University of Pittsburgh

Pitt Law Works: Volume 5 Issue 5 - October 9, 2009


 Having multiple job offers is what we refer to as a "good problem." The trick to determining which offer is best for you is to think through your options logically.

1. Ask for more time to give a response.  Employers sometimes pressure candidates to accept an offer quickly, but any organization worth your time will be willing to give you a few more days to carefully think through your options. In fact, the organization should be impressed that you are responsible enough to take a job offer seriously.

2. Make some lists.  Create a list of the pros and cons (don't forget intangibles such as work environment, commute, travel time, dress code). Give yourself ample time to complete this step and think long and hard about each list. This will help you make an informed decision rather than a rash one.

3. It's not about the money.  While it might be tempting to simply go with the offer that includes a higher salary, there are a wide variety of factors that contribute to future career happiness. Make sure you also consider your potential coworkers, the organizational leadership, other benefits, and the opportunities available to you. You may receive one offer that comes with a substantially higher salary, but not as much opportunity to move ahead. Your career is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash. Making a sacrifice in pay today might mean more responsibility -- and a much higher salary -- a few years down the road.

4. Pick someone's brain.  Speak to employees at both organizations, as well as others in your community. Find out whatever you can about each organization's reputation and direction. Doing this will also give you an idea of personalities at work at both jobs. Do the employees seem happy? Are they enthusiastic and willing to give their employer a positive recommendation? You can often tell a great deal about how people really feel just by their immediate reactions.

5. Don't burn bridges.  Once you have decided on one job offer, make sure you reject the other offer professionally. Write a formal thank you letter after you have turned down the offer explaining that you were impressed with the organization and its employees, but simply felt you needed to move in a different direction. Try to keep in touch with the contacts you made.  It is always a good idea to maintain networking contacts throughout your career.

Remember, in any professional situation, how you react today can have a major effect on your success tomorrow. If you consider all of your options, think carefully about your opportunities, and are respectful of those involved, you will make the right decision, regardless of where you end up on the first day of work!



In some cases you may need more time than the employer has allowed to make a decision. What to do:

  • Asking for an extension does not guarantee that the employer will grant your request. Know what you will say in such a situation.
  • Have a good reason for asking. Are you waiting to hear from another employer, or are you hoping to get more interviews?
  • Don't wait until the last minute to ask; this looks like you don't plan ahead.
  • Be tactful and diplomatic in your wording. You may need to explain your reasons to the employer. For example, if you have an upcoming, previously scheduled interview with another employer, you may explain that it is important to you to keep your commitment to the other employer, and that in order to make the best decision, you need to attend the other interview.
  • For the sake of speed, phone the employer to discuss the situation. Also, follow up with an e-mail or letter to confirm your request. See the sample email below.
  • Consult a CSO counselor if you need assistance with your individual situation.

Dear Dr. Jones:

Thank you for offering me the position of Summer Legal Intern with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. I am excited about the opportunity this position offers both in terms of job duties and location.

I was asked to make a decision by March 7. This is an important decision, and unfortunately I will not have all the information I need in order to decide by that time. To confirm our phone conversation of this afternoon, I am asking you to consider whether it would be possible for me to supply you with my decision by March 14. I would appreciate such an extension, and assure you that I will be able to make a firm decision by that date.

Thank you very much for your consideration of my request.

Jane Doe




 Accepting a job offer ethically obligates you to cease job search efforts and to notify other prospective employers that you must withdraw your name from their consideration. As soon as your decision is made, promptly notify employers with a courteous phone call. Make every effort to speak to your contact in person rather than leaving a voice mail message. Follow up with a written confirmation (by e-mail or hard copy).  Below is a sample email:

 Dear Ms. Jones:

I want to express my sincerest appreciation to you for including me in the interview process as you seek candidates for the Media Law Summer Fellowship.  I enjoyed meeting your staff and think you have an outstanding organization.

However, as I explained when we spoke this morning, I respectfully withdraw from consideration for your position.  I have decided to accept another employment offer which I believe closely matches my skills and career goals.

I wish you and the staff of the Media Law Project the best of success.  I hope we will have the chance to visit at the upcoming Equal Justice Works Conference.  Thank you again for the opportunity to explore career possibilities with your office.


Joy Fully




Do you want the good news or the bad news?  The good news is you have multiple job offers.  The bad news is you have to decline all but one of them.  Making that phone call sounds scary.  Here are some tips to help you decline a job offer courteously and respectfully.

  • Start with a phone call and follow up your discussion in writing.
  • Never say anything negative in writing about the employer, even if you had a negative experience.
  • If you had a very negative experience, discuss it with Pam Day in the CSO.
  • A decision to decline an offer is usually based on the fact that another offer is a better fit for your interests and goals. It is fine to state this, without giving details about why the declined offer is not a fit.
  • It is not necessary to state whose offer you accepted, but you may do so if you wish.
  • Remember that this employer may be a contact for you in the future. Maintain professional, courteous relations.

900 Town Road
Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 555-9009

April 20, 2009

Dr. Joan Swietzer
Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs
343 Third Street, NW
Washington, DC 20201-0343

Dear Dr. Swietzer:

Thank you very much for your telephone call and letter offering me the position of Assistant Program Director with the Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs. While I believe firmly in the mission of your organization and appreciate the challenging opportunity you offer, I have had another offer which I believe more closely matches my current career goals and interests. Therefore, although it was a difficult decision, as I explained when we spoke by phone this morning, I must decline your offer. I do appreciate all the courtesy and hospitality extended to me by your office, and I wish you well in your endeavors.

