TIME Careers & Workplace

33 Ways to Fix Being Utterly Bored at Work

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Here's how to keep yourself motivated

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

You’ve taken on new projects. You’ve gone above and beyond. You’ve talked to your boss about additional responsibilities and gotten the old “definitely—once we have a position open / more budget / don’t need you to focus on X anymore.”

Frankly, you’re bored with your job.

And while sometimes, that’s a sign that you should hightail it out of there, others it’s a matter of keeping yourself moving forward (and not gouging your eyes out) until the next busy season, new client, or promotion comes along.

If you’re in that boat, you’re in luck: Here’s a roundup of things you can do in the office or during off-hours to up your professional game even when your current job isn’t exactly doing it for you.

If You Want to Network

1. Start a Book Group

Pick books that are related to your field—or a general business read that everyone can get some use out of, like something from the 99U book series orGood to Great. A great cadence is once per month—take over a conference room for your lunch hour or, better yet, meet for happy hour and chat at a bar.

2. Create a Networking Group

Have a few friends in your field you see from time to time at industry events? See if they’d all want to get together every month for an informal networking group, where you all meet to chat (and get advice!) about challenges you’re facing.

3. Go on Lunch Dates

Ever heard of “Let’s Lunch?” It’s a (free!) online network that matches you up with someone in your area for lunch during the workweek. Connect your LinkedIn profile, provide your availability and geographic flexibility, and the site’s algorithm matches you up with a like-minded lunch partner. It’s a great way to grow your network utilizing the free time that’s already built into your day. (Via Allison Stadd)

4. Ask a Co-worker to Join You

Go out to lunch with a co-worker you don’t know well. Not only will you get to know someone new, you’ll learn more about how your company operates—and potentially find new ways to collaborate and get involved.

5. Start a Lunch Club

Grab four other officemates, and assign everyone a day to bring enough lunch for everyone else on a specified day of the week. Cook once, get delicious meals (and team bonding) all five days!

6. Start the Company Softball League

Or frisbee team. Or 5K for charity. Showing some initiative to get everyone out of the office and hanging out with each other on a non-work basis will show the higher-ups you have what it takes to shine in the office, too.

7. Build Your LinkedIn Following

One expert suggests we should be using LinkedIn more like Twitter—finding and engaging with as many followers as possible. So start building your network. Here are a few more things you can do on LinkedIn every month, week, and day.

If You Want to Boost Your Skills

8. Try Morning Pages

Start every day with 15 minutes of creative writing. Entrepreneur Chris Winfield says it has “become an essential way to clear his mind, unleash creative ideas, and quiet his inner critic, reducing his anxiety.”

9. Start a Blog

It can be a place for you to write about happenings in your field, share thoughts on pop culture, or even pursue a hobby—just be clear on what your purpose is and who you want to read it. Then, get started by making a long list of topics you could potentially write about. Commit to pushing something out at least once a week to keep your (obviously avid) followers engaged.

10. Or a Podcast

Blogging not for you? Start a podcast. Better yet, invite industry leaders to be interviewed on your podcast. You’re boosting your personal brand and your professional network at once!

11. Write an Article

Then, try to get it published on an industry website. You’ll hone a new skill—writing and researching—and you’ll start to build your name as a thought leader in your space.

12. Get Your Voice Heard

Look for an upcoming conference or event you could speak at, and pitch yourself as a panel speaker or leader. Here’s exactly how to do it.

13. Look for Hidden Benefits

Browse your company’s benefits page, and make sure you’re taking advantage of all of them. Many companies offer free financial planning services, a professional development budget, or even sabbaticals or trips to other offices. Hey, if it’s cool with HR, it’s bound to be cool with your boss.

14. Learn to Code

No, really—it’ll boost your career no matter what you do (take it from this PR pro).Here’s a cool way to get started.

15. Or Learn Something Else

Pick a class, any class—here are 50 (cheap) ideas.

16. Or Teach Something

Consider developing live or online courses, workshops, or seminars in your areas of expertise. (Platforms like Skillshare make it easy to share what you know.)

17. Build a Personal Website

No matter what field you’re in, it’s a great idea. We have a seven-day plan that makes it super easy, and at the end of it all you’ll have an online presence that shows off who you are and displays your best work.

