How to Turn Down a Job Offer

By: Anna

Chances are good that newly employed people are sometimes offered more than one position at a time and have to decline an offer. This definitely is not a bad problem to have but it can be difficult and uncomfortable to deal with. There are several reasons why people turn down job offers, but some of the main reasons are: the money, the work itself, or the people at the company.

  • Google the company: it is always a good idea to Google the company you are interested in and read reviews and references from reputable sources.

You may want to turn down an offer because you received another offer at the same time, you discovered things you did not like about the company or management team, or you realized the company is overall not a good fit for you.

Keep in mind that the interview process is an opportunity for each party to evaluate each other. That’s right, you get to evaluate them, too!

Things you should do when turning down the job:

Always show appreciation.

Always express sincere thanks for the people you interviewed with and thank them for their time.

Once you have made a decision, let the company know as soon as possible.

If you wait too long to inform a company on your decision, the company may miss out on another candidate whom they are considering. Just as companies wish to know your decision as soon as possible, you as well wish to know as soon as possible if you received the position or not.

Tell them about your decision with a phone call, if possible.

How you communicate your decision with an employer says a lot about you. Speaking over the phone shows professionalism while emailing may give the employer the impression that you are afraid to speak over the phone with them.

Let them know what you liked about the company

Mention specific positive things about the interviewing experience and the employer. Speaking positively about a company shows that you had true interest in working for them and that they didn’t waste their valuable time interviewing with you.

Leave the door open.

If you still have interest in this company but this particular job was not a good fit then keep the door open for the future by saying something such as, “I hope there may be opportunities for us to work together in the future.”

Be honest about your reason for turning down the job

Hiring managers wish to know the real reason a candidate is turning down an offer, because it gives them an opportunity to possible revise offers to be competitive and get the candidate they want. If you turn down an offer due to pay, tell them that. You never know they might revise what they had offered you originally.

Things to remember:

  • Don’t accept multiple offers
  • Don’t be brutally honest
  • Don’t bad mouth the company
  • Don’t ignore the offer
  • Don’t lead the company on if you’ve already made a decision not to accept the offer

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How to Stay Professional on Your Mobile Phone

By: Abby

Cell phones are a place for many things these days: sending photographs to your friend, balancing your checkbook, and even checking in for your flight. But with all of these additions, it still hasn’t lost it’s main intent: phone calls.

Mobile phone tips

If you haven’t yet, you’ll soon be talking on the phone with potential employers or even potential business partners. It is always important to put your best foot forward, even if they can’t see your feet. Here are some tips on how to remain professional while using your phone.

  • Use a professional outgoing message.
  • Eliminate distractions and background noise when using your phone.
  • Have a fully charged battery and ample service before answering or making a professional call.
  • Speak slowly and clearly and spell your name when leaving a message.
  • Don’t answer your phone while driving.
  • Don’t answer a professional call when in a public place or while engaged in a social activity.
  • Don’t walk around while talking on your phone.
  • Turn-off your phone while waiting for an in-person interview. If you usually review your notes on your phone, use another method so you don’t appear to be checking messages.
  • Turn-off your phone during an in-person interview, presentation or professional meeting.

One time at a networking event, a UMD alumni commented on how it was odd for me to still be using notebooks to be taking notes. I responded, “well, if I was taking notes on my cell phone, you’d assume I was texting…” He laughed and agreed. Even though you could be doing a hundred other things on your phone, some people will assume you’re doing the worst…

Keep these tips in mind while trying to build upon your professional self!

Does anyone have any other tips? 

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Photo by: Gonzalo Baeza

Office Rules – Part Deux

By: Ashlee

“Remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Respect for others in the workplace is vital. Be sure not to do or say anything to others that would offend them or make them feel uncomfortable. Respect the differences in and the diversity of your co-workers. In your first job, you are likely to work with individuals who have a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. You will work with people of various racial, ethnic, gender, religious and other backgrounds. The key for you is to embrace, or at least accept, these differences. Never treat others insensitively because of them.”

