Tips for Writing a Letter Asking for Your Job Back
Did you just start a new job and are already regretting it? Or have you been demoted, laid-off, or fired from your job? You may not be able to get your old job back, but it certainly doesn't hurt to ask. You have nothing to lose by sending a courteous request to be rehired.
How to Write a Letter Asking for a Job Back
- Follow business letter format. If this is a written letter, use the official business letter format when writing your letter. Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the employer’s contact information. Be sure to provide a salutation at the beginning, and a handwritten signature at the end. If this is an email, begin with a salutation, and end with your typed name. For an email, also be sure to include your name in the subject of the message, so your request is read.
- Remind them who you are. Remind your employer of the department you worked in, and your job title. You might also mention how long you worked there. If you worked there for awhile, this will remind them of your dedication to the company. Start by sending the message to your former manager. You may also have to speak to human resources or upper management, but your boss is good a person to start with.
- Sell yourself to the company. Don’t expect that you will get your job back just because your employer liked you in the past. You need to convince your former boss that hiring you again is a great idea for the company. Tell them why you are a terrific fit for the job. If you achieved any big successes at the job (for example, if you helped the company save any money), remind them of this. If you have developed any new skills since leaving the job, mention these.
- Keep it brief. Don’t go into great detail in this letter. You can mention why you are leaving your new job, but keep it brief, focusing mainly on why you think you should return to your old position. If your former boss considers you for the position, you will likely meet with him or her in person. During that meeting, be prepared to answer more questions about why you left your old job, and why you want this job back.
- Ask about other opportunities. Your job might already be filled. Therefore, if you are willing to consider other open positions at the company, say so. Being flexible might help you get a job offer.
- Think twice. Make sure you really want to return to the company. You left for a reason, after all. If you are only going back because it is the easiest option, think hard before sending this letter. Consider making a pros and cons list to consider whether you should return to the job. Keep in mind that if you were to be rehired, you most likely would be starting over as a new employee. Your salary and benefits package may not match what you were earning before.
- Edit, edit, edit. This letter is what can get your foot back in the door at your old company. Therefore, take the time to make this letter as professional as possible. Read through and carefully proofread the letter for any errors.
Letter Example to Ask For a Job Back
City, State, Zip Code
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. LastName,
As you know, I recently started a new job at ABC Company. However, I have realized that the job duties and the work environment are not what I expected. I am therefore writing to inquire about the possibility of returning to my position as Assistant Editor at XYZ Company, which I held for the past four years.
I sincerely regret my decision to resign and if I were to be rehired, I can assure you that I can offer a long-term commitment to the company.
In the interim period since I was Assistant Editor, I have gained experience with new content-management systems, including Drupal and WordPress. I believe these skills would be invaluable as ABC Company continues to expand its online presence.
If the company would consider rehiring me, I do understand that my job may have been filled.
If so, are the other open positions I would be eligible to apply for?
Thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you, and I am available at your convenience for a conversation. I can be reached at 555-555-1234 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sending an Email Request to be Rehired
A request for being rehired can be sent by email. List your name and former job title in the subject line of the message: Your Name - Job Title Question. Include your contact information in the signature of the message, so it's easy for your former supervisor to get in touch with you.
When You Have Been Demoted or Let Go
What should you do if you've been demoted, laid-off or fired? You may not be able to do anything about it, but it can be worth appealing the decision and writing a letter to ask the employer to reconsider.
Review tips for writing an appeal letter, with an example and a template to use for your own appeal.
Suggested Reading: What to Do When a New Job Doesn't Work Out | How to Reapply for a Job
It can be a small world, and at some point in your career, you may find yourself trying to go back to a company you previously worked for. As long as you weren’t terminated for misconduct or poor performance, you likely have an “in” with the company that you can capitalize on in a re-introductory cover letter.
Why Did You Leave?
It’s important to take stock of why you left before you try to write a cover letter to reapply for a job with a company you’ve already worked for. You may have left because of a toxic corporate culture, because there was no room for advancement, you didn’t like the compensation package or you disagreed with management decisions. It's important to consider if anything may have changed that would make the second go-around a worthwhile pursuit. If you still have contacts inside the company, consider them as valuable resources, both for getting an inside scoop and possibly even pushing your resume into the right hands.
If You Were Downsized
If you were downsized for no reason other than corporate restructuring, you theoretically left on better-than-average terms. In your letter, discuss what you liked about working for the company and why you would like to return.
W__hile it was difficult to be let go last year when the company restructured, the organization remains one of the best I’ve ever worked for. In the past several months, I’ve been doing consulting work, and when I noticed you have a new position open in sales, I thought I’d reach out to see if you still consider me a good fit for the organization.
If You Left for Another Job
If you moved on from the company to pursue another opportunity, particularly a job that was a step up, there shouldn’t be any hard feelings with your previous employer. Be honest about why you would like to come back in a new or similar capacity.
As you know, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run my own team when I was offered a job at ABC Co. While I learned a great deal there, I must admit, I miss the cohesive team environment of XYZ Co. I understand you’re looking for someone to run the new community relations division, and I would love the opportunity to be considered for the role.
If You Left for School
If you left a job to further your education, you have a lot of advantages for a rehire request. Emphasize what you liked about working there, what you have learned and how you anticipate utilizing your education if you’re invited to return.
It was such a pleasure working with ABC Co. back in 2016. While I opted to take the last two years away from work to complete my MBA, now that it’s completed, I’d love to be able to utilize my newfound skills in the accounting department. I understand you are hiring right now, and I would be most appreciative of an interview.
If You Left for Personal Reasons
If you left your old job to raise a family, tend to an elderly relative or even travel or explore self-employment, it’s perfectly acceptable to reference that time in your cover letter.
As you are aware, I decided it was important to be home with my girls when they were toddlers. Now that they are in preschool, I’m incredibly excited about re-entering the workforce, and I can think of no place I’d rather be than back at ABC Co. Could I make arrangements to visit HR sometime in the near future?
Capitalize on Your History
When communicating with your previous employer in your cover letter, stress the value of your knowledge of the company, your existing in-house networks and highlight any new skills you bring to the table.
I believe I can be an asset to the organization because I have a solid understanding of strategic objectives, I'm familiar with the board of directors and I know all of the internal routing systems and best practices.
Conclude your cover letter by making a request for a meeting or for re-hire consideration. As with any professional correspondence, note any attachments, such as resume or references and include all relevant contact information.
About the Author
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.
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