There is a lot of advice out there on managing your career.  I can boil it down to the seven most important tips.  No matter what your occupation, these actions (or lack thereof) can make or break your career.

1) Set goals for yourself.  Ask yourself where you want to be in 2, 5, 7 years from now.  Then make a plan to get there.  Write down your goals and post them someplace visible.

2) Always network.  This means always work to build relationships, not only when you are in job search.  Even when you are working, still make time for networking.

3) Do what you say.  Build a reputation of standing by your word and getting things done.  If you do this your reputation will build itself.

4) Understand yourself.  Take some assessments or just take some time to reflect but you must know your strengths and areas of improvement.  The better you know what your value is, the more likely you find a good fit in the workplace.

5) Be valuable to others.  Remember that you want to give more than you receive.  I believe it will come back to you in some way.  I’ve seen it time and time again.

6) Keep an open mind.  You can plan very well but then something unpredictable may happen to change the equation.  Don’t be so set in your plan that you miss surprising opportunities.

7) Seek out a mentor.  Find someone in your field (or the field you want to be in) who is well respected and ask them if they might take you under their wing to offer advice and guidance.


The Essential Guide to Career Certifications: 3rd Edition released

I’m happy to announce the release of the 3rd Edition of The Essential Guide to Career Certifications.  The original release was in 2013 and listed 35 credentials in the career field.  In 2015, it was updated with 40+.  Now the latest edition has 50+ certifications, including the five new certifications created by the National Career Development Association (NCDA) to replace their previous designations.  It continues to be a labor of love!

Are you a career practitioner providing services such as career counseling, career coaching, résumé writing or job search assistance?  Do you like to learn new techniques to help your clients even more?  If so, this electronic publication is for you.  It will save you hours and hours of time because I have spent A LOT of time researching the information. 

Finding certification programs can be overwhelming right from the start.  Besides the fact that so many certifications exist in the areas of career development and job search, there are also a variety of training providers of varied size and reputation.   The Guide provides the facts to help you sort out your options and make an informed decision. 

Research results include a wealth of credentials that can be earned to build expertise and increase credibility as a career professional.  For each entry, you’ll discover the name of the certification and the credentialing organization along with eligibility criteria and costs involved (application fees, required training and renewal fees).   The electronic format provides URL links with easy access to webpages for more information.

To learn more about what you might consider before starting any certification program, please visit this article on the site of the National Career Development Association (NCDA):  Grow Professionally by Earning Career Certifications by Paula Brand originally appeared in NCDA’s web magazine, Career Convergence at  Copyright ©March 2015.


To purchase, go to:

Spring sale offers 30% off so you pay only $17.47!

To learn more:

Press release:

Ways to Improve Your Profile Picture and Career Management Tips for Women

Hello Everyone.

Unbelievably, it’s already March. Have you started working on some of your career goals for the year? If not, start this month and you can still make great strides in 2017.

As you may know, March celebrates International Women’s Day (March 8th). Because of this, I’ve filled this issue with links, resources and articles related to women in the workplace and I share some websites specific for working women. I hope you enjoy them.

Working with women in career management has always moved and motivated me. One of my major career / business goals is to start working with more women and women’s groups, and finding new ways to engage women with their careers. If you have any ideas for me in this regard, please feel free to share them.

Best wishes,


P.S. I only want to send things to those who want to receive them. If you want to unsubscribe at any time, please follow the instructions at the bottom of this message.



Improve Your LinkedIn Profile Picture:   You don’t have to hire a professional photographer for a LinkedIn profile picture; however, make sure you ask someone who is capable of taking a good shot. Selfies have no place here. Below are three tips to help ensure a good profile picture.

  1. The picture should show YOU.   This may sound obvious, yet I’ve seen enough examples to the contrary. Your profile picture should only be of you – no family members, no friends and no animals (unless you are a Veterinarian). Also, don’t use a picture with others and then crop them out.
  2. Focus on your neck up.   This was always true, but even more so now. With the new profile picture showing up as a circle and not a square, you lose the surrounding space, so it’s best to make your face the main focus of the picture. Also, remember that your profile picture appears in many places on LinkedIn, and usually in a miniature view (which makes it hard to see you). The biggest version will be on your profile page but everywhere else, for example, next to your comments, your picture is much smaller.
  3. Your look.   Be sure to smile and look approachable. You want others to be drawn to your profile, and looking friendly is one easy way to do that. Also, make sure your photo is in focus and up-to-date. Using an older picture that no longer looks like you is not recommended. If a new person wouldn’t recognize you in a Starbucks based on your profile picture, you need a new one.



