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I've got an interview invitation from one of the places that I've always wanted to work in.

Thing is, I'm a student, and I sent my resume 2 months ago before my semester started. Since I didn't hear from the company until the semester started, I decided eventually to take 6 courses which makes my semester very busy and doesn't leave any time for a job right now.

How do I decline this job politely and keep the opportunity to work there, maybe next semester (or even in 2 semesters which is approximately 8 months)?

English is not my native language, so I would really appreciate help with the choice of the wording.

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  • Where are you located? Apr 12 at 8:51
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    "from one of the places that I've always wanted to work in". Maybe you should look at changing your courses instead of declining to interview? (But only after a successful interview). Apr 12 at 9:00
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    Does this answer your question? How to cancel job interview without burning any bridges?
    – gnat
    Apr 12 at 9:01
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    Isn’t the semester only 2 months from ending? Hiring cycles can often take that long. I would go to the interview, when it comes up explain “I’m not available till end of the semester,” then at best you get a job at worst you get experience interviewing and negotiating with a company.
    – mxyzplk
    Apr 12 at 13:33
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    Have they reached out to you for a part-time internship? for a full-time job? Or for a temporary summer internship? What have they told you? What is written on their website? Apr 12 at 17:12
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How do I decline this job politely and keep the opportunity to work there, maybe next semester (or even in 2 semesters which is approximately 8 months)?

Do not decline anything! Respond to them and state the date of your availability after this first semester is over. That's it.

And if you're willing to work there next semester, do not mention that you'd be willing to work there two semesters from now, or they're going to assume that next semester is not a good time for you, but that you're just not assertive enough to speak your mind.

And building on the previous message written by Ertai87, this is what I'd write.

Hi (recruiter's name),

Thank you for reaching out. I'm very excited about this opportunity.

Unfortunately, I can now only start on (insert date here).

Would that date still work for your company? Since I had not heard back from my initial application two months ago, I'm afraid I've already taken on a full course load since then.

If my availability works for you, I'm available for a phone screen on (insert days and times). My number is 555-555-5555

Thank you,

Of course, this message is assuming that you're applying to some kind of part-time internship program. If you're applying for a different type of job, or if I'm missing some crucial piece of information, this message may need to be changed accordingly.

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  • I feel like most companies would respond to this email with "We don't know what our hiring needs will be like that far in the future, so we'll have to decline your candidacy at the present time". I think the ask of postponing the entire recruitment discussion would be more productive than only the start date.
    – Ertai87
    Apr 12 at 22:09
  • @Ertai87, You may be correct, but why try to assume what's on their mind when you could just state your position and let them decide for themselves. Even if the recruiter says "Let's wait then" and then places the email in her tickle folder, then that's the desired outcome by the OP. Isn't it? Apr 13 at 5:55
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Hi John/Jane (recruiter's name)! Thanks a lot for reaching out to me, and I'm super excited for the invitation to interview with you. Unfortunately, I have a bit of a situation right now which is going to make it difficult to accept the interview. I'm a student, and I'm currently in school; when I applied I was between semesters so I would have been able to take some time off for work, but my semester has now started and I'm focusing on my studies. However, I'm really happy that you replied and I would love to explore an opportunity when I have another break in my study schedule; could I contact you again directly, rather than applying through your portal, when I'm available and pick up the interview then?

I'd send exactly that. Most recruiters, especially from big companies, will reply to you and say "absolutely, feel free to email me directly in the future and best of luck on your studies".

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