If You Want to Make Your Office Happier

18. Revamp Your Cubicle

It’s amazing what some fresh photos, some non-fluorescent lighting, and some organization can do for your inspiration (not to mention sanity). Here are a few ideas to get you started.

19. Fix Something

Look for a process, procedure, or meeting that everyone grumbles about, and think of one or two ways to improve upon it. Put together a plan, present it to your boss, and see if you can be the one who turns it into action.

20. Teach the Group

Offer to research and present on something to your team—whether it’s socially responsible business practices or a new project management tool.

21. Launch a Brown Bag Program

Once a month, invite cool speakers in to chat with your team about something in your field.

22. Mentor a Junior Employee

Look to see if your company has an official program you can participate in, or just look for younger co-workers who you could take under your wing.

23. Make a List

Create a list of resources you find helpful, sites you love to read, the best conferences or classes in your field, or anything else you think your co-workers might find useful, and send it out to everyone on your team.

24. Ask for a New Employee

If you don’t already have one, come up with a proposal for getting an intern or other direct report. Having someone to take some work off your plate can open up space for you to work on more inspiring projects—and having someone to mentor can be a great growth experience.

25. Create a Client Survey

Ask your customers and potential customers key questions that could help you better serve them (as well as for their general feedback). At minimum, you’ll get some helpful guidance for future sales or initiatives, and you’ll probably look like a star while you’re at it.

If You Want to Get Out of the Office

26. Plan a Trip

Research shows that just the act of planning a trip makes you happier, as you’re anticipating what’s to come. While we don’t recommend doing the actual planning on company time, daydreaming about your destination will certainly make the day go by faster.

27. Plan a Fundraiser

Or otherwise get involved in a cause you care about. Bonus: It’s a great way to network—reach out to people you haven’t talked to in a while or think are interesting with an invite.

28. Do Something Totally Unrelated to Your Job

Take a bartending class, sign up for a half-marathon, get SCUBA certified. While it might not have anything to do with your job, you’ll definitely be more inspired in your off hours, and that’ll give your life inspiration an overall boost.

29. Learn a New Language

Along similar lines, even if you don’t speak Spanish or German at work, speaking and reading in a new language can get your brain thinking in totally new ways. (Here are five fun ways to give it a whirl.)

If You Want Something Totally New

30. Take on a Side Project

Start that funny Tumblr you’ve always wanted to, sell your wares as a consultant in your field, or start an Etsy store. It’ll give you a good challenge outside of your day job—not to mention some cold, hard cash.

31. Go Pro Bono

Use some of your free time to do some work for a nonprofit or early-stage startup with a mission that you’re really excited about. This will give you a chance to grow your skills (or potentially learn new ones) and remind you why you loved your work in the first place, plus it could even turn into an exciting full-time opportunity down the line.

32. Get a New Job

If you’ve tried everything and are still bored at your current gig, it’s probably time to look for a new one. Start making a list of your favorite companies, polishing up your resume, and getting some informational interviews on the calendar. On that note:

33. Take a Day Off

Hey, if you’re bored at work, you can probably afford it. Try this one-day, 10-hour plan to totally kick start your job search on a day off.

TIME Workplace & Careers

There’s a Reason You Work Better Some Days

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

By Alex Honeysett

During a session with my business coach earlier this year, I was explaining that even though I had a million things to crank through, I felt like doing the opposite—I wanted to stroll around in my own thoughts, quietly observe, and write things down only as they came to me, rather than fight to get things done, like, yesterday.

And my coach said, “Well, that makes sense. It’s part of your process.”

Uh, what process? I know I have a process for doing laundry. I have a process for organizing my desk. I have a process for doing my taxes. But I never considered that I had process for the way I approached work—or life, for that matter.

But in the months since, she has helped me understand that I do. We all do! And the more we can recognize and take ownership of our own unique process, the less frustrated and guilty we’ll feel when we’re in the middle of it. And ironically, the more we’ll get done.

So how do you figure out what your process looks like? For most of us, our process is a mix of “curation mode” and “creation mode.”

