Turning it down without burning it down.

How do you say no to a job offer without burning the bridges of opportunity for the future?

There are thousands of articles for the unemployed detailing all the different aspects of finding employment; A million different ways to bag the job of your dreams – but what if you’re actually looking for a way out of a job offer? The though of turning down a job offer may horrify many job seekers, but the truth is that you shouldn’t take a job if it feels wrong. You will spend the majority of your life at your workplace, and therefore it needs to be something you can at least tolerate!

This situation can easily occur when applying for multiple jobs at one time, and receiving more than just one job offer. You could have begged like crazy for these jobs, and now you have to do a complete u-turn. The important things to remember are that you don’t want to burn any bridges for future opportunities, and therefore must be gracious; Take the time to show your appreciation to the employer, thanking them for their time and the opportunity to be considered for the role.

“Thank you for taking the time to see me and answer my questions regarding this role.”

In addition to this, give an honest reason as to why the position isn’t for you. If you’ve found a position better suited to your skills, fine. What you shouldn’t do is tell the employer that your new job offers better benefits or pay – in short, don’t boast! Doing so may give the impression that you think you’re ‘above’ the employer’s company.

“I have chased a position at [company] for a large portion of my career. Whilst I greatly appreciate your offer of [position], I feel my heart belongs with them.”

To end, leave on a warm note. Wish the employer all the best for the future, and reference anything the pair of you have in common. Whether this is an event you’re both attending, or a friend in common, this addition turns a rejection letter in to something a little more palatable.

“I wish you all the best for the future, and hope to see you at the [conference/wedding/festival etc] next month.”

Your exact wording will depend on a multitude of factors – for example your relationship with the employer (acquaintance/stranger/got on well etc) or the skill level of the vacancy you’ve applied for. If you are rejecting the job for another reason, then state that. Tip: Be honest, but not brutally honest!

Good luck! Let us know how your job search is going by tweeting @e33ential.