I have recently got several postdoc offers and two of those were really nice. I have accepted one of them and I am thinking whether I can make some use of the second one that I have turned down.

I traveled quite a long distance to give a job talk, that was pretty successful, and a famous professor in my field made me an offer. Maybe the fact that this famous professor was ready to hire me would make my CV look better (I plan to apply for permanent positions in Academia in Europe/America(s) in future).

So, the question is: would it be helpful and generally acceptable to add to my CV words like "job offer from "Professor_Name" lab, refused in favor of anther offer"? Or it would look like an act of excessive inappropriate boasting?

In general my CV is quite OK even without that so these words would not make a crucial difference anyway, but still.

UPD. My field is applied mathematics/computational neuroscience.

  • 18
    I've never seen anything like this. I'd see it as excessive boasting.
    – Shake Baby
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 5:34
  • 3
    It almost sounds like you regret turning down the offer. I don't think this would reflect well on you if you put it in your CV. Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 6:14
  • You could always delay the start date of the one you have accepted and accept the second on a short-term basis, then (you have something to put on your CV and, more importantly) you have more experience.
    – user2768
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 12:55
  • user2768, I have only heard about the delaying possibility for fellowship-like positions (which is not my case) and usually the delay cannot be really long. In my field one is supposed to start the position as soon as possible. Even if it was not the case, the physical straight line distance between the locations of the two labs is about 12 000 km, it would be a nightmare to move between such distant places twice in a short time.
    – demitau
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 13:51
  • Sounds to me like **** swinging. If the famous guy was so impressed with your job, skills etc you can always ask him whether he could write you a recommendation letter, which for sure will be more impactful than a "declined" line on your cv.
    – Anon
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 19:02

2 Answers 2


I've seen a few cases of people in my field (linguistics) turning down competitive funding offers and listing them in CVs with "(declined)". Some of these happen to be tied to postdoctoral positions, especially ones offered by governments and/or prestigious granting agencies.

And depending on field/location, it might be possible to list job talks as 'invited talks' for particular departments.

Beyond that, I think referring to job offers you have refused is inappropriate and likely to look only like showing off.

  • 4
    This is also true in my field. When a post-doc is tied to competitive funding, it can be listed as (declined) under the awards/funding section of your CV. Places you interviewed can be presentations or invited talks.
    – Dawn
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 12:59

TL;DR - No, but it depends on which country.

Your CV lists the "course of your life", and that definitely doesn't include the courses you refrained from taking in life. As someone who has read people's CV (albeit not in the US) I would find it highly weird / somewhat inappropriate for you to list anything you've declined.

However, as @OlegLobachev suggests, in some countries (e.g. Germany) this is more common and perhaps even expected.


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