At this point, you’re probably extremely excited. After all, you just got offered that new job you’ve been gunning for. Weeks of filling out applications and going through interview after interview as part of a long job search have paid off, and finally, the job of your dreams is within grasp. Of course, now that you have the job offer in hand, that doesn’t mean that’s the end of the journey. You now need to accept it, and knowing how to accept a job offer isn’t always straightforward.
There are many considerations you need to take into account. Tomáš Ondrejka, the co-founder and head of marketing for Kickresume explains it’s not a decision you should make lightly. “[T]his stage of the job hunting process can be headache-inducing for a lot of us,” he writes. “On one hand, you want to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. While on the other hand, you still want to take your time to reassess your options.” With this in mind, accepting a job offer the right way can be an important first step in what you hope is a long and successful relationship with your new employer.
In this article, find out what to say when accepting a job offer, tips for writing a job offer acceptance letter, and what comes next after you send it in.
4 Tips on How to Accept a Job Offer
1. Ask for and Review a Formal Job Offer via Email
Chances are, you received the job offer over a phone call when your employer, recruiter, or hiring manager gave you the good news. Hopefully, they outlined what the offer entailed, including things like your official job title and starting salary. There’s also a chance they gave you a deadline to tell them if you formally accept the job offer.
As great as your memory may be, you can’t remember every detail. If they don’t intend to, request that they send you a formal written offer to your email address. If they ask for your answer on the spot, asking for the offer in writing is a great reason to give you more time to consider it.
Journalist and author Anita Bruzzese advises, “A verbal offer is nice, but a job offer is only as strong as the paper it’s printed on.” By having the job offer in writing, not only does it make the offer more official, it allows you to review it at your own pace. You need to know exactly what the organization is providing before you accept the offer. An offer in writing also allows you to refer to it to make sure your employer holds up their end. Accepting a job offer in haste may mean you miss important details and can start you off on the wrong foot.
Always get your job offer in writing.
2. Communicate the Time Frame You Need to Make a Decision
If your prospective employer doesn’t set a deadline, be upfront and clear about when you plan to give your answer. You certainly don’t want to “ghost” them for days on end to make a choice. How much time you need is up to you, but be thoughtful and promise to respond within 48 to 72 hours. That’s plenty of time to come to a decision over such an important topic.
Suzy Style, the head of UK Graduate Resource at BP, has a helpful suggestion. “If you need additional time to consider an offer, you should ask the employer for a specified amount of time to think about your response, and they will usually be accommodating, provided you stick to the deadline you’ve arranged,” she says.
By doing so, you’re showing simple courtesy before accepting an offer letter. You’re also showing that you can operate within established deadlines—an important skill in any profession. Whatever you decide, don’t push it until the last minute, and always pay attention to the job offer expiration date. If the offer runs out, the organization likely has a backup plan that they’ll act on without hesitation.
Always stick to the deadline given for a job offer response.
3. Negotiate Before Accepting the Offer
Once you accept a job offer, the time for negotiation has ended. In other words, if you intend to negotiate, do it before you accept. It’s a step that many people don’t consider or are too nervous to think about. According to research from Robert Half, only 39 percent of people say that they tried to negotiate their salary with the last job offer they received.
If you don’t agree to the terms the company is offering, then you need to make a counteroffer. Those terms can include things like start date, 401(k) matching, stipends, salary, and benefits. Be reasonable in your negotiation, but don’t sell yourself short either.
During the hiring process, many managers are open to listening to counteroffers and may even be expecting them. According to Alexander Lowry, a CEO adviser and executive director at Gordon College, “Many employers intentionally leave wiggle room in the salary they’re offering, anticipating that you’ll negotiate. Failing to do so leaves that extra money on the table. So ask (don’t demand) whether the employer can increase the offer. If the answer is no, you can still gracefully accept.”
Tips on how to negotiate salary:
- Write down your noteworthy accomplishments.
- Do research on what comparable salaries are like.
- Detail how you will help the organization.
- Make reasonable concessions when necessary.
- Get advice from your mentor before negotiating.
- Talk to your potential employer in-person if possible.
- Don’t settle if you’re unsatisfied.
- Get the new offer in writing.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Many employers expect it.
4. Write a Job Acceptance Letter
Once you’re all done negotiating and you’re happy with the terms of employment, then you should write a formal job offer acceptance email or letter. Again, giving a verbal response is not the same thing as being legally provided with a job offer. You need to put it all in writing. As author Heike Guilford puts it, “Verbal agreements are just that. They do not hold any legal value if things go wrong.”
