Formulate a rejection for an internship – it’s done tactfully

For most companies it is annoying when the intern does not show up at short notice. You should therefore send your rejection as soon as possible if you no longer want to complete the internship.

Cancel an internship

  • Under no circumstances should you cancel an internship without any justification. Rather, you should be able to give good reasons for canceling the internship. Good reasons are those that make your decision seem understandable to the addressee.
  • When formulating your rejection, put yourself in the situation of your addressee. Did your contact person in the company invest time and effort in you in the run-up to the internship, which must now appear to him in vain?
  • In this case, you should definitely express your appreciation and acknowledge it. A wording such as: “I thank you for the time you took for our conversation on …” could be helpful here.
  • When formulating your rejection, keep in mind that you may meet your contact person a second time in your life – because you may even want to apply to the company a few years later.

Choose the right wording

  1. In your refusal, you should not beat about the bush, but get straight to the point. After the salutation “Dear Sir or Madam” or – if you have a personal contact person – “Dear Mr….” or “Dear Mrs….”, start with the following sentence, for example: “Unfortunately, I have to cancel the agreed internship for the period from … to ….”
  2. The second step is to provide a justification that is as understandable as possible. This could be, for example: “During the same period, I have the opportunity to do an internship at company XY, which may even take me on as an apprentice later on.” The reasons you give should of course correspond to the facts, because lies are known to have short legs.
  3. At the end of the letter, a “Best regards” should not be missing.

Not every well-formulated rejection of an internship will meet with the understanding of the addressee. At least you show that you don’t care about the situation of your counterpart.

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