How To Reject An Internship Offer Professionally & Politely (+ Examples)
Knowing how to reject an internship is similar to knowing how to reject a job offer. This is a skill that you’re going to have to learn in your career.
When you and an employer discuss the potential of working together, both individuals have made a time commitment. And that time commitment should have a degree of respect associated to it.
This is the reason why learning how to politely decline an internship offer is going to bode well for your in your career because there is a significant chance you will have to do this with an employer once more.
How To Politely Decline Your Internship Offer
The steps to politely decline your internship is going to differ based on the actions that you and the employer have taken together.
For example, if you both have spoken over the phone regarding your internship offer. Then you’ll want to be sure that you connect with that employer by phone and have a discussion about declining their offer. If you spoke by email, use email.
Be sure you take into account the relationship you have with them and know what they prefer.
The general steps to politely decline your offer by phone:
- Send an email mentioning that you’d like to connect with them regarding the internship opportunity.
- Spend time ensuring that you have a clear reason for why you are going to decline the internship. For example, it could be family, their office location or another offer.
- Be sure that before you have your discussion you know that you won’t bring up anything related to compensation or why another internship offer might have been better. Keep the conversation focused on giving the employer appreciation for the offer and simply letting them know you won’t be taking it.
- During the phone call, be sure you start the conversation with why you are thankful that they provided you the opportunity to intern with them. Mention the news that you won’t be taking it. Then thank them again.
- If the employer asks why you won’t be taking it, don’t get into the details. Have a reason but keep the reason simple. Something like, “There was another internship that seemed to suit my career path a little better.”
- Lastly, be sure that you mention you would love to have full-time employment with them in the future if that opportunity ever arises.
If you’re going to decline the job offer by email, be sure you keep some of the same rules above, but follow these steps:
- Put together your email, ensure that your email is no more than 500 words.
- Have a clear reason for why you are not taking the internship.
- Show a significant amount of respect and gratitude towards the employer for the opportunity to intern with them.
- Mention that you would love the opportunity to have full-time employment with them in the future.
Example Email Declining The Internship Offer
Here is an example email declining an internship offer. The structure is polite, simple, shows gratitude and gets to the point.
Dear Ryan —
I want to first say how thankful I am that you offered me the internship. I have such a great degree of respect for you and the company and I’m completely honored that you offered me the opportunity to work with you.
Unfortunately, I’ve decided that another internship fits with my career path a little better and I’ll be taking that.
I’d really love the opportunity to work with you on a full-time basis if that arises.
Thank you so much,
Example Email Subject Lines For Declining The Internship
Here are some subject lines you can use when sending your email to the employer:
- Regarding the internship
- Regarding the marketing internship
- [Your name]: Internship offer
- [Your name]: Regarding the summer internship
Keep your subject line pertinent to the conversation you’ve been having with them. Make it clear so that the email stands out against any other types of email they might be receiving.
Tips For Declining the Internship
If you can, be sure that you follow some of these basic rules for keeping your relationship with that potential employer, intact:
- Be incredibly gracious towards the opportunity, always show that you are honored for having received the internship offer.
- Be sure that you inform the employer right away. Don’t wait too long to decline the internship offer. If you were given the offer, be sure to reply within 24 to 48 hours.
- Always be looking for full-time opportunities, even if the internship is something you’re going to decline.
- If you need to, bring up your passions and how other internships align with those passions more. There’s always a chance they can change their offer.
- Learn how to accept an internship offer - How To Accept An Internship Offer (With Example Email)
- Learn how to send a "thank you" letter after your internship is complete - Best Internship Thank You Letter (And Email) To Use
- Learn how to create an internship cover letter - Best Internship Cover Letter Example (No Experience Required)
- How many internships should you apply for in order to land one? The answer - How Many Internships Should I Apply To? The Answer Here
- What's the difference between an externship and internship? The answer - Externship vs. Internship: What's The Difference?
- Learn how to politely and professionally decline an internship offer - How To Reject An Internship Offer Professionally & Politely (+ Examples)
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