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Employers who find they must trim costs by cutting staff provide outplacement assistance if they possibly can. If you happen to be a staff member who was let go, here’s how to get the most out of your outplacement assistance.
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Getting laid off—it happens, but knowing it’s a part of life doesn’t make it any easier to cope with. When it happens to you, it’s important not to succumb to panic. What you need is to stay focused on the job search and the future.
Hopefully, your former company offered you outplacement assistance as part of your severance package, and hopefully you accepted it. Using these benefits can help you brush up on job-seeking skills, make connections, and find a new position faster. Here’s how to get the most out of them.
1. Understand Your Outplacement Benefits
The words “outplacement assistance” mean different things to different companies. Moreover, there are plenty of career counseling and outplacement assistance firms out there offering many different tiers of service. So the quality of your outplacement assistance can vary pretty widely, depending on how much the company had budgeted for outplacement job counseling.
Basic benefits might include resume, cover letter, and interviewing help. More elaborate packages might include multiple meetings with career counselors, access to seminars or networking events, access to office facilities, and even access to recruiters and job opportunities not available to members of the public.
Make sure you know exactly what your outplacement assistance benefits entail, so you can make the best use of them. If you know you’re only getting a couple of meetings with a career counselor, you can plan questions to ask and concerns to bring up. If you know you’re going to have the opportunity to attend networking events, maybe you’ll have some business cards printed up beforehand.
2. Use as Many of the Services as You Can
Now is not the time to be choosy. You should make yourself aware of all the services on offer from your outplacement program. Then use as many of them as you possibly can, even if you don’t really see the point. Maybe attending that weird networking event will connect you with the person who gets you your next job. Maybe you’ll learn something from that awkward Zoom conference. Remember, you’re getting valuable career services for free, so why not use them?
3. Spruce Up Your Cover Letter and Resume
After a few years on the job, you’ll need to draft a new cover letter and update your resume before you start filling out those online applications. You can get help punching up your job descriptions, eliminating common mistakes, and tailoring your materials to the kind of job you want. If you’ve been out of the job market for a while and need help with online applications, career counseling is available for that. Resume and cover letter help is one of the most valuable services available to you in outplacement assistance. Therefore, make it a priority.
4. Zero in on Your Goals
Sometimes, losing a job makes you reflect on what you really want out of life—at least, the part of life that you get paid for participating in. Maybe you don’t like this field as much as you thought you would. Perhaps this job was just a stopgap until you could get the opportunity to break into the field you trained for. Maybe you’re determined to make this layoff a blessing in disguise and land an even better job. Maybe you’re worried that you need to beef up your job skills, learn some new programs, or get a certification.
Outplacement assistance can help you determine what you want your next move to be and help you find a practical path to get there. Usually, the emphasis is on networking, connecting with recruiters, and showcasing your skills to get the job you want. But it can also include advice about retraining, building job skills, or changing careers.
5. Practice Your Interview Skills
Whether you’ve been in your position for decades or just a few years, your interview skills are bound to get rusty. How often do you really use them, after all? Take the opportunity to practice your interview skills and get feedback from a job counselor. Practicing interviews will boost your confidence and, along with resume and cover letter help, is among the most important benefits of outplacement assistance.
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Take Full Advantage of Your Outplacement Assistance
Getting fired can be rough, but taking full advantage of your outplacement assistance can make it easier. With any luck, you’ll be settling into a new job before you know it.
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