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Why Must Job Offers, Job Acceptance, Letter of Resignation and Employment Contracts Be Put It In Writing?

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There are many commitments and obligations in life that should be in writing. Following are four examples, and why they should be in writing:

Job Offers

Job offers are usually made verbally-either by telephone or in person-but should definitely be confirmed in writing. There are so many facets to the job offer, that it is just not prudent to take a chance of having an honest but significant misunderstanding between employer and employee come up. You want to remove any communication gap.



A written offer should include the job description, salary, bonuses if any, fringe benefits, vacation policy, job title, expected starting date, and any other pertinent data that communicates to the recipient just exactly what is being offered.

There is also very good psychological value in having the offer confirmed in writing. If a candidate is considering other offers, or even if he is not, then he has received something tangible before he either quits his job or turns down other opportunities. If an employer does not have faith in the candidate not to simply take the written job offer and then play two companies against each other-maybe they are trying to hire the wrong candidate.

Job Acceptance

If the employer should put the job offer in writing; then, likewise, the candidate should put the acceptance in writing. First the candidate should accept verbally, either by telephone or in person, and then follow-up with a written acceptance.

Again, you want to eliminate any misunderstanding. Also, if the employer has your acceptance in writing, then there is the added assurance that in all probability you will join the company.

From the employer's standpoint, there is usually less chance for a candidate who has accepted your job offer in writing to go back to his employer and try to use your written job offer as a threat. One of the first questions a boss will ask an employee who comes to him with another job offer and asks, "What ought I to do about it?" is, "Have you accepted it?" If you have, he is less likely to try and negotiate with you to stay.

It not only would be lying to indicate to your boss that you have not accepted the offer, when your acceptance has already been received in writing, but just plain stupid! That would be a good way to lose two jobs

The letter of acceptance should be short, gracious, and to the point Do not get "wordy." Just tell the boss that you are pleased to accept his generous offer, and let him know when you expect to report for work.

Letter of Resignation

When you do decide to resign from your company and accept that "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," do not forget to submit your letter of resignation. Many executives fail to do this, but it really is important. These executives erroneously feel that verbally resign-ing is enough. For one thing, you are placing in your permanent record in the personnel department the exact reason why you left your employer. You would not want, many years later, someone to check you out and hear the clerk in the personnel department innocently state, "We do not know the reason why he left. There is no indication on his record."

A letter of resignation should be to the point and very diplomatic. After all, you never want to "bum your bridges." The company you are leaving may buy the new one you are joining! It would not be the first time that an old employer followed an employee to his new employer-via the merger route.

Employment Contracts

The higher the level that one is hired at, the more frequently they are used. Many companies do not use them at all, while others use them at even the lower-middle management levels.

The advantage of an Employment Contract to a prospective employee is that, depending on the terms of the contract, he is protected in an income level for a specified period-vital in the event that his relationship with the employer is severed.

Employment contracts vary all over the map. Some are so simple that they hardly specify more than "while you are employed, you will be payed an agreed upon salary compensation." Others may extend for dozens and dozens of pages, and cover every conceivable aspect of the job-its function, compensation, fringe benefits, unforeseen circumstances, severance pay, non-competing clauses, etc.

Employers tend to feel that it is in their own best interest to use employment contracts to assure employee performance, and ensure that the employee will not leave too soon.

The key to a successful employment contract is the spirit with which it is written. It should benefit both employer and employee as well. Some much-sought-after, highly specialized executives will attempt to have their lawyers draft contracts which are almost solely for their benefit. This is especially prevalent in professional sports and show business. Some companies will attempt to convince prospective employees to sign contracts which are solely for the benefit of the employer.

Before you ever sign a complex employment contract, the best suggestion would be that you have it examined by a competent attorney.
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