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How to quit your job (the right way)

There are many ways to quit a job, and some ways are nothing short of epic. There's Steven Slater, a JetBlue flight attendant, who, at the end of yet another flight where he felt abused by passengers, announced that he was quitting his job, deployed the aircraft's evacuation slide and slid down it with two beers he had grabbed from the service cart.

Then there's writer Marina Shifrin, who worked all hours of the day and night creating videos for her employer, a Taiwanese animator. Fed up, she created one final video, set to the tune of Kanye West's "Gone," showing her dancing around the office as she describes exactly why her job is so bad.

Apparently her boss was obsessed with how many views the company's videos were getting, which makes it quite ironic that her "I Quit" video has thus far garnered 17,399,027 views on YouTube.

And then there's Gwen Dean, who may have just eclipsed all past epic job resignations smack dab in the middle of Super Bowl XLVIII. During a commercial for Go Daddy, the 36-year-old machine engineer from Yonkers, New York had just two words for her boss, Ted: "I quit." One of her puppets, Mr. Frank, added "Ciao Baby." According to Nielsen, the 2014 Super Bowl garnered 111.5 million views, which makes it the most watched game, and likely the most publicly viewed job resignation, ever.

So, what did boss Ted have to say about being told he would no longer have the services of Gwen in such a public matter? "You've got to be kidding. Wow. Great commercial." In an interview with the Today show, Gwen said he was "laughing his can off. It was super cool."

On the surface, it sounds like a reckless way to quit a job and a great way to burn those bridges down to the ground. But Gwen actually did some things right here.

Be prepared

Before Gwen gave her turbo-charged resignation, she got all her ducks in a row. She got her website up and running, so the minute she tendered her resignation, she could take her business live. She also built her clientele (and puppets) in her hours away from work. Don't wait to line the stuff up you need to make a successful transition until after you've quit -- get ready while you are still working and earning a paycheck, whether that entails furthering your education, starting a savings account, getting the proper licenses or certifications, etc.

Get pumped … but stay realistic

Gwen left her job to pursue her passion for puppetry. While it might sound a little "out there" at first, Gwen has been doing puppetry since high school and had imagined doing it for a living since then. Even if you're quitting for another job and not striking out on your own, it's important you understand that every workplace has good and bad things about it, and you need to be realistic about what lies ahead.

Company rules still matter

Even though Gwen quit her job on a national stage, she still followed up immediately with a formal resignation letter. And even though her employer only requires a one-week notice, she is giving two.

Keep those bridges intact and fireproof

Aside from the sensationalistic way she quit, she still kept it short and to the point and didn't belittle her job or her boss. Because she is entering a field where some of her business might come from word-of-mouth and because she is working with children, she wants to keep things on a positive, upbeat note. Whether you are staying in your current field or trying something totally new, remember there are only a few degrees of separation between your old job and your new one. Gwen has been careful not to give her boss's last name or the name of the company she works for because she said it's been a good work experience.

Tips from a pro for quitting your job

Julie Melillo, a Manhattan business and career coach, suggests the following when it's time to move on:

  • Tie up loose ends. Make things as easy for the new hire replacing you as possible. If you have a system for doing things that may not be easily understood, write out instructions and leave them with your boss. If you're training others to do your job, bring them up to speed as efficiently as you can. Leaving your workplace in a peaceful state means you'll be remembered more positively. Leave your work station clean and organized, with clear labels for anything that could be confusing.
  • Follow protocol. Make sure you follow your company's procedure for leaving, including giving the appropriate amount of notice. Read up on your HR materials if you're unclear.
  • Take work samples with you. If you work in a profession where you have work samples or a portfolio, collect your important work samples before you go, but ask permission for anything you need. It's usually easier to get these materials while you're still in the office.
  • Make lists. While it's fresh in your mind, make a list of your work tasks and any important details, which may be difficult to remember later on. If you want to add things to your résumé in years to come, you won't have difficulty remembering important details.
  • Think about who you'll use for a future reference. Before your last day, have a face-to-face conversation with each person, and ask how they'd feel about you using them for a reference in the future. If they agree, exchange personal contact information, and keep in touch with a friendly touch-base email every so often. It's much more difficult to track people down, find contact information and ask for references later on.

