There may come a time when you're ready to re-join a company or take on a job that you've left behind in the past. If you fit in well there the first time and were successful at your job, chances are you'll be a good fit for the company during the second round. However, don't underestimate the need to sell yourself and present your skills in the best light possible. Expectations and job descriptions do change, and you'll still need to show that you're the best candidate for the job.
Address the letter to the manager with whom you will be working, or the person mentioned in the job application as the person dealing with the hiring for this position. Avoid using any personal nicknames or pet names; even if you know the person well, you don't know whether other people will be reading the cover letter and may be put off by you being too familiar.
Use the first paragraph to state the job for which you are applying and how you heard about the position -- much the same way you would any other cover letter. If you heard about the job through a personal connection or some internal posting, be sure to mention that connection. No need to go into excessive detail about how you know that person; providing a few key details about your connection is enough.
Detail the various skills and qualities you possess that make you a good candidate for the job in the second paragraph. If the job you held with the employer is relevant to this current job application, mention how that previous job helped you hone your skills for the current job. If particular company managers helped you learn specific skills, mention those experiences. While having previous experience with the company may help you in the current application process, the managers may be more focused on finding the right person for the job, and less on favoring someone who has been there before. Always focus on how your skills and training make you a good fit.
Use the second paragraph to also take note of the company culture and how you fit into it in the past. Also mention why you left the company the first time, taking care not to use negative language that may offend someone in the company. If you had a difficult time on your first round of employment, outline what's changed that will make you a good fit this time. Always stay positive and focus on your good points, while humbly acknowledging your limitations. A bad relationship the first time doesn't have to disqualify you for employment in the future -- you just have to show that something has changed that will help you succeed this time. If you had a good relationship with the employer the first time, include that information and state that you're looking forward to continuing the relationship.
Close the letter with an invitation for the managers to contact you, and provide your available days and times. If you have had a particularly good rapport with the manager to whom the letter is addressed, you could mention that you look forward to engaging in some particular activity with him again. For example, you could say "I look forward to challenging you on the golf course once again."
- If your former managers are still with the company, contact them and ask if they'll be a reference for the current position. Having current managers endorse you for the job may give you the extra help you need to land the interview -- and then the job.
- Some companies have policies about rehiring old employees, and may have a "blackout" period before you can be brought back. Check with the company's human resources department to find out more.
About the Author
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.
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Consider Boomeranging: Tips for Returning to a Former Employer
In a soft economy, with so many qualified, out-of-work job seekers to choose from, many companies concerned about cost containment and increasing global competition now opt for a workforce with a shorter learning curve. And who has a shorter learning curve than someone who previously worked for the company?
Former employees, particularly older workers who often have more former employers as contacts, may have an insider's advantage at gaining employment at places where they used to work. Workers who leave a company and eventually return are called “boomerangers.”
Boomeranging is not generally a planned activity. But if you've left a former employer with a good impression and without burning bridges, it's worth some consideration if you're in the job market again.
Could You Boomerang?
Think about going back if you spent at least five years on good terms with a previous company and left for any of these reasons:
- Family matters -- birth, death or extended illness in immediate family.
- Relocation/spousal transfer, etc.
- Return to school.
- Opportunity for professional advancement or to learn new skills that could help you advance your career.
- Career break or sabbatical.
Here are some tips on how to join the growing numbers of boomerangers:
Do Your Homework
Research your former employer as though you had no history. Things will no doubt have changed in your absence, and there may have been turnover or organizational restructuring. If you are going to approach the company, make sure you are informed about its current situation and goals.
Make a list of things you disliked about the company before. Do those problems or personnel still exist? Will a position with the employer help you return to your career path, or put you on a new one you want? Can you expect to add to your knowledge and skills or apply those you learned while you were away?
Test the Waters
Find out if others have boomeranged to your old employer, and talk to them about their experiences. If you respect and can trust your former supervisor (or another manager), call and share your thoughts about returning.
Know the Drawbacks
While employers may be interested in rehiring experienced candidates, they may do so without reinstating former benefit status. The prospect of returning to your former company as a contract worker is one possible downside. You may also face resentment from former coworkers who stayed behind, and it could take a while to reestablish trust.
If the situation looks ideal for both you and your former employer and you decide to return, be prepared to stay at least a couple of years. Returning to an employer can be a positive career move, but only if you stick around the second time.
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