How to Decline a Job Offer: Email Examples

Sometimes a job offer doesn’t fit, even though you applied for the role hoping it would. Or perhaps, you’re in the position of being offered two opportunities at once. It’s never easy, but sometimes declining a job offer is necessary.

[Related: How to Find the Best Jobs for You]

Below, you’ll find guidelines on politely turning down a job offer and sample emails that you can customize based on your situation.

Don’t procrastinate
Once you’ve decided to decline the offer, don’t delay writing to the employer. Letting the company know in a timely manner will help them move forward more quickly in their own process.

Keep it simple and to the point
Don’t go overboard with excessive compliments about the company or the people you’ve interacted with — it’s a rejection letter after all. Say what needs to be said as respectfully as you can and avoid being overly emotional.

Say “thank you”
Above all, maintain a tone of gratitude as you write the letter, letting the recruiter and hiring manager know that you appreciate their time and effort.

Provide a reason but don’t get specific
Your reasons for not accepting the offer could be as simple as the company didn’t offer you the compensation you were seeking. Perhaps you weren’t sure you’d work well with the hiring manager. Or maybe you weren’t excited about the company. While these are all justifiable reasons to decline a job offer, you should not include them in your rejection letter. It is sufficient to say that you’ve accepted a job offer elsewhere or simply that this job offer isn’t the right fit.

Consider offering to stay in touch
If you felt a warm connection with the hiring manager but the role wasn’t a good fit for other reasons, consider offering to stay in touch and provide additional contact information. Don’t feel obligated to provide this information, but some people might see this opportunity as a way to build their professional network.

Below are two sample email templates to choose from: one if you’ve accepted another position and the second will show you how to turn down a job offer that isn’t the right fit.

Subject line: Job offer – [Your name]

Dear Mr./Ms. [insert last name of hiring manager],

Thank you very much for offering me the role of [insert name of position] with [insert company name]. Though it was a difficult decision, I have accepted a position with another company.

I sincerely enjoyed our conversations and very much appreciate your taking time to interview me over the course of the past few weeks.

Again, thank you for your time and consideration; best wishes in your continued success, and I hope our paths cross again in the future.

Sincerely,

***

Though it’s typically a good idea to provide a reason, you might not always have one, or one you care to provide. Here’s a second template that will help you decline the job offer politely without specific details:

Subject line: Job offer – [Your name]

Dear Mr./Ms. [insert last name of hiring manager],

Thank you very much for offering me the role of [insert name of position]. However, I have decided that this is not the right fit for my career goals at this time.

I sincerely enjoyed our dialog as well as discussions with your team, and I very much appreciate your taking time to share information about the role and vision of [insert company name].

Again, thank you for your time and consideration; best wishes in your continued success.

Sincerely,

***

Note: this is not the time to attempt to negotiate a better deal. Once you’ve declined the job, there is close to zero chance you’ll be offered the position again. Be sure you’re making a well-considered decision.

Finally, don’t be afraid to reject the job offer if it simply isn’t the right fit. Turning down a job offer can be both a difficult and delicate task, but when done well, it will enable you to move on to the right job and keep your professional network intact.

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