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The Daily Grind

Evaluate the Price-Benefits when Considering an Outplacement Program

In the July 7, 2009, Managing Your Career column, by Joann Lublin
titled “More Jobless Execs Foot Their Outplace
ment Bill” she describes
the characteristics of comprehensive executive outplacement firms and
believes that “jobless executives need every possible leg up in a
fiercely co
mpetitive job market.”

After interviewing a
variet
y of Shields Meneley Partners’ clients she concludes “The firm’s
strongest selling point? Highly personalized attention. Clients
initially undergo a lengthy assessment with a staff ps
ychologist.
Assigned one of the firm’s three counselors, executives then develop a
marketing plan, polish their resumes, practice interviewing, update
wardrobes, enlarge professional net
works and get “acclimation” coaching
during their nex
t job’s early days.”

Wall Street
Journal research indicates that “typical executive-level outplacement
exceeds standard fare such as office space, resume rewrites and
emotional support:

  • Provider specializes in serving upper management
  • Full-time counselors with small caseloads and broad business experience
  • Extensive psychological assessment
  • Customized research about potential employers
  • Introductions to a wide network of corporate leaders and directors
  • Legal advice about negotiating a new pay package

(Source: WSJ research)

If you are a senior
executive going through a career transition, carefully evaluate what
resources you will need to secure the best job. At this stage it will be
important to obtain feedback from a variety of people, those that are
friends and those that don’t know you well. Interview a few outplacement
firms and consider the differentiators between the firms. Taking into
consideration the cost-benefit ratio of the various options should be an
important consideration. As the WSJ writer concluded, we have found
that a comprehensive transition firm can be particularly helpful during a
very difficult market. But, we have also seen that if you don’t know
what you want to do next, want to change industries, title, or
functional responsibilities the benefits will outweigh the costs of a
comprehensive transition firm.

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