Navigating the internship and full time offer process

“Congratulations, we are pleased to formally present the details of your employment offer from…”

FINALLY, this email came into your inbox, the offer letter that you have been waiting for after countless online applications and interview processes. Or maybe that’s the formal invitation to return to where you worked as an intern. Besides the excitement, what’s next? Companies usually set a “deadline” for you to make a decision of whether you would like the offer, so they can pleasantly accept you or quickly move on to other candidates as other companies may be sending offers to them at the same time. Between now and that deadline comes, it is best to utilize your time fully, so you may make the best decision for yourself. 

Ask yourself a few questions. Is this the dream offer that you have been waiting for? Or is this the only offer that you anticipate receiving due to reasons such as you only applied for this company or other companies that have turned you down already? Then accept it! As of now, the acceptance process may happen online, over the phone, or via email. Thoroughly read the offer/contract to find how you may accept the offer, but also pay attention to other information: when do they expect you to start? Are you relocating? Is relocation expenses covered? Do you get paid? When does onboarding happen? Have an idea of those detail before you accept the offer in case there is any negotiation you need to make. 

Is this the offer that attracts me the most? This question may come up if you have several offers laying in your inbox. Even worse, the deadlines are at different times! Maybe you just had the interview with your dream company but the other company that you interviewed for has already sent you the offer. Do you risk this offer to wait for your dream offer? There are a few things you can do. First of all, you may email the company that has extended the offer for a longer time period to consider. You don’t have to explain the entire situation but politely let them know that you would like more time to consider and request for more time. Meanwhile, you can seek opportunities that help you learn more about the companies. For example, go on Linkedin and get connected with employees that already work there to learn more about company culture. 

Declining the offer could happen similarly as if you were accepting it. It could happen over the phone, via email, or online. If it is not an automatic process (aka clicking buttons on a website), make sure you are showing your gratitude for their time and consideration throughout the recruiting process. Most importantly, know firmly that you will not regret this decision before you decline that offer because there is no going back!

The two most significant tips I would provide are 1. Start early no matter what you think you will do to the offer. Whether it’s accepting, considering, or declining, don’t wait till the last minute! 2. If you need someone to talk it out, schedule an appointment with a career coach at the Smeal Business Career Center via and they will provide professional advice on your situation!

By Yayun (Helen) Zheng
Yayun (Helen) Zheng Career Service Intern