What Is Outplacement?

Following up from Monday’s post on resume writers, career coaches, career counselors and job search coaches, I want to share what I’ve learned about a thing called outplacement services.  I did not receive outplacement, which I think is usually offered to terminated employees from larger companies.  I was the general manager of a small software firm, and my terminate package, if you can call it that, included a few weeks of severence.

If your employer offers outplacement, they will pay (usually) a few thousand dollars per person to help you get back on your feet.  There are a few major outplacement providers, including Lee Hecht Harrison, Drake Beam Morris and Right Management and the Impact Group.  These outplacement service providers usually service large contracts, and help professionals from many states or many countries.

There are smaller firms, which I call boutique outplacement firms, which normally specialize in a local area (multi-city, or sometimes, a few states).  Some boutique firms partner with other boutique firms, so they can bid on larger contracts.  For example, if I mostly work in California, and a client needs services in California and Washington, I’d look for a boutique firm in Washington who could partner with me to bid on the contract.

Typically, outplacement contracts vary based on your level.  If you are a lower-level employee you’ll get different services than if you were one of the directors or VPs who was terminated.  You might get less time (three months of outplacement as opposed to twelve months of outplacement) and different services.

I know a number of outplacement professionals who help job seekers get back on their feet.  This is a very active, interesting industry, which sometimes gets a bad rap.  Why?  Usually when an employee gets terminated (RIF’d, laid-off, etc.) they are not happy.  The help an outplacement firm offers is useful and important, but sometimes the candidate (that’s what you are called, as in “candidate for a job”) goes into the outplacement situation with a less-than-positive attitude.

There are some firms who specialize in retail outplacement, which means they offer outplacement services to individuals who come in and pay for the services on their own.

Do outplacement services, or service providers, do all the stuff I talked about on Monday?  Do they offer resume support?  Job search coaching?  Career counseling?  Not necessarily.  They will guide you on creating your resume, but they aren’t necessarily going to write your resume for you.  It depends, of course, on the overall package purchased.

So that wraps it up… are there any other service provider types I neglected to mention?

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