How to Respond to a Job Offer Letter Like a Professional

Business people shaking hands at desk
Photo: Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

If you aced your job interview, you might receive an offer letter, most likely in your email inbox. This letter serves as a formal proposal for you to begin employment at the company and confirms any verbal offer made to you. You'll need to send a polite response letting them know if you'd like to move forward.

Key Takeaways

  • A job offer letter should include the job title, the salary, and terms and conditions of employment
  • If you decide to accept a job, make sure to confirm your start date and terms of employment
  • If you decide to decline a job, thank them for the offer and politely explain why you are turning down the position

The Job Offer Letter

Job offer letters will most likely include:

  • The job title or position
  • Salary or wage, as well as benefits and perks
  • An acceptance deadline
  • The desired start date
  • Training information
  • Instructions on how to accept or decline the job offer

Terms and Conditions

Examine the details of the job offer carefully.

Employers may add clauses regarding work responsibilities, salary, and benefits including the following:

  • Signing Bonuses: It’s likely you discussed bonuses as part of your salary negotiations. Make sure the letter mentions any signing bonuses you may have discussed with the recruiter or hiring manager.
  • Additional Bonuses: If bonuses are included in your employment package, check to see if they are guaranteed or discretionary.
  • Salary: If your letter shows a salary increment structure, see if it meets your expectations.
  • Benefits: Make sure the list is accurate and lists standard perks like insurance, vacation time, and contributions to a retirement fund. Make sure any benefits discussed during salary negotiations like stock options or extra vacation time are reflected in your offer letter.
  • Job Responsibilities: Make sure the responsibilities make sense and that the letter states your job title.
  • Work Hours: Look for the official working hours as well as any company policies on overtime and holiday pay.
  • Privacy: Read carefully to see if any of the language in the offer might affect your right to privacy in the workplace.

Extending the Acceptance Deadline

Sometimes, after receiving a job offer, you find you need more time to consider your options. It’s best to tell the employer as soon as possible. Let them know how long you might need and ask if they can wait that long for you to accept the offer.

If you are considering other offers, let the hiring manager know.

Accepting a Job

When you accept a job, you'll want to send a brief acceptance letter. When you send the acceptance letter or email, you'll want to make sure to include the following:

  • Your gratitude for the offer
  • A summary of the employment package as you understand it
  • Formal acceptance of the job
  • Confirmation of your start date

When you send your letter, address it to the person who made the offer when mailing it. If you send an email, use your name in the subject line. Keep your acceptance letter brief and professional. Make sure you've signed or attached any required documents when you send your acceptance letter.


Don't sign an offer letter until you're certain you're happy with the terms of employment. Once you sign it, you are accepting the position and the terms in the offer letter.

Declining a Job

If you think the job isn’t the right fit, you should let the recruiter know as soon as possible so that they can move on to other candidates.

During the interview process, you may have developed a relationship with the recruiter. A polite letter is a good way to keep the relationship going, and can allow you to reach out again if you apply to another role at the company in the future.

If you're interested in the company, but you're planning on declining the offer because the pay is too low or the benefits are insufficient, you can always try negotiating a better deal. If they still don't offer you a sufficient salary or benefits, you can then politely decline.

A letter to decline a job offer should include:

  • An expression of gratitude
  • A statement declining the offer
  • Your reason for declining the offer

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you professionally respond to an offer letter?

Whether you're accepting or declining, you'll want to express your gratitude for the offer. If you're accepting, you'll want to formally accept the job, summarize the employment package as you understand it, and confirm your start date. If you're turning down the offer, you'll want to include why you've decided to decline the offer.

How do you write a professional thank you email?

Start with the recipient's name, and address them like you normally would in an email. Say thank you as soon as you reasonably can in the email and mention what you're thanking them for. Then thank them again and end the email with "best" or "sincerely" and your name.

Was this page helpful?
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. SHRM. "How to Create an Offer Letter Without Contractual Implications."

Related Articles