How Do Executive Outplacement Firms Help You Get Your Career Back on Track

What services do executive outplacement firms offer to execs? And how can you maximize those services?

Career Transition Support You Can Rely On

If you’re an executive who has been laid off, you will probably be offered access to an executive outplacement firm. I recommend that you take up the offer. The services you could benefit from could certainly help you transition your career.

In this article, I outline the key services you could be provided by outplacement firms and, crucially, how you can get the most from those services.

What does a good outplacement firm ‘look like’?

I’ve been honored to work with several outplacement firms, running in-person workshops for them and helping career coaches deliver their objectives. From my experience, great outplacement firms have several things in common:

  • They have a history of service delivery

For example, Right Management (part of the Manpower Group) has more than 40 years of expertise in the talent lifecycle. Another firm that I have worked with, Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH, part of the Adecco Group), employs 4,000 coaches who work with more than 12,000 organizations worldwide.

  • They offer a range of services

The best outplacement firms offer a range of services, designed to reach out to companies and individuals. These may include:

  • Help with planning for job search

  • Help with research

  • Information about relevant job search resources

  • Help with personal branding

  • Financial consulting

  • Direction on interview technique

  • Help with resume development

  • Coaching across professional topics

  • Admin support

  • Entrepreneurial consulting

Some outplacement firms, like The Job Forum (based in the San Francisco Bay area), have blended their approach to include job postings and executive placement. 

  • They benefit from use of technology

Outplacement firms use technology to deliver their services in a variety of ways. 2020 saw the level of virtual services provided by outplacement firms explode. For example, The Job Forum transitioned all its programs to virtual delivery rather than in-person.

Outplacement firms use tech to help people connect more effectively, review resumes, and receive personalized coaching. 

Participants in their services can access them more flexibly and at more convenient times. Systems are used to help coach participants and manage their careers more effectively. 

  • They may ‘specialize’

Outplacement firms may also specialize, perhaps in an industrial sector or for a specific demographic. For example, Phase2 Careers, founded and run by Ron Visconti, serves the ‘over-40’ professionals and the employers who serve them. They run regular events, and provide services that include career transition and job search coaching for individuals and business participation opportunities to help companies recruit, engage, and retain talented employees.

How to get the most from executive outplacement

There is a temptation to think that your company is simply doing only what it should when they lay off executives. The fact is that executives who go through outplacement tend to be more successful in moving forward in their career, or taking their skills and experience in a new direction.

A study of outplacement success, conducted by Harry J Martin (Cleveland State University) and Dennis F. Larkin, showed that all executives who engaged in outplacement services found a new position following outplacement. It also discovered that personality traits like agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience contribute signi´Čücantly to the effectiveness of outplacement services. 

In short, resist that temptation to think outplacement as an obligation met by your previous employer, and more as an opportunity to develop your career in a more positive direction. Be open to learning more about yourself and, thus, take advantage of this new information.

The executive coaching that you might be offered during outplacement really is second to none. For example, Susan Schwartz who provides career coaching at LHH for executives in transition, will help you to identify your strengths, find your voice, discover who you really are, and create a personal brand. This level of self-awareness is critical to identify the right opportunity for you, not just the next job.

The Takeaway

In summary, executive outplacement firms offer exceptional support to you when you are transitioning your career. 

My advice is to enter outplacement services with an open mind, and take advantage of all the services that will benefit you. 

The result could be a new direction in which you are happier and more successful than you have ever been, utilizing skillsets and personality traits that are your real strengths.


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