The posts below offer advice to women on various aspects of career management, to increase their rate of success in the workplace. Consider how you can apply these bits of wisdom to your own situation.

Megan Della-Camina offers good advice and interesting thoughts on why women should seek out a mentor and how to do it.

One of my favorite reinvention and branding experts, Dorie Clark ( is quoted in this article by Nneka Orji on (a career resource for professional women), about challenging some perceptions of professional women as you brand and reinvent yourself.

This longer LinkedIn post is actually an excerpt from Joann Lublin’s book Earning It: Hard-on Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World. It illustrates how leaping off of the “glass cliff” may end up helping your career.

I was honored to recently guest blog for (a site tailored for professional women on careers, fashion, travel and shopping). Please check out my February post about loving your career. If you wouldn’t mind sharing it, liking it, etc. there are links on the original post to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn on the bottom of the page. If it’s helpful to know, my Twitter handle is @brandcareermgmt, my Facebook business page is, and click here for this post on LinkedIn.

If you’re not familiar with Sheryl Sandberg, she wrote Lean In, and has started a website to help women succeed at work. Look for a group of support in your local area, or start a Lean In circle near you.



Over the coming months, I will be spreading the word about the major LinkedIn overhaul and how to best manage these changes, in a presentation titled ”What’s New, What’s Gone and What You Need to Know.”

Tuesday, March 28 at 4 pm (closed to the public)

at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.

Monday, May 15 at 7 pm (free and open to the public)

at the Broadneck Branch of the Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL). You can R.S.V.P. starting on May 1.

As mentioned last issue, I’m really interested in speaking to women’s groups focused on mid-career professionals between 40 and 60 years of age. If you know of any groups that match this criteria, please let me know. Three popular topics I can address are: Assessing and Marketing Your Strengths, Proactively Changing Careers, and Managing Your Career for Success.


5 Ways to Keep the Spark Alive and 5 Ways to Reignite a Burned-Out Flame

It’s important to keep up with your career management. As a woman, this is even more critical in order to fully realize your true potential and earn what you are worth. With glass ceilings, unequal pay, and minimal representation in leadership roles, who needs to add “unhappy worker” to the list of issues facing women in the workplace?

Managing your career well means loving what you do, or finding out what you would love to do and going for it. Maybe you are already in love with your career. Are you often excited to start your work day? Are you using your strongest skills on a daily basis? Do you work in an environment that complements your personality? Do you work for a company that reflects your values? If you answered yes to these questions, you are likely already in a job or career that you enjoy. Congratulations for finding your way!

Here are five ways to keep the flame alive:

  • Be accountable to yourself.Give yourself an annual career audit. Are you exactly where you want to be right now? If not, what’s not happening? Where do you want to be in a few years? Do you need to implement changes to your role, your title, or your career path to get where you are going?
  • Don’t forget to think ahead.Even when things are going well, you should think about where you want to be in three to five years, and what it will take to get you there. There are always actions you can take now that can lay a foundation for your next steps.
  • Keep things fresh.It’s important to stay up-to-date in your field. Some of the best ways to do this are attending conferences, joining a professional association, reading up on trends, and finding places to engage with like-minded professionals (for example, an industry group on LinkedIn or Facebook).
  • Network, network, network. No one gets far in their career by going it alone.Implementing a consistent practice of networking allows you to build a group of supporters, reach out to industry experts, and enhance your credibility. People often think about networking only when they need a new job, but it’s best to make networking a regular activity to increase the chances that you will have a support system in place when you need it.
  • Build your online presence and authority.In today’s world of work, an online presence is a necessity. At the most basic level, make sure your online profiles are complete and up-to-date, and that they convey the right message. If you want to take it a step further, actively create and share content about your area of expertise for online consumption.

It’s great if you are happy in your job, but not everyone loves their career. Sometimes it takes a little time and a few experiences to find the best match for your interests, personality, values, and strengths. If you don’t love what you are doing right now, here are some steps to get you moving in the right direction.

