Should You Be Networking With Past Employers?


Maintaining a strong network of contacts is crucial for career success. Whether you’re job searching or trying to climb the ladder, having connections is key. But when it comes to networking, is it appropriate to reach out to former employers? Or is it frowned upon?

Here’s what our approved career experts had to say:

Evaluate Your Relationship

“If you mean companies that previous bosses now work for, I guess that depends on how healthy your relationship with that boss was,” says Kristin Johnson of

Johnson says if it was difficult, you might want to start by making amends with that specific person to avoid the possibility that they would make an effort to malign you there.

“You may want to prioritize your list so you work with your best prospects and most positive relationships first,” she says.

Look At Your Options

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran of says going back to an old employer is always an option to consider.

“You know the company and they know you,” she says. “Assuming it was a mutually positive experience on both accounts, you absolutely should consider a previous employer as part of your target company list.”

Maintain Your Network

“It’s always a good idea to maintain the network you built at past employers,” says Bud Bilanich, author of Climbing The Corporate Ladder. “These people can help you with job leads and can act as references for you when you are applying at a new company.”

Bilanich says it’s especially important to stay in touch with this network if you are planning to reapply to one of these companies. The bigger your network, the easier it will be for you to find a job.

“Your network is your key to career success,” he says. “When you are looking for a job, and after you’ve landed one.”

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Ariella Coombs

Ariella is the Content Manager for CAREEREALISM. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Follow her @AriellaCoombs or find her on Google+.


  1. Few say good idea to consider it and few say to Move on. It’s good to be connected with your past employers as you may have a Opportunity to explore any good positions from career standpoint. You can consider it only if your past employer/client is willing to take you back. I am sure they may consider but you have to be very careful when speaking to right people in the group. Else you may loose the opportunity if you are going through any gate keeper (preferred vendor to client) who look for their Margins. Well this is based on many shared experiences in the contracting world and not sure how it works from an Employee standpoint.

  2. This is a great point about networking with your former employers. You should always keep your contacts fresh and your networks active. You never know if another position will open up in your former company you might want, or if one of your contacts will know of a position elsewhere. Make sure you’re up to date with your networks so you’re ready to jump into a video interview as soon as an opportunity arises.

  3. We agree! This is especially helpful advice for current job seekers out there. Networking is a crucial part of discovering the jobs that aren’t always advertised. A bigger network means finding more opportunities.

  4. Absolutely! There is ever reason to keep those connections active. To quote the career sage Ralph Kramden (The Honeymooners), “Be nice to the people you meet on the way up. You meet those same people on the way back down!” :)

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