Finding a new job is often a challenging task, especially if you’re feeling angry, panicked, or demoralized after a layoff. This is why many companies today offer outgoing employees outplacement services, also known as career transition support. These services generally include expert coaching, resume review, networking tips, and related help given at no cost to employees to help them land new jobs more quickly and easily.

Should you ever lose a job, outplacement benefits can be of great help—even if you’ve never received assistance while looking for a job before. Usually, the outplacement services you receive will include help from a career coach, who can guide you with salary negotiation tips, targeted interview advice, or even instructions for a successful career pivot.

If your company already offers outplacement services to employees, you’re all set. If this benefit is not in place, however, you can negotiate to receive it. Here are three ways you can secure outplacement benefits to support you in the case of a job loss.

Ask for outplacement benefits before taking the job

The days when many employees spent decades working for a single company are over. Today, it makes sense for you to consider your exit plan—even at the time when you’re joining a company. After all, this is often the time when you have the most leverage over the benefits your employer is willing to offer.

If you’re bringing much-needed skills to or filling an important role in the organization you’re joining, you are in an especially good position to request additional benefits. “Before taking the leap, consider negotiating a guaranteed severance package and outplacement services,” recommends Fast Company, offering a few suggested talking points for that conversation:

  • Explain “leaving your current company to join a new one is a risk for you.”
  • Tactfully point out to your new employer that fulfilling your request will not cost the company anything, provided they don’t terminate your employment.

You can also share with your employer that outplacement is becoming a standard benefit at many companies, and as such, is a benefit many people seek and expect. CareerArc’s Workplace Flexibility Study revealed that 71% of job seekers are likely to choose a company that offers outplacement over a company that does not, if all other criteria are equal.

Request outplacement benefits when leaving your company

Even if you don’t have an outplacement benefit written into your employee contract, you can still negotiate for it when you leave the company. Of course, if you choose to voluntarily end your employment, the organization you’re leaving is unlikely to offer you outplacement, severance pay, or other benefits. But in the case of a layoff, when your company is letting you go, it’s a good idea to request outplacement benefits.

Many organizations already provide outplacement to some or all affected employees in the case of a layoff. By offering this help, companies are able to mitigate the risk of wrongful termination lawsuits and protect their employer brand by maintaining more positive relationships with former employees. In the past, companies often reserved outplacement benefits for executives and senior-level employees. However, more organizations are expanding these benefits out to a larger portion, or even their entire, workforce. After all, any unhappy ex-employee can write negative reviews on Glassdoor and social media channels about a poor layoff experience.

If you’ve ever typed up an angry Glassdoor review after being laid off by a company, you’re not alone. An impressive 66% of people who’ve had poor layoff experiences share that negative perception with others, according to CareerArc’s Employer Branding Study. The same study found that employees who were given outplacement or career assistance following a layoff were 38% less likely to harbor a negative perception of their former employer.

Negative reviews and low Glassdoor scores have a strong impact on an organization’s bottom line, because attracting candidates and customers becomes more difficult as the social reputation of a brand goes down. Because your former employer will want to part on good terms, you have some leverage to ask for layoff benefits that will help you on your future career path. If your company already provides outplacement benefits to those in higher-level positions, it will be especially easy for the organization to include you on as an additional recipient of these services. Forbes recommends asking for your company to include outplacement benefits in your severance package. AARP points out that, in the difficult aftermath of a layoff, outplacement services can make a positive difference. “An outplacement counselor will coach you on how to articulate the transition to new employers in a positive way. Outplacement can also help with employee counseling, resume-writing, networking services and more.”

To improve the chances of your employer offering this benefit, you can promise to help with the transition post-layoff by staying in touch and answering any questions that may come up as the remaining employees at the organization take over your duties. If you’re willing to serve as a resource for the organization, your former employer is more likely to give you the benefits you ask for in exchange.

Negotiate the details of the outplacement program

Not all outplacement benefits are created equal. Some outplacement programs include premium, personalized benefits, like unlimited, one-on-one career coaching with an expert, experienced counselor. Other programs are pretty bare bones, offering only group coaching. Some programs are convenient to access, allowing you to chat with a career coach instantly through web video or text. Others require you to make an appointment ahead of time and drive into an office. Some programs are accessible for six months to a year. Others end after a month, despite the fact that even in a time of low unemployment, most people need several months to find a job.

Because outplacement benefits can vary so much, it makes sense to ask for a level of service that will truly benefit you in the case that you lose your job. Personal career coaching is an especially important outplacement service to request. Ideally, you will receive unlimited, on-demand, one-on-one coaching for at least six months as part of your outplacement benefit. Other services job seekers find helpful are resume editing and review, interview practice, and, in the case of those considering a career change, assessment tests and networking tips. Request three months of outplacement benefits at minimum, six months if possible. If you’re an executive or senior level employee, ask for a year—or until you land a new position.

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Looking for a new job in the aftermath of a layoff can be disorienting, nerve-wracking, and lonely. However, the opportunity to seek a new position can also be an exciting time when you can take a step back, assess your wants, needs, and skills at this point in your life, and find a new job that best fits your ideal. Outplacement benefits and the support they provide can help turn an anxiety-provoking situation into one of personal growth and positive change. 

CareerArc offers outplacement services powered by leading-edge technology, giving job seekers access to unlimited, on-demand, one-on-one career coaching via video or text, expert resume review, video interview coaching, and other premium career services. Learn more about how CareerArc Outplacement can benefit you and your organization.

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