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Aspyre Solutions on Facebook

29 Mar

Aspyre Solutions just launched on facebook!   Make sure to connect with us  for up to date information on upcoming tele-seminars, events and career development tips and advice.

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Get Your Resume Critiqued for Free!

11 Mar

I’m excited to announce that I will be working with women’s career development and recruitment network, Women For Hire, at their New York City Career Expo on Thursday April 15!  This is an amazing (and free!) opportunity for women of all levels, industries and backgrounds to come and meet with career coaches like myself for free resume advice and critiquing.

NOT Your Ordinary Job Fair! Women For Hire career expos are not like most job fairs, where candidates meet a few recruiters—then leave.

Women For Hire career expos are high-caliber recruiting events that enable talented women in all fields to meet directly with recruiters and hiring managers from top employers. Whether you’re an experienced professional with several years of experience under your belt or a graduating college student, these one-day events are an ideal chance to launch or advance your career.   The  events are day-long affairs that focus on helping women launch their careers, segue from one job to another or reinvent themselves.

The event will be held from 10am until 2pm at the Sheraton NY Hotel and Towers at 7th Avenue and 53rd Street.  Anyone who comes and meets with me will receive a special discount towards a coaching package!  For more information and details on Career Expos in other cities visit the Women For Hire Career Expo website.

April Tele-Seminar: Maximizing LinkedIn

5 Mar

Get ready to empower yourself and positively infuse your job search!  The first in a series of free tele-seminars, in April Dana Leavy of Aspyre Solutions will be presenting a free tele-seminar on how to effectively utilize LinkedIn as a productive job searching and networking tool, and take your online presence to the next level.  Even if you’re not actively in the market for a new position, or are just starting out, you will have the opportunity to learn a few creative tricks and key tactics to build and maximize your network of contacts, so when it’s time to get serious, you will already be one foot out the door in front of your competition.  This is an excellent opportunity for soon-to-be grads and entry-level job seekers to get introduced to LinkedIn’s capabilities, and start building a network now!

LinkedIn offers a wide variety of benefits, many of which users easily neglect outside of making general connections and searching job postings.  The way you communicate and reach out to contacts to market yourself and keep yourself on the front lines of the candidate pool can give you a crucial advantage over your peers, and possibly get you in the door for that interview.  Check back for details later this month!

Subscribe to the Aspyre Solutions blog to make sure you receive regular updates on our tele-seminars and other events.

30 Email Etiquette Tips

5 Feb

No matter what career path or position you’re in, chances are you use some form of email communication to reach out to your customers, colleagues, prospects or associates.  A colleague of mine forwarded me some tips on email etiquette that are really great to keep in mind (and equally easy to overlook).  Especially if you’re a job seeker or reaching out to a party whom you don’t have a prior connection to, adhere to the rules to gain that much more of an edge over your competition.  Behold:

1.    Be concise. ‘Nuff said.

2.    Get to the point. Place your main point, request, or question in the very first sentence of your message.

3.    Spell check. Proofread. Make sense.

4.    Use proper layout.

5.    Use a readable font in a size that is easy to see.

6.    Avoid stationery that takes a large amount of megabytes

7.    Use the person’s name, either in the greeting, or in the body of the message.

8.    Keep language gender neutral.

9.    Avoid text lingo (oops, I mean language.)

10.   Use only abbreviations that are well known.

11.   Avoid emoticons and smiley faces.

12.   Avoid long sentences.

13.   Use active vs. passive voice.

14.   Answer all questions, and anticipate future questions.

15.   Include the important points of the message thread.

16.   Clean up forwarded emails. Either delete unnecessary verbiage or highlight the important points.

17.   Use detailed subject lines to help your recipient quickly understand the focus of your message.

18.   For very short messages, use the subject line as the message, ending in EOM (End Of Message) to let them know not to open the message.

