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How to Decline a Job Offer Gracefully (With Email Examples)

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How to Decline a Job Offer Gracefully (With Email Examples)

Generally, if you’re in a position to decline a job offer, it’s a high-quality problem. Maybe you were offered a better position at a different company, or perhaps you were offered the same position at a different organization but for better pay (or perks). Or maybe, after sitting down and discussing the offer with your family, you decided that the travel requirements were too intense. Perhaps the company where you currently work agreed to match the new offer, and once you examined the pros and cons, you realized it made more sense to stay.

Whatever the reason[1], your charge now is knowing how to decline a job offer gracefully. As a courtesy to the company who extended you the job offer, you want to decline quickly, giving the hiring manager a chance to make the offer to the candidate who was the runner-up for the job. You also want to express your appreciation. And, given today’s rocky economy, it makes sense to politely decline the job offer in a way that will hopefully keep the door open for you should your circumstances change.

If you’re not sure how to decline a job offer, check out the following tips to get through it.

3 Ways to Decline a Job Offer Gracefully (With Examples)

1. Show Gratitude

The hiring manager likely spent several hours on your job application—between reading your cover letter, reviewing your resume, and interviewing you either in person or via a videoconferencing platform. Recruitment is a long and sometimes tedious process for any employer. There is always competition for every open job, and the hiring manager may have pushed your candidacy over others in the queue.

For these reasons, your note needs to express thoughtfulness and genuine appreciation. That said, it needn’t be lengthy.

The following example is concise and expresses gratitude in several ways, providing a good example for how you can decline a job offer gracefully:

Subject Line: Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear Mr./Ms. ________[Hiring manager’s last name],

Thank you for offering me the position of _______ [job title] with _________ [company name]. I greatly appreciate the vote of confidence that comes with your offer. However, after carefully considering the opportunities for career advancement, I have decided to stay where I am.

I sincerely thank you for the time and consideration you devoted to my application, interview, and follow-up. I appreciate your graciousness and consummate professionalism throughout.

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I wish you success in all the company’s undertakings that you outlined. Thank you again for extending the opportunity to work with you.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

2. Give a Reason, but Don’t Elaborate

If you had several interviews at the company, then saying why you are turning down the offer shows respect and professional courtesy. It’s fine to say that you took a different job offer, decided to stay at your company, or even felt that the salary was not sufficient. The trick is to say it succinctly.

The following example does just that:

Subject Line: Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear Mr./Ms. _______ [Hiring manager’s name],

I greatly appreciate your offer of the position of _______ [job title]. I was very impressed with you and the staff members who interviewed me, as well as the direction of the company. I regret, however, that I must decline your offer due to the salary offered.

I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to have met you and your team and to learn about your company. Again, I am grateful for the positive interviewing experience with your company and for the job offer.

I wish great success with your plans to move forward.

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Best regards,

[Your name]

3. Offer to Stay in Touch

This technique isn’t for everyone, but if you felt a strong connection with the person who interviewed you, or if you could see yourself working at the company in a few years, it might make sense to offer to keep in touch.

Remember that hiring managers switch companies, too, and it’s always a good idea to have a hiring manager think well of you!

The following example includes an offer to stay in touch in a gentle way:

Subject Line: Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear Mr./Ms. ________[Hiring manager’s name],

I am writing to personally thank you for offering me the position of ________ [job title] at _______[company name]. I enjoyed meeting you and having a chance to meet the other members of the team. It was an extremely difficult decision for me, but I have accepted a position at another company.

I genuinely appreciate the time you devoted to interviewing me and to sharing your insights on the direction of the company. I hope we might stay in touch as I value your visionary ideas about our industry’s future.

Again, thank you for your time and consideration, and I wish you all the best for your continued success.

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Respectfully,

[Your name]

Should You Hold out for Your Dream Job?

If you interviewed with two companies, and your dream company is dragging out its decision while your second choice company has made you an offer, what’s the best direction to take? As long as the job offer from your second choice company is in keeping with your goals for upward mobility, added responsibility, and increased salary, you are better off accepting the extended offer for two reasons.

First, the reason the dream company is prolonging the process may be because it has made an offer to another and is negotiating with another candidate. Second, if you accept another offer and withdraw your candidacy from the dream company, the hiring manager will note your desirability to another (possibly competing) employer and may try to recruit you in the future.

It is the epitome of poor form to decline a job after accepting it, even if your dream company finally comes through with an offer. This puts the company that made the original offer in a huge bind, particularly if it has already sent rejections to its other candidates and is taking steps for on-boarding you. This could make you a pariah at the company, and in any industry, news travels fast and far.

The Best Medium for Declining a Job Offer

Should you send your response via email? Or pick up the telephone and call the hiring manager? The most professional response is to use the same method they used to extend you the offer. If they offered you the job via email, then feel free to email your reply. If they called you or left a voicemail message, then picking up the telephone is the preferred method. Do your best to call during business hours.

To be as poised as possible, you may want to write out your rejection and practice saying it a few times. Time it to make sure it does not exceed 30 seconds. (Even if you leave a voicemail, you may need to also write them an email for their records.)

If the hiring manager wants to chat further, don’t give the impression that you want to quickly end the call. Give the conversation your full attention to let the employer know that you value the relationship that you have built. It’s important not to burn bridges if you should decide to apply at the company again in the future—or at another company where the manager happens to transfer to. Remain discreet, but converse with decorum if the other party wants to prolong the conversation.

Dotting I’s and Crossing T’s

Always include your contact information, including your phone number, although the company already has it. Double check your communication for typos. If you know a candidate that you believe would be a perfect fit for the job, you may want to mention it. (First make sure he or she really wants the job, though. Reach out to them before suggesting their name.)

Be sure to send your email within normal business hours. Remember that you are not trying to avoid the hiring manager—you’re opening up a line of communication with her or him that you may well use again down the road.

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When They Go Low, You Go High

Granted, not every potential employer has a winning personality. You may have decided well before the offer was extended that this was not a person with whom you wished to work. Or, the company culture[2] may have felt like it would not be a good fit, and you’ve since corroborated the incompatible impression with people in your network.

Whatever gut feelings signaled to you that you needed to turn down an offer, don’t include or even allude to them in your rejection letter[3]. Stating that the position is not the right fit for you and your career is all that you need to disclose.

This final example is for when you prefer not to disclose the reason for your rejection, and you’re looking for a kind, concise way of turning down the job:

Subject Line: Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear Mr./Ms. ________[Hiring manager’s name],

I genuinely appreciate your taking the time to interview me and the consideration you gave me as a job candidate. I have, however, decided to decline your offer of the ______ [job title], as I have come to realize that the position is not the right fit for me at this time.

I wish you well in your search for the best-suited candidate.

Cordially,

[Your name]

Final Thoughts

Learning how to decline a job offer politely and professionally will keep you in good graces with the prospective employer and help the person better accept your rejection. Let the person know that your change of heart in pursuing a new job isn’t personal, and that you found the experience rewarding.

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When you show gratitude and let the hiring manager know that the time and effort invested in you is appreciated, you continue to strengthen your professional standing.

More on How to Decline a Job Offer

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Vicky Oliver

Author of 6 best-selling books on job-hunting and job interview questions, business etiquette, frugalista style, advertising, and office politics.

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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