Being the bearer of bad news to countless hopeful applicants and aspiring entrepreneurs is not a joke. However, learning the right steps in writing rejection letters that people can comprehend and accept goes a long way. Learn more about rejection letters as we discuss its basic concepts in this article and we have also included rejection letter samples for your conveniece.

What Is a Rejection Letter?

Rejection letters are sent to inform someone that he or she is being turned down, be it from a job interview, college application, prospective landlord, business funding, or a service provider. Writing and sending rejection letters is a courteous act that does not only help in making improvements on your company’s job hiring practices but is also instrumental in creating impressive brand goodwill and reputation. Rejection letters also give the closure they need so they can proceed to explore other possibilities and opportunities.

The language used in writing rejection letters is business-like and direct to the point. It leaves no room for personal inputs, jokes, apologies, and so on that might translate differently and distastefully by the recipients.

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Rejection Letter Structure

A rejection letter should not exceed more than three paragraphs. The first paragraph is the introductory paragraph. The writer states the primary purpose of the letter in this paragraph. Make it a point to acknowledge the efforts of the candidate or applicant within this part of your letter. It is then followed by the second paragraph or the supporting paragraph, where the writer further explains the details of the rejection, the reasons behind it, and what led to the writer’s decision to turn down the request. One should not incorporate details that can insult the recipient and do more harm in the process. Then last, the third paragraph or the concluding paragraph is the part of the rejection letter where the writer expresses gratitude and well wishes. This part should be short and straightforward since otherwise, it will only make your intentions superficial.

What Does a Rejection Letter Include?

Like that of other formal letters, writing a rejection letter is not rocket science. However, if you lack the basic knowledge of the things that should and should not be included in a rejection letter, writing one will surely be a challenge. That said, do take some notes of what elements to include in your rejection letter and the things that you should not even dare add to its contents.

Include Explanation for the Rejection: Since it is a rejection letter, it should always contain the details as to where the person was rejected. If it is a college rejection letter, it may say that the applicant does not meet most of the requirements that the university had clearly stated. If it is a vendor rejection letter, it should indicate that the services offered by the vendor do not match the goals of a company.Include Clear Statement of Rejection: If you are indeed writing a rejection letter, it should have a statement indicating that the applicant did not get the job. Or that the businessmen did not get the funding they applied for. And that the student did not pass the preliminary screening, and so on. Do not dawdle when writing the contents of the letter and clearly state that the person did not make it. Period. Sure, it can be difficult on your end as the bearer of the bad news. Still, the person deserves a clear-cut closure so that he or she can try applying for other companies or colleges or grabbing any other opportunity available.Exclude Extremely Detailed Reasons: While it is expected for the writers to indicate the reasons for the rejection, it should never write particular factors as to why the applicant was turned down. Avoid making unnecessary personal comments that led you to make such a decision. Exclude Insulting Statements: Even if the real reason for rejecting an applicant is that you found a candidate that fits the qualifications of your organization, you don’t have to divulge that as it could hurt the feelings of the receiver and make them question themselves. Make it a point to write a rejection letter that motivates them to try other possibilities rather than make them question their self-worth and value.

Various Rejection Letters for Various Circumstances

When you think of rejection letters, you would often associate it with job applications. While this is true, other circumstances warrant a rejection letter. Get to know more about other types of rejection letters below.

Agent and Publisher Rejection Letters: Literary agents, editors, and publishers usually write this type of rejection letter to authors whose manuscript or novel did not cut for publishing. Among the common reasons why authors receive this letter include the number of submissions received by the publisher, the wrong timing of your submission, the similarity of your work with the publishing company’s current project, or the editor sees something that you have to work or improve.College Application Rejection Letter: When a prospective student fails to pass a university’s screening process, it is customary to send out a college rejection letter. The one who writes this letter varies from university to university, but it should come from the person who is responsible for the assessment of the applicants. Applying for colleges is as difficult as looking for a job. That is why it is ideal to always send out rejection letters to prospective students who do not meet the qualifications of the university. The Pew Research Center reports that a National Center for Education Statistics study in 2017, only less than 10 percent of college applicants were accepted to 17 prestigious universities out of the 1,364 universities involved in the study.Job Rejection Letters: There are various job-related application letters, and this includes interview rejection letter, job offer rejection letter, interview rejection letters, and rejection letters after the interview. Among the rejection letters various organizations send out within the year, job application rejection letters are perhaps the most commonly sent out as there are a lot of people looking for jobs. Even if receiving rejection letters can only make the letter recipient feel frustrated for not making it, not informing them of their unsuccessful attempt will only frustrate them more. A CareerBuilder survey has found out that 3/4 out of more than 3,900 workers are left with no feedback from employers upon their job application. Yikes. Just imagine the negative implications of such actions. Loan Application Rejection Letter: When borrowers apply for a loan, it is not always a guarantee that their request will be granted. That is why loan rejection letters exist―this type of letter is sent by the creditor to loan applicants to inform them that they were not able to meet the requirements needed for the loan application. A loan application rejection letter should indicate the reasons as to why the loan request was rejected. The writer of the letter may also include advice on what the applicants should do to meet the qualifications the next time they want to apply again. Such advice includes to supply the missing paperwork, submit sufficient collateral, or improve credit score. There are many types of loan rejection letters; personal loan rejection letters, business loan rejection letters, customer loan rejection letters, home or mortgage loan rejection letters, and bank rejection letters.Rental or Tenant Application Rejection Letter: Every landlord or manager is required to relay the details of a prospective applicant’s denial of rental or tenant application by sending a rejection letter for rental application. Applicants for this circumstance are denied with reasons such as insufficient references, incomplete application requirements, or negative reports from previous landlords, especially on overdue rental obligations. 