When you’re in curation mode, you may be feeling what I described above—more introspective, more observant, and more thoughtful. In this mindset, you’d probably be more interested in digging into some meaty research or a great book and less interested in giving a presentation to a room packed with people. During this part of the process, you’re taking in.

Creation mode is the other side of the coin: You’re hitting the pavement, excited to get things done. Whether you’re growing your business, writing plans, or bringing in new clients, you’re doing it with ease. You’re not dragging your butt out of bed to write that proposal—you’re at your desk early, coffee in head, ready to get it done. Here, you’re pushing out.

Once you identify these processes in your own life, you’ll see how they affect your productivity. For example, I realized that I always feel great writing these articles when I spend a few days paying attention to what’s happening in the industry, tapping into my network, and recognizing what I’m experiencing in my own life—in other words, when I’m in curation mode. I don’t force myself to write anything; I just take a look around. Then, on the third or fourth day, I snap into creation mode. A topic will hit me and I basically need to find a computer that instant to get it all down.

In the times that I haven’t let myself do that initial observing, I often end up staring at a blank screen for hours, writing the same crappy sentence over and over and getting increasingly cranky.

Before understanding this was part of my process, I just thought that some weeks it was easier for me to write than others. Now that I understand how my brain works best, I know that I need to give myself that space to curate—ideas, themes, and experiences—before I can jump into creation mode.

To identify your unique process, start by digging into what you like to do when you’re in curation mode: What do you need to do before you get things done? Take a long walk? Keep a journal in your pocket for any thoughts that pop up?

Then, do the same for creation mode: What’s the ideal environment for you to actually get those things done? A super-organized desk? A noisy coffee shop?

Next, spend a few weeks being mindful of which mode you’re in. Sometimes, we can circle through them both several times a week—other times, we may sit in one for a few weeks before we switch to the next.

Finally, it’s important to recognize that you can’t always map out the balance of your internal process in a perfect 1:1 ratio. There will be some days when you’ll be on a deadline to finish a presentation when you’d much rather be curled up on the couch with a stack of research learning quietly.

On those days, your focus should be on bringing the balance back. If you’re in curation mode and need to be creating, for example, what activities or experiences do you most enjoying when you’re curating? Are there any of them, however brief, that you can bring into your day? You may find that going for short walk or drinking a quiet coffee before you begin may put yourself in the right mindset to start creating.

That may be all you need to snap back into getting things done, like, yesterday.

More from The Muse:

TIME Workplace & Careers

The Resume Section That Matters More Than You’d Think

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

By Lily Zhang

What section headings do you have on your resume? Let me guess: “Experience,” “Education,” “Additional Information,” and maybe a “Summary” section. That about covers it, right?

Well, if your resume doesn’t have a “Skills” section, you’re seriously missing out on an opportunity to showcase, you know, your skills. In fact, this is the most straightforward way for you to show to a hiring manager what you can accomplish in the position on day one.

The trick is, of course, figuring out what to actually include to illustrate what you bring to the table. While there’s no real go-to list of skills for you to pick and choose from (unfortunately), you can get pretty close by following these three steps.

Step 1: Review the Job Description

The most obvious place to look for the skills that the hiring manager will find exciting and eye-catching is the job description itself. Usually, for any given position, you’ll find minimum qualifications and preferred qualifications. For example, for an app developer position, you might find “programming experience in Java, Objective-C, or C++” listed under minimum qualifications and “deep technical knowledge of mobile application development (either Android or iOS)” under preferred qualifications.

Mine the job description, find all the low-hanging fruit, and, of course, decide for yourself if you feel comfortable listing those skills on your resume. (Obviously, lying won’t get you very far.)

Side note: While you’ll sometimes find soft skills, like organizational or communication skills, listed as qualifications, it’s important to point out that “Skills” sections are usually reserved for hard skills.

Step 2: Do Some Digging on LinkedIn

Next, pop the job title of the position you’re applying to into LinkedIn and have a look at some other professionals who are doing what you want to be doing. Scroll down to their “Skills” sections and look for trends in what’s listed. They might be different from what’s listed on the job description, but if you see them over and over, they’re clearly good to have in the field. Using the same example, for an app developer you might find “data structures,” “graphic design,” or “XML.”

