How to Reject A Job Offer Respectfully (+tips & example email)

Turning down a job offer is a nuanced task that requires careful communication to maintain a positive rapport with the potential employer. By showing gratitude, succinctly stating your reasons, and expressing a willingness to stay connected, you can ensure the door remains open for future possibilities. Let me show you how to navigate this process with tact and professionalism, ensuring a positive outcome for both you and the potential employer.

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Table of Contents

How to turn down a job offer without burning bridges

Step 1: Show Appreciation

When declining a job offer, it’s vital to start your communication with a note of thanks to the hiring manager. This expression of gratitude isn’t merely polite; it acknowledges the effort and time the company invested in considering your candidacy. They’ve gone through numerous applications, evaluated your qualifications, and decided you were a strong candidate, which is a compliment in itself.

By expressing your thanks, you’re showing that you value the professional courtesy they’ve extended to you. Make sure to point out what you appreciate about the process—be it the chance to learn more about the company or the interactions you had during the interview. 

For example, a message like, “Thank you so much for offering me the position of [position] at [company name]. I am truly grateful for the time and effort you spent reviewing my application and getting to know me” is a great way to show your appreciation and leave a positive impression. This step is about building lasting professional relationships, even when you’re saying no.


Step 2: Give A Brief Reason

Now, when you’re in the position of rejecting a job offer, it’s gracious to offer a succinct explanation for your decision. Think about it: you’re not required to provide an exhaustive narrative, but a brief rationale can clarify your stance for the hiring manager, offering them insight and closure.

In other words, your explanation should be transparent, honest, and to the point, ensuring you don’t provide unnecessary details that could confuse the situation. It’s all about striking the right balance making sure your message conveys respect and thoughtfulness while clearly stating your decision.

Best of all, by stating, “While I am thoroughly impressed with the team and the projects, I’ve opted to pursue an opportunity that aligns more closely with my career goals” you demonstrate respect and acknowledgment of the opportunity while making it clear that your decision is driven by alignment with your long-term objectives. 


Step 3: Offer To Keep In Touch

Declining a job offer is an art in itself, and you need to be tactful in how you convey your message. Think about it: even if you’re turning down the position, showing that you value the connection and remain interested in future possibilities can leave a positive impression. You’re not just closing one chapter; you’re potentially setting the stage for future opportunities. By expressing a willingness to stay in touch, you signal that your decision is about the specific role, not the company itself.

Now, maintaining a professional relationship post-rejection isn’t just about good manners; it’s a strategic move. Even if the process wasn’t to your liking, there’s no need to burn bridges. Instead, offer a nod to future potential interactions. Adopting this strategy not only reflects your professional integrity but also ensures possibilities for future engagement or roles that may be more in tune with your aspirations. After all, today’s no could pave the way for a yes down the road.

Helpful tips for rejecting a job offer

When the time comes to turn down a job offer, the way you handle the rejection can leave a lasting impression. Here’s how to do it with tact and professionalism:

Prompt Response is Key

Think about the last time you were left hanging, waiting for a text back after a great first date. Annoying, right? The same goes for job offers. Your potential employer might not be waiting by the phone, but they’re definitely looking for your response. Don’t be the person who leaves them in the lurch. Responding promptly isn’t just good manners; it shows you’re a professional who respects the time and effort they’ve invested in you. Plus, it’s like ripping off a Band-Aid — best done quickly.

Be Concise and Grateful

Your rejection email shouldn’t be War and Peace. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. The hiring manager doesn’t need your life story or a detailed explanation of why you’re saying no. It’s like telling someone you don’t like their haircut — there’s no need to elaborate on why it doesn’t work; just be polite and move on. A simple thank you, a concise decline, and a sprinkle of good wishes are all you need.

Offer a Referral

If you’ve built a rapport with the hiring manager, consider picking up the phone. In a world where emojis pass for conversation, real talk can make a lasting impression. It’s like choosing a cozy café chat over a text message — it’s personal and shows you care. Plus, if you genuinely liked the company but the role wasn’t fit, why not pass the love on? Offer a referral if you know someone who would be perfect for the job. It’s like setting up a friend on a blind date — if it works out, you’re the hero. And even if it doesn’t, you’ve shown you’re someone who thinks of others, bolstering your reputation in the industry.

Email Example

Now, let me show you how to craft a “thanks but no thanks” email that hits all the right notes. It’s about blending gratitude with transparency: begin by expressing your appreciation for the opportunity, succinctly state your reason for declining, and finish with a gesture that encourages future connection.

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I want to express my gratitude for the offer of [position] at [company name]. I truly appreciate the time and effort you and your team have invested.

After careful consideration, I have decided to pursue a different opportunity that aligns more closely with my long-term goals. 

Learning more about the company and its culture was enlightening, and I am open to staying in touch and exploring potential opportunities for collaboration in the future. 

Please know that I hold [company name] in high regard, and I wish you and the team continued success.

[Your Name]


In short, when a pro like me gives you the lowdown on turning down a job offer with class, you should treat it like a nugget of gold. Express your thanks, be clear about why you’re bowing out, and keep the door ajar for future possibilities. It’s not just about saying no; it’s about keeping your professional game strong and your future bright.


Wrapping things up

Alright, here’s the real deal: saying “no thanks” to a job offer doesn’t have to be awkward or end up with anyone feeling burned. Just keep it simple, thankful, and straight-up honest. 

Remember, it’s totally cool to make choices that match your career goals, and as long as you’re polite about it, most folks will get it. 

Say thanks, give them the gist of why you’re declining without diving into a long-winded story, and leave the door open just a crack for the future. You never know when your paths might cross again. 

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Written by

Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be Rich Podcast. For over 20 years, Ramit has been sharing proven strategies to help people like you take control of their money and live a Rich Life.