Trying to get your old job back is a lesson in why it's a bad idea to burn bridges. If you left your old job in a huff, don't expect to be welcomed back with open arms. However, if you left on good terms and now want to get your old job back, you may have a shot -- especially if the management team still remembers you. During the application process, do what you can to refresh people's memories and let the skills that got you the job the first time shine through.
Read the job description carefully, to determine whether there are any additional duties that have been added since you left. If so, determine whether you possess the skills necessary for those duties, or think about how you'll approach the fact that you don't have the skills during your interview. If you need any new certifications, look into getting them. While you may not have the time to get the certification before any interviews, simply signing up for the class or program could demonstrate your commitment.
Look over your resume and add in any skills or qualifications you've gotten since you left the job, which you think would help you get the job now. Also look at the way you described the previous employment with this employer, and tweak the wording if need be to match the current position.
Call or email any former co-workers, managers or other supervisory types to ask for their recommendation for the job and ask them to put in a good word for you. Also ask if you can use the person as a reference, and then include in-house references at the top of your reference sheet. If you still have a relationship with any human-resources staff, call or email them and let them know you're applying for the job. Since they know you're qualified for the job, some managers may put your resume on the top of the pile if they know you're among the candidates, so it doesn't hurt to let them know you're applying. And if that job doesn't work out, HR may have another job in mind for you.
Provide information about what you've been doing since your resignation in your cover letter. It's OK to mention the previous position you held at the company to which you're re-applying, but managers will also see that information in your cover letter. Managers will likely want to know how the experiences you've had since leaving your company will help enhance your performance at the same job now. Using the current job description as a guide, highlight the skills you've learned and how those will now apply to the current job.
Maintain a positive attitude about your current employer, avoiding speaking badly about where you're now working. It's clear you want to move on, but bad-mouthing any employer in front of a new one is not likely to win you points. Instead of mentioning specifics, use phrases such as "it wasn't a good fit." Likewise, avoid speaking ill of any former managers or co-workers who have since left the company to which you're now applying -- even if they were the reason you left in the first place. Bottom line, you don't want to offend, and negativity should not be the focus when you're job searching.
- If you do end up getting hired back, be sure to keep your bridges intact with the employer you're leaving. Give the managers two weeks' notice, and continue to perform your duties as assigned. You never know when the rose-colored glasses might come back on, making you want that job back, too.
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