Kristin Marino is a writer for OnlineDegrees.com. This article was originally published on OnlineDegrees.com

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How to research a company before your job interview

So you have made it to the interview. Congratulations! Obviously you have already impressed the employer &mdash on paper. Now it is time to impress them face-to-face, and that means bringing your A game, or maybe your A+ game.

Preparing for the interview is the very first step in the right direction towards success. Bringing your résumé and references are safe starting points, but you may not realize that there are other tools that will help you stand out. So what should job seekers bring to an interview, exactly? Here are five things that can make a difference in today’s job market.

1. The “Brag Book”

Scott Brent, a surgical sales representative and interviewing expert believes that the age of strict résumé and references are gone and job seekers should look to other outlets when impressing an interviewer.

“Traditionally, people going on an interview would bring only a résumé and themselves to the interview,” Brent says. “Those days are gone. I don’t care if you are interviewing for a C-suite level job (CEO, CFO) or a job at McDonald’s, what you bring to your interview is crucial. In my industry, it is called a ‘brag book.’ This is the most important thing you can bring to your interview. Basically this is a book you put together showcasing all of the accomplishments in your career.”

The “brag book” is meant to be left behind for the employers so they can remember you. In the folder, a job seeker can provide things such as a current, clean copy of your résumé, a list of references and samples of work that would be relevant to the job. Other things to include in the folder are news articles you may have published or been mentioned in and any awards you may have received. This is your time to show the employer what you can do for the company.

2. An iPad or Tablet

Used correctly, an iPad or tablet will help to demonstrate your work to the employers and show your ability to adapt to new technology. Plus, information just looks more visually appealing on a tablet than on a piece of paper.

“Something that I’ve been impressed by and think is quite valuable is the use of an iPad or tablet to demonstrate a job seekers work, display samples, show applications they have developed, etc,” said David Chie, COO, Palo Alto. “Doing so definitely sets the candidate apart and really helps demonstrate their abilities.”

3. 3-month, 6-month and year-long plan

Constructing a plan for your role in the position is extremely helpful. This tactic not only shows initiative and hard work, but also demonstrates your ability to plan ahead. While researching the company and position, think of new ways to achieve your goals. In the plan, you can include new ideas for achievement or examples of how you will execute any assignments as given. This plan can be left behind for employers.

“I believe that job seekers should bring their ideas and plans on how they would do the job they are interviewing for,” says Kathi Elster, executive coach and co-author of “Working with You Is Killing Me” and “Working for You Isn’t Working for Me.” “You would do this by researching the company and reading all you can find about them concerning their goals and initiatives. So many job seekers are focused on what they have done, but letting a company know what you could do for them is just one step further.”

4. Relevant news articles of the company or industry

Not only should you research the company on their website, but you should also take the extra step and research the company and industry extensively. Understand what challenges may be present in the industry. Staying on top of the company and industry will help you succeed in not only the interview, but will help you if offered the position.

“As one who has interviewed candidates on numerous occasions, the thing that impressed me the most was candidates who had done some research on the company,” says Ann Middleman. “Nowadays it is as easy as looking at the website. But they can also Google the CEO, check out the stock price (if it is a public company), even look at an analyst’s report or the annual report. They might even bring written materials about the company, if possible. This shows initiative, intelligence, research skills, and the confidence to understand that the candidate is choosing the company just as much as the company is choosing the candidate.”

5. Cheat sheet

Yes, it is okay to cheat during the interview. Outlining a plan is imperative to an interview, but sometimes the nerves take over and you forget key points that you want to mention. There is nothing wrong with pulling out a piece of paper with questions and bullet points. As long as you don’t read directly from your paper, you will be fine.

“Bring a cheat sheet and questions. There is no rule that says you can’t bring a nice portfolio with some notes and question on it so during the interview you glance down at it,” says Mark Lyden, author of “Professionals: Do This! Get Hired!”. “What should be on the cheat sheet are little reminders of situations (your life experiences) that you may want to give as an example to answer one of the interview questions.”

The interview is an exciting, but nerve wracking time. It is your chance to prove your ability, experience, knowledge and enthusiasm for the position. Being prepared is the key to nailing an interview. Of course your credentials are first and foremost, but most employers can usually tell if the person is right for the job within the first two-minutes of an interview, believe it or not. Just stick to the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” and you’ll be ready to impress.

Have you used one of these tools in your job search? Do you think there are other items that can help your interview? Or do you think a simple résumé and good answers are all you need in an interview? Let us know.

Watch part II of how to effectively research an employer before your interview.

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