After college I took an entry level job at an entry level salary. After a couple of years, I moved on amicably to a new company who offered much higher pay. Later, my manager also moved on to a new company.

Now it is a few years later, and my previous manager is interested in hiring me again. However, they are offering me an entry-level salary and role which is inconsistent with my current experience. They are otherwise a good manager, and I would be happy to work with them again if the price was right.

What is the best way to handle this situation? I have two concerns:

  1. I don't want to burn this (potentially valuable) relationship by being harsh.
  2. I don't want to continue entertaining offers that are a waste of my time.
  • 3
    Sending your current resume might be a polite way of telling the manager you are no longer entry-level. – Patricia Shanahan Aug 28 '16 at 21:38
  • Is your role at your current company the same as what you would be doing with the former manager (as in, they would be paying you less for the same work) or is the newly offered role inappropriately entry-level (and the pay is appropriate for it)? Basically, what is the mismatch here: salary? role/title? both? – Technetium Aug 28 '16 at 23:41
  • @Technetium - I will edit to make this more clear. The pay they are offering is appropriate for the role. – indigochild Aug 28 '16 at 23:54

Your concerns are valid.

These kinds of relationships need to be nurtured if you want to build an effective professional network. Make sure you (1) explicitly thank your manager for reaching out to you and (2) be assertive about what you expect so he/she does not waste your time (nor you his/her time).

Here's an example of something I would send in this circumstance:

Hey [manager],

Thank you for reaching out to me! I am definitely open to talking to you about a new opportunity, especially since I enjoyed working with you in the past. However, over the last few years, I have advanced beyond the [entry-level] role I had at [former company], and even now occupy a [senior-level role] at [current company]. If you are interested in adjusting the offer to account for this additional amount of experience, I would love to talk to you further about the position. Otherwise, please keep me in mind if you see another opportunity that is more consistent with this phase of my career.

I've attached my résumé so you can see what I have been up to since we last worked together.

Cheers, [name]

No matter what you do: draft it, then come back to it later and read it as if you were a manager receiving it from a trusted former colleague. If you feel your effort to reach out was appreciated, the message hit its mark.

Beyond your email, offering to meet this former manager in person for coffee is another way to solidify the connection.

  • 2
    +1 For a very good template for the email. Polite, but the to the point. – dwjohnston Aug 29 '16 at 0:27

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