  • Ask yourself why you feel the way you do.Take some time for reflection to understand what’s working and what’s not working. Is it your job, your boss, the workplace, or the field? You may need to address one or more of these issues. Have you become bored, or is your stress level rising to an unmanageable level? Find the real root of the problem before taking corrective action.
  • Look for a better place.If your boss, the workplace, or the employer is the issue, your best option may be to get out of that situation. However, it’s always wise to have your next position in place before leaving your current one. Brush up your résumé, begin catching up with your contacts, and start planning your exit strategy and researching new opportunities.
  • Take initiative to discover your true self. If the issue isn’t just your boss or workplace, you likely need to take a step back and evaluate your strengths, values, personality, interests, and skills to move your career in a new and positive direction. Hiring a career coach and taking some  assessments, like StrengthsFinder 2.0, may help, or you can read some books to determine a good career fit. Two excellent books for this are What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles, and Do What You Are by Paul Tieger, Barbara Barron, and Kelly Tieger.
  • Find ways to have fun outside of work.It is important not to let a bad job taint your attitude about the rest of your life. After all, it is just a job. There is so much more to life than work.  Purposefully plan time for fun activities with people who are positive and supportive.
  • Record your past successes.Write down stories of proud accomplishments from your life. They can be from experiences other than work, such as volunteer roles or passion projects. Look for themes within the stories to discover what you do well consistently over time. These records will help in any future career change or job search, and they will also give you an emotional boost because they remind you of what you are capable of accomplishing.

Advancing in a career you love or finding a new one might take effort, but it’s worth it. Life is too short, and too many hours are spent at work to be miserable. Following these tips will help you ignite, and maintain, your passion for your career.

This article was originally published on at

More on LinkedIn Changes and Ways to Give Your Career Some Love

Hello Everyone

Welcome to February, which bring us Valentine’s Day and the theme of romance. In that regard, this issue will share some ideas to give your career some love. I always say that nobody will ever care about your career as much as you, so it’s up to you to keep the flame alive. That might mean getting a new job or finding ways to add challenge to your current role. It could involve making time to grow professionally, or it could mean starting the process of changing careers. Whatever it means to you, I encourage you to find a way to give your career some love this month (and in the coming months). It doesn’t magically happen on its own. If you don’t do it, who will?

Best wishes,


P.S. I only want to send things to those who want to receive them. If you want to unsubscribe at any time, please follow the instructions at the bottom of this message.



Warning, Changes are Still Underway:  As mentioned in the last issue, LinkedIn is in the midst of rolling out major changes in the design of the home and profile pages. I’ve heard that it will take until May for the entire roll out to be completed; however, your profile could change any day between now and then (mine still hasn’t changed but I’m prepared for it). I found a new post / video by UK LinkedIn Expert Mark Williams, that shares a good work-around to compensate for the loss of the advanced search feature.

Take Precautions:  Don’t forget to give your LinkedIn account some love and protection. If you didn’t do it yet, please back up your LinkedIn contacts before your profile view changes. Once that happens, you will not be able to follow this guidance anymore. Again, take Jim Peacock’s step-by-step advice and back up your LinkedIn data TODAY.



One great way to give your career love is to attend a conference. I highly suggest attending at least one professional conference a year. I usually attend more than one annually. Last year I didn’t attend any and I truly missed the experience. Going to conferences gives you a great way to network with people who have a common interest, and it keeps you up-to-date on trends in your field. However, we all have a limited amount of time and money, so you need to be selective. Harvard Business Review columnist Dorie Clark shares some great conference advice in the

Are you searching for a new job? Jeff Kauflin at Forbes offers job search advice, intermingled with a list of ten job hunt related sites to help your job search.

If you’ve succeeded in securing an interview, congratulations! Here are a few tips to give your interview some love: shares advice (infographic style) to help you make a great first impression and excel during the interview.

Kate Lopaze of The Job Network offers tips specifically to help you with group and panel interviews.



Over the coming months, I will be spreading the word about the major LinkedIn overhaul and how to best manage these changes.

Tuesday, February 28 at 5 pm (closed to the public)

at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland.

Tuesday, March 28 at 4 pm (closed to the public)

at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.

Monday, May 15 at 7 pm (free and open to the public)

at the Broadneck Branch of the Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL). You can R.S.V.P. starting on May 1.

I’m really interested in speaking to women’s groups focused on mid-career professionals between 40 – 60 years of age. If you know of any groups that match this criteria, please let me know. Three popular topics I can address are: Assessing and Marketing your Strengths, Proactively Changing Careers, and Managing your Career for Success.

Major LinkedIn Changes, Managing Your Career and Setting Goals for 2017

Happy New Year!

Here’s to hoping each of you had a very happy holiday season. Welcome to the New Year!

This issue of the MTS offers some resources for planning the year ahead in your career and life. What will you accomplish for your career management in 2017? Take time now to set some goals for yourself, while you still have 11 more months to make them happen. As for the LinkedIn Tip of the Month, this issue has an update about a major change coming to your LinkedIn Profile plus two tips.

