How to Write a Rejection Letter

Rejection letters aren’t pleasant. You don’t want to be the bearer of bad news. However, you can learn how to write a rejection letter that softens the blow and helps people move past their disappointment. To do this, keep your letter short and straightforward, and follow these 5 steps:

1. Personalize the Rejection Letter

Start the letter with the person’s name. For example, you could say “Dear Mr. Anderson” or “Dear Ms. Jenkins.” Make sure that you have the correct name, and include the appropriate title. Then, you can personalize the rest of the letter. Do you remember something specific from meeting with that person? Including these little tidbits in the letter will show them that they made an impression on you, which will also help soften the rejection.

2. Thank Them for Their Time

After the introduction, thank the person for their time. If the person was applying for a position with your company, you could say something like “Thank you for applying for the marketing manager position.” Let them know that you valued their time, even if you decided to choose a different applicant.

3. Clearly State Your Decision

This is the most important part of how to write a rejection letter. Be clear about your decision, and let the person know why you decided not to choose them. Was there a more qualified applicant? Did you decide not to hire anyone after all? Let them know why they are being rejected to help answer the question that will be weighing on their mind.

4. Keep It Positive

It’s a great idea to compliment the person in your letter. Let them know if they were one of your top choices. Identify any strengths they had that impressed you. And, encourage them to apply for future positions with your company.

5. Sign Your Name

At the end of the letter, you can thank the person again. Then, include a salutation, such as sincerely, before signing your name. If you’re sending the letter over email, you could upload a picture of your signature or include your digital signature.

How to Write a Rejection Letter: Takeaways

Nobody wants to receive a rejection letter. However, you can make the experience a little easier to cope with by keeping it positive and cordial. Using these tips, your rejection letter will help the applicant keep their confidence high as they learn that the opportunity didn’t work out for them.

Are there any other tricky pieces of writing you need to compose? Let us know how you handled them in the comments, or check out our Professional Writing lessons for guidance.

P.S. Become a better writer. Find out more here.


  • Jamie Goodwin

    Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!

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