You’ve made it to the end of your job search and you’ve managed to receive at least one offer. Perhaps you’ve even received two or more offers, giving you the opportunity to negotiate and truly make a decision about what is best for you and your future.
So many people mistakenly think that this is the end of the line. You do the deep reflection required to understand what you want, what kind of environment you need in order to thrive, and you make it happen for yourself. You get the offer and you can just sit back and put things in cruise control, right?
Eh, not so much. The problem with this whole thought process is the fact that it assumes receiving the offer means the hard work is done. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In all reality, receiving an offer or offers is just the beginning of the truly hard process of making a final decision. Sometimes, you will have learned during the interview process that a particular employer simply isn’t for you. Other times you’ll simply have multiple offers on the table and you’ll use your ideal job description to determine what fits best. And then you have to make the final call.
Eventually you’ll have to accept an offer, which is an incredibly exciting event in your life and career. However, what most people forget at this point is that the offers you’re turning down came from somewhere. Those employers are waiting to hear back from you, and it would be incredibly unprofessional to leave them hanging. Not to mention the incredible damage it would do to your personal brand.
So, after you make the decision about which offer to accept and which offer(s) to leave behind,it’s in your best interest to do everything you can to maintain the relationships all around. By taking this approach, you can build your personal brand in the eyes of the professionals rather than burning bridges that would be incredibly hard to rebuild.
With that context, let’s dive in.
Deciding to Accept or Decline
You should be accepting for one of two reasons:
- You received an initial offer that met all of your needs with a company and in a role that meets the criteria you laid out in your ideal job description.
- You effectively negotiated for the terms you needed from the offer.
You should be declining for one of three reasons:
- You received an offer after learning during the interview process that the organization was not the right place for you.
- You received an offer that had too many aspects that didn’t meet your ideal job description.
- You attempted to negotiate for the terms you needed from the offer and were either unsuccessful, or the organization was not open to negotiations.
How To Accept an Offer
Based on these terms, let’s cover how to accept an offer first. At a high level, you want to accept the offer both verbally and on paper. It is also a good idea to inform each of the individuals you have interacted with during the interview process in addition to signing and submitting your formal offer letter.
At the most basic level, you will want to sign the offer letter that contains the most up to date terms of employment based on any negotiations you may have done. Do not sign an offer that does not include the up to date information that reflects your negotiations. If you did not negotiate, you can sign the offer letter you first received.
In addition, you should call your main point of contact to tell them you have accepted your offer and that they can expect it in the mail. When you speak to them, say something like the following:
“Hi, [name], this is [your name] and I am calling to formally accept my offer to join [organization name]. I have signed and mailed/emailed my offer letter and you can expect to receive it within the week. Is there anything else I need to do to help you move the process along at this point?”
They will give a response that reflects their excitement and desire to have you join the team. Hopefully they will give you plenty of detail to appropriately set your expectations, but you cannot rely on that. If they don’t give you any details, then you should ask:
“What can I expect from the overall onboarding process, and when should I expect to hear from you next?”
Now you have accepted the offer (congratulations!), you’ve told the person who needs to know, and you know what to expect next. The next thing to do is to inform anyone else who has played a part in your hiring process at the organization. If any particular professionals have played a particularly large role by helping answer your questions, negotiate your offer, or recommending you to the job in the first place, I would recommend giving them a call and sending a thank you note.
Let them know that you have accepted and that you appreciate their help along the way. In your thank you letter, include something like the following:
I am excited to tell you that I have accepted my offer to join [organization name] as a [role name]. Without your help during the recruitment and hiring process, I would not have had such a great experience or learned so much about the company.
Thank you very much for your guidance and support, and I look forward to working with you in the future.
All the best,
Your phone call should express similar thoughts. Always be sure to personalize the conversation based on your experience and relationship with the individual. Anyone that played more of a minor role in your hiring process deserves an email informing them that you’ve accepted as well. The basic elements of your email should include:
- Thanking them for their help during the process
- Informing them that you have accepted your offer
- Stating your excitement to join the organization
- Asking for any advice or next steps you should take to prepare to join the organization
You can use the script above, or you can create a custom email template that includes each of the elements above. Always be sure to edit and proofread. Once you accept your offer, it’s the beginning of your career, which means it’s time to continue building your personal brand and professional relationships.
How To Decline an Offer
While accepting an offer will be a great feeling, declining an offer can be a bit less fun. However, declining an offer is an excellent opportunity to build your personal brand and maintain relationships with the people in the organization. There are two different ways that you will want to handle declining an offer:
- When the job, organization, industry, culture, or other aspect is simply not a good fit for you
- When you have decided to take a competing offer that simply beat out the one you have chosen to decline.
Declining Because It’s Not a Good Fit
In the first case, there is nothing the organization could have done to make you want to take the offer. In the second case, the organization’s offer has simply been beat by another employer that represented a better fit for you. In either case, you always want to maintain the relationship, so giving them the courtesy of formally declining the offer is extremely important.