Best wishes for your career success in 2017!


P.S. I only want to send things to those who want to receive them. If you want to unsubscribe at any time, please follow the instructions at the bottom of this message.



New Year = New Look:  In December, LinkedIn starting rolling out a major overhaul of their user interface. If the look of your profile hasn’t changed yet, it should soon (I still see my older profile version). Some things are gone, like the ability to tag contacts and the advanced search feature, which will be sorely missed by those who used it. The design is different (new layouts for the profile and home pages) and aligns with the look and feel of their mobile app.

LinkedIn Expert Viveka Von Rosen gave a great summary of the changes in a December post. The embedded 12-minute video is a great visual tool, as she walks you through the new and old displays, side by side.

Back Up Your LinkedIn Data:  My colleague, Jim Peacock of Peak Careers, shared useful advice and instructions on backing up your LinkedIn data. Upon reading his post, I followed Jim’s advice and backed up my profile and contacts.

Set a 2017 Goal for LinkedIn – IDEA:  Increase your virtual network by 10% in 2017! Break your annual goal down by week or month and commit to it. I have about 1500 contacts so my goal is to increase by 150, almost three a week. I’ll report in December how I did.



This resource from Ora Shtull and William Arruda of Career Blast offers a great career management audit tool that you can put to use right now. It’s a downloadable e-book after sharing your email. Complete the questionnaire to see how well you are “fueling your career.” Use your responses to challenge yourself. In 2017, set realistic goals to address a few of the areas needing development.

In case you didn’t get time to reflect in December, this resource is for you. Executive Coach Michele Woodward offers an engaging and holistic way to assess your past year of life and to set goals for the year ahead. Use this link or go to the very bottom of her home page and click on Download the 2017 Personal Planning Tool.

Also, creative giant Charlie Gilkey has an array of free planning resources (among paid options). I find the Individual Project Planner useful.



Tuesday, February 28 at 5 pm (closed to the public)

I will be speaking about LinkedIn at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland.

Monday, May 15 at 7 pm (free and open to the public)

I have also saved a date with the Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) Broadneck Branch, for a workshop on LinkedIn Profiles. More details to come in the next issue.


4 Considerations for Your Holiday Job Search

Since it’s the holiday season and everyone is short on time, I will keep this post brief.   Many people looking for work decide to take a rest during the holidays. There is a myth that no one hires during this time frame.  While I agree it’s harder to schedule interviews around the holidays, it DOES happen and people do get jobs this time of year!  I’ve seen it many times. 

Here are some tips to make the most of your job search during this holiday season:

1) Play the odds – Since many people do believe this myth, you will have less competition right now. Why not use that to your benefit? If you knew your target company received a substantially lower amount of resumes in a certain month, wouldn’t it be a good idea to make contact in that month?

2) Tis the season to connect – There are a multitude of social events that only happen this time of year. You should take advantage of these opportunities to reconnect with people you don’t normally see and meet new folks outside of your regular social circles. Most contacts leading to a job are not from your most inner circle, but from the wider spectrum of connections you develop by following leads.  Holiday events can be a great way to make those connections in person.

3) Slower or faster? Or both? – In terms of timing, the pace of the hiring process may be slower than normal because of the challenge of trying to coordinate interviews around staff vacations. However, in some cases it may be faster than normal, so be prepared for that possibility too. Often companies are eager to fill a position ASAP to maintain productivity. Some positions must be filled by the end of the year or the department will have to forgo the funding for it. And of course for certain industries, like retail or shipping, this time of year often creates a need for jobs that only exist right now (proving yourself in these seasonal jobs can sometimes lead to something else).  In all of these cases, the holiday season will not hinder the company’s need to fill the position. Present yourself as the solution to that need.

4) Giving hearts or stressed out minds? – Most articles say that people are more friendly and willing to help at this time of year. I would agree that is true in many cases. However, some people are very overwhelmed and busy during the holidays and therefore returning a call from you may (understandably) not be their number one priority. Even with good intentions, they may lose your information or just honestly forget to return your call. If this happens, try at least once more after January 1st. Leave a second message wishing them a happy new year and of course provide your contact information one more time. This might be just the reminder they need.

So what’s stopping you?  Go ahead. Make that call you have been putting off. Contact that supervisor you haven’t talked to in years. Wish that long lost friend a happy holiday season. For the next few weeks, you have a great excuse to make these connections, so make the most of it. Good luck connecting and happy holidays!

