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Internship

How to decline an Internship offer? (with templates and samples)

Written by Shefali Sundram

Updated on: 07 Dec 2023

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Landing an Internship offer is a big deal, no doubt. StandOut CV statistics show that you are 85% more likely to secure a full-time job after completing an internship. But what if you don’t want to take up the Internship? The art of saying “No” is all you must learn here.

What are the reasons to decline an internship offer?

How do you decline the Internship offer?

Are there specific samples or templates to decline an internship offer via email?

What are the tips to decline an internship offer?

To decline an internship offer, you absolutely want to reach out with a direct email – a phone call is even better. Always thank them for their time and consideration and let them know you have decided to go with a different offer. Whatever your specific reason, you should tell your company contact why you are declining the offer. Be polite and professional.

Read on to learn a detailed “how to decline an Internship offer” process with templates, reasons, steps, tips, and samples.

Rejection letter template

Template 1

Dear [Hiring Manager name],

Thank you for offering me the opportunity to intern at [Company name] this summer. I was very excited about the opportunity, but I have recently accepted another internship offer that is a better fit for my career goals.

I appreciate your time and consideration, and I wish you all the best in finding a qualified candidate for the internship.

Sincerely, [Your name]

Template 2

Dear [Hiring Manager name],

I am writing to express my gratitude for your offer to intern at [Company name] this summer. It was a pleasure to learn more about your company and the internship role.

However, I regret to inform you that I have decided to pursue another internship opportunity that aligns more closely with my long-term career aspirations.

Please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may cause you and your team. I appreciate your understanding and support, and I hope to keep in touch with you in the future.

Thank you again for your generosity and professionalism.

Best regards, [Your name]

Template 3

Dear [Hiring Manager name],

Thank you very much for your offer to join [Company name] as an intern this summer. I appreciate meeting you and hearing about the exciting projects you are working on.

After careful consideration, I have decided to decline your offer and accept another internship position that matches my career interests more closely.

I am truly sorry for any disappointment or difficulty this may create for you and your team. I value the opportunity you gave me and I hope we can stay connected in the future.

Thank you once again for your kindness and respect.

Sincerely, [Your name]

6 reasons for rejecting an Internship offer?

You may want to decline an internship offer due to lack of compensation, multiple internship offers, lack of objectives, less scope of growth, poor schedule, and no employment path. These are important reasons to consider before declining an offer, and here’s a quick explanation of how they impact your decision:

Another internship offer

You may have landed other internship opportunities. So you begin to weigh down the pros and cons of one internship against another. If the cons are more than the pros, then you can certainly decline the offer and go ahead to accept another one.

Inadequate compensation

Let’s assume you applied for both paid and unpaid internship opportunities. In that case, if you’re in a situation where you get to choose between an unpaid and paid offer, you’re going to take up the latter. Or, in another instance, you land two paid internship offers.

But one pays more than the other. Compensation is a valid reason to decline an internship offer.

Unable to meet your career objectives

You may have been hoping to learn a couple of skills or perform certain tasks according to your career plan. But if the internship doesn’t offer what you’re looking for and doesn’t meet your objectives, you can decline the offer.

No new skills to learn

The internship may not offer the things you were hoping for, such as full-time conversion or growth in terms of pay or position.

Poor schedule

If you’re looking to intern during the semester while taking classes side by side, you would require flexibility to work after your classes get done. If the internship timings are during the day only and you were hoping to work after class hours, you can decline the offer and move on to another one.

Not providing an employment path

An internship is the ‘stepping stone’ phase of your career. As great as the offer might be, if it’s adding no value to your profile or if it’s not providing an employment path, you may have to reconsider your choice. Choose an internship that adds value to your profile and opens employment doors for the future.

What to do when you decide to decline the offer?

Now that you’ve made up your mind to decline the internship, it’s time to take quick and proper action for the same. However, the execution is the most critical. I advise calling and delivering the message and following up with a thank you email. Do not burn any bridges.

Call the hiring manager immediately

Once you’ve decided to decline the internship offer after reflecting on the factors, inform the recruiter by making a phone call! You can let them know you’d not like to join and thank them for their time and consideration by being polite.

You should make a phone call before sending out the email because emails tend to get lost in the inbox, and the recruiter may miss it. 

After the phone call, make sure to write a follow-up email

After conversing with the recruiter, make sure to send an email declining the internship offer! The purpose of this is to put in writing and send in the confirmation for the same over what was previously discussed over the call. Thank them for the time and opportunity, and state that you’d like to decline the offer. 

Doing this shows that you’re being professional and communicating that you’d not like to proceed further. 

Rejecting the offer: the writing process

The email in response to declining the offer should be brief but contain what was communicated to the recruiter over the call. When writing to decline an internship offer, it is important to be clear, concise, and professional. Here are some tips:

Start by thanking the employer for the offer

You can thank the recruiter or manager for the internship opportunity and state that you would like to decline it.

            For example: Thank you for offering me the opportunity to intern at Headout! However, I’d like to decline the internship offer. 

Briefly and honestly explain why you cannot take up the position

This could be due to a number of reasons, such as:

  • You have accepted another internship offer.
  • You have changed your career goals.
  • You have a scheduling conflict.
  • You are no longer interested in the internship.
  • You have a personal or family reason for declining.