Step 3: Don’t Limit Yourself to Skills

Now that you have a pretty good list of skills going for your target position, consider expanding beyond that. In fact, you don’t have to limit yourself to just a “Skills” section; you can create a “Skills and Projects” section that describes freelance gigs you’ve done or a “Skills and Interests” section that describes some of your relevant professional interests. If it makes sense, you might even want to pop job-related coursework into this section.

Lastly, don’t forget to include skills that you have that are always good to list regardless of the position, like foreign languages or technical certifications.

All in all, you should have two to three lines of skills, ideally broken up into sensible subsections, like “Technical,” “Courses,” and “Languages,” to keep it all tidy. If you have relevant work experience for the positions you’re applying to, place your “Skills” section at the end of your resume. On the other hand, if you’re looking to break into a new field, it makes more sense for you to place this section closer to the top—maybe even before your “Experience” section.

Whatever you decide to go with, your resume will definitely benefit from having a designated place for a hiring manager see what skills you bring to the table quickly.

More from The Muse:

TIME Workplace & Careers

10 Jobs for People Who Hate Networking

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

Looking for a new job? Or, just want to do some window shopping? Check in every week for a hand-picked selection of awesome jobs from our partner companies.

This week, check out 10 jobs made for people who really don’t like having to network to help the company grow. From copywriters to software engineers, in these roles, you may work with people, but there’s no fostering relationships with external parties required.

1. Client Support Manager

Century Interactive, Dallas

If you hate having to reach out to people, what’s better than having people come to you? Century Interactive is looking for a Client Support Manager who can work with customers and make sure that they get the help they need understanding how to use CI’s products, tools, and services.

Apply Now

See What it’s Like to Work at Century Interactive

2. News Assistant

NFL, Los Angeles

If you’re looking for a way to get up close and personal with a newsroom, now’s your chance. The NFL is seeking a News Assistant who can do it all: be open to weekend or overnight shifts, be able to stay calm under pressure-filled and deadline-driven situations, and be excited to keep up with the rest of the news team.

Apply Now

See What it’s Like to Work at the NFL

3. Director of Operations and R&D

Sir Kensington’s, New York

Sir Kensington’s is seeking an operations savant who can assist with new product development, make sure safety standards are being met at packing facilities, and coordinate all freight rates and vendors.

Apply Now

See What it’s Like to Work at Sir Kensington’s

4. Copywriter

Thinkful, New York

Love writing and want a job that has nothing to do with building client relationships? Thinkful’s Copywriter position may be right up your alley. In this role, you’ll be creating every piece of copy for the brand, collaborating with Thinkful’s team, and ensuring that Thinkful’s message is consistent across platforms.

Apply Now

See What it’s Like to Work at Thinkful

5. Executive Assistant

Livefyre, San Francisco

Being communicator-in-chief at the Livefyre offices sounds pretty awesome to us! As an Executive Assistant, you’ll be doing everything, including booking travel plans, balancing agendas, and handling expenses for the executive staff.

Apply Now

See What it’s Like to Work at Livefyre

6. Junior Designer

HZDG, Washington DC

If you love having clients come to you, HZDG is seeking a Junior Designer with a knack for staying calm and enthusiastic in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. And wait: HZDG has weekly food trucks that stop by the office? We’re sold.

Apply Now

See What it’s Like to Work at HZDG

7. Staff Accountant

Sailthru, New York

Number crunchers, rejoice: Sailthru is looking for a Staff Accountant to process transactions, maintain payroll, and keep up with all company bank accounts to ensure that the money end of the company is running smoothly.

Apply Now

See What it’s Like to Work at Sailthru

8. Systems Administrator

SevOne, Wilmington

SevOne is seeking a Systems Administrator who can perform backups and restorations of all network servers, assist users on these networks, and help maintain voice communications systems. Experience with VMware and vSphere is a must.

Apply Now

See What it’s Like to Work at SevOne

9. 3D Animator

Pocket Gems, San Francisco

If you know how to rig and animate complex models as well as create cinematic and game trailers, Pocket Gems has an awesome 3D Animator job that may be just what you’re looking for.

