Getting rehired by a former employer has more to do with your relationship(s) with the old firm than it does your skills. If you can remain on good terms with the ex-boss, you're already on your way to regaining--or even bettering--the job you left.
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Be honest with yourself: did you get along with your boss? The first step when leaving any job is to make sure you leave on a positive note--whenever possible. Stephen Viscusi, author of "Bulletproof Your Job" (HarperCollins), says that there are many reasons a company would want to rehire an employee--but almost without exception, when the relationship was good. "Going back to [one's] old company is still the number one way to find a job."
Most companies really do like to hire back people who left on good terms because former employees already have the requisite experience, Viscusi points out. If the relationship was good and you feel comfortable, make the call.
Make sure your resume is updated and positively represents your skills, experience and education. This is your self-promotional tool so make sure it reflects you in the best light--but do not embellish. Start e-mailing your resume to your network of sources, making them (including HR) keenly aware of your desire to come back to the firm. Ask HR to please inform you of any open positions.
Go back, eat crow. This is what you must do to win your boss--and the job--back. As Viscusi points out, you fired your boss when you left him for Company B. His ego will need some massaging. Do not be afraid to tell him how much you missed the company and working for him.
Network with your former coworkers. Lisa Quast, career coach and author of "Your Career, Your Way!” says that former employees should take advantage of these relationships and "focus on making contact with those people who saw their positive work firsthand and can help them now by being their 'inside coach to get them back into the company."
Make a list of everyone with whom you worked or knew at your previous company so you see your company network laid out on paper, Quast advises.
If the coast is clear, move back in. If your job ended on a sour note, which could have been due to difficulties with your manager, find out if that person has left the company. Quast points out that "Often times, the bad manager is finally discovered and let go...which leaves the door open for the employee to return."
Tips and warnings
- A lot of people don’t think to look at their old company, but good, quality people are always in demand--especially trained, experience former employees.
- If someone stole you away from the company and you come back, hoping to be rehired, that's very flattering. Don't be afraid to remind your ex-boss how much greener it was in his pasture.
- Have an answer for why you left and why you want to go back to your old company.
- Remain positive–it can take more than a lunch or two to rebuild the relationship(s) you left behind.
- Viscusi advises that one, "Create a sleeper cell of friends in your company and industry who will emerge in a time of crisis."
- Set a Google alert on your computer with your ex-boss's name. Set a Technorati alert under your company's name to stay up on the latest buzz.
- Make sure you're not trying to be rehired by a boss with whom you did not get along.
- If you significantly damaged your reputation and or breeched your contractual obligations with them, don't even think about going back. It's a no-brainer when it comes to issues such as workplace violence and to a lesser extent, lying on resumes and failing drug tests.
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