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I previously held a position at company X. I left because my spouse got a job offer in another location, but also my boss didn't like me very much and didn't let me do my job properly and he hadn't planned to renew my contract. To be honest I didn't like my boss either -- he was a real pain.

In any case, my old boss has left the company, and we are planning to return to our previous home for personal reasons and I'm looking for a new position. In my job search, I found that my old job at company X has just recently opened up, and I'm thinking of reapplying. My work experience in the meantime has made me a better applicant for the position than I was previously, and of course I have the prior experience from actually doing the job in the past. So I think I should be a great candidate for this position.

The main issue I have is, how should I go about applying for this job? It clearly requires a more specialized cover letter than your average job posting. I want to show them that I really loved this position, and that I am excited to rejoin the team. But I also need to explain what I've been up to in the interim in a way that is coherent and doesn't make me seem like a flake. Any advice?

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I actually had a similar situation, when asked why I had left the company previously I was open and honest, explained that I was reapplying because I had missed working for the company and how much I had enjoyed the position previously. They understood and hired me. Did not want to give an answer since it's pretty generic. –  PaulDonny Mar 17 at 21:39
    
With some companies if the break was less than 1 or 2 years you may qualify to receive the same level of benefits that you had previously. You may earn vacation at a higher rate, or get a higher level of 401K matching and vesting. –  mhoran_psprep Mar 18 at 1:09
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Did you leave on good terms? –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Mar 18 at 14:15

4 Answers 4

I was in this situation once (though it wasn't due to relocation). The key points you need to bring out in your cover letter are that you left due to circumstances having nothing to do with the company and that you enjoyed working there and are eager to return now that you can. Something like:

I previously held this position at $company and was able to (do great things -- specify). Sadly, for family reasons I had to relocate, leaving that position. I am now able to return to $city and was excited to see that this position is open. Since I left $company I have (done these relevant things that make me an even stronger employee).

I've seen a few coworkers leave and return. Even in cases where they were dissatisfied and chose to leave, their applications were given fair consideration. The big question in those cases was: what has changed either at the company or with the candidate to make this a better idea now than it was then? You need to pre-emptively answer that question.

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In your case, it seems the truth is fine. Relocating for your spouse is an entirely valid reason to switch jobs and an entirely valid reason to come back. It's almost certainly worthwhile to submit an application.

In your situation, what you should do is find out who would support your application, of the people still at the company. You should reach out to them, tell them you want the job, and explicitly ask them for support or a reference. You probably know whom else they can speak to. As your buddies, they might even proactively suggest ways to help. People who recently left the company are also likely to be good references, although they are no longer connected to the hiring infrastructure.

You also have a chance to highlight, on your application, your strengths and accomplishments when you held the job before.

The company's decision may well be made by people you know, and may not depend on how you wrote your application. There's always a chance that someone did not like your previous performance and will not hire you back. However, the odds are smaller with a new boss, and you can stack the deck in your favor by contacting the people who would support your application.

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+1 for seeking out the support of friends / former colleagues to support your application. –  yochannah Mar 18 at 10:44

I think the answer is to approach this plainly and simply. Explain you already have some experience in the role due to your previous time there, explain how you've improved in areas x, y and z since then due to new projects/roles and go from there.

Don't over-think it. Unless you really made a bad name for yourself or they have a general "never go back" type of hiring policy, there shouldn't be any issue here.

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If there was bad blood between you and your former boss but you performed well with everyone else and everyone else had the same opinion of your boss that you have, I don't see what the problem is with you reapplying for the position.

I have no idea what you specifically did after you left your position - you didn't disclose that data, so I am not in a position to make a judgment call that you are a flake. Especially since I don't know you either. Your cover letter will have to include a mention that you worked there and if possible, that such and such can vouch for you - If such and such are several senior and management people, that's even more reinforcement. In your cover letter, you DO have to come across as coherent and professional. because you don't want to do or say anything that looks it is validating your old boss's opinion of you. Especially to those who knew your old boss but don't know you.

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