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Feeling homesick after leaving your employer?

A while ago, you decided to pursue a new professional path, but now somehow you feel homesick for your previous employer. And when you suddenly see an interesting vacancy with them, something starts to itch. Can you go back just like that? What is the best way to go about it? Returning to your previous employer may seem strange to some professionals, but it is not at all. On the contrary. International recruitment firm Robert Walters offers 6 tips.  

Consider your reason for leaving 

Before you start applying for jobs with your previous employer, it is important to take a moment to think about why you left. Was it because of certain annoyances that you might now be confronted with again? Or have matters changed since you left? You may know some former colleagues who have an answer to these questions. They can probably tell you more about the vacancy that interests you. Your former colleagues know you well, know how you function and can therefore also assess whether the vacancy suits you or not. It is therefore certainly worthwhile contacting them first! 

Make the call first

Once you have decided to apply for the vacancy at your previous employer, the question naturally arises as to how best to go about it: the usual way, or a more personal approach?  

If your former manager still works there and you parted company on good terms, it is a clever idea to give him or her a call first. Explain that you are interested in the vacancy and agree on how best to approach your application. As a former employee, you may have an edge over other candidates. You already know the organization and will therefore probably be able to settle in more quickly.  

Motivate your return 

Of course, knowing the company is no guarantee that you will actually get the job. You left when you did, so you should be able to clearly justify why you want to return now. In most cases, you will be asked to send an update of your CV and go through one or more interviews, especially if you are starting in a different department or team. Did you leave because of the job content? If so, explain this during your interview, and make it clear that you were not leaving because of the company culture or the atmosphere in the workplace.   

New skills  

There's a good chance you have learned a lot of new things at your new job and gained a lot of expertise. Be sure to highlight those new skills during the interview and explain why they are an added value to the team and in your new role. This way you show that you have become an even better version of yourself since you left the company.  

Ask for clarification  

Is your previous employer not interested in bringing you back on board? Then ask for an explanation. Were you rejected because you do not have the desired profile for this job? Then deal with this professionally, no matter how painful the rejection may have been. Be sure to ask to be kept informed of any new vacancies that better fit your profile. Were you rejected for other reasons? Then feel free to ask for more details. 

Think about the future 

If you want to keep your options open to return later, it is best to keep in good contact with colleagues and managers you worked with. This can be done through social media channels such as Linkedin, but also by making regular appointments or calling. Make sure you leave your current employer with your head held high: motivate why you are resigning, ensure a smooth transition from work and commit to the last day. That way, you always keep the door open for an eventual return. 


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If you're looking to make a career change, check out our latest vacancies or contact one of our offices. Discover our best tips for developing your career.


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