When you get a letter offering you a job, spend a moment congratulating yourself for your success in impressing the employer -- then set your sights on the next step. While it's flattering to get a job offer letter, you'll need to weigh your options carefully to make sure it's the right job for you. You'll also need to advocate for the best possible set of benefits and conditions, using tact and timeliness. Since you've received a letter offering you the job, it's customary to respond in the same manner, with a written response via either email or post.
Reread the job offer letter, underlining the terms of employment, salary offer, benefits and any other details pertaining to the job. Consider each element carefully to determine whether the job will fulfill your professional goals at this time, and whether the salary, benefits and overall package will work for you. If there are any parts of the offer that you are not sure about, or parts that you don't like, make notes of those parts and think about what needs to change to make that portion amenable to you. In your response letter, you'll have an opportunity to respond to the terms of the offer and make suggestions for changes.
Type today's date at the top right of the letter. Address the letter to the person who wrote to you, typing her name at the top left of the page. Under that, type the company name, then the address of the company. Under that, include a cordial greeting, such as "Dear Ms. X."
Start the letter by thanking the person for the job offer. Whether you want the job or not -- or you have terms you want changed -- courtesy is very important. Following that, reference the job that you've been offered and mention any terms that the employer mentioned in the letter. Use language such as "It is my understanding that I am being offered X job..." to make it clear that you understand the offer and its terms.
State your intentions in the second paragraph. If you need more time to make your decision, state that clearly and indicate a date when you will provide your final decision. If you want any terms changed, ask the addressee to contact you to discuss the specific detail that you would like to discuss. Avoid making demands or sounding pushy -- asking for changes instead of demanding them will likely work to your benefit. If you intend to accept the offer as it stands, state that you accept the offer and provide a date when you're available to start. If you intend to decline the offer, state it clearly without getting emotional or sounding rude or ungrateful.
Use the third paragraph to thank the employer again, then invite her to contact you, if appropriate. At the end of the letter, sign off with "Sincerely" or another cordial and professional sign-off, then sign the letter.
Send the response promptly, within a day or two of receiving the job offer letter. If you wait too long, the employer may assume you don't want the job and move on to other candidates.
- If you're considering another offer or waiting to hear about another job, there's no need to mention it in your response letter -- that can get tricky and may cause this employer to withdraw your offer. Instead, state simply that you need more time to make this important life decision, and provide the date you will give a response. Don't make the response date too far out though -- you don't want the employer to give up on you and move on.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.