The Workologist column of the New York Times (NYT)

Paula Brand was interviewed and quoted in the NYT Workologist column by Rob Walker about how much notice is needed and how to explain that you were fired in an interview.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Jenny Darmody, Careers Editor of the asked Paula Brand how to handle this question.

How Far Women’s Empowerment Has Come in the Workplace

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The disparity between men and women in the workforce still remains, albeit not as stark as previous centuries thanks to the emergence of more feminists and modern thinkers. Paula Brand previously noted that the salary margin between men and women is noticeable, but there are now more actionable ways to close this gap. The rise of women empowerment greatly contributes to this cause.

A slow, but sure change

It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that women gradually entered the workforce, though greatly underpaid and only had access to very limited job categories. Be Businessed recounts that a lot of political parties regarded women as weak and only had a place for the home, which is why the list for available positions was short. Women mainly held nursing, teaching, or secretarial roles. This didn’t change until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended the segregation and discrimination in the workforce based on race, color, and sex.

Women in leadership roles

Although some people still question a woman’s capabilities in high management roles in big companies, there has been a growth in terms of women taking leadership roles. Statista reveals that 3% of women worldwide are CEOs as of March 2018. Though it’s not much and there’s still overestimation in most countries, it’s still a step in the right direction, especially considering that female CEOs were virtually non-existent decades ago. In the US in fact, only 0.4% of Fortune 500 CEOs in 2000 were women, but by 2014, that proportion grew to 4.8%.

What’s important for women is to empower themselves by staying true and continuously looking for ways to use their skills to the very best of their abilities. Menlo Coaching explains that being genuine allows you to influence others, because you are essentially setting a trend and not simply joining one. Smarts, empathy, and creative thinking are some of the strengths that women possess naturally. Using these to your advantage helps you become an effective leader in work, as well as in life.

Of course, self-motivation is best combined with external sources that increase the impact of female empowerment. Countless ads and brands show how powerful women can be, including #LikeAGirl campaign from Always and the Imagine the Possibilities campaign of Barbie. The media has done a good job in breaking barriers and creating a conversation among young women in unlocking their potential with what they can be when they grow up.

The present and future of women in the workforce

The aforementioned notion has helped shape the thinking of millennial women in the workforce today. Brands now target their ads to females as entrepreneurs, with the rise of #GirlBoss ideals and women being in control. Forbes detailed a recent study involving 400 million millennial women, and 83% expressed keen interest in starting their own company. This data is a great jump from even just five years ago, and destroys the stay-at-home female figure many generations have painted.

While it’s not quite there yet, females have come a long way in terms of proving how perfectly capable they are in all business fields. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of women empowerment is not world domination by females, but rather, a world where equal pay, benefits, and opportunities are offered to both men and women.

This article was written by SheBoss_RJ as a guest blog post for PaulaBrand.Com


Calling all women: Earn your worth & help close the pay gap!

It’s well documented that there is a pay gap between men and women in the US.  One of the best ways for women to decrease that gap is to consistently negotiate a higher starting salary with each job offer, starting with the first.  This is important because a lower starting salary early in your career can have compounding effects over time, especially when employers base a job offer on your last salary, rather than the market rate for your qualifications.  According to Linda Babcock, author of Women Don’t Ask, by the age of 60 women could be short up to 2 million dollars for lack of negotiating over the course of their career. 

The truth is that most women don’t try to negotiate compensation.  According to a 2011 survey of 2000 people, 84% of employers expect candidates to negotiate a job offer.  However, most candidates don’t.  The findings revealed that while 46% of men always try to negotiate, only 30% of women do the same.  Furthermore, less than half of the men surveyed (39%) were apprehensive about negotiating, while more than half of the women (55%) were apprehensive about it. 

One of the best ways to lessen anxiety and improve performance is to be prepared. So, let’s discuss two important ways you can prepare for your next salary negotiation.

FIRST:  Identify your leverage

Leverage is a critical piece of any negotiation, especially when handling salary.  You must know what leverage you have and when to use it.  Many employers (and some candidates) want to talk about salary early on in the interviewing process but this is not in the candidate’s best interest.  You must hold off this discussion until you have the most leverage and that is when the employer has made you the job offer.  Before that point, you have very minimal leverage, so don’t be the first to bring it up.  If the employer brings it up too early, try to postpone the discussion until later.  This post give advice on delaying that initial conversation.

To assess your leverage, try to find out answers to these questions:

How long has the position been vacant? (the longer it’s been open, the more leverage you have)

How hard is it to fill this type of position? (the more difficult to fill, the more leverage you have)

Do you possess unique qualifications that make it hard to find candidates?  (the more unique your skills, the more leverage you have)

Is this position critical to operations? (the more critical the position, the more leverage you have)

How fast do they need to fill the job? (the faster they have to hire, the more leverage you have)

How well do they know you and your abilities? (the better they know you and your abilities, the more leverage you have)


SECOND: Determine the market rate

Another point of information that is extremely important for your salary negotiation is the market rate. You need to research the answer to this question:  What do others with similar experience and education get paid in your geographic location?  There are many sources of data points to discover. 

  • Industry leaders and professional associations conduct periodic and annual salary surveys. Some access may be limited by membership status and some may charge a fee.  For those that are expensive, see if your local library carries them.
  • For a nonprofit in the US, you can look up the 990 form or public tax return to see the salaries for the top five positions in the organization. This may not reveal the pay for your role but knowing the top five salaries should give some insight into their pay ranges.  
  • Don’t forget to ask colleagues you know and trust. You must do this tactfully and carefully, but it’s a great source of information.
  • Job postings are not so useful for actually landing a job, but they can be very useful for gathering salary information. Whenever you see this data for your profession, make a note of it.
  • Online you can find many salary websites, such as:  (a great website with tons of information and global salary data). (mainly US and Canada data offering free and paid reports) (this is a newer feature, so the data set is limited) (this Department of Labor website offers national salary data and by state)


More tips to help you prepare:

  • Know what you want. Determine your ideal salary along with what you can accept while still making your financial commitments.  This will give you a range to keep in mind as you negotiate.
  • Create scripts and practice them. Predict push back and objections and know your reply ahead of time.  Have a few answers ready if the employer asks you to state a number first.  Deflect as much as possible and if they press hard, give a broad range.
  • Find ways to respond to their questions without sharing your past salary information. You can say something like “That’s personal information that I don’t share” and then ask a question related to the job to change the subject.
  • There are many others items you could navigate if annual salary is not negotiable. Consider discussing benefits such as health insurance costs, vacation time or professional development opportunities.  In addition, consider asking for a sign on bonus, for a different title, a different start date or the option to work remotely.
  • Keep timing in mind. Don’t forget that you have the most leverage when they offer you the job. 

It is my hope that by reading this article, you will try to negotiate your next job offer.  Even if you haven’t been doing it so far in your career, it’s not too late to start now.  The more you try it, the more comfortable you will feel doing it (although it will almost always be something you’d rather not do) and that will make you more likely to try!




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!

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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

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