Apply Now

See What it’s Like to Work at Pocket Gems

10. Software Engineer

CommonBond, New York

CommonBond’s Software Engineer needs to be a multitasker who’s able to design, build, test, and maintain world class applications while also being enthusiastic when collaborating with the rest of the CommonBond team to put out the best products possible.

Apply Now

See What it’s Like to Work at CommonBond

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27 Pinterest Boards That Will Actually Make Your Life Better

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Seriously life-changing

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TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Companies That Need to Hire You This Month

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Looking for a good new job? August could be your month

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

If a career change is on your mind, we know it’s not the easiest thing in the world to find a company you can feel at home at—which is why The Muse is here to help!

We’ve rounded up some great companies that are looking to hire like crazy this month. Check out the listings below to get a sense of why they’re awesome, and see how you might have the chance to work for them.

1. Counsyl

Where: San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland, and Richmond, VA

Counsyl wants to give people more information about their bodies. With a simple saliva sample, Counsyl can give you easy online access to information about things such as genetic diseases and inherited cancer. And more information means more power to make smart decisions about your future and family! Want to help with this important mission? Counsyl is currently looking for new team members in almost every department.

See the Jobs

2. Worldwide101

Where: Flexible

Worldwide101 helps connect talented professionals who want flexible work options with small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups around the world to provide virtual support in all sorts of things: administration, customer service, social media, project management, design, web development, and more. Besides the virtual assistant and multilingual virtual assistant teams that the company is always looking to grow, Worldwide101 is in serious need of some help on the operations and account management front.

See the Jobs

3. Deloitte

Where: All Around the U.S.

For businesses around the world, Deloitte is known as one of the largest professional services organizations in the U.S., delivering innovative solutions to the complex business problems. For employees, Deloitte is known as the place to get a seriously rewarding career in auditing, tax, consulting, financial advisory, and even engineering. Check out the hoards of job openings to find the role for you.

See the Jobs

4. Nitro

Where: San Francisco, Melbourne, and Dublin

Nitro is changing the way the world—including more than 50% of the Fortune 500—works with documents. From the desktop to the cloud, Nitro makes it easy to create, edit, share, sign, and collaborate—anytime and anywhere. Even if you’re not a techie, there are plenty of roles for you here, so check them out and get pumped to become a Nitronaut!

See the Jobs

5. Nextdoor

Where: San Francisco

Nextdoor is the new social network for neighbors, letting you share important information with—and just generally get to know—the people who live around you. The company wants to use technology to help strengthen community, one neighborhood at a time, and needs your help to do it.

See the Jobs

6. LivePerson

Where: New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Around the World

LivePerson wants to help companies give customers superior support in spite of (or with the help of) the digital technology. This leader in digital engagement needs new team members across the board to help it become the number one place businesses go when they want to connect more with their customers.

See the Jobs

7. The Nerdery

Where: Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City

The developers at The Nerdery collaborate with advertisers, marketers, and other creatives to build award-winning interactive projects. It’s the perfect place for talented developers with a creative streak to work on super rewarding things. Ready to join this team of nerds? The Nerdery is looking for tons of new engineers, along with project management and sales pros.

See the Jobs

8. BrightRoll

Where: San Francisco, New York, and Chicago

BrightRoll is the largest independent video advertising platform, helping advertisers move away from broadcast and reach consumers across the screens of today: computers, smartphones, tablets, and connected TVs. If you’re a marketing, PR, or engineering professional, BrightRoll especially needs your help to change the future of ads.

See the Jobs

9. Squarespace

Where: New York

On a mission to make the web a more beautiful place, Squarespace has tools to help users create incredible websites—without even having to know how to code! Now that everyone is looking to make their mark on the internet, Squarespace is sure to contintue growing, and you could be there as it becomes big.

See the Jobs

10. Facebook

Where: Silicon Valley, New York, and Seattle

You know what Facebook is. But did you know it’s at the center of people sharing interests, forming new relationships, and unifying large populations to make the world a smaller, friendlier place? And did you know it’s an awesome place to work, offering plenty of perks to help creativity and productivity thrive? Check out open jobs today and find out for yourself.

