The best analogy for the outplacement process: You are a pilot with a pilot's license and years of skillful flying. They took away your plane, but not your license.
Now you need to find another plane. The outplacement counselor is the flight instructor and copilot who stays with you until you're ready to go solo again.
A counselor should be someone who can help you strategize about how to approach companies, how to formulate a rationale for why you should be hired, how to evaluate opportunities, even how to decide which of your interests to pursue. The counselor needs to be savvy about business in general, although he or she needn't necessarily be familiar with your specialty.
A good outplacement counselor knows the dos and the don'ts of job-search and interviewing techniques.
There are literally hundreds of seemingly small tips about the job search process that can actually make or break a job-search campaign.
An outplacement counselor needs to be a person with stamina, someone who is with you as a coach, consultant, and partner over the long haul of your campaign.
Finally, an outplacement counselor must have a gift for believing in you and your "fate" in the world of employment.
* Tony Lee Editor National Business Employment Weekly, Princeton, N.J.
Outplacement counselors certainly can help you to find a job.
They'll provide the resources, the direction, they'll help you focus your efforts, they'll help you practice and reform your search technique.
But the key to a successful job hunt is personal effort. You have to be willing to work full-time on your job search, as you would on any job.
Too many people - especially bankers who haven't job hunted in a long time - expect outplacement counselors to find them a job. That's not the way it works.
* Bob Unemployed banker, formerly of Chemical Banking Corp. And Bank of Credit and Commerce International
An outplacement counselor is valuable when you've been in a job for many years and have not had the experience of looking for a new job.
But I think the current pattern of looking for jobs has changed. You need to do a variety of things, and certainly you need a stick-to-it attitude in the job search as much as you need outplacement counseling.
These counselors can provide assistance with resume preparation and marketing letters.
But networking among people that you know - even people that you don't know - is also necessary.
* Patricia Browne-Zak Vice president, client relations Lee Hecht Harrison Inc., New York
Our first responsibility as outplacement counselors is to help individuals repackage themselves so that they can be effective as the enter the marketplace.
Unemployed individuals need to look for a firm that has a good reputation, that has a solid, experienced counseling staff.
To be more effective in this type of economy, it takes more than a resume to get a job. People need to be innovative and creative in terms of positioning themselves.
The have to sell themselves harder in some ways.
If I was unemployed and looking for an outplacement counselor, I would look for someone who I have a great deal of confidence in, someone who has demonstrated an understanding of who I am and what I can do.