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Get Outplacement to Jump Start Your Job Search
By Laura Hill
Surprisingly, many executives and professionals don’t take advantage of outplacement services that are offered by their employers when they lose their jobs.  Reasons I hear for this range from “I’ve been through it before – there’s nothing they have to offer me” to “I wasn’t very impressed with the counselor I was assigned” or “I don’t care for group sessions”.   

Outplacement packages offered for departing employees may not be as robust as in years past, but even a modest program is a benefit that any affected employee should leverage fully.  No matter how easy it might have been to find your last job, the market is sure to be more competitive than before.  And if your last search was more than a year ago, you’re already out of date with social media techniques.  Here are some tips for getting the full value from your soon-to-be-former employer.  

Just ask.  If your employer doesn’t offer you outplacement, sometimes all you have to do is ask.  If they don’t have money allocated for this purpose or they don’t want to make you an exception among a group, ask if they can fund career “coaching” from an operating or training budget.  The best time to ask is before you sign the papers where you agree not to sue them.  By the way, outplacement and coaching are deductable business expenses to your employer. 

Meet your prospective outplacement provider.  Many employers will direct you to their established vendors.  You should meet them to see if they’re a good fit for your needs.  You should ask to meet the counselor you would be working with and inquire about client/counselor ratio and how much 1-1 time you will have with him or her.

Shop around.  Just because your employer has an existing relationship with one or more outplacement providers, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options.  If you would like to consider working with a career coach where you will be guaranteed personal, one-to-one attention, then do your own shopping for that person and ask your HR professional or boss to have your outplacement budget re-directed. 

Show up.  Selecting the right provider doesn’t matter if you don’t attend their programs and meet with your counselor.  It goes without saying that you will benefit more from some things than others, but hey – you’re unemployed – don’t tell me you’re too busy to check out everything they have to offer.  Keep in mind that these professionals do this for a living – they know a whole lot more about job search than you do.

Be proactive with your coach.  Be thoughtful about how you use your time with your advisor.  Don’t just report on the status of things in the hopper or use your time as a gripe session.  Take advantage of his or her wisdom for strategy, planning, feedback and insights, as well as help with your resume, pitch and interviewing, to give your job search every possible advantage. 


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