19.   Avoid writing in ALL CAPS. It is viewed as “shouting.”

20.   Use the high priority option only when it is truly high priority.

21.   Use the words “URGENT” and “IMPORTANT” sparingly, and only when it is true.

22.   Use ‘Reply all’ only when every person in the distribution really needs to receive the message.

23.   Avoid sending email messages when you are emotional. Regardless of how you try to mask it, people will “feel it.”

24.   Never forward messages that are off color, offensive, racist, or obscene.

25.   Don’t forward chain emails, or emails threatening you if you “don’t forward in 24 hours.”

26.   Copy ONLY the persons who really need to receive the email.

27.   Avoid using email to provide “constructive criticism.” It is never taken positively. Those conversations should be done in person.

28.   Avoid using BCC to rat out your co-workers. It turns YOU into the rat.

29.   Avoid using email to “discuss” issues among several people – the threads become diffused, and the content is difficult to follow. Call a meeting instead.

30.   Avoid sending urgent emails. If you need a response in under 3 hours, visit or call.

Getting Good Where it Really Matters

4 Feb

Last night I attended a seminar on women as budding entrepreneurs given by Suparna Bhasin of She Creates Change.  I LOVED Suparna’s energy, her enthusiasm, and her ability to connect and relate to her audience, which was comprised of about 30-40 women of all ages and career levels who were anywhere from established business owners to entrepreneurs waiting to happen.  That was the title of her seminar – “Are You An Entrepreneur Waiting to Happen?”  While I won’t recap all of her amazing bullet points (you can find them on her blog at, there was one specific take-away concept I found particularly fantastic:

“Don’t get really good at what you DON’T want to do.”

In a modern American culture where overachievement is not just a standard, but almost an expectation, especially these days with the market being what it is and layoffs amassing daily, it’s easy to fall into the mindset of “Do! Do! XDo!” and then…”Do Better!”  Even if we don’t particularly LIKE what we do.  This is particularly true of younger people, who are fairly eager to prove themselves professionally early-on.  And we’re saying to ourselves, “well, isn’t it enough/aren’t I just lucky to have SOMETHING to do as a career?”  I suppose that comes down to your own personal situation.  Personally, that’s not what I took away from last night’s seminar, nor is it part of my own school of thought.

“Don’t get really good at what you DON’T want to do.”

This one rang loud and personal to me.  I think I can say confidently in any job that I’ve had, even when I know I was completely dissatisfied with it, it was still my nature to do the job well, perhaps above and beyond what was expected – to have everything documented, color-coded, and easily accessible from 5 different places so that I was never out of touch with a single detail, should anyone call upon me for it.  But for what?  Was I ever given a raise simply for my proactivity and organizational genius?  Hardly.  In fact, at the end of the day, it was probably 80% me doing it because I needed to expand that extra energy to alleviate any fear that I might not be doing my job well.  I was so scared of not being “great”, that I considered the only other alternative to be “sub-par”.

As a result there were plenty of things I got really good at that I don’t (and never did) want to do: sales, data entry, using Microsoft Office, customer service, solving other people’s menial problems with communication and organization simply because I could, etc. etc..  These are all great things to have PRACTICED and become good at, because they’re necessary skills for any career, save for the last, but they’re certainly not things I want to become a concentrating expert in.  Get my drift?

“Don’t get really good at what you DON’T want to do.”

Probably in the same way that Freddie Prinze Jr. should have branched out of teen heartthrob movies by the age of 35 (whoops!), many people never heed this advice.  Instead, get good at these skills, the necessary ones, forget the others, and spend that extra time practicing or perfecting the REAL skills that will make you an expert in the field you really want to be in:  takes some classes towards your aspiring field, further educate yourself, conduct research, network, talk to peers, improve your verbal and non-verbal communication skills.  Find happiness.  Find out what you should REALLY be getting good at… and then do it.  Need help with that?  Let’s talk.

Credit: Suparna Bhasin, She Creates Change, LLC

Simply Stated: Authenticity

3 Feb

“If we desire authenticity, we must be willing to consistently behave in a whole and complete way. We can not fracture ourselves into different selves that emerge depending on the circumstances.”

-Andrew Thorne, PhD

Oiling the Company Machine in Difficult Times

3 Feb

Several weeks ago a friend of mine attended a ‘state of the union’ company-wide meeting for her organization.  It was a dual-purpose rolling out of the numbers from 2009 and the new game plan for 2010, which included across-the-board salary cuts for all company employees.

