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I am a first year, computer science undergraduate and I have applied for my first job (a summer placement) to some companies. Now, I have a few job offers, and whilest I would love to accept them all, I cannot do that. How would affect the decline of some offers my future career and my chances to get a position at that company? Also, what should I do to minimise the damage of a decline?

  • You partly answered your own question: You aren't "refusing" a job; you're declining an offer/invitation. Deciding that this one isn't for you is just business as usual. They know you have to pick one and it may not be them; they don't get everyone they make offers to, and that's just how the process works. If you had been deliberately wasting their time with a "practice application" with no intention of taking the position no matter how the interview went or what they offered in the way of salary, that would be rude. – keshlam Nov 25 '14 at 4:27
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You can thank them for the opportunity and let them know you've found another position that's better suited to your {skills, culture, etc} you. They might even come back to you with a better offer.

After reviewing this website on the subject I drafted the following (hoping to use it someday):

Dear [Mr/Ms/HR dept]

After careful consideration I have decided to accept an offer from a different company, which I believe is closer to my career goals at this time. I would like to thank you for your time, and the opportunity that you gave me. It has been a pleasure meeting you, and I wish you luck in your continued success.

Warm regards, [Signature]

There's no damage to be done; companies make offers all the time, some of them get declined. No bridges will be harmed in the process (if not, you don't wanna be working there anyway).

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    "The phrase "phrased professionally" does not help anyone - It's empty. State SPECIFICALLY what you are going to write. – Vietnhi Phuvan Nov 24 '14 at 22:50
  • @VietnhiPhuvan I don't think I'd write a good letter for that purpose. Plus I'm too lazy to give it a go. The question doesn't ask advice on phrasing, only if the scenario described would cause those companies to take offense. – rath Nov 25 '14 at 0:00
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How would affect the decline of some offers my future career and my chances to get a position at that company?

Companies regularly offer jobs to people who do not accept. You will not be the first and certainly not the last. Similarly, companies know candidates apply for multiple internships and pick the one they like best.

Also, what should I do to minimise the damage of a decline?

The key is to be brief and polite. rath's example above is a good one. Unless you were rude or insulting, chances are HR will skim the letter, inform the hiring manager by phone or E-mail and then send an offer to the next candidate on their list.

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