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QUESTION: My company will be downsizing soon, and I know I’m going to get cut. HR says they’ll hire an outplacement firm to help us find a new job. Should I take advantage of this?

Virginia Franco, Virginia Franco Resumes

All outplacement firms are not created equal, and the deals companies negotiate with them range greatly — from one-on-one resume writing to a quick resume review to support DIY. Consider negotiating funds as part of your exit agreement (equivalent to what the company would have invested with an outplacement firm) for you to use to choose a resume writer or career coach of YOUR choosing!

Ruth Pankratz, Gabby Communication

Outplacement firms are valuable resources. Just as onboarding is critical when starting a position, employer-paid offboarding assists workers with a transition into a different job. Navigating unemployment is challenging. Outplacement services provide customized career resources such as coaching, job search, career documents, interview prep, and networking to help people secure work quickly.

Alison King, Copyedit Queen

Definitely! Companies offer these services during layoffs to soften the blow (and preserve their reputation). It’s one tool, of many, that you can use to launch your job search—typically on the company’s dime. If the services include a resume or coaching session, be prepared: Bring your most recent resume and be ready to tell PAR (Problem-Action-Result) stories about your accomplishments.

Lisa Rangel, Chameleon Resumes

Yes! And if you prefer to work with another company for personalized services, ask HR if the monies can be allocated towards coaching/resume writer of your choice. Negotiate this as part of your severance package. But whether or not your employer allows you to go to a specialized firm or not, always take advantage of help you are offered. And if you need more help beyond outplacement, obtain it.

Cherie Heid, Competitive Edge Resume Service

Yes! Outplacement firms help you with the transition to a new job and usually includes assistance with your job search, resume writing, LinkedIn optimization, job coaching, and training on interviewing and other topics. Depending on what type of package your company selects, it can be incredibly helpful.

Cathy Lanzalaco, Inspire Careers

Absolutely! Outplacement services are a great benefit if you are fortunate enough to receive them. The coaching you receive throughout the transition process can help you make the mental shift needed to move forward confidently into your next role and provide the updated career marketing tools (resume, LinkedIn profile) to open up the door to new opportunities.

Robert Rosales, EZ Resume Services

Absolutely! Outplacement firms can provide valuable services for terminated and laid-off employees. Expert services can include career coaching, resume writing, LinkedIn assistance, interview preparation, and networking help. Employers pay for the services and insert them into severance packages where they can help reduce the stress and anxiety associated with unexpected job loss.

Larissa Williams, Chic Resumes & Services

Absolutely! I encourage you to leverage this in parallel with your individual efforts. This is a resource that can actively catapult your career search in many ways (resume writing, coaching, interview prep, networking, etc.). In addition, the outplacement firm may have the latest information regarding the current market/industry landscape, trends, and best practices. Good luck!

Carol Adams, Ideal Resumes, LLC

Yes, it’s part of your severance and costs you nothing. But, there is varying quality among outplacement firms, so I suggest you learn everything you can from them while concurrently doing your own research. Make sure that your resume meets modern resume standards, addresses the employer’s needs, and is ATS compatible. If you’re not happy with what you get, speak up!

Edward Lawrence, Getstarted LLC

As an outplacement worker, I say, “Definitely!” Outplacement firms can assist with your résumé, cover letters, LinkedIn profile, networking efforts, interview preparation, and more. Some companies arrange for as much as ten weeks assistance for laid off workers. This aid can be a crucial advantage for you as you enter the job market. Don’t go it alone.

Donna Tucker, CareerPRO Resume Center

Remember the old saying that you can have it “fast, good, or cheap – pick two”? This could well apply to an outplacement service. Sure, take advantage of the “cheap” (free), but be sure you are also getting the good and the fast too. Don’t depend on the outplacement firm alone. Do your own research and/or hire your own professional to get you back to work fast with quality job search documents.

Mary Jo King, Alliance Résumé & Writing Service

Do take advantage of severance benefits. However, all outplacement firms are not created equal. Many do not provide capable resume writing and LinkedIn profile services–both of which are critical to your success. Some will not adequately coach you on job search best practices. Protect yourself by following up with an NRWA resume/profile writer, many of whom offer free or low-cost consultations.

Grant Cooper, Strategic Resumes & Business Plans

Absolutely take advantage of the outplacement resources that your company provides. Do your homework to learn about the quality of services that the firm offers. Many employees affected by layoffs also find it helpful to hire their own career or resume services beyond what the company offers. This is particularly true when the outplacement package largely consists of digital and online resources.

Norine Dagliano, ekm Inspirations

Absolutely! Outplacement professionals are highly skilled in assisting you with finding and transitioning to your next job and will help you do so more quickly. This is an employer-paid benefit that will save you time and money by providing you with professional help to develop your resume and LinkedIn profile, create and execute a strategic job search plan, prepare for an interview, and more.

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