How to Turn Down a Job With Low Skill Sets

by Nicole Vulcan

Having to turn down a job offer is a pretty good position to be in. It means you're not desperate enough to take the first job that comes along, and that you're in a position to find the job with the best fit. People typically turn down a job because of the people, the money or the work requirements. But no matter what your reason, give the employer the respect she deserves as you turn down her offer.

The Approach

After going through the job application process and attending interviews, you and the employer have both invested a lot of time in hiring you. So when you plan to turn down a job after all that, it may be really uncomfortable. Still, you have to find a way to let the employer know, and to do it without burning bridges. You never know; that same employer may have another job come up later on, or the employer may be someone with whom you have to do business in the future. As such, your approach should be to turn down the job "tactfully, respectfully, sincerely, and professionally," advises "Forbes."


You've determined that the job is too low-skill or "dead end" for you, but that may not be the right reason to give the employer. Remember the "tact" aspect. Saying that the job is too easy or boring or low-skill may offend the employer and thus burn bridges. At the start of the conversation, thank the employer for the opportunity, and then provide an honest, nonoffensive reason. Saying that the job is not a good fit is an honest assessment, if somewhat vague. Another option is to tell the employer that the job doesn't meet your career goals, suggests the Harvard Business Review. Throughout the conversation, show gratitude and amicability, and let the employer know that you may be interested in other opportunities that fit your skills in the future.


Timing is key. The employer has offered you the job, and because you applied for it of your own free will, she'll likely assume you want to work there. She's probably stopped looking for qualified candidates since she offered you the job. Turn down the job within a week of getting the offer, says Common Good Careers. If you decide sooner, earlier is always better. Call the employer and if necessary, leave a voice mail so that she'll return your call to discuss the matter. A one-on-one conversation is more appropriate for this matter than an e-mail or text message.


Having determined that this particular job included a low skill set, if that's the reason you don't want the job, reflect on whether you did the right amount of evaluation before you actually applied. Your job needs to suit you, and you should know what the right fit is before you even apply for one, Common Good Careers reminds us. By learning as much as you can about the position ahead of time via online research and thoroughly reading the job posting, you may prevent having to turn down the wrong job. And there's another good reason to do your research: If the company has jobs that may offer more challenge, find out whether the current position is the only gateway to getting that more challenging position. If so, turning down the job may mean you won't have other opportunities with the company in the future.

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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