1. Career Advice
  2. Cover Letter
  3. Here's how to ask for your job back in a professional way!
Here's how to ask for your job back in a professional way!

Here's how to ask for your job back in a professional way!

Artwork by: Aleksandra Remaruk

  • 5 Situations where asking for your previous job is okay
  • Writing a great letter to your previous employer
  • Tips on writing your letter to get rehired
  • Key takeaways 

If I need to ask to get my old job back, how do I write a letter about that? What kind of letter should I create? Getting your former job back is not always an easy thing. You need to follow the right steps and provide a letter to set you up for success.

Everybody wants to get ahead in life, and this can lead to job switching. There are many reasons why you may decide to leave your job such as more money, better working hours, improved work-life balance, health issues, family problems, potential layoffs, or a bad boss. Regardless of why you left your job, you may face a situation where you choose to go back to that same job. Sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side, and you want to go back to where you were.

In this article, we will cover the following topics:

  • When should you ask to get your old job back?

  • How to write a good letter to ask for your job back

  • Tips for your letter that will help you get rehired

5 Situations where asking for your previous job is okay

In general, any time you formally leave a position, if you want to work for that employer or in that same position again, you’ll need to formally request to get your old job back. Some specific cases where this comes in are due to:

  1. Layoffs. Were you let go due to a downsizing or layoff? In both of these cases, you should check with the company to confirm the position you are wanting is available. 

  2. Lateral Moves. Maybe you left the position to join another department or location within the same company. In that case, you will probably still have to submit an application.

  3. Discontent. Did you quit your job because you took a job with another company and/or you were unsatisfied with your job? In these situations, you will definitely have to ask for the position, but tread very carefully because there may be some hard feelings about you leaving the company.

  4. Temp positions. Perhaps you held a temporary-to-permanent position, and the temp position ended. Applying for a permanent role in the company will typically be required.

  5. Termination. Yes, even if you were fired you can ask for your old job back, though the odds of success depends on the specifics of your situation and company policies. You can use the cover letter to explain how you’ve rectified the issues that led to your termination. 

There are always exceptions, so check with the company or employer in advance before you submit any letter or paperwork to ensure the role is open, and you are eligible to apply.

Writing a great letter to your previous employer

As we mentioned, prior to spending any time writing a letter, you should confirm the job you want is still available and if there are any requirements for the position when you ask for your old job. You can contact the HR department or any contacts you have at the company to check on it for you.

When writing your letter, take the approach that you are applying for a brand-new job and employer. Don’t assume the person reading your letter knows you. You do need to reintroduce yourself. Create an introduction just like you would for a traditional cover letter. List your previous position (the job you are asking for), department, and the name of your former immediate manager. 

You will need to explain why you are asking, but briefly. Don’t try to justify the reason for leaving the job. Focus on why you are asking. Be truthful and open about it. This will set the right tone and your previous employer will be more likely to appreciate your honesty and reconsider you on the basis of your previous performance.

Tips on writing your letter to get rehired

Your letter asking for your old job back needs to be just as good or better than one you would write for another company and job. The people reading your letter probably know you and your history. You have to convince them that you are a good choice for the job, again.

Use a professional cover letter format. It should be clean and easy to read, and no longer than one page. Keep it brief and to the point. Always include your contact info (name, email, phone), date, and the employer’s formal contact at the top. Don’t forget a proper salutation at the beginning and end the letter with your signature.

Don’t include a lot of details on why you left your old position. They probably already know that. Use your letter to talk about your positive contributions to the company, and especially anything you have done since you left to improve your capabilities. If you were fired, you can explain how you resolved the issues that led to your termination. If you worked at another job, then include achievements and knowledge gained from that role. Your objective is to get them to want to hire you back.

Anytime you write a formal letter, your final step is to review it carefully. You don’t want any typos, misspellings, or grammatical errors. The last thing you want is to make yourself look bad. It’s a great idea to have someone read your letter because they are more likely to catch things you missed, and they can give you another perspective on the content. 

For more help, check out our cover letter builder to help you create a compelling letter that will get your job back! 

Key takeaways 

  1. There are a variety of reasons why you may want to go back to a previous job.

  2. Don’t assume they know you and they’ll just let you walk back in, reintroduce yourself and outline your accomplishments. 

  3. Write a formal letter, just like you would for any new job.

  4. Don’t dwell on why you left, though you can briefly mention it.  Focus on what you can do for them in the future. 

  5. Be optimistic, write a great letter, and get that job back.

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