You should decline the offer as soon as you have accepted another offer or made a definitive decision not to accept. While the conversation may be a bit uncomfortable, it’s inconsiderate and poor business etiquette to delay after making the decision. When you’re ready to formally decline, call your main point of contact and send an email to each of your other points of contact in the organization.
One question that often comes up at this point: why would you spend so much time to simply decline an offer? The answer lies in The Five Principles of Networking Success. You can build your brand and prove your integrity by giving the simple courtesy of correspondence. Based on this approach the next question is: what do you say when you call or email?
Something like this will do just fine:
“Hi, [name], this is [your name] calling in response to the job offer I was excited to receive from your organization. I am calling to let you know that I have decided to not to accept the offer because [and then insert your reason for declining].”
Your reason will be personal and unique, but here is an example:
“I have decided to accept a competing offer that I feel best fits my current professional and personal goals.”
“I do not believe that I am a good cultural fit for the organization.”
You will know the reason better than anyone, so be sure to be honest but professional. That means you should not say “I did not think the offer was any good.” OR “I’m not excited about your organization.” In your emails to the professionals other than your main point of contact, be sure to include the following points:
- Thank them for their time and help.
- Tell them that you are declining the offer.
- Give them your reasoning for declining.
- Tell them you would appreciate the opportunity to stay connected.
- Tell them to let you know if you can ever do anything to help them reach their goals.
Declining Because of a Non-Negotiable Offer
The second case in which you will decide to decline an offer is because the organization said the offer is non-negotiable. In this case, you should make your reasoning clear when you decline by saying:
“I am sorry to say that I have two specific concerns related to the offer you have kindly extended me to join your organization. Due to the fact that the offer is non-negotiable I will have to decline at this time.”
In this case you would state this reasoning only to your main point of contact. In the majority of cases they will simply accept your reasoning and move on. In rare cases, your final decision (either verbal or written) may trigger a decision to negotiate with you.
In case you are given the opportunity to obtain what you want from the offer, you should be prepared to conduct the negotiation. However, if you receive a call or email to negotiate, reschedule for a time when you are able to have your minimum requirements in front of you and you are able to prepare appropriately for the discussion. When you email the secondary contacts you’ve made in the organization, you should simply state that you have declined the offer and then include the same main points we covered previously.
With that, you’re fully prepared to accept and decline job offers in a way that is professional, builds your brand, and maintains the relationships in a positive way. Your job, no matter how little desire you have to accept an offer, is to make the company or employer feel that their time was well spent in considering you for the position.
Because that day five years down the road when you realize you need one of those connections or it’s time to sell something to that organization, you don’t want their one memory to be “that time you snuffed them after they gave you a generous offer.” Right?
cross posted from Living for Monday
May 5-11, 2013 – Times are tough, without a doubt. People in our community and throughout the nation are struggling to find and keep good jobs. Even in these tough times, though, Goodwill® has reason to celebrate. Goodwill Industries Week is May 5-11, and we are commemorating the effective work we are doing to help put people to work throughout the Central North Carolina region.
Since 1951, Goodwill agencies across the United States and Canada have marked the first full week of May as Goodwill Industries Week, a commemoration that celebrates new jobs created and lives changed. By selling your donations in stores and online, including gently used clothing and household goods, Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina, Inc. (GICNC) funds job training and placement programs. Last year, over 13,000 people here in our local community who were struggling to find and keep good jobs benefited from your donations, an annual increase of over 30% percent.
This year GICNC will host Open House events at each of our Community Resource Centers and Career Centers located in Guilford, Alamance, Randolph and Rockingham counties. In addition, our Retail Stores will be offering some great specials for shoppers. To find your nearest Retail Store, visit TriadGoodwill.org.
Celebrate Goodwill Industries Week with us and enjoy some great events, including:
All week, Goodwill Industries International (GII) will be hosting a virtual Career Fair which anyone can access online at http://www.goodwill.org to learn about career opportunities across the country.
Here are seven ways your resume isn’t quite cutting it. So, take it out, brush it off, and let’s kick it up a notch.
1. It’s Still Sporting That Outdated Objective
If your resume is utilizing an objective, you really should trash it and start all over with a fresh, powerful introduction that incorporates a personal branding statement. A tailored career summary and polished personal branding statement will catch the employer’s attention and give him or her the best information up front—the information he or she needs to make a decision to call you to schedule an interview.
2. The Design/Format Is Generic
There is a strategy behind resume formatting and design. If you are an executive, yet you are using an entry-level resume format, you will look unprofessional and under-qualified.
3. It’s Missing Important Keywords
Omit keywords and the software system scanning your resume can’t find you. The recruiter giving your resume a quick once-over is looking for specific keywords as well. Leave them out and you’ll be left out of the interview process.
4. It Has Generic And/Or Vague Statements
Avoid using the same old terminology that everyone else uses in their resumes. Yes, we know you can problem solve. But instead of telling me you’re a problem solver, show me the result of a problem you solved.
