Professional Reasons to Reject a Job Offer

by Sam Ashe-Edmunds

While a job might fulfill all of your personal goals, you might find reasons specifically related to your career aspirations that make it a better idea to turn down the offer. Understanding when to walk away from jobs will help you stay on track to reach your ultimate career goals.

Wrong Title

You might need specific job titles to help you climb from one rung on the corporate ladder to another, and taking a job for several or more years with the wrong title can hurt your chances to eventually land your dream gig. Some employers aren’t up to date on specific functions and might advertise a job with a title that’s completely incorrect for that profession. For example, calling the top editorial person at a magazine a managing editor doesn't sound nearly as prestigious as executive editor. In some cases, a title with a word such as “junior” in it can also be damaging if you aspire to reach a senior management position. In these cases, you might want to reject the job offer unless you can secure a different title.

Dead-End Job

Some jobs offer you no chance for advancement because the work is so specialized it doesn’t lend itself to helping you build management skills or job skills for the position above it. You might head a department at a small business, but have no mentor to help you learn what you need to progress to the next level. If your supervisor or manager is entrenched in his position, there might be little to no chance for you to advance. Look at each job you are considering in the context of how it will help you land your next job. If you don't see much chance for advancement, you might want to reject the job offer.

Too Difficult

The smaller the company, the more likely you are to be asked to do the work of several people, manage a position with too few resources, or be called on to work evenings and weekends. This type of job can quickly lead to burnout. Even if the work is reasonable and the position offers a great title for your resume, you might end up treading water career-wise just trying to keep up with all the work you have to do. It's perfectly acceptable to reject a job offer if you don't get a detailed, written job description or a list of the parameters on which you’ll be reviewed each year.

Wrong Industry

Many companies want specific industry experience in positions they fill, even if an outsider might be more than qualified. For example, an experienced marketing professional can help sell sporting goods, electronics, chemicals, clothing or furniture. Some business owners, however, believe industry knowledge trumps functional expertise. If you want to work in a new industry, you might have to start on a lower rung than you are used to. If you are not comfortable doing so, this is another reason to reject a job offer.

About the Author

Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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