Once your new employer has received and accepted your letter, HR can then begin the process of legally having you come on as a full-time employee. Without this paperwork, you can’t just show up to work. After getting the necessary paperwork, put it in a safe place. You’ll want to have proof of employment just in case the company tries to get out of the contract somehow.
Like the job offer, always put your offer acceptance in writing.
How to Write a Job Acceptance Letter
When accepting a job offer via email or letter, you may have a lot of thoughts that are difficult to organize. If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to craft an acceptance letter that will reflect well on you and your skills.
1. Show Gratitude
Above all, thank your new employer for the opportunity that they are giving you. They’ve probably looked at dozens of candidates, and they’ve chosen you to fill an important role. Don’t forget to also thank them for the many hours they likely spent thinking about you and making this decision.
2. Accept the Offer
Another important step is to actually formally accept what they have offered you. Don’t just assume that they understand the acceptance. Put it plainly, and show how excited and happy you are for the opportunity.
3. Go Over the Job Offer Details
This is your opportunity to review and restate all the elements of the job offer. Doing so helps to ensure that you and the company are on the same page. It also helps to clarify any confusion and allows for any corrections that may be necessary.
4. Review the Start Date
At the same time, repeat the start date both sides have agreed upon. You don’t want to go in too early and look foolish, and you certainly don’t want to miss your first day. That would be starting your new job in the wrong way. Like the third step above, restating the start date ensures there is no confusion between you and your employer.
5. End With an Expression of Excitement
As you conclude your job offer acceptance letter, feel free to once again show how excited you are to get started in your new job. This shows eagerness to hit the ground running and will reinforce the employer’s decision to hire you. Plus, it’s always nice to end a letter with an uplifting tone.
6. Proofread Your Letter Before Sending It
The final step comes before you send your letter. Make sure to proofread to catch any mistakes you might have made. It’s a small thing, but doing this shows a high level of professionalism. In a sense, it sets the standard as to what it will be like working with you. You don’t want an employer to question their decision at the last moment and reject your acceptance. Additionally, if there’s time, have someone else quickly review your letter, as it’s always beneficial to get a second pair of eyes on something.
Additional Step: The Subject Line
In case you’re sending an email, make sure the subject line describes what exactly the employer is getting. Title it something as simple as “Job Acceptance Letter,” and then your name. You may even put the position you’re getting. Hiring managers often go through a lot of emails throughout the day, and you want to make sure they don’t miss yours by putting a clear subject line.
Example of a Job Acceptance Letter
Dear [hiring manager’s name],
I want to thank you for the wonderful opportunity to take on the role of [job title] for [company name]. I’m grateful for all the time and effort you have put into the interviews and for the chance to get to know your company better. I am excited to accept your job offer, and I’m looking forward to getting started.
As we discussed over the phone, I’m happy to accept the starting salary of [money amount] with included benefits such as [list of benefits the company has offered]. I will be in the office on [start date] to begin my employment with the company and to start getting to know all my teammates.
This is a really exciting time for me, and I can’t wait to help the company achieve new heights. Thank you so much, once again, for this opportunity.
Next Steps: What to Do Once You’ve Accepted a Job Offer
After you’ve written and sent your job offer acceptance letter, you may be asking, “What next?” While it will depend on the company, you may do the following:
- Sign employment-related onboarding documents the organization gives you.
- Provide necessary information for a background check.
- Give your current employer a two-week notice.
You can also take the time to prepare for the new job by learning more about their work culture and how you can fit in. If you’re ready from the moment you step through the doors, you’ll prove yourself as a valuable member of the team.
If you are looking for a new job but don’t consider yourself a very outgoing person, check out some of the top jobs for introverts.
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- Ondrejka, Tomáš. How to Accept a Job Offer Like a Professional [+ Acceptance Letter Samples]. 1 Nov. 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-accept-job-offer-like-professional-acceptance-letter-ondrejka.
- Bruzzese, Anita. Expert Advice: What to Do When You Get a Job Offer. https://www.livecareer.com/resources/jobs/offers/job-offer.
- Lanquist, L. (2018, June 8). How to Negotiate Your Salary: Managers’ 13 Top Tips. SELF. https://www.self.com/story/how-to-negotiate-your-salary
- How to accept a job offer. (2022, May 20). Totaljobs. https://www.totaljobs.com/advice/how-to-accept-a-job-offer
- Guta, M. (2020, January 23). Just 39% of Employees Want to Negotiate Their Salary. Small Business Trends. https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/02/salary-negotiation-statistics.html