That’s one huge piece of advice from the book “Life After College: The New Graduate’s Guide” written by Hundreds of Recent Graduates (and some other great experts). That’s honestly how’s it’s listed by author! It should also be noted that Nadia Blichik is listed as ‘Special Editor,’ which is sort of like an author. Crack the book open, and you’ll understand instantly who the real authors are.

A few weeks ago, I offered Office Etiquette Rules to follow once you’ve landed yourself a seat in the Real Working World office. There are a few more I’d like to share with you.

Office rules 2

Office Rule #6 – Keep your personal matters and opinions at home.
It’s OK to have strong views, but it’s not okay to push those views on your co-workers or pick fights with them when they do something you don’t approve of (See the Golden Rule above). It’s good to have thought-provoking conversations, but don’t let it get out of hand.

Office Rule #7 – Consider your co-workers when packing your lunch.
This is crucial. Don’t believe me? Remember that time your co-worker raved about how good their cod pasta was they had for dinner the night before, and then force you to suffer through their smelly meal? Please don’t be that person. If your meal will stink when it’s reheated, save it for dinner at your home. If you’re ordering in lunch, try to avoid the smelly stuff. It lingers longer than you’d think.

Also, snacking at your desk could be bothering someone else. Hearing someone chop on handful after handful of walnuts is pretty irritating; especially when you’re whatever you’re working on requires all of your focus. It can’t be helped if desks are right next to each other, but be respectful.

Office Rule #8 – Watch your language, even when you’re away from your desk.
Anything you do during the day, even when you’re on break, is a reflection of your professional self. Whenever you’re in the workplace, there’s always a chance a client might witness or hear you when you let that curse word slip.

Office Rule #9 – If problems arise, handle them privately.
If clients see you clash with a co-worker, you’ll both come off looking unprofessional. Treat your colleagues with respect and hopefully, they’ll follow your lead. Even if your co-worker appears to be incredibly incompetent, wait to deal with the situation once you’re out of everyone’s earshot. It probably wouldn’t hurt to have a private conversation with your boss, too.

Rule #10 – Respect company property.
No lifting sticky notes from the supply closet or taking the company car for a personal errand shopping spree. Anything that might be considered stealing is most likely grounds for dismissal, even if the task at hand is pretty innocent, like stopping at the post office to drop off a care package for grandma.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Email Etiquette 101

By: Whitney

Every time I have to send an email I get a little nervous. I am so worried something I say will be misinterpreted and I will either end up unintentionally offending someone or look like a fool. Does anyone else have this problem?

In the world we now live in email has become an essential form of communication whether it be in the workplace or in college. I send many emails a day to everyone from old friends to professors, and it is so important that the email you send is right for the person receiving the message. Just like in any form of communication there is a lot of room for misunderstandings. The danger of email is that the receiver does not have a chance to see your face or your body language, which in normal conversations is key to understanding messages. So the question is… What can I do to make sure that I am emailing appropriately?

Angela Nielsen posted on Inspired Mag an infographic entitled “Email Etiquette More Than Just Manners.” I found this blog post to be very interesting and helpful! It states 15 tips for better email etiquette. While I am not going to go into great detail about all of them, I want to share the ones I found to be especially informative.

Email 1

1. Think, write, and think again: As I said above, in an email the receiver cannot read your body language to assist them in figuring out what you are trying to say. This being said, it is very important to think about what your message is, then write it down. It is also important to think about the message again especially in trying to figure out how the message is going to be received on the other end.

Email 2

2. Use a meaningful subject line: When I first started emailing I hardly ever used the subject line, mostly because I didn’t know what to put in it. I have changed my thinking now and use it every time. If you are emailing a professor, co-worker, or boss, it is important to let them know what the message is about otherwise it is likely to be ignored (like the other 6,759 unread emails that often end up in many inboxes). Even simply stating the class it is for or the project you are working on is better than just leaving it blank because it gives context to your message before they open it.