LinkedIn: How to improve your profile in 5 minutes


It is a fast and easy way to customize your social media presence with LinkedIn.  Personalizing your LinkedIn URL is similar to the idea of getting a vanity license plate; it makes your name and brand much more memorable.  Aren’t you more likely to notice and remember driving by a car with the plate “DAY-DRMR” or “IMGR8” versus a randomly assigned plate like J3R9S6?  


Two big reasons: clarity and branding.  First, LinkedIn assigns everyone a messy URL initially, which is why you should change it.  Additionally, a Vanity URL helps in your branding and marketing efforts, shows you are somewhat savvy in using LinkedIn and improves your SEO rankings on Google and LinkedIn.  Once it’s in place, share your customized URL so people can easily find you.  Place it on your résumé, business cards and electronic signatures.  This is important for people concerned with managing their careers effectively no matter what their current status is:  employed, unemployed or underemployed. 


Once logged into your LinkedIn account, click on the Profile tab located at the top left of the page.  Then slide your curser to the drop down choice of Edit Profile.  Next, click on the gear icon, just to the right of your currently assigned URL (see picture below).  After clicking on that icon, you should see somewhere in the upper right-hand side of your screen the words Enhance your personal brand by creating a custom URL for your LinkedIn public profile.  In that area, click on the blue pencil icon next to your current URL.  Then, pop up box will appear with the URL started as, plus a blank box at the end that will allow you to type in the customized URL you would like.  Please note that LinkedIn often changes things up and various people can see different views, so I can’t promise that these will be/look exactly the same when you try this. 

Screen_shot_LI_URL _01


Start by typing in your full name and see if it’s available (no spaces are allowed and it will all show in lowercase no matter how you type it).  The system will let you know if it’s not available, otherwise you can assume it is and click on Save.  Keep trying until you get one you like that is available. If your name is taken, look to add other letters that have meaning for you or your profession. So, if the extension of joesmith is taken and he is in the field of sales, he could try joesmithsalesexpert.  You could also include a middle name, middle initial or a maiden name.

screen shot LI URL (2)


Like everyone else, when I first got on LinkedIn, I was assigned an unmemorable URL.  Now you’ll see that my Public Profile (URL) on LinkedIn ends in paulabrandcareers.  When I initially attempted to obtain a vanity URL, I typed in my name and “paulabrand” was taken, so I added the four letters of one of my certifications related to résumés.  Later on I changed it to a keyword related to my brand and what I do for a living (because I am not a traditional résumé writer).  You can change your URL as many times as you want, but try to find the right one sooner than later and stick with it to help in your branding efforts.  If you customize it multiple times, the old one(s) won’t work (and will go up for grabs for someone else to take) but your originally assigned URL should always work.


Now you know how to do it, so make use of this feature!  It really is easy and takes only a few minutes.  Of course, you need to invest more time than this one effort, but this is a good start.  Please share this tip with people you know.


Amazing LinkedIn Profile Infographic

Check out this cool infographic created by Mark Wallace of AkkenCloud in partnership with Ghergich & Co. It shares very useful information to help your LinkedIn profile shine.  I agree with all of his advice.  Thanks to Mark and his team for letting me share this. 



Click To Enlarge

Breaking Down the Anatomy of a Successful LinkedIn Profile

Via AkkenCloud

Career certifications: Why they are important to career professionals


Continuous learning is important in any field, but especially so in the career industry.  We are the folks who need to “walk the talk” about growing professionally by developing ourselves too. 

Gaining certifications adds to your knowledge base and your credibility as an expert.  It also keeps you current and cutting edge.  With today’s technology explosion, it is more important than ever to know how social media sites can affect your clients but even the foundational certification areas can be useful (such as coaching, résumé writing, etc.).   

Finding certification programs can be overwhelming right from the start.  Besides the fact that so many certifications exist in the broad area of career management (such as career coaching, employee development, and branding) and job search assistance (such as interviewing, résumé writing and using social media), there are also a variety of training providers of varied size and reputation.   

I’m happy to start the conversation but this topic is bigger than one can fit in a blog post, so here are some ways to learn more about career certifications:

  • Attend the 45th Annual Middle Atlantic Career Counseling Association conference on December 2-4, 2015 (learn more here) and visit my breakout session, Making Change Happen by Growing Yourself Professionally on Thursday, December 3rd from 3:15-4:15pm   
  • To learn more about the ins and outs of earning certifications in our industry, please visit this article on the site of the National Career Development Association (NCDA): Grow Professionally by Earning Career Certifications by Paula Brand originally appeared in NCDA’s web magazine, Career Convergence at  Copyright ©March 2015.