Whatever the cause is, state it with honesty, respect, and with humility.

The key to rejecting any career is to do so in a respectful manner

You landed an internship offer because the recruiters found your profile interesting among many other applicants. They approached you and considered your needs. All this requires effort, and you should respect that when declining an internship offer.

So instead of saying, “However, I have decided to pursue another internship opportunity that offers a better stipend.”

Say, “However, I regret to inform you that I have decided to pursue another internship opportunity that aligns more closely with my long-term career aspirations.”

Do not burn any bridges

Burning the bridge means you won’t be able to connect with the same person again. The internship world is small, and you never know when you might run into someone you declined an internship with.

Do not talk to the recruiter rudely, and do not show arrogance in words or in attitude. Always be humble and grateful even for the simplest opportunities that walk your way. Understand that the other person is also working hard and doing business at the end of the day.

By declining an internship gracefully, you can maintain a positive relationship with the employer and keep your options open for the future.

Offer to stay in touch

In your follow-up email, you can reiterate your interest in the company and express your desire to stay in touch. You can also share your contact information and let them know that you are open to future opportunities.

You can write, “I would be happy to stay in touch with you and the team at [Company name]. I am always interested in learning more about the company and its work. You can reach me at [Your email address] or [Your phone number]”.

You may like to read: How to accept an internship offer?

How to decline an internship offer – Tips

Declining an internship offer is no rocket science. It’s all about the art of saying no without hurting the sentiments of the recruiter or hiring manager. These tips will help you in rejecting an internship offer properly.

State reasons

Don’t reject the offer without giving proper reasons. That’s unethical because it will leave the employer confused. You don’t want them to ponder why they’ve been declined.

Always state the reason for taking the internship offer. However, be concise with the reasons. Your reasons might provide clarity and help them improve their offer.

Be honest but not direct

There’s a difference between being honest and being direct. If you’re rejecting this offer because another company is offering better pay, you should not state the reason directly in your rejection letter.

So instead of saying, “However, I regret to inform you that I have decided to pursue another internship opportunity that offers a better stipend.”

Say, “However, I regret to inform you that I have decided to pursue another internship opportunity that aligns more closely with my long-term career aspirations.”

Avoid making excuses

While you state your reasons indirectly, that doesn’t mean you should make naive excuses. Don’t write reasons like, “The office is far from my home.” These conditions should be checked before applying for the internship and not later.

Internship offers declination samples

To make sure you get a complete idea of how to decline an internship offer, I have listed two internship offers declination samples:

Example 1:

Ms.Davis,

Thank you very much for giving me this chance to intern at Headout in the Marketing department. Unfortunately, after introspection, I’ve had to make a difficult decision to not go forward with the opportunity. I’ve opted to take up another internship offer that aligns with my requirements at the moment. 

I truly appreciate the opportunity and hope we can work together in the future sometime.

Thank you very much

Michael Jeremy

Example 2:

Hello Mr. Johnson 

I feel privileged that your company selected me for this internship. I’ve always liked the mission, and everyone I met throughout the interview process was incredibly kind.

Unfortunately, I’ve recently been offered to work remotely for 4 months at another company. The opportunity fits my needs better at the moment. 

I will have to decline the opportunity to intern at Headout.

Hoping we can stay in touch!

Best regards,

Mike Fitzgerald

What happens if you renege on an internship offer?

Though reneging on an internship offer isn’t illegal, it is considered unethical. Going back on a promise will put you in the bad books of the hiring team of that specific company. It’s highly unlikely they will consider your application if you apply for a future opportunity.

So what should you do to avoid this situation? When you’re in a dilemma between two or three internship offers, make sure to ask the hiring team for additional time to consider and get back. This allows you ample time to lay out the pros and cons and pick the opportunity that suits you. 

And when you decide to decline the offer, make sure to communicate with the team and let them know. 

Key takeaways

Here’s a roundup of how to decline an Internship offer:

  • Consider the factors that could be the reason for you to decline an offer.
  • Inform the recruiter over a call about not wanting to proceed further.
  • Once you’ve informed the recruiter over a call, you should inform them via email.
  • Never break the bridge.
  • Always provide reasons for your rejection.

Should I feel guilty for rejecting an internship offer?

It is normal to feel guilty for rejecting an internship offer, especially if you feel like you are letting the employer down.

However, it is important to remember that you have to do what is best for you and your career. If you are not interested in the internship or if it is not a good fit for you, then you should not feel guilty about declining the offer.

What if the employer becomes upset or angry when I decline the offer?

If the employer becomes upset or angry when you decline the offer, it is important to stay calm and professional.

You can say something like, “I understand that you are disappointed, but I appreciate your time and consideration.”
You can also offer to stay in touch in case a future opportunity arises.

Above all, do not lose your calm. Use words like “please understand” and “I’m sorry I took your time, but I hope you understand this was a process.”

Should I give the employer feedback after declining an internship offer?

It is up to you whether or not you want to give the employer feedback after declining an internship offer. If you decide to give feedback, be honest, and direct but also polite and professional.

You can say something like, “Thank you for the offer. I have decided to decline the offer because I am pursuing another opportunity that is a better fit for my career goals. I appreciate your time and consideration.”

Written by

Shefali Sundram

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