A plan. That’s what financial and recruiting advisors recommend as DuPont employees begin the hard process of processing both the paperwork and career ramifications of a layoff.
DuPont’s December announcement that it would merge with Dow Chemical set in motion a chain of speculation, then announcements — first that the company intends to cut 1,700 Delaware-based positions, and then just last week, confirmation that 200 Experimental Station employees were given notice.
The layoffs are part of a $700 million cost reduction and restructuring, according to DuPont Chair and CEO Ed Breen.
Chris Barton of Barton Career Advisors said he’s already talked to a number of DuPont employees who received termination notices. His firm is a national outplacement career coaching and training firm that works with companies and individual clients. The firm has also offered workshops on job transitioning to former Chemours employees.
“Many of the folks that will be exited are those that have a long tenure,” said Barton, who worked at the MBNA Corp. for 16 years before leaving with a package that included outplacement services. It was a negative experience that he credits with leading him to start his own career services agency.
DuPont will provide separation packages that include career placement services and training allowances based on years of service, according to spokesman Dan Turner, who did not offer details.
Barton said many outplacement services at mid- to large companies offer personalized coaching to senior leaders and group-based programs for mid-level managers and others, a “one size fits all approach” that doesn’t always meet the needs of the individual.
Barton said applicants fresh to the job pool should spend time defining their unique value proposition for prospective employers.
- Career and personality assessments to better define the skillsets, personality attributes and values that will better define direction.
- Crafting materials, including an update resume and refining social media profile, particularly LinkedIn.
- Work the network.
“You need to take your market research and create compelling materials and game plan that can give you a leg up in the situation,” said Barton.
A solid game plan that includes materials that stress the uniqueness of their candidacy is crucial here. Barton recommends detailing accomplishments in quantitative and compelling way.
What about the exited employee who’s too young to retire but has the bulk of his work years behind them? Barton says to highlight it as an asset.
“If you position your experience as being able to be used right out of the box, it can be a very compelling argument for the prospective employer,” said Barton. “But you also have to position yourself in a way that you share not only your willingness to perform a new role but demonstrate that you have energy, excitement and motivation to do it.”
Thomas Talley worked for DuPont for 29 years. He took a buyout in the early 1990s and traded his communications background for a career in finance. Now he’s offering advice to DuPont employees caught by the layoffs.
“Losing a job is a very emotional experience,” said Talley, who works as a financial advisor with Raymond James and Associates Inc. He recommends staying away from any decisions steeped in emotion.
Talley, who specializes in financial and estate planning, warns against dipping into a 401K, and said budgeting after a layoff is a key before making any financial decisions.
For the older worker who’s accumulated funding in their DuPont Savings Investment Plan, the budgeting process is key to making decisions as social security decisions come into play, said Talley.
“It’s a critical decision,” said Talley. “But every year you defer to taking it you’re increasing your benefit by 8 percent.”
Younger employees may elect to roll over their 401K to their next company.
“Don’t get caught taking money out of places you shouldn’t,” warned Talley.
DuPont’s merger with Dow is expected to reduce DuPont’s worldwide workforce by 10 percent.