Email 3

3. One of the most important topics she brings up is to make sure to proof and spell check your email before you send it. When you send a message with a lot of misspelled words or bad grammar you are sending a message you either did not care enough to proofread the message or that you did not learn proper English. Neither of which is a message you want to send to a professor, boss, or co-worker. To add to her words, make sure you do not use abbreviations such as lol or c u there. This is not professional and if you use these shortcuts you will not be seen with respect in the professional world.

email 4

4. The final tip I am going to share is take time to reply. Although not all messages need a reply. Even sending a simple thank you back to the sender to let them know you received the message is always better than leaving the message unanswered.

I know that I have started to pay extra close attention to what I send through email. I make sure to keep in mind that once I send a message, I can’t take back what I said or change the language I used. Email is something you have to do right the first time. So before you send another email, I hope these tips help you in sending an email that is appropriate for your audience, clear, and error-free. For the rest of the tips talked about by Angela Nielson visit

Of Possible Interest: 

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Office Etiquette: Part 1

By: Ashlee

With great gain comes a bit of sacrifice. That’s how the saying goes, right? It’s certainly been true for me. Within the next few weeks, my office will be incredibly hectic as we pack and prepare to move from one location to another. The great gain from this move? I’m getting my own office! I couldn’t be more excited about this, but there’s still a ways to go before my office will become my office, if you get what I mean. During this transition, I now have to share my current workspace. See, I’m someone who likes to spread her work out, and to suddenly have a second body practically right on top of you takes a bit of adjusting. My current office space isn’t all that spacious, so to suddenly have a roommate of sorts has been trying.

office etiquette

When you’re sharing that close of quarters with someone, no matter how short a period of time, there are certain guidelines one needs to respect and I’ve learned about them quickly in the past few weeks.

Rule #1: Think Before You Speak
Seems like such a simple rule, right? Think again. While your friends might get your dry sense of humor or recognize your sarcastic tone, it’s probably not a bad idea to keep these personality quirks in check while getting to know a new coworker, especially one who is within hearing range of your mid-day mutterings. It’s like going on a first date. You don’t show every weird quirk you have immediately. Warm up to them first, and then let your wild side out.

Rule #2: Be a Team Player
Many companies are short-staffed, which means everybody, and I mean everybody, needs to take on a larger workload. Don’t push your responsibilities onto somebody else. It will only put a bigger burden on them and cause their stress levels to rise a notch or two. You want to look forward to walking into the office every day, not cringe at the memory of the pile still left on your desk from yesterday thanks to your office mate and their diligent task of trash basketball.

Rule #3: Respect a Closed Door
If a coworker has a door shut, stay out. Even if they don’t look like they’re busy at the moment, give them their space. The door is shut for a reason. Heed this rule if you also see them talking on the phone. They already have something on their mind, and you don’t want to distract them further.

Rule #4: Skip the Childish Pranks
Any joke made at your coworker’s expense probably isn’t all that funny. It’s even worse if it costs you a client. While it’s good to have a fun and inside jokes type of coworker, especially when they are literally over your shoulder, don’t let it get in the way of your work or you’ll both deal with the consequences.

Rule #5: Take a Breath Before You Hit ‘Send’
You need to get a hold of someone. What do you do? I bet you head straight for your email before picking up the phone. I agree it is easier to shoot off a quick email than face the possibility of losing control in a face-to-face encounter. But be aware! Once that email is sent to a coworker (or to or from a work email account) it becomes company property. Don’t say something you may regret minutes after hitting that infamous ‘send’ button. Emails also run the risk of getting things misinterpreted. Save the drama, and walk down the hall to the person’s office, and hash it out verbally. It may prove quicker than an email, especially if the problem at hand is about who’s turn it is to wash the kitchen coffee pot.

Of Possible Interest: 

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