With my consulting practice in a bit of a lull, yesterday capped a very exciting and productive week in the other area I'm spending most of my time on - finding my next challenging position as a corporate executive. This is something I know many of us are doing during this prolonged "economic downturn."

On Tuesday, an invitation by Visual CV to attend a free webinar on using the internet to market oneself and find the next great job provided a bonanza of information. Karen Masullo was the presenter and she covered topics that most of us had never considered or even heard of before!! But they certainly appeared to present great opportunities to tap into the hidden job market through social networking online. She covered how to get the most out of your Visual CV (I'm still working on mine), but also Twitter, LinkedIn, Twello, Friendfeed and even Google.

So - pumped up, energized and fully committed to kick starting my online marketing campaign I was looking forward to yesterday's all day "Open Doors" conference at the Metro Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. The Event was hosted by HAPPEN, Canada's largest networking and support group for executives in transition and advertised as featuring leading speakers who would enlighten us on how to tap into the Huge, Hidden, Job market Karen spoke about.

HAPPEN reckons its as much as 80% of all jobs, which was music to the ears... if only we could figure out how to tap into it!!

Well, we weren't disappointed.... there were five presenters and they were all fabulous, imparting a sense of optimism and a can do, take-no-prisoners approach to those of us in the trenches who are on the march out of transition on to the next terrific 6 figure job!

Judy Suke got things going with a stimulating and very humorous session on how to overcome challenges and communicate the value you can add to prospective employers. Not only did she wake up the audience with her "straight from the shoulder" street smart savvy, but she left us in stitches. Though Judy set a very high bar, every one of the next four speakers met the challenge. Jim Geraghty got every one's attention with how an effective direct mail campaign can generate 6% response and as many interviews as you can handle and Brian Bassett made sure we would ace them and get that job offer. Lior Samfiru was very compelling about the do's and don'ts of negotiating an employment contract, once we landed that job, following the other presenters' advice.

After lunch we had Donna Messer, who has a bona fide claim to be the Canadian guru of Networking and is always great, then Dick O'Brien was absolutely brilliant in his motivational wrap-up session on resiliency, something we all need in these times.

Congratulations to Karen and Visual CV and to HAPPEN on the success of their first ever "Open Doors" conference - it was a great effort!!

Below are the websites and links for much of the information in this post as well as the presenters.

Good luck, Salut et bonne chance,

Phil Richardson