Laid Off? Request Outplacement!

I just came across this article in the Wall Street Journal which says companies are stepping up layoffs because of the lack of economic recovery. I've been told by some sources to expect unemployment to reach 10% by the fall. And the government just eliminated extensions on unemployment benefits in July. WARNING: If you've been affected by a layoff, or you get laid off in near future, you should see if your employer will provide you with outplacement services to speed up your job search. Why? The average length of time it takes to find a job right now is 39 weeks. Unemployment benefits (depending where you are) run for 26 weeks. Do the math. You need help as a way to shorten that job search! What is Outplacement? Basically, it's job search support that's delivered either in-person or 0n-line. You'll receive training and assistance as a way to get your search in gear. What is GOOD Outplacement? Not all outplacement programs are created the same. And, just because they are more expensive, doesn't mean they are better. I've worked with people who paid 1,000s of dollars for "premium" outplacement with some big name firms, only to spend a year looking for work and not landing a single interview. By the time they reached my doorstep, they were pretty frustrated. To avoid this, keep in mind that good outplacement services:

  1. Let you work with career experts on ALL of your career tools including, resume, cover letter, career story, personal branding, LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, interview prep, informational interviewing, networking, salary negotiation, career transitions, salary negotiation, etc.
  2. Provide training materials in both written and video form that can be taken advantage of on-line so you can use them at your convenience. Some places demand that you attend classes in-person to receive their training. For many of us, this is not possible. So, outplacement that has extensive on-line support is better for most job seekers today.
  3. Can prove that their materials are helping people in today's economy actually find work.
  4. Are especially knowledgeable in the "new rules" to job search which rely heavily on social media as a way to find job opportunities as opposed to the outdated job boards.
How do I approach my former employer? Step 1: If you've been affected by a layoff recently, or get laid-off in the future, contact the employer's HR department and inquire if they have any existing outplacement service providers that they are offering to ex-employees. There may be some resources you weren't aware of at the time you got laid-off. Losing your job is such an emotional experience, many people don't hear what the HR person is saying/explaining with respect to options because they are too shocked to pay attention. Step 2: If your company doesn't have any outplacement service providers, ask them if they would be willing to offer any financial assistance for you to get access to an outplacement program that could help you find a job faster. Affordable yet comprehensive on-line programs like, cost only $49/person to join and $9/month after that. Companies can even negotiate group pricing for all employees affected by the lay0ff. You'd be surprised how few companies know this kind of outplacement service exists. It's a cost-effective option they could give to you and your fellow colleagues who were affected by the layoff. It certainly is a good way for them to show their support of you and desire to help you find a new job to replace the one you lost. Step 3: If your company doesn't offer outplacement and won't provide you with any financial support, consider investing in outplacement for yourself. The cost of getting the right information and support to help you find job faster could be well worth it. The alternative could be a longer job search where you are tapping into savings and racking up credit card debt. Remember: You Won't Get Help if You Don't Ask! In closing, getting laid-off can be very traumatic, especially in a gloomy economy. With 25M Americans currently "between jobs" and the unemployment outlook not improving, you need to speak up and get the help that can assist you in finding your next job. Sadly, if you don't ask for the help, you most likely won't get it. So, don't waste the opportunity to request outplacement services from your former employer. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain! Laid off image by Shutterstock

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