring manager doesn’t want to read an essay on why you’re rejecting his/her job offer. That being said, they will notice whether or not you were respectful, professional, and appreciative, or rude, dissatisfied, and unprofessional.

You want to maintain a good relationship with the employer because you don’t know when you might run into them in the future.

It’s better to not burn all of your bridges down behind you.

The Signature

The body is really the only tricky part to writing a solid job rejection letter.

The signature is simple.

If you’re sending a hard copy letter, you sign your name in cursive, then you print your name below it.

If you’re sending the letter via email, you simply use your printed name as your signature.

It should look like this:

Sincerely,

Daenerys Targaryen

Here’s what a complete job offer rejection letter should resemble:

Robert Baratheon
1612 King’s Landing Ct.
Hillsborough, NC 27872

03/14/2017

Dear Mr. Baratheon,

Thank you very much for offering me the assistant manager position at The Chive. It was a very difficult decision to make, but I have decided to accept a position with another company.

I sincerely appreciate the information you shared with me and the time you took to consider me as a potential candidate. Once again, I’d like to express my gratitude for the opportunity.

Best wishes for your continued success.

Sincerely,

Daenerys Targaryen