The boomerang employee is becoming more prevalent than ever before — a September 2015 study from Workplace Trends found that 76 percent of the 1,800 HR professionals surveyed said they are more accepting of hiring previous employees now than they were in the past.
Maybe you want to leave your current employer but have intentions of coming back down the road. Here are five steps to becoming the ultimate boomerang employee:
1. Build strong relationships.
Even if you don’t plan on leaving, it’s still important to be professional and exercise proper etiquette in every position you hold. Think of each person you meet as someone to learn from and an opportunity to expand your network.
Build strong relationships with colleagues and managers. This doesn’t mean you need to be friends and go to the bar with your boss, but you can still be friendly and show how much you appreciate them.
Make an impression by learning how they prefer to communicate and mimicking their style. Gauge how they prefer to share information (email, in person, etc.) and what they like to know (every detail or just a project outline) so you connect well. They will appreciate this.
Also, avoid office gossip and remain focused on your productivity. Actively seek out feedback to show how you value their perspective. It also helps to speak on a personal level, like asking about their weekend or discussing personal hobbies and interests.
You want to establish a mutual level of trust and respect. This will make it easier to leave on good terms.
2. Leave on good terms.
Burning bridges is never a good idea, no matter how much emotion gets involved. No matter the situation, leave in a respectful manner. That begins with offering proper notice, which may be more than two weeks depending on your seniority and tenure.
Write a concise letter of resignation, schedule a time to discuss your decision, and speak with your manager about why you’re leaving and how much you appreciate the opportunity you had.
Offer to train your successor and ask to work late to write notes and daily job duties so whoever takes over can hit the ground running. Also, finish any outstanding projects before departing. This demonstrates how much you value the company you’re leaving — a gesture that will not go unnoticed.
3. Stay connected.
Once you leave, that doesn’t give you permission to forget about your previous employers. Maintaining a professional relationship is crucial if you want to keep the door open for a future return.
Luckily, the internet affords you the opportunity to connect online and stay up to date with managers and the company. Reach out on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their blogs or other professional outlets.
Create time to engage with them. For example, share a blog they write or comment on a post. Show a genuine interest in their professional life. If you see the company announce a major expansion or release a new product, express your excitement for them and celebrate their growth by congratulating them.
You want to show that you don’t forget how valuable your tenure was and how much you appreciate the company and your manager on a personal and professional level.
4. Demonstrate your “new you.”
No matter how long you’ve been gone, one thing is for certain — you changed. Show how much more value you can bring, and share what your new skills are. Did you gain more knowledge that could benefit your former company? Make this known.
For example, when you’re leaving an employer, ask for letters of recommendation that show the skills you’ve learned and projects you successfully completed. Write an updated resume to reflect the experience you gained.
If applicable, add new projects to your portfolio. Develop a strong social media presence by sharing your accomplishments, writing posts, and engaging in professional online networks.
When you contact your former employer, either for a job posting you applied to or just to touch base, request a get together, even if it’s merely for a lunch or coffee meeting. You want to showcase the new you to land an official interview.
5. Make the most of your interview.
The war for talent puts the power in the hands of the employee, especially when an employer respects your choice of leaving to learn more. Employers want those doers, especially if they maintain a positive relationship with you.
Also, hiring previous employees has many benefits for a company — there’s an established cultural fit, lower cost of onboarding, and less chance of turnover. Therefore, if you put in the effort and prove yourself, you should not have a problem getting an interview.
Your interview will be a little more informal and relaxed, where you will be asked about what the “new you” has to offer. Bring in some concrete examples of how your new skills will benefit them immediately. For example, if you gained leadership skills and helmed a major marketing campaign, discuss what you learned and how you hope to use these skills for future projects.
It takes a lot of time and energy to build meaningful relationships with employers, but it pays off well when you follow this strategy.
How are you becoming the ultimate boomerang employee?