Student Support

Responding to Employment Offers


Congratulations on your offer! You are probably feeling very excited and relieved to have received an offer. However, before you accept the offer, make sure you received the offer in writing and are aware of how long you have to respond to the offer.

Sometimes employers may extend an offer over the phone. Thank the employer and politely ask the person to follow up with a written offer by email. That way, you have the offer in writing and can review it on your own time. Make sure to confirm receipt of the email with a quick response that you will review the offer and reply back with a written decision by the deadline they provided. 

Once you have received an offer in writing, decide if the position is right for you. Things you might want to consider when accepting or declining an offer include your values, lifestyle, location, benefits, the nature of the work and level of responsibility, organizational culture and values, etc.

Always make sure any written communication you send is free of any typos or errors.

Acknowledging a Written Offer

Even if you are not ready to accept or decline an offer, be professional and always acknowledge a written offer. You should aim to acknowledge an offer within 24 hours. In your acknowledgement, make sure to thank the employer for the opportunity as well as include that you understand the terms of the offer or if you don't, ask for clarification.

Don't feel pressured to given an immediate response. Acknowledging does not mean accepting or declining an offer. Most employers anticipate candidates to take some time to consider an offer or counteroffer. In general, employers provide candidates 3 business days to make a decision. 

Note any offer deadlines in your calendar and provide a response before then. If you were not provided a response deadline, politely ask. It is unprofessional to miss a deadline and an employer may rescind an offer after a deadline has passed.

Asking for More Time

You are within your rights to ask for more time. it is important that you call and speak with the employer directly. Although this conversation may make you feel uncomfortable, waiting until the last minute may cause the employer to view you in a negative light. Be polite. Make sure to express your gratitude for the offer as well as clearly outline your reasoning for your request and a date that you could definitely give an answer. Note that some employers may not be willing to conform to later acceptance deadlines than already stated. They may have to adhere to strict recruitment procedures. Most employers provide a reasonable and fair amount of time for candidates to decide. Hoping that you get an interview or an offer from another company isn't a valid reason for requesting an extension. Having a competing offer on the table would be considered a valid reason.

Accepting an Offer

Don't accept an offer until you have reviewed the offer, covered all bases, and are 100% certain you are committed. Once you are ready, it is best to confirm your acceptance in writing to the person who sent you the offer letter. In your acceptance offer, express your excitement about the new position. Thank the employer for the opportunity. Your acceptance letter does not need to be long, but it does need to include verbiage that says you accept the company's offer, your title, a recap of any salary/benefits and instructions given by the company as you understand them, your expected start date and a reiteration of your appreciation for the offer. If you are required to attach a signed offer letter, make sure to reference your attached signed offer letter in your email and don't forget to actually attach the document. In the subject line, include your full name, job title, and the phrase "Job Offer Response." To prevent half-finished email messages, add the recipient's email address after you have proofread your letter and it is ready to send.

Once you have accepted an offer, you need to also withdraw your applications from any other companies. This will allow those companies to review other candidates. Cancel any upcoming interviews by politely explaining that you have accepted another offer.

Declining an Offer

After reviewing an offer and covering all bases, you are 100% certain the role just isn't a fit for you or you accepted another offer. Respond to the employer promptly and politely decline the offer. Don't wait. Your written response does not need to be long. It does need to include verbiage that says you are declining the company's offer and your appreciation and gratitude for their time and consideration. Although, you don't need to include a reason for your denial, it is the respectful thing to do. Never say anything negative. Be professional. You don't want to burn future bridges. You never know when, if or how your paths might cross again. In the subject line, include your full name, job title, and the phrase "Job Offer Response." To prevent half-finished email messages, add the recipient's email address after you have proofread your letter and it is ready to send.

Accepting an Internship Offer

Once you have accepted an internship versus a job offer, learn more about the Internship Program at SMC and what you need to do receive academic credit for your internship experience