In the position I have accepted, I will occasionally be on Capitol Hill to attend hearings and monitor legislation, so I hope we can get together again and talk about common interests.

Best regards,

John Hancock



November 18, 2009 at Carnegie Mellon University

 This is an annual career fair, with over 50 Federal agencies represented, for candidates interested in Federal Careers.*  In addition to the career fair, several agencies will be presenting information sessions and/or interviewing on November 15th and 17th.  On Career Day, federal employees will provide insider tips for tailoring resumes, applications, interviews etc. to securing jobs with the Federal Government. The details are located at . Please register at the website to assist with employer planning. Participation in this event is FREE!


Who:               Employers include: 

  • Department of Energy - National Energy Technology Laboratory
  • Department of Veterans Affairs - Pittsburgh Regional Office
  • Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Office of Information and Technology
  • Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)
  • Securities and Exchange Commission
  • TIGTA - Office Audit
  • Social Security Administration
  • U.S. Department of State
  • Allegheny County
  • U.S. Department of State-Bureau of Diplomatic Security
  • Office of Surface Mining
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - State Civil Service Commission
  • United States Penitentiary - Lewisburg Pennsylvania
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
  • Allegheny County Department of Human Services
  • US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Loretto, PA
  • National Labor Relations Board
  • General Services Administration
  • MITRE Corporation
  • Office of the Inspector General, U. S. Office of Personnel Management
  • NASA Glenn Research Center
  • Federal Air Marshal Service
  • US Intelligence Community
  • Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS)
  • National Drug Intelligence Center
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • US Office of Personnel Management - CHCMS Boyers Site
  • Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Department of Labor - Office of Labor Management Standards
  • Office of Inspector General, National Science Foundation

 New this year:  Management/public policy organizations within executive branches of Federal and state governments

 When:             Wednesday, November 18th 10-3

Where:                 Carnegie Mellon University Center, Weigand Gymnasium

Why:               To provide students with networking opportunities, insider tips on the hiring process and some job opportunities

How:      to register (preferred); but students can just show up on the day of the event.  (The dress is business casual.  To make the most of this opportunity, do some research before the event and come prepared with questions for the employers.)           

 *  As in past years, not all employers will be lawyers.  However, all employers will be able to provide advice on hiring trends in regions across the country and with the agencies they represent.  They also are likely able to put you in touch with attorney-practitioners who work at their agencies.  Perhaps most importantly, they can help you navigate the often daunting hiring process.




AND INDIVIDUAL CONSULTATIONS (Sign-ups begin October 21st)

The Career Services Office will be holding mandatory Career Services group Orientation Sessions and individual career consultations at the beginning of November for all first-year students to introduce you to the services and resources offered by our office.  Before you can take advantage of career counseling sessions, mock interviews, and resume preparation, you must attend a group orientation session and schedule an initial individual consultation. 

Beginning Wednesday, October 21st, you may come to the Career Services Office (Room 235) and schedule your initial consultation.  These will be scheduled to begin after your group orientation session.  Students who have a primary interest in public interest work or government employment may request (on a space available basis) to have their initial consultation with Mary Thinium, our Director of Career Services and Public Interest Initiatives. Once having participated in the group orientation session (see dates and times below) and having completed your initial consultation, you are welcome to use all of our services and resources. 

Mandatory Group Orientation Sessions:

Section B             Monday November 2nd                 12:00-12:50pm Room 113

Section C             Monday November 2nd                 4:00-4:50pm                       Room 109

Section A             Tuesday, November 3rd                1:00-1:50pm                       Room 109


In conjunction with our office, the library will be holding Westlaw and Lexis Career training sessions (job searching) in early November.  These sessions are required, and attendance will be taken.  Additional information on the times and dates will be announced. 


Wednesday, October 14, 2009 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm (RSVP Required)
Omni William Penn, Urban Room, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Women's Bar Association of Western Pennsylvania invites law students to join them for a Judicial Reception to honor, meet and greet the finest in our profession.  Complimentary hors d' oeuvres and cash bar will be available.  If you would like to attend please call the WBA at (412) 429-1922 by October 9th to make a reservation or email Michelle Pierson at .  Judges & 2009 WBA Members Free/Others $20.00.  Please note that student memberships are $10 at this point in the year, however, those who volunteer to help greet the judges/registration at any of our events receive a free student membership (they can tag team and only work about 1/2 hour shifts).  If you would like to volunteer please let Michelle know in your RSVP. 



Thursday, October 29th 4:00-5:30pm ALCOA ROOM

Do you have visions of opening up your own firm one day?  Perhaps you are thinking about partnering with some friends to start up a practice.  Whether going solo is of interest to you today or 10 years down the road, this is a great program to explore solo and small firm practice.  This program will include attorneys who decided to go solo right out of law school and those who made the decision to do so at various points in their careers.  The panelists will share their thoughts on what you need to think about before going solo, tips on starting up a practice and how they are managing to be successful in solo/small firm practice today.   Additionally, Paula Hopkins, Chair of the ACBA's Sole and Small Firm Practitioner's Section will talk about her experiences and how this practice section can be of help to you.   If you would like to attend please RSVP to Pam Day at ASAP but no later than Wednesday, October 21st.  Please note that the first 20 registrants will receive a free copy of the book, Solo by Choice:  How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be.

Please note that this program will serve as a kick-off to the Allegheny County Bar Association's upcoming Program on "How to Start and Manage a Sole Practice or Small Firm in Today's Economy."  The ACBA program will take place on Thursday, November 5th from : 1:00pm to 4:15pm with a Networking Party: 4:15pm to 6:00pm. (Students are encouraged to attend this ACBA program and reception.  For more information and to register for the ACBA program go to

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