Backing Out of an Accepted Offer

What happens if you have already accepted a job offer when a better one comes along? 

Reneging on (backing out of) an accepted internship or full-time offer is not recommended and may result in permanent loss of access to Handshake @ Illinois and other services provided by the University of Illinois Career Services offices, including Virtual Career Fairs. Users are to only pursue interviews for opportunities that are of genuine interest.

Talk to an ECS Career Coach before you take actions!

Make an Appointment with ECS to Discuss Your Steps

Negative Consequences

Reneging on an offer is a  bad idea that can have several negative consequences on your future and your mindset 

No Future Job Offers

Reneging on an offer is a quick way to ensure that you will not able to work for that organization in the future. Employers have long memories and you will likely have a black mark on your file.

Impact Your Career

This may affect your chances of working at similar organizations. Keep in mind that many industries are relatively small and that people you angered by reneging may warn others in the industry about you. 

Damage Reputation

Reneging on an offer damages the University of Illinois reputation and future recruiting opportunities for Engineering students. It may only take one instance for an employer to conclude that this is “just the way U of I students are” and be less inclined to recruit from Illinois in the future.

Loss of Handshake Access

There are consequences for reneging. Students who renege are blocked from using Handshake @ Illinois for a minimum of one semester or longer. Honoring your accepted job offers is something that we as the university take very seriously.

What you should do instead...

  • Avoid being in this situation by not accepting an offer without carefully thinking it through.
  • Never tell an employer “yes” if your plan is to continue to look until you find something better. It’s not fair to them, and it’s not ethical of you.
  • Ask for an extension so that you aren’t rushed into a decision that might not be for the best.
  • There may be extenuating circumstances, ECS can help you navigate this process. If you receive an offer and are unsure about what to do, meet with an ECS coach to discuss your options. 

Make the Most of the Offer you Accepted

If your new job isn’t the love of your life, make the most of it during your search for a better one.

Once in the job, the key to success is to go in with a positive attitude, do the best possible job, produce results, create a track record of success, and work on building your professional network. In that way, even if you are not passionate about the job to begin with, you will at least learn and grow and put yourself in a better position for when that dream job eventually comes along. It might even be within that same company once you've gotten your foot in the door and shown what you can do. In real life, most people’s career paths are not straight lines, but roller coasters of ups and downs.


Boost your résumé.

Employers tend to hire those that are currently in the work force, so taking a position while continuing to conduct your job search might just be the way to go.

Network like it’s your job.

Studies find that you’re 10 times more likely to land a job when your application is accompanied by an employee referral. However, you can’t get those coveted references without networking. Make it your mission to become an active networker.

Build the skills you need.

Even if the job description sounds dull, if you can get essential experience and learn some valuable skills, it's worth it. Then, after you've bulked up your resume, you can start looking for more exciting jobs where you can use your new talents.

Having Questions about Any of the Steps?

Make an Appointment with ECS to Discuss Your Steps