Advance your career for less than $1,000

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Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

For as little as $1,000, you could see a big payback — and maybe even a bigger paycheck.

Build your brand. Job hunting or not, you can stay poised for new opportunities — and boost your standing at the office — by polishing your professional image. A career adviser, such as a counselor or coach, can help with matters such as updating your resume, networking, and identifying strengths you can showcase in the workplace and in interviews.

Costs vary by region and adviser, but you might pay about $500 for a few sessions with a career coach. Consider hiring a photographer to take professional headshots (about $200). Use your favorite photograph on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for a cohesive online presence.

Want to share your expertise on a blog or personal website? You can create one free using a platform such as WordPress.com. But for $99 a year, you can upgrade to the WordPress Value Bundle, which includes a domain name of your choice, high-definition video uploads and custom design options.

Those looking for work may want to invest in a LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium account ($180 for six months). Among its benefits are five monthly “InMail” messages, which you can use to contact anyone on LinkedIn.

Awaken the geek within. Many community colleges offer classes that could help you learn the technical skills you need to get ahead in your job (or find a better one). For example, Montgomery College, a community college with three campuses in Montgomery County, Md., offers more than 100 technology classes, ranging from digital literacy to programming for mobile devices.

Prepare for a post-retirement career. If you’re already doing taxes for family members, consider becoming an enrolled agent  — a licensed tax professional who has the right to represent taxpayers before the IRS. For $995, you can take an online course that will prepare you for the exam you must pass to obtain the designation. For more information, go to the website of the National Association of Enrolled Agents, www.naea.org.

There’s a certificate program for just about every second-act career imaginable, from landscape design to writing grant proposals, said Kerry Hannon, author of Great Jobs for Everyone 50+.

For example, you could find a second career as a geriatric care manager, a person who helps seniors navigate their healthcare options. The application, handbook and exam to become a certified care manager costs $270. You can use the rest of your money to buy two years of membership ($345 per year) in the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (www.caremanager.org).

© 2013 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance