Johnny C. Taylor Jr.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr. tackles your human resources questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest HR professional society and author of “Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval.”
The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor’s answers below have been edited for length and clarity.
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Question: I left my previous job five months ago for a position that pays more. Outside of the money, this new experience has not been what I had hoped for. I feel like I’m starting all over again in terms of experience, connections, and esteem. I’d honestly take a pay cut to have my old job or even something similar. Though I left on good terms, I worry about how I would be received by my former boss. What’s the best approach for reaching out to my former employer about returning to work for them? – Kahlil
Johnny C. Taylor Jr.: You certainly aren’t alone. We’ve seen many people spontaneously transition to new jobs in the wake of the pandemic. Understandably, many of them have suffered from quitter’s remorse. It’s common for employees to want to return to their former company. There’s even a name for them: Boomerangs. Employees who return after leaving a company are on the rise. According to LinkedIn, Boomerangs accounted for 4.5% of all new hires among companies in 2021, up from 3.9% in 2019. Some organizations even encourage people who have left on good terms to consider returning to the company, especially in this tough labor market.
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Having had such a positive experience at your previous company reflects well on your former boss. The best approach is to be candid with your former employer and explain why you are interested in returning to work for them. Explain your circumstances and what you value about working there. Share any additional skills, expertise, or credentials gained since your departure. Remember, your familiarity with the company product or service, its operation, culture and mission is an advantage for you.
Make it make sense. Your former manager may be concerned about you jumping ship again, so be clear about how this organization aligns with your intentions and future goals.
If you left on good terms, there’s no reason not to reach out to express your interest in returning. Even if your old job has been filled, they may still welcome you back in a different role or consider you for any future openings.
This can be a win-win for both of you!
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Q: I’d like to relocate to another country. What should I consider as a candidate embarking on an international career search? What’s the best way to get information on international organizations and cultures? – Audrey
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: Working abroad offers an exciting opportunity to enrich your career path. You should do your due diligence to discover the best opportunity for you. There are several elements to consider when contemplating relocating and working in another country. Primarily, you must decide where you want to go, what you want to do, and what it will take to get there. Gathering information on international organizations and cultures requires research and networking.
Seek out specific recruitment sites for international careers where you can learn about the organizations and then research a specific country. Not every country is abounding with job opportunities or with life experience comparable to what you may have become accustomed to. Or a vastly different life experience may be exactly what you are looking for. Either way, researching what you want to experience and what you may be willing to sacrifice to live in certain places will be critical.
Research the different cultures and languages; and if feasible, visit those areas. You may even be able to lean into your previous cultural or language exposure. It may be time to dust off your college French or your middle school Spanish. Depending on your proficiency, your foreign language skills may come in handy.
The people you know could be a valuable resource in your search. Just like job hunting in the states, let your network know you are willing and available for work in your intended fields and countries. Contact your alumni associations, present or former employers, friends, family members, mentors, coaches, and any networking organizations to which you may be connected. Your network can offer insight to help refine your options. They can also help you collect information on international organizations and cultures. Some may even offer a direct connection to a prospective employer.
Global organizations might be the most accessible bridge to working abroad. Some U.S. companies have offices around the world, so it may be easier to start with U.S.-based global companies first or global companies with a significant U.S. presence.
After selecting a position and location, you should prepare for the next steps. Tailor your cover letter and resume to the culture and the language of your targeted locations. Understand the Visa process of where you want to work. Visit the U.S. Department of State’s website for more information about how to obtain a temporary work visa in the country you want to work in.
No matter where your career journey takes you, I hope the experience is enriching and fulfilling.