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Outplacement helps executives find new jobs and careers

April 20, 2009

By Jonathan Hemmerdinger

Association leaders who find a pink slip in their in-box may also find themselves face-to-face with Tom Morris, head of the Washington, D.C.-based firm Morris Associates Inc. That’s because Morris is hired by associations and private companies who are cutting staff to assist laid-off executives transition into new jobs and new careers with a severance benefit of outplacement.

Though companies will sometimes offer outplacement to employees who are fired with cause, the benefit is usually reserved for employees caught in layoffs, like those rattling industries from banking to manufacturing to marketing in recent months.

“This business is countercyclical,” said Peter McCarthy of McCarthy & Company, a Washington-area firm that works with nonprofit and association professionals. “When times are bad, people are turning to outplacement.”
The services of outplacement firms vary, but generally include practical help with networking, interviewing and writing resumes and cover letters. Some firms also provide skills assessments and career coaching.