Crucial Reasons Why You Need to Send Rejection Letters

Writing rejection letters for some may be a taxing job for most people, especially those from the Human Resources department who deals with a mountain of job applications on the daily. But even with that fact, sending rejection letters is as important as sending acceptance letters. Sending one is not just a matter of “respect begets respect,” but the reasons can be more crucial than that.

It Does Favors to People: Put yourself in the shoes of people who are hoping to get accepted only to find out after a call of inquiry that their application was not a success. If they hadn’t called, they would never know about what happened to their application, and they will keep on hoping. Sure, writing rejection letters can also be as frustrating as receiving one, but writing one can do them a great favor. You allow them to proceed on with another opportunity available for them to grab. It Tells Something About Your Company: The power of mouth is influential. Miss out on doing the right thing, and it can already affect the image of your company. For instance, you failed to send a job rejection letter to an applicant who waited quite a long time for your feedback. The applicant might have already discussed his or her unfavorable experience with relatives and friends and strongly advised them not to apply for your company or let alone buy your products or avail of your services. The simple act of sending a rejection letter can go a long way that even if you have denied their application, you still ended strong with a good impression.It Enables People to Receive Necessary Feedback: Who does not want necessary feedback? Whether it is positive or negative, anyone can make use of feedback to either enhance or improve one’s current performance. Rejection letters can be a source of both kinds of feedback, and you deprive an applicant a chance to grow and improve if you miss out sending a rejection letter that lays out the ways on how the applicant can increase his or her chances the next time around.It Protects Your Company from Liabilities: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has federal laws that cover applicants coming from the various protected classes such as race, nationality, age, physical or mental disabilities, sexual orientation, and so on. If you miss the chance of sending a rejection letter to any of your applicants who belong to protected classes, there is a possibility that others will assume that you are discriminating against them since they are under these protected groups. With the help of a rejection letter, you can indicate that their rejection has nothing to do with them being a part of a protected group.

How Do You Write a Rejection Letter?

As mentioned, writing rejection letters is not some rocket science that will rack one’s brains out. But if writing a rejection letter is part of your job, it is your responsibility to successfully write a letter that successfully relays your intended message to your intended audience. Receiving rejection letters is already tricky. Do not make it even more difficult by writing a letter with poorly written content. Thus, you can make use of the following simple guidelines that will help you come up with a well-written rejection letter that recipients won’t find difficult reading and understanding.

Step 1: Be Direct to the Point

Do you know that rejection letters can be a form of good news, too? It is good news, which means the recipient is being redirected to a path they were meant to be in (but you don’t have to say this to them explicitly). That is why it crucial to be straightforward when it comes to writing a rejection letter. You don’t have to bother with composing too many long and rambling sentences that will only give the impression that you are defensive with your decision. A good rejection letter should straight up say that you have considered things, but unfortunately, you didn’t see it working out for you. Otherwise, you are only giving the person a chance to make an argument with your decisions.

Step 2: Express Gratitude

While it is highly encouraged to write directly to the point, a rejection letter that starts with gratitude will liven up the inherently heavy and overwhelming nature of rejection letters. Expressing gratitude should be your priority upon writing a rejection letter. When you express your gratitude, you may say thank you for making an effort to know your company or even in the act of taking an interest in them. You are already rejecting them, and the last thing you can do is to discourage them and deny them of gratitude and acknowledgment. Even if you are not writing a friendly letter, expressing gratitude in your rejection letter will make recipients feel less frustrated.

Step 3: Say a Simple Apologetic Statement

A simple statement that represents your sympathy regarding the situation at hand can already suffice to appease the letter recipients. You don’t have to say sorry profusely throughout the content of your letter, as this could induce self-pity feelings at the end of the recipient. Sure, no one is really at fault, but it’s common courtesy to apologize to someone, especially after denying them something.

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No one wants a rejection letter, but even if rejection letters are both difficult to receive and write, it is an important communication effort that many can benefit from. When tasked to write one, do your best to be as tact as possible. You may also make use of the ready-made rejection letter templates and examples uploaded in this article to help you to start writing a rejection letter if you still find it challenging to write one.