You were offered the internship – but you can’t accept it. Perhaps another opportunity has come about, or your schedule simply won’t allow you to take on any more responsibilities. While it’s unfortunate, the good news is you can decline the offer without ruining your professional reputation.
There are a few rules to follow when sending a rejection to a job offer.
- Say thank you.
- Decline in a timely manner.
- Make sure there are no typos or errors.
- Keep the message brief, but clear.
- Be apologetic, but end on a positive note.
- Offer to stay in touch (if appropriate).
Once you’ve decided you won’t be accepting the internship, let the company know in a timely manner. Start your email by thanking the hiring manager for the opportunity. While the company may be disappointed that you haven’t accepted their offer, they’ll appreciate that you respected their time and gave them enough notice to move on with other candidates. If you feel it’s appropriate, offer to stay in touch, and either include additional contact information or send a LinkedIn connection request.
Below are two email templates that you can use to decline an offer…
Template for declining when you’ve accepted another offer:
Mr./Ms. (last name of the person who extended the offer),
Thank you so much for extending this opportunity to me! (Organization name) seems like a wonderful organization and after our interview I was really excited about the possibility of working with the (department name) department.
Though it was a difficult decision, I’ve decided to accept another internship that focuses more directly on the skill set that I’m looking to grow. Again, I appreciate the offer to work with your team.
Template for declining when your schedule is too full:
Mr./Ms. (Last name of person who extended the offer),
Thank you for the opportunity to join your team as the (official title) Intern. At this time, my (summer/spring/fall) course schedule will not permit me to dedicate the amount of time required for this internship.
I appreciate the time you’ve taken with me this far, and I would be delighted to have the opportunity to work together in the future.