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26% of job switchers regret joining the Great Resignation, survey finds: ‘They’ve sobered up’

Despite some indications of an economic slowdown, the job market remains remarkably stable, and many workers have reaped the benefits.

In fact, a record number of employees quit their jobs, found new positions and renegotiated along the way.

But not everyone who joined the so-called Great Reshuffle is better off.

More than a quarter — or 26% — of workers who quit regret their decision, according to a recent survey of more than 15,000 job seekers by Joblist, a job-search platform. 

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What was once the “Great Resignation” could now be the “Great Return.”

Whether they left in search of higher pay, more flexibility or to relieve burnout, “people may realize the grass is not greener,” said Antoinette Boyd, director of career success and professional development at Maryville University.

According to Joblist, most said they regret quitting because it was harder than they thought to find a new position, despite job openings near record levels. Others said their new job has not lived up to their expectations or they now feel that their old position was better than they originally thought. 

Further, workers who left in search of a better work/life balance may find “opportunities surface at the companies they used to work for,” Boyd added, as more employers implement hybrid work schedules and better benefits.

Early on people felt empowered to quit, but now they’re looking to boomerang.
James Bailey
professor of leadership development at George Washington University School of Business

“Early on people felt empowered to quit, but now they’re looking to boomerang,” said James Bailey, a professor of leadership development at George Washington University School of Business.

“Employees were feeling drunk with power,” he said. “Now, they’ve sobered up.”

Plus, there are advantages to returning to a previous employer, Bailey added. “People are really drawn to the familiarity.”   

And there’s a benefit for employers, too. “The cost of onboarding brand new people as opposed to hiring back boomerangs is just way too high,” he said. “Recruitment and training are expensive.”

“Boomerangs already know the job, so they can shift back in seamlessly.”

However, anyone looking for a fresh start, or a restart at their previous gig, must still apply and contend with a large pool of candidates.

How to get (re)hired

Recruiters spend less than seven seconds, on average, reviewing an applicant’s resume, according to Toni Frana, career services manager at FlexJobs. “Having a standout resume is more important than ever,” she said.

Having a summary, skills section and headline under your name can play a key role in making your resume rise to the top.

“Think of your summary as your virtual introduction,” said LinkedIn career expert Blair Heitmann. 

Keep it to about four or five sentence bullets and consider adding relevant skills and keywords featured in descriptions of jobs that seem interesting to you, she advised.

“A good rule of thumb is to think of your summary as an elevator pitch — spotlight what you’re in it for and what drives you to go to work every day,” said Heitmann. 

To showcase your skills, start with the top five that are most relevant for your job or the job you want, and think broadly about skills you may have gained through other work experience, extracurricular activities or volunteer work.

Here’s where you tailor your experience as closely as you can to the specific job you want and include any transferable skills that may add value, such as communication or time management, Heitmann said.

“Job seekers can — and should — add different skills to each of their job descriptions,” she advised.

A good rule of thumb is to think of your summary as an elevator pitch.
Blair Heitmann
career expert at LinkedIn

But don’t just list what you’ve done. Rather than say “I was responsible for managing the front office,” add tangible results, she said. For example, tout the fact that you “implemented a new filing system that increased productivity by 15%.” 

Finally, put a face to a name. “Don’t underestimate the importance of showcasing your true self with a great profile photo,” Heitmann said.

That doesn’t mean you need special hair or makeup or fancy equipment.

“All it takes is a quick snap,” she added. “It’s your virtual handshake, and a simple way to be recognized and discovered.”

3 resume mistakes that can lose you that job

  1. Typos. Typos are more common than you think, according to Heitmann. “Proofread multiple times every time you make a change and ask a friend or two to review as well.”
  2. Not tailoring your approach. “Recruiters are seeing an influx of people applying for roles that aren’t a fit, or to multiple roles at different levels at the same company, which makes it clear you’re just applying to everything and seeing what sticks,” Heitmann said.

    Instead, give concrete examples of why you are a good fit based on the skills you have and the skills required for the position.

  3. Stretching the truth. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’ll be unprepared for your new job or caught in a lie. Even if you’ve been laid off, that is not necessarily a strike like it may have been in the past. “Layoffs are fairly common, so I do not think anyone needs to feel ashamed about it or hide it,” said Carolyn Kleiman, a career expert at

    In fact, “some of the interviewers may have been laid off in the past themselves,” added Stacie Haller, another ResumeBuilder career expert.

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