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6 Myths About Job Transition for Senior Leaders

Why Departing Execs Really Do Need Outplacement Support

Executive terminations are a reality. The widespread assumption is that when an unexpected departure occurs, senior executives with marketable skills will quickly land a new role. Most organizations mistakenly assume a generous severance package is enough, and that only younger workers and middle managers need robust career transition support.

It’s just one of the myths that can hamper executives during career transition.

Even the most dedicated VP and C-level executives can struggle with the basics of today’s job search landscape: resume writing, online networking or simply crafting a focused narrative to succinctly describe their experience and goals. Many begin their search with optimism and energy, only to find few opportunities moving beyond the initial interview.

Outplacement can significantly improve cooperation during transition and strengthen employment brands

Senior executives actually have much to gain when companies provide them with tailored outplacement services.

Six Myths About Executives in Transition

Outplacement services smooth the way for departing leaders and benefit the companies they’re leaving. Organizations that actively support VP and C-suite executives during separation can significantly improve cooperation during the transition process and strengthen their employment brands.

When your organization needs to make difficult decisions about your executive workforce, avoid these six common misconceptions.

Myth #1: Severance Provides Adequate Support

Having appropriate financial resources to weather transition is important, but income is just one requirement for navigating a career disruption. Severance helps a departing leader buy time; it doesn’t teach jobseekers how to navigate the current marketplace or support them with career transition resources. These tools are especially critical with top-level talent who often have not looked for a position in years. The right outplacement team helps restore confidence, provide accountability and set the right direction.

Myth #2: Senior Leaders Would Rather “Go It Alone”

Many C-suite and VP-level leaders begin career transition with this attitude. After all, they’ve led divisions and run companies; planning and success come naturally. A job search often brings a rude awakening. Outplacement support helps executive jobseekers craft a concise career story to underpin their efforts. It equips them with the tools and skills required today for networking, interviews, negotiations and more.

Myth #3: An executive recruiter will find the next gig

Executive jobseekers often place too much emphasis on search firms or friends who work as recruiters. While these connections are beneficial, it’s the recruiter’s job to find talent for their clients—not to find a senior leader their next role. Helping outgoing talent understand these distinctions will ensure they work with the right resources during their transition. Outplacement consultants are a better fit to provide one-on-one support and advocate for an executive’s interests during career transition.

Myth #4: Retirement’s on the Horizon; Support Isn’t Necessary

For tenured leaders, the next move may not be obvious. Even when nearing retirement age, it’s wrong to assume the only option is non-stop leisure time. Outplacement and executive legacy planning services can provide tremendous value by helping outgoing leaders explore new ways to utilize their strengths and passions. Numerous options exist for an immediate next step or an “encore” chapter, such as a lateral move, a pivot to non-profit or even a board of directors seat.

Myth #5: LinkedIn Isn’t Important

Having an active presence on the world’s largest professional network is essential for all executive job seekers—even those aiming for President, General Manager and C-suite roles. Yet many leaders lack even a basic profile or understanding of the platform. Outplacement services with hands-on LinkedIn training can fast-track fluency and help senior leaders make a positive first impression on recruiters, peers and other professionals. Firms with “all-in-one” support that includes resume development, LinkedIn training and networking strategy will streamline the job search.

Myth #6: All Outplacement Firms Provide the Same Services

The traditional, high-output model offered by most outplacement firms doesn’t meet the needs of executive job seekers for a number of reasons:

  • It takes longer for senior leaders to land roles.
  • Positions are more specialized.
  • Networking is crucial at the C-suite and VP level, since companies rarely advertise these openings.
  • The next move may be a board seat or part-time opportunity that requires pivoting skills and approach.

Time is another important factor. Firms like Navigate Forward provide a team of experts to support each senior leader, working with the individual until they land a new role. Other firms place a fixed time limit on support, which often expires long before an executive moves into their next position.

See the Navigate Forward difference. Since our inception in 2008, we’ve worked with more than 1,500 executives across a variety of industries. See how we recently helped a retail executive and biotech CEO—then contact us to discuss your specific needs.

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