Getting a job offer is definitely a cause for celebration, and if you received yours in a letter, you have the luxury of congratulating yourself out loud and doing a happy dance in the privacy of your own home. You also have the benefit of some breathing room to consider the offer, unlike those who get job offers over the phone and sometimes feel pressured to respond immediately. So celebrate for a few hours, then get down to the serious business of evaluating and responding to the offer.
Read the letter in its entirety, then read it again. Ideally, it will reflect exactly the terms and conditions you expected and you won't have any questions. More than likely, however, there will be a few things that aren't clear or haven't been explicitly stated in the letter. Make a few notes about these so you can follow up on them.
Contact the person who sent you the job offer letter the next day, either by phone or email, to thank her for the offer. If you're 100 percent sure it's the right offer for you, go ahead and tell her you accept the offer and make arrangements to come in to handle in-processing requirements and get started. If you have questions, however, or are considering other offers, it's acceptable to ask for a few days to consider the offer.
Evaluate the offer carefully before making a decision about whether to accept the job. Contact the hiring manager to ask questions about the specifics of the offer and to ensure you're clear on all the requirements, terms and conditions of the job. Don't be afraid to ask hard questions about salary or request greater clarity on vague terms such as "other duties as required." Ensure you have all the data you need to make an informed decision.
Call the hiring manager in three or four days to give her your final decision. Follow up this call with a letter reiterating your decision. Start by once again thanking her for the opportunity. If you're accepting the job, your letter should confirm your understanding and acceptance of the terms of the offer. Close by letting her know you're looking forward to getting started in the new job. If you've decided to decline the job, respectfully state your decision and provide a simple, brief explanation, such as having accepted another offer. Keep a copy of the letter for your files.
As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.