Because you don't know what can happen when you start a new job, it makes good sense to leave a job on the best terms you can. Even if you diligently check out the company, your future manager, and your co-workers, as best you can, the job might not be what you thought it was and working for the company might not be what you expected.
It happens, but before you ask for your old job back be sure that you want it.
Should You Ask for Your Job Back?
You resigned for a reason. Is the fact that the new job isn't working out a good enough reason to return to a situation that you have recently left? Or, does it make sense to look for another new job and move on?
Weigh the pros and cons. Make a list of why you left and make another list of what the benefits would be if you went back. If the pros outweigh the cons, consider asking for your old job or a new job at your former employer.
Will the Company Rehire You?
Don't presume that the company will hire you back even if they loved the job you did. Your position may have been filled. Even if it's not, they may prefer to start over with someone else. There will be questions about your commitment to the company and whether you'll quit again the next time you get a job offer.
If the company is willing to consider rehiring you, you are probably going to have to sell yourself to the company and make the case that it's a good idea to rehire you. Be prepared to explain why you left, what didn't work out at the new company, and why you want to come back. Also be prepared to show the company why it is advantageous for them to rehire you and how you will show that you are committed to staying this time around.
How to Ask for Your Job Back
Here are tips you can use to try to get your old job back:
Resign Gracefully. Before you leave, do everything you can to be ensure you resign on good terms. Here's advice on how to resign from a job. Leaving on the best terms possible will help you keep a foot in the door at the company and up your chances of getting rehired.
Stay Connected With Colleagues. Keep in touch with your former colleagues. Connect with them on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. Send an email once in a while to check on how they are doing. Have coffee and lunch on occasion. The more connected you are, the easier it can be to go back. The stronger your personal connections, the more likely you are to be taken back.
Stay Connected to The Company. In addition to keeping in touch with your former colleagues, stay connected to the company. If the company has a LinkedIn Group join it, like the company Facebook page, and follow the company on Twitter. If there is a corporate alumni network for your former employer, join it. The more engaged you stay, the better your chances of returning.
Make a Decision. Don't make a hasty decision. Be sure you want to go back. Don't go back just because it's the path of least resistance and it's easier to ask for your job back than it is to start your job search over.
Ask for Your Job. If you decide you do want to go back to work for your former employer you can request an in-person meeting or send a letter or email message asking for your job back. Here's a sample letter to ask for your job back that you can edit to fit your personal circumstances.
What Else Can You Do? Check on other jobs at the company. If your job has been filled, inquire about other openings you may be qualified for.
Be Prepared. Be prepared to answer questions - lots of questions. Prepare answers to questions about why you want your job back and why the company should rehire you. You'll need to be convincing.
Have a Plan B. Going back to your former position may not be an option. Have a back-up plan in place and be prepared to start a new job search. Here are tips on what to do when a new job doesn't work out.