Now I’ve been a “numbers person” for years, with a front-row seat to the P&L’s and budgets at my last company, so I know well that operational expenses and operational income go hand-in-hand.  However, it doesn’t ease the pain of those employees under the  umbrella, from the soon-to-be college grad intern to the senior VP who started the company several years back.  Knowledge doesn’t refill the bank accounts, or pad the paychecks, it doesn’t pay the bills, and sometimes it fails to simply ease the mind.  While the optimist may say “Well, at least I still have my job,” most people are thinking “I’m expected to do the same job at 20% less of my salary.”  So what’s an organization to do when it comes to the well-being and retention of their good employees?

A few weeks later an email from the CEO arrived detailing a couple of new policies.  “Great,” my friend thought.  “Just what we need- more policies to force us to work harder under diminished quality of living”.  At least this is the mistake many companies make in times of cutbacks – if the company is doing poorly, we simply have to work harder and more diligently to make up the gaps.  But this CEO knew better.  Though a seasoned professional, he was new to the organization, and had been essentially called in to fix the lingering financial and organizational problems that had been plaguing the organization for years.  He knew that enforcing stricter policies when morale was already low wouldn’t do any good – it wouldn’t motivate anyone and it would decrease productivity.  Instead, he worked on ways to “give back” to the employees what he could outside of a financial realm, to increase morale and show that upper management really was in fact taking the employees’ needs and suggestions into consideration.  He announced a new dress code policy, no longer requiring business casual, and allowing for casual dress 5 days a week (with exceptions of course for meetings and sales).  He also announced that employees would have the option of working flex hours to better fit their schedules and increase the work-life balance.  While it didn’t sooth the financial wounds employees felt, it was something, and more importantly sent the message that employees were still valued.

In a time where so many companies are failing and almost everyone is feeling a deep financial pinch, isn’t it important for companies to consider retention of good employees, given that it costs three times as much to hire and train a new employee than to retain an existing person?  At the very least, it’s an exercise in reality and rationale – you can’t run a machine without the parts that work in tandem to make it function.   So keep them clean, polished and do your best to reduce unnecessary wear and tear… and results will be positive.

Photo Credit: Leon Bibel (1936)

We Have A Dream

20 Jan

How do you feel about the term “dream career”?  Thinking about it likely denotes positive visions of a fulfilling role largely based upon your own talents, ambitions and passions.   But it’s all too easy to find yourself at a hard stop when it comes to taking the next (or first) step to getting yourself into that cushy enjoyable seat of professional utopia and fulfillment.  Am I right?

One of my favorite professional networking organizations- Downtown Women’s Club-  featured a post on Tapping Your Passion for Your Career by author and life coach Allison Maslan.  Maslan’s book Blast Off!  The Surefire Success Plan To Launce Your Dreams Into Reality takes a look into the questions you can ask yourself to (finally) truly incorporate a passion into your career.

Check out the full article here.

“Can I ask your advice…”

18 Jan

I had a good laugh today at an article forwarded on to me by one of my LinkedIn contacts, about the misguided perceptions behind giving and receiving advice, from professional development group Fish Out of Water (FOOW).  Amazing, how EASY (and quite honestly, detrimental) it is to gloss over the vast difference between, ‘advice’, ‘truth’ and ‘realization’.

Think about it – as a woman, I’m guilty of having asked SOMEONE (boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, roommate), the timeless “Does this make me look [insert self-depricating adjective here]?”  And likewise with any similarly stereotyped inquiries that go along with being a man.  Now consider this- did I really want their truthful answer?  Or did I really want the answer that made me feel better in the moment?

Quite honestly neither scenario really does anyone any good.  Because whether you get a false response loaded with awkwardness-avoiding sympathy, or you get a brash and heartless truth, it’s not going to lead to you a positive end result.  What we should consider is that it is not about seeking anyone’s “advice” at all, but rather asking a question that prompts us to come up with our OWN answer, and act upon our own truth accordingly.  After all, YOUR truth is really the only one that matters, because let’s face it… it’s the only one you’re going to respect in the end.

Check out the rest of the article here.

ASG Poll

28 Oct
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