See the Jobs

TIME Careers & Workplace

10 More Companies That Are Hiring Like Crazy Right Now

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These companies are growing like crazy

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

Business is a tricky game, and there’s no telling how long it can take to grow any small company. But when companies are able to strike their market when it’s incredibly hot, rapid growth in a short amount of time is inevitable.

These 10 companies have done just that, and the results are going to be incredible. Bonus: If you get in on the ground floor, you can say you helped make it all happen. Check them out, and land your next job at one of them.

1. Handy

Where: New York

If you live in New York, you’ve likely seen this company’s ads all over the subway. This is just one way that Handy, an online service that connects its users to top-notch professionals who help get household chores done, is making waves across over 26 cities in the U.S. With more and more professionals wanting to spend time at work and with family, this company is providing a resource that everyone is benefiting from. Get ready to see major growth.

See the Jobs

2. iCracked

Where: Redwood Shores, CA

Admit it: You’re as hooked to your phone as we are, and when something goes wrong, it’s the only thing on your mind until its fixed. iCracked makes repairing iPhones, iPads, and iPods super easy and convenient. With on-demand iTechs, customers around the world can get the help they are desperate for with the click of a button.

See the Jobs

3. Thinkful

Where: New York

Founded in 2012, Thinkful uses mentorship to teach students one of the most useful and necessary tools: coding. With easy to access web and mobile apps, users are provided with one-on-one training and a curated curriculum. The world is moving toward tech, and Thinkful is going to be part of it because of its awesome tools.

See the Jobs

4. Recombine

Where: New York

Recombine’s goal is to improve health outcomes based on actionable and responsible genetic testing. Using genetics as its platform, this company is able to help its patients make the best decisions for their families. Founded by experts in fertility, clinical genetics, bioinformatics, and computer science, Recombine knows exactly what it’s doing when it comes to the intersection of technology and science.

See the Jobs

5. OwnLocal

Where: Austin, TX

Print media is facing unprecedented challenges to its model, and OwnLocal has an ambitious goal: to be the digital ad agency for local media and help bring the whole industry into the digital age. And with more than 400 media companies using the platform, it’s clear the company is on the right track.

See the Jobs

6. Findr Group

Where: New York and Los Angeles

Named one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. in 2013, there’s no question that Findr Group is going places. This full-service marketing agency helps clients effectively communicate with their audiences; clients including the likes of DISH Network, Prudential, and Caesars Entertainment. Get ready to see the company’s name—and potentially yours—on campaigns all over the world.

See the Jobs

7. TicketLeap

Where: Philadelphia

With events of all kinds taking place every day in every city, TicketLeap is making experiences way easier to enjoy and take part in. With apps for both Andoid and iOS, clients are able to control their ticketing experience with do-it-yourself technology. This company view culture as the world’s biggest asset, and its products reflect that.

See the Jobs

8. Virool

Where: San Francisco

Virool is a powerful video service that allows over 100 million viewers to connect to a global network of content. Plus, with affordable low-price campaigns, users can distribute their own YouTube video content to a series of online publishers. With multimedia leading the way for everything web-related, there’s no doubt that this company is going to seriously take off.

See the Jobs

9. Voxy

Where: New York

In a continually more globalized world and economy, Voxy is helping people learn different languages in an easy, realistic way. Forget about textbooks and weekly classes—this company provides an innovative context-based approach to language acquisition. You know that this company is going to be big whenBusiness Insider names it as one of the “10 Best U.S. Tech Companies to Work For.”

See the Jobs

10. Contently

Where: New York

This software company, founded in 2010, helps independent journalists find work in a bad economy and locates talent and content for publishers’ platforms. Its tools are helping bridge the gaps of content creation, allowing for a broader audience to find out what’s going on in the world from people who love sharing news.

See the Jobs

TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Companies That Are Hiring Like Crazy Right Now

Great companies with great job openings

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TIME Careers & Workplace

Here’s How to Creep Out of Work Without Anybody Noticing

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What do you do when you’re gainfully employed, yet dying to land a more interesting, more profitable job?

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

By Jenny Foss

You’re dying to tell your favorite client how much you’d love to work for her firm. But your boss and your client do yoga together. Surely they’d talk.

