As the economy starts to slowly get back on its feet, companies are also slowly starting to rehire. You loved your old job and would like nothing more than to be rehired by your former employer. How to get back on the short list when your company starts hiring again? Here are a few tips:

Here’s the good news: You’re well-positioned to be a top contender for a shot back in the door at your former employer. After all, you’ve already got a good track record at your former employer (right??), you know the business inside and out, and, best of all, you’ve got people on the inside who can attest to your abilities.

Even so, don’t assume that your company will come calling – they may not realize that you’re still on the market and interested, so keep in regular contact with recruiters, hiring managers, and former managers to let them know you’d love to rejoin the organization through periodic emails and calls. Let them know how you’ve continued to stay sharp and savvy (“I recently contributed to on current sales technologies…” “I’ve been consulting with several small companies on a part-time basis to help them increase sales and market share…”) during your time off in ways that continue to highlight your skills and expertise.

As you continue to reach out to your company, stay on top of what’s been happening at your former employer, and share your thoughts about how you’d handle a particular issue or business opportunity upon your return. Show them that you’ve been working for them all along, even if you’re not on the payroll at the moment.

When interviewing and negotiating at your former employer, don’t assume that the old rules – including salary and bonus packages – still apply. Be flexible, and know that you may not be interviewing for your former job and the salary that went along with it. Consider opportunities that give you a foot back in the door, even if you have to take a hit in salary or job title to do so, but negotiate to return to your former salary or job title in six months (for example) if you hit certain benchmarks along the way.

With all this, is pursuing opportunities with your former employer the right move? If you have anything less than a great track record at this company, you may be barking up the wrong tree if you’re looking for a second chance. Even in a tough market, it’s easier to create a first impression with a new employer than to try to change your existing reputation at your former one. Also, consider the state of the company today – after all, they conducted layoffs for a reason, and the employer you used to know and love may bear little resemblance to the one you’re looking at today. Ask yourself if you’ll have the same kinds of opportunities if you return, and who you’d be working with on a daily basis. If this is still a team worth fighting for, throw your hat in the ring. If not, move on and find a company that’s worth your talents.

Author's Bio: 

Elizabeth Freedman is an expert in career and workplace issues. She is the author of Work 101: Learning the Ropes of the Workplace without Hanging Yourself and The MBA Student’s Job-Seeking Bible, and was a 2005 finalist for College Speaker of the Year, awarded by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities. Elizabeth runs a Boston-based career-development and coaching firm; clients include PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Reuters and The Gillette Company. To bring Elizabeth to your next association event or workplace meeting, please visit