You Received a Job Offer … Now What?

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You applied, interviewed, interviewed some more and (drum roll, please) … you have an offer. Congratulations! This is a huge accomplishment, and your hard work has paid off. So, what happens now?

First things first…

This is a big decision, so it’s okay to take time to think it over. Respond with gracious acknowledgement and advise that you’d like to take a few days to review and will be in touch with any questions. You want to be respectful of their time. If they have not provided a clear deadline, establish one in your response.

What about negotiating?

As an early-career professional, you won’t have much experience to leverage a significant increase in pay or vacation benefits; however, employers often anticipate some level of negotiation after the initial offer. That being said, that does not mean you should expect them to always counter. This is a delicate task at any experience level so conduct industry benchmark research, consider the total benefits package and do not take it personally. If you decide to negotiate on benefits or salary, they may remain firm; however, remember that the experience itself will increase your business acumen and demonstrate self-worth and confidence.

If it’s the job for you…

It’s best to accept a job offer in writing. Besides communicating enthusiastic acceptance, confirm the terms of your offer – your job title, salary, benefits, start date and other information important to your acceptance. Be sure to express that you’re excited for the opportunity and that you look forward to bringing value to the organization.

If you’ve decided to decline the offer…

If the job isn’t the right one for you, don’t sweat it – it’s a normal part of the hiring process. While you’re not going to be working for the company, you still want to leave a positive and professional impression.

Once you know that you won’t be accepting, them as soon as possible. Express your appreciation for both the offer and their time throughout the process. You can choose to provide a reason for your declination (you’re unable to relocate, you’ve decided to pursue another opportunity, etc.) but it’s best not to go into elaborate detail. Lastly, close cordially. You want to maintain the relationship with both the company and the hiring manager should your future paths cross.

It is better to decline an initial job offer than to accept and back out of your offer at a later date.

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Additional Career Resources

How to Dress for Success

How to Prepare for an Interview

You Received a Job Offer … Now What?

Questions to Ask During Job Interviews

After an Interview: Follow Up Best Practices

Conquering Job Applications

Crafting a Standout Cover Letter

Six Things You Should Do Before Starting Your Job Search

Writing Your Best Resume

Your Job Search: Strategies for Success

Developing Your Professional Network

How to Tell Your Story

How to Use LinkedIn Like a Pro

How to Conquer Career Fairs

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