Business Letters

Refusal Letters

A refusal letter is a negative response to either an invitation or a job offer. Its objective is to notify the reader of a decision to decline. The letter should be kept fairly short. Its scope need only include information that relates to the reasons for not accepting the offer.

If you have been offered a job that you do not intend to accept, write your letter immediately. Remember, you are not the only person that was interviewed. The offer indicates that you are the employer's "first choice." Your prospective employer deserves to be informed of your decision without delay so that an offer can be made to his or her second choice.

Identify Your Reader

A refusal letter should be addressed to a person who has extended an invitation or a job offer that you are either unable or unwilling to accept. You will have most likely met this person during a previous job interview and should place his or her name in the salutation and the inside heading of your reply. It should also be included on the top line of your envelope.

Keep in mind that people do business with people. When you personalize your letter, addressing the reader by name, you recognize that person's individual importance and their value as a human being.

Establish Your Objective

The objective of a refusal letter is to say "no" to either an invitation or a job offer. It notifies the reader of this decision and provides the reason why it is being declined.

Your refusal should begin with a genuine appreciation for the opportunity that was offered. Include a simple "thank you" as you begin your letter. Courtesy never goes out of style and your reader will appreciate your attention in that regard.

Determine Your Scope

The scope of your refusal should be brief and upbeat, explaining the reasons that prevent you from accepting the invitation or offer. In refusing a job offer, restate the title of the position. Doing so reaffirms the essential details of the offer being declined and ensures that your objective is understood.

Inform your reader of the reason(s) why you are declining. Be forthright with the potential employer. Perhaps another company offered a better benefits package or an unexpected opportunity you've been waiting for finally became available.

You are not the first person to decline a job offer; treat it as an opportunity to build good will. After all, you don't know what the future holds. One day you may find yourself knocking on the same door again.

Organize Your Letter

Organizing your refusal letter before you begin to write it will establish a logical order in which to present your information. You have already begun this task by establishing an objective and determining your scope. Refer back to them. Together they include much of the content that will become the body of your letter.

A simple outline will get you organized. Begin by creating a list of relevant points and place them in the sequential order that will best help your reader comprehend your refusal. These points will become the backbone of your working draft.

Draft Your Letter

Working from an outline is the simplest way to draft an refusal letter. You organized yourself by creating a list. Refer back to it and turn each fragment into a full and complete sentence expressing a single thought or idea

In order that your thoughts and ideas are conveyed in a cohesive manner, write in as natural a sounding voice as possible.Try writing your draft quickly and then read it out loud. Concentrate on communicating your objective to your reader. Make sure that the scope of your letter contains all the relevant information included in your organizational list.

Keep in mind that you are writing a rough draft. For the moment you can ignore spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence and paragraph structure. Those are technical details that you will pay attention to in the final step when you review and revise your work.

Close Your Letter

A refusal letter should close in a professional manner. Once your last paragraph is written, sign off between a complimentary close such as "Sincerely," or "Thank you," and your printed name.

If you are writing in conjunction with an official duty, place your title below your printed name. Additional information such as dictation remarks, notification of attachments, enclosures and copies sent to other individuals should be placed beneath the title line.

Review and Revise Your Refusal Letter

Reviewing and revising the draft of your refusal letter is a final inspection, a last check to see whether your objective is clearly stated and your scope concisely defined. Put yourself in the reader's shoes and ask whether the details are accurate and complete.

Look for obvious errors. Check for spelling, sentence structure and grammar mistakes. Your complaint should be direct and to the point, so make sure that you have used a strong active voice.

Keep in mind the overall cohesiveness of your letter. Look for accuracy, clarity and a sense of completeness. Ask yourself if the transitions between paragraphs are working and if your point of view, tone and style are consistent throughout the text.

Examine your word choices carefully. Ambiguous words lead to confusion. Jargon and abstract terms may not be understood at all and affectations, cliches and trite language serve no real purpose and will obscure your objective.

If you have not written an opening or a closing now is the time. Lead into the refusal with an appreciative statement and a positively worded observation. Conclude with a gracious reiteration of your appreciation.

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