5. It Doesn’t Focus On Hard Skills
And the championship goes to… hard skills. I used to be a full-time recruiter, and I used Monster and CareerBuilder to search for candidates. Not once did I enter the search terms: great communicator, excellent verbal skills, detail-oriented. These are universal statements millions use to describe themselves. Give me something tangible and relevant to the position I am trying to fill.
6. It Tells Vs. Shows
Instead of wasting valuable real estate on your resume providing me with a rundown of your job description (the same one I’ve read a million times as a hiring manager), show me what you achieved, what you accomplished, and what you contributed in the past.
WOW me with something other than the predictable, mundane job description. I want to know the challenges you faced in your previous roles, how you addressed them, and the results you obtained. This makes you different from everyone else. No two people will have the exact same experiences. Your experiences are what make you outshine your competition—USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
7. It’s Passive
Using terminology that is passive is boring and lacks action. Instead of using phrases like “served as,” “duties included,” “promoted to,” “worked with”…choose strong action verbs. Action verbs do just what they say: they convey action and, ultimately, results.
The hiring manager is interested in results you can provide about what you did along the way. Choose terms like: Launched, Catapulted, Spearheaded, and Pioneered. These terms tell me something. They show me the action you took and captivate my attention so that I want to read on to discover the results you achieved.
Your resume needs to do two things: It needs to capture the hiring manager’s attention—and it needs to motivate him or her to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. If you look and sound like everyone else, you have no competitive advantage. Therefore, you’ve provided the HR person with zero motivation to pick up the phone, call you, and schedule an interview.
Stop creating a ‘same old, same old’ resume that looks and feels just like everyone else’s. Start by adding some variety and focusing on your accomplishments today.
Procrastination is just apart of life. There are always items on our “to do” list, whether written down or in our head, we know we need to take care of, but we’ve continued to put off. Begin this week buy taking action on at least three matters you’ve been putting off.
That Call You’ve Been Putting Off
You know is going to be a difficult conversation. Make that call today; get it behind you and feel the surge of energy that results from getting it done.
That Project You Haven’t Started
Taking action – even if it’s a small step – on “that project” you’ve been meaning to start. If it is truly something important that needs to get done within the next 30 days, then schedule an action item today to “prime the pump” for establishing some momentum in moving forward. Once you complete that first step, schedule the next one for later this week or next week. Keep the process moving forward.
That Bad News You Need To Share
Sharing “that piece of ‘bad’ news” you’ve been holding off on telling your boss or colleague about. Maybe it’s not quite as “bad” as you think. Maybe your boss or colleague can help you think about a new way of looking at the matter. Either way, holding onto it is negative energy that needs to be released to free your mind up to focus on positive things.
That Personal Issue You’re Dealing With
Dealing with “that difficult personel issue.” It’s not going to go away if you don’t deal with it or devise a plan for “fixing” it. Schedule some time this week to devise a plan and act on that plan. Get it behind you.
That Paperwork You Need To Do
Dealing with “administrative paperwork” – your expense report, your sales call activity report, a staff performance evaluation. Consider the benefits of getting these things done – the benefits to you and to others who might be affected.
Pick three things, and schedule the time or block out the time to take care of them this week.
Better yet, do something RIGHT NOW to deal with one of more of these matters.
Begin each week this way and watch your “to do” list gradually wean itself down to nothing or almost nothing.
Cross posted from Careerealism
With email and regular mail perfectly suited for introducing yourself to a potential employer, job candidates will do well to get their letter game in gear.
First off, it’s true that you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a great one. Proof read, spell check, proof read, spell check, and proof read some more. Nothing ruins a job applicant’s letter faster than a glaring mistake. (Even if you’re handwriting your way through a written application form, be neat, take your time, and be accurate.)
Whatever you do, double and triple check that you’ve spelled the recipient’s name correctly.
Second, state your case quickly and with enthusiasm, but without going overboard. If you know there’s a specific job opening, mention it by name. If you are interested in any job a company might have, it still may be best to narrow the focus by calling attention to your skill sets.
“I believe that my friendly, outgoing personality would make me an asset to your sales team or human resource department.”
“My experience with computers will help me learn your inventory management and bookkeeping software quickly.”
Like a good sales person, you are selling you! Your brand. Your style. Don’t be pushy or you’ll risk being unbelievable. But don’t undersell yourself, either.
Third, be yourself. Write the way you speak. A conversational tone usually works best. Be smart. Be engaging, direct, and to the point. Any employer worth working for will see right through those ponderous, Thesaurus-driven statements that may sound strong and dynamic, but are really hollow and lacking substance.
Avoid sentences like, “My primary, secondary, and tertiary professional quests involve using my interpersonal and economic acumen to develop innovative solutions that echo the dynamic vernacular of my commitment to corporate excellence.” What?
Good luck in singing your own praises. And remember, it’s the hollow barrel that makes the most noise!
cross posted from Goodwill of Northern New England