Getting a job offer is great, and it’s all too easy to get caught up in the excitement and accept it immediately. But writing a job acceptance letter requires careful handling – particularly if you have multiple offers or want to negotiate any of the details.
Here’s our advice on what to consider before accepting a job offer, and how to nail the acceptance letter when you do.
Give it time
When you receive the job offer, don’t accept it straight away – even if you’re keen. It’s always a good idea to ask the employer for a little bit of time to consider it fully.
If the offer came by email, reply with a quick ‘thank you’ to show your enthusiasm. Ask when they need to know your decision by, or specify a length of time. For example, say something like: ‘Thank you very much for the offer. I’m definitely interested, but is it OK if I have a day to think things over fully?’
If they make the offer over the phone, thank them and ask when you’ll receive the offer in writing. Again, ask for a day to think it over.
Aim to get back to them within 24 hours, or 48 at the most – any more may be interpreted as a lack of interest.
During your thinking time, make sure you know everything you need to about the job and the company. Research them online and trawl their social media profiles to try and get an idea of their values and culture.
If you’re not sure whether it’s a fit and want to know more, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You could ask whether you can meet the team, your line manager or the person currently in the role, or you might ask to visit the office to get a feel for the workplace.
As well as asking the employer questions, ask yourself a few to ascertain how much you really want the job. Consider the following:
- Do you have a clear understanding of the work you’ll be doing?
- Does your job title accurately describe your role?
- Will this job be a good use of your skills?
- Is there room for progression?
- Do the company’s values align with your own?
- Are you genuinely excited about this specific job offer?
- Does this job fit in with your professional goals?
Negotiating a job offer
Don’t feel you have to accept the terms of the job offer as they are if you’re not happy with them. Most employers expect candidates to negotiate at this stage.
Negotiating is easier in person, so if you know you want to talk things over, ask for a meeting. If a meeting isn’t possible, arrange a phone call.
If you want to negotiate the salary, research your market worth carefully, and decide what you’ll be happy with. Remember that the employer is likely to try and negotiate down, so go in with more than you’re willing to accept.
If it turns out they aren’t able to negotiate on the salary, you could try negotiating some of the benefits to sweeten the deal. Things like annual leave, flexible working, commission, pension, childcare and subsidised travel may all be negotiable.
The more prepared you are the better, so be ready to fight your corner with a list of career achievements and what you can offer the company. Stay positive throughout, and reiterate how much you want the job.
If they can’t negotiate at all and the job is perfect apart from the salary, you could try asking for a formal salary review in six months’ time.
Accepting the job offer
Once you’ve done your negotiation, have got the offer in writing and are completely happy with it, it’s time to compose the perfect acceptance letter.
Your letter should communicate how enthusiastic you are about the position and the company, and reiterate the key terms of the job offer, including job title, salary and benefits. Include your proposed start date, and thank the employer for any special conditions you’ve agreed.
Your letter should be formal and professional in tone, and should be addressed to the person who made you the offer. Include your name, address and contact details.
The same rules apply whether you email or post your letter. If you email, make sure your subject line is clear: something like ‘[Your name] – Job offer acceptance’. As always, use a professional-sounding email address, and make sure your email signature is up-to-date.
In either case, carefully proofread your letter before sealing the envelope or hitting send.
Writing a job acceptance letter: A summary
If you’ve got a job offer, congratulations! We hope our guide helps you figure out whether it’s right for you, and gives you a hand in writing a job acceptance letter.
If you’re still looking for a job, why not let us craft you the perfect CV? Find out more here.
If you’re still keen to see what else is out there, make sure you read our 6 important lessons for finding a job.