Your friend who got laid off two months ago just landed an amazing new gig. A recruiter found her via LinkedIn, and noted that she was both qualified and currently available.

So what do you do when you’re gainfully employed, yet dying to land a more interesting, more profitable, or more fulfilling role? How do you make it clear to key influencers that you’re “open to opportunities” without full-on outing yourself to your colleagues or, worse, your boss?

Think “The Art of Allure.”

Just as you might use subtle, yet intentional, methods to entice a romantic suitor, you can use the professional version of these same techniques to woo recruiters or other corporate decision makers—without your boss figuring out what you’re up to. Consider these:

1. Hint That You’re Available

Subtle hints can go a long way, and your LinkedIn summary is a perfect place to start. While you can’t come right out and announce that you’re looking (like your friend who got laid off did), you can present a call to action in the summary that encourages people to contact you and provides a very easy way to do just that.

Example: “I’m fascinated by all things digital marketing and enjoy meeting like-minded people. Feel free to contact me at YourEmail@gmail.com.”

As a recruiter, when I see that someone’s presenting his email address right in the summary, I assume he’s open to being contacted about job opportunities.

(Here are four more elements of a great LinkedIn summary.)

2. Be Interested

Everybody—and I mean everybody—likes feeling like their work matters and their efforts are being noted. Use this to your advantage. Approach people you think may be influential to your next career move in a way that is genuine, seems curious, and makes them feel important. Ask thoughtful questions about their own careers and contributions, in a way that suggests you’re just sincerely interested in their work, not looking for something from them.

By building rapport with those who may be beneficial to your growth, you may have the opportunity over time to reveal your specific career goals and interests—with less risk that they’ll rat you out to your employer.

3. Conveniently Appear in All the Right Places

Remember in high school when you just “happened” to walk by your crush’s locker at the precise moment he arrived each day? Coincidence? Of course not. You had that one figure out to the millisecond. (“Oh, hiiiiii.”)

Do the same now, minus the lockers. Figure out where the influencers in your industry hang out—both online and in person. Maybe it’s a regular meetup through your professional association, maybe a LinkedIn group or TweetChat. Wherever they congregate, consider stopping by, weighing in, or saying hello from time to time. The more you can get on the radar of people who matter to your career growth, the better.

4. Save Some of the Good Stuff for Later

Sharing every single thing about you on a first date isn’t alluring, it’s weird. A similar principle applies when you’re updating your LinkedIn profile as a means to quietly entice others. If you make a zillion updates all at once—especially if you do so without turning your Activity Broadcasts off—someone you work with is going to notice. And they’re going to wonder what’s up.

If you’re updating your profile with the hopes of positioning yourself as open to new opportunities, think seriously about editing in stages. Save some of the good stuff for later, so that you don’t out yourself as an obvious job seeker.

It’s not simple to simultaneously hold down one job while secretly exploring others, but if you’ve got some time to strategically allure the influencers, you might just land “the one.”

More from The Muse

TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Super Simple Ways to Be a Better Writer

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TheMuse

The written word is king. Time to get more comfortable with it

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

By Alexandra Franzen

Do you enjoy writing? Does it come naturally to you? Do colleagues praise you for your crisp, articulate, Nobel Laureate-worthy email updates?

Congratulations! Because if you work in an office or run your own business, you’re likely to spend about a quarter of your workday doing one thing:

Writing.

Oh, and that’s just the portion of your day that you’ll spend writing emails.

That figure doesn’t account for reports, proposals, best practice guidelines, blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets, texts, chapters of your forthcoming memoirs, that TED Talk script you’ve been tinkering with for the last 18 months, and the occasional hand-written “thank you” note.

We live in an era where the written word is King.

And if you’re going to write 40,000+ words this year—at minimum!—you might as well learn how to do your absolute best.

Here are 10 ways to become a better writer, right away.

(The kind of writer whose words get results.)

1. Get Clear

Before you sit down to write (anything), ask yourself: Why am I writing?

What’s the desired outcome that you want with this particular piece of writing?

Are you writing to brighten someone’s morning? Motivate your team to head back into the ring after a crushing defeat? Encourage folks to say “yes” to your new meeting time?

