Ask Jack: Haiku Applications, Leaving a Job + Job of the Week

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AOL Jobs reader David is looking for work and getting a little frustrated with the application process. He asks:

What exactly do companies want to hear? I answered an ad yesterday in which I had to write a haiku and also tell them what 3 things I would take with me on a desert island.

That only seems fair
if the job is for poets
on a small island

(Hmm, maybe I should apply.) David, that does seem ridiculous, and we can add them to the unfortunately long list of stupid and irrelevant application and interview questions. It's a shame that so few hiring managers have any training in the candidate-search process. So instead, they rely on gut reactions to your personality and goofy questions they've borrowed from someone else. Haikus, desert islands, where you see yourself in five years: None of it matters! The only important thing: Does the candidate already have the skills that will be needed on the job? As the candidate, you have no choice but to play along; sounds like this employer is looking for people who are creative and resourceful. Be sure to also point out in your cover letter your most relevant experience: previous jobs where you've proven you can handle the required tasks. Use as many lines and syllables as you need.

Jessica says:

I just found out I got a new job I applied for!! I'm so excited. But now I have to tell my current job that I'm leaving. My boss is really nice so I'm feeling a little nervous about this. What's the best way to handle it?

Congratulations, Jessica, that is awesome! Hmm, I know this guy David who you might want to recommend at the old place, especially if they need any sonnets or limericks. It certainly can be awkward to announce that you're leaving a workplace where you've been treated well. "Take this job and shove it!" just doesn't apply. And who knows, your path may cross again with your former employers, so it's best to keep everything on the up-and-up. (Really, that's just part of being a decent person.)

Time is a key thing to consider: Are you able to give more than two weeks' notice, to wrap up any ongoing projects or help train a replacement? (But also try to give yourself a little free time in-between the two jobs; it can be really valuable to decompress.) You can even say that you'd be willing to answer some questions after you make the switch. As for that actual moment of telling the boss: Ask to meet in person, and just be honest and direct: You've appreciated the job and the people, and you've learned a lot, but this is a great opportunity to further your career. The boss may initially be surprised or hurt, but trust me, they'll get over it. And you shouldn't be hurt if they don't want your two weeks-plus and all your help: Life is often about moving on, so let them adjust however they need to. Right now, go get yourself some ice cream; you deserve it!

Last week's Ask Jack questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

If that mention of ice cream got you as excited as it got me, here's a great job: Director of Purchasing, Fluid Milk & Ice Cream for the Dairy Farmers of America! In your cover letter, you could write:

Ice cream is so good
I would purchase it very well
and a glass of milk

But if you're not screaming for ice cream, do your own search on AOL Jobs right now. It is totally sweet how many cool job listings there are!

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