Ethnic businessman shaking hand of applicant in office

What is a Former Employer?- Definition Explained

Meaning of Former Employer

Your former employer is the person or company you last worked for.

You may well believe your former employer is safely in your past. But, you may need this information when filling out job applications or starting a new position. You may have left with friendly farewells or perhaps a sigh of relief. But, whatever you think of your former employer, they can still have an impact on your career for many years after you leave their workplace.

They can still be contacted for a reference or for an opinion on your capabilities in the workplace, your integrity, or your people and communication skills. Considering how all of this can have an impact on your life going forward, it is not advisable to dismiss them to the past so quickly.

So there are some things you need to be careful about and, of course, some things you can congratulate yourself on.

Things to be Aware of With Your Former Employer

People talk, and very often, they repeat what we tell them without intending to damage us. So the best advice when it comes to discussing an previous employer you have had a negative experience with is to say nothing.

Bear in mind we are living in a very competitive world when it comes to the workplace and job searches. Rather than seeing you as someone who was badly treated by an ex-employer, the person you tell your story to may very often see you as somebody who caused the problem and didn’t deserve the position in the first place.

Think in the same way when interviewing for a future job. Make sure you don’t make any negative remarks about a former employer. Criticism, whether justified or not, will reflect negatively on you and have the interviewer thinking he may be the next in line for criticism if he employs you.

However, if the experience has been positive, by all means, feel free to praise a former employer and show your generosity of spirit.

What Benefits Did You Gain in a Former Work Experience?

Businessman welcoming a new female employee

It is easy to think negatively about a past employer. But most of us learn valuable lessons from experiences that may or may not have been happy ones.

Consider things you may have learned from your former employer. Was it:

  • How to deal with a new workplace?
  • How to develop your skills when doing a particular job?
  • A new way of working?
  • How to work with a team and use your communication skills?
  • The best way to deal with difficult situations?

It can have been one or all of the above but look at how time spent with your former employer can have added to your employability.

A useful exercise to undertake when applying for a new job is to compare your application for a future job with the application you made to the job you are currently leaving.

You will be able to see how:

  • Your skill set has improved
  • Your approach to work may have changed
  • You may have matured during your time with your former employer
  • You have added to the experiences you can list on your CV

All of these are things to congratulate yourself on.


Learn From Your Experiences

In a world where everything keeps changing, employees too need to adapt to changes and learn as they progress. The days of everything staying the same from the time of finishing your education until the day you retire are long gone, and many would say fortunately so.

If you are an employee wishing to move on, embrace the opportunity to develop your talents. This is your time to do a course, to develop your abilities further.

Contact a job test preparation company to discover the array of courses available. Even though your current employer is about to become your former employer, you will still need to be prepared for the pre-employment testing process that is so much part of recruitment now.

You may find some or all of the following tests have changed since you took up your position with your now-to-be former employer.


Be Patient

Never be in too much of a hurry to consign your current employer to the past. You may have very good reasons of your own to change employers, but moving too quickly can have its own drawbacks.

You need time to think and to carefully assess the changes moving jobs could make in your life.
Moving too quickly could see you ending up in a less favorable situation than your current one and regretting leaving your now-former employer.

You need time to prepare. You will have to undergo the testing process again. You need to be absolutely certain you have a new employer to work for before making any rash decisions. In a competitive jobs market, joining the ranks of the unemployed can happen all too easily.

And remember, it is always easier to move from a job that you have to another equally desirable job than it is to move from being unemployed to being gainfully employed.


And Always, Onwards and Upwards!

The whole purpose of changing jobs is to move onwards and upwards. When you think of giving your current employer the title of “Former Employer,” you need to ensure the move is going to be to your benefit.

In a fast-moving world, career progression is more significant than ever. Have a look at the training you underwent, and while it may sound mercenary, take a look also at the income you are going to require in the coming years.

And be sure that making today’s boss tomorrow’s former employer is going to leave you better off in terms of salary and benefits and, if possible, in terms of work/life balance.