The best writing tends to have one clear, ringing intention. Choose it—and commit.

2. Get to the Point

In the business world, brevity is gold. (Related: Are Your Emails Too Long? Probably)

If you’re struggling to get to the point, take a moment to think about the person (or people) that you’re writing to, and create a roadmap for yourself by filling in the following statements:

The reason I am writing is:

What I want you to know is:

What I want you to do is:

Get those three points down pat. Then refer to them as you write to keep yourself on track.

3. Strip it Down

Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

Imagine that you’re writing for an audience of little kids—impatient, easily distracted, with zero tolerance for jargon.

You can practice—out in the real world—by having actual conversations with kids. Try explaining to a toddler what you do for a living, for starters. You’ll see, very quickly, if your elevator pitch is clear and intriguing—or not. (If not? Here are my tips for how to tell people what you do—and be remembered.)

4. Write From Your Happy Place

Ever notice how when you’re stressed out and trying to “force” yourself to write something amazing, it almost never works?

Research shows that getting yourself into a happy, relaxed state—think: taking a shower—is the key to creativity-on-command. When your body is experiencing a rush of dopamine, that’s when those a-ha! moments (“Ooh! I’ve got the perfect title for my presentation!”) tend to happen.

Can’t take a shower at work? No worries. There are plenty of other ways to get into your happy place before you sit down to write. Play energizing music, light a scented candle, bounce on an exercise ball—whatever it takes to help you unclench and relax!

5. Give Yourself a Time Limit

For most people, the longer you fuss over a piece of writing, the worse it gets.

When you have a clear reason for writing and feel happy and relaxed (see tip #4), your first draft is usually best. There’s no need to endlessly chew it over.

Clearing out your inbox, for example? Give yourself a time limit—say, two minutes per email—to prevent yourself from slipping into analysis-paralysis.

(You can set up a “smart playlist” in iTunes comprised entirely of two-minute songs, to keep yourself rockin’ along. When the song changes—hit “send” and move on!)

6. Ask, “What Would My Hero Write?”

If you’re struggling with a sensitive piece of writing where hitting the right emotional tone is essential, try channeling one of your personal heroes.

“What would Mister Rogers write in this situation?” “What would the Dalai Lama say?” “How would Richard Branson handle this email chain?”

7. Close Strong

Lost in a sea of never-ending email threads? Questions building upon questions, never leading to decisive action?

Try taking a decisive stance, rather than wrapping up your writing with an open-ended prompt.

Think: “In my opinion, the following approach is the best choice. If you agree, write back to say ‘yes,’ and I’ll get started.”

Not: “So, what do you guys think? I’m open to everyone’s input!”

8. Use the 7 Magic Words

“All I need from you right now.”

Kick these words up to the top of your correspondence, as in:

“I’m so excited that you’re going to deliver a keynote at our annual conference.

All I need from you right now is the title of your talk, a headshot, and your bio.”

These seven magic words give your reader a clear assignment, and put them at ease. (“Ahhh—that’s all? No problem. Done.”)

You can always add more information down below, if necessary (“Here are a few other things to know—for later.”)

9. Say it Out Loud

Whenever possible, read your writing out loud.

Does it sound like it was written by a human being or a cyborg? Are you stumbling over excessively long sentences? Catch any typos or duplicate words? If so, tweak and read it out loud again.

If reading aloud isn’t possible—because you don’t want to disturb your colleagues—try lightly tapping a finger on your desk or thigh as you silently read each word in your head. (It’s bizarre, but it works almost as well as reading out loud.)

10. Be a Daymaker

David Wagner, CEO of Juut Salonspa, often speaks about being a “Daymaker”—not just going through the motions at work, but actively choosing to be a source of positivity and encouragement. Choosing to make someone’s day.

With everything you write—every email, every text, every tweet—you have an opportunity to make someone’s day. (Or not.)

Often, all it takes is a few words of kindness, a thoughtful compliment, or the kind of insightful reminder that leaves people thinking, “Yeah. I needed that.”

Set “Daymaker” as your barometer of success—for your writing, and for everything you do.

Whether your writing is “perfect” or not, your intent will shine through.

 

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