"Outplacement" and "looking for a job" written on a notepad

What to Expect from an Outplacement Program

Outplacement services are great resources to have by your side as you look for your next career opportunity and can help make your job search a lot less scary. Whether your employer has offered outplacement as part of your severance package or referred you to an outplacement provider, we’ve answered some common questions from transitioning job seekers to help you understand what to expect from an outplacement program. 


What is outplacement? 

Outplacement is a complimentary benefit some employers include as part of their severance packages. Employers partner with outplacement providers to offer career services to employees they have let go. While services vary, outplacement programs may include career coaching, a job search platform, professional resume, cover letter, and digital profile writing, interview prep, and more. 

The goal of an outplacement program is to provide support in your job search so that you can transition smoothly and quickly into your new role. 


Do I have to pay for it? 

If your employer offers outplacement as part of your severance package, you do not have to pay for this service. It is available to you free of charge. However, if you wanted additional services that weren’t included in your program – like a professionally written resume – you may have to purchase those on your own.  


Job seeker celebrating while reading his job offer


Will I have access to outplacement services until I get a job? 

This is one of the most common questions job seekers have when wondering what to expect from an outplacement program. Will you be cut off in a matter of months whether you’ve landed a new job or not, or will you have support until you’ve signed an offer letter? The answer varies depending on your outplacement program, so make sure you check with your employer.  

In some cases, you will only have access to outplacement services for a certain period of time (usually three to six months). In other cases, you’ll be able to use outplacement until you’ve gotten a new job, or “until placement.” However, outplacement providers who offer “until placement” services often stipulate that you must be actively using their services to receive that benefit. 


Can I use outplacement services to look for a job in another industry? 

In most cases, outplacement providers are there to help you find a job that’s well-suited for your skills and satisfies your career goals – whether that’s in your current industry or not. If you’re offered a career coach, make sure you’re clear about your goals and interest in changing careers so they can help you move in the right direction. 

Will I get individual coaching? 

It depends. Some outplacement programs offer individual coaching, where you’ll get a consultation with a dedicated career coach to assist you with any aspect of the job search process. Along with providing expert advice, their job is to learn about your individual needs and help you tailor your job search experience to meet them.  

In other scenarios, you’ll have access to group coaching sessions where a career coach will work with you and several other job seekers at once. Some programs also offer group webinars or workshops in place of traditional coaching sessions. 


Job seeker working with a career coach


Will I get help with my job search? 

In most cases, you’ll get access to a job search platform. Sometimes, you’ll also have the opportunity to speak with a career coach who can provide job search tips, interviewing advice, and other helpful information. Even if you don’t have a dedicated career coach, your outplacement provider will provide resources – like career advice articles, webinars, or a career portal – to help you land the job you want. 


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Will I get help with writing my resume? 

Many outplacement providers offer professional resume writing. If you have access to this service, you’ll provide your work experience, career goals, and/or desired jobs to an expert resume writer. They’ll craft your resume to highlight your talents, catch the attention of recruiters, and get past applicant tracking systems and into the hands of employers. Your outplacement provider may even offer cover letter and digital profile (e.g., LinkedIn) writing as well to complement your resume. 

If your outplacement program doesn’t include resume writing, they will typically provide guidance to help you write your own. 


Can I get outplacement services even if it’s not offered to me by my employer? 

Yes, some outplacement providers offer individual services. If you’re struggling to find a job, wanting to transition into a new career, or looking for advice to optimize your job search, outplacement programs can provide professional career coaching and helpful resources. 


Work desk with computer screen that says "dream job"


Can I use outplacement services to start my own business or transition into retirement? 

Some outplacement providers do offer services to help you transition into whichever opportunity makes the most sense for you, even if it’s outside of the traditional job search – like entrepreneurship, the gig economy, or retirement. Check with your employer or outplacement provider to see what kind of resources are available to help you move toward your career goal.  


What if I want to take a break before I begin job searching? Can I still use my employer-provided outplacement services?  

Many outplacement programs require you to actively use its services within a certain timeframe in order to keep your access. Confirm the policy for your program with your employer or outplacement provider. 


If you’re wondering what to expect from an outplacement program, understand that it varies depending on which services your employer or outplacement provider offers. Be sure to get more information from your employer so you know what resources are available to you. In any case, outplacement services exist to make your job search easier, so take advantage of the tools offered to you and find your next great opportunity. We’re rooting for you! 

By Sarah Ballow | December 16, 2020
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