OK, you got your college degree years ago, probably in a broad topic such as business, communications or political science. Is it time to get more specific -- to add a professional certificate to your resume? Perhaps three or four little letters to follow your name? Not only does a professional certificate add a bit of gloss in your current employer's eyes, it also positions you for the next big move to another company or profession. A professional certificate announces that you've deepened your expertise -- and are up to date -- in your field. As a bonus, you'll feel proud of knocking back yet another life accomplishment. High-tech employee Charles Vines used his new Project Management Professional (PMP) designation immediately: "Right after I got it, our department reorganized, and we all re-interviewed for our current positions. My certificate helped me keep the job I had." Certificates and credentials come in two flavors. The first -- a pure academic certificate -- is granted by a college or university just as it would grant a degree. The second, and stronger, certification is granted and administered by an independent standards board or professional association. For example, the PMP is managed by the Project Management Institute. And many are familiar with the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation granted by the Certified Financial Planning Standards Board. Many of these credentials require tests or skill development beyond the academic space. And as a skill standard, they translate well across employer boundaries. Click here for the video version of this story from Jennifer Openshaw.