No doubt you have heard stories about people who have landed great jobs without ever having applied to the company or written a resume. Or, maybe it truly was a case of being in the right place at the right time. Even if the stars are properly lined up, no doubt you will need more than a little good luck to get to where you want to be. Much like any overnight success, it may take years. So how can you get started on that road to success?

It has been stated that the hidden job market represents approximately 80 per cent of the jobs that never get advertised, and that 100 per cent of job seekers are applying for only 20 per cent of the jobs out there. So, how do you get to that 80 per cent? You talk to people you know who can help you out: family, friends, friends of friends, current or past employers, professors, etc. You chat with people at parties and cold contact people you've read or heard about in the news. You conduct informational interviews with professionals in your chosen occupational field. You cultivate an arsenal of contacts... in short, you network.

If you are introverted, you really may not be enthralled with networking, so make it more of a personal challenge. Here are some strategies for successful networking whether it be online or in person:

1. Brainstorm for contacts: Think of everyone who could possibly serve as a contact. Don't limit yourself to people who could help because they have similar occupations, include people in unrelated fields as well. Remember people you may have met through volunteer activities or work. Include family friends, relatives, neighbours, professors, alumni, former employers, coworkers and so on.

2. Go to where your contacts are: Tried and true places to network include the local alumni association, Career Centre, class reunions, cocktail parties, fundraisers, conferences, professional association meetings, social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter, volunteer activities, career and job fairs.

3. Get organized, be prepared: You need to approach these networking opportunities with a game plan. Do your homework and try to find out who will be there, or do your best to think about who might be there and make a list of the people you really want to meet. Once you've made your list, find out what you can about the companies they work for, their backgrounds, etc., and make up some questions or conversation starters that reflect your research. Above all, be professional. Try not to generalize with questions like, “Do you know of any jobs that I might apply to?” as this may put your contact into an overwhelming situation. Make it easy for your contacts to help you.

4. Networking is limitless: You never know when you will meet someone who could influence your career path. Always be ready to network, and don't avoid people who have no obvious connection to your ambitions as they may be able to give you the name of someone who might.

5. Follow up and stay organized: After you meet a contact, it is absolutely essential that you follow up with them. Thank them for the advice they may have given you and keep in touch with them — stay on their radar. This way they may think of you if an opportunity comes up and develop a system of some sort to keep organized.

6. It's all about respect: Just like your mother said, if you want to be treated with respect, then you have to give respect. If you want your emails and calls returned, then you need to respond to the people who contact you. Don't forget to return the favour if someone helps you out. Start building your professional reputation as someone who is polite, respectful, kind and genuine. And, when you do get that new job, be sure to keep them informed about that too as we all like to hear good news.

Need assistance with your job search or writing a resume and covering letter? Drop by the Career Services office in D1063. The Career Services staff are available to assist you on an individual basis. Visit the office in D1063 to arrange an appointment with the consultant responsible for your program or call 519-452- 4294. To access job listings for Fanshawe students and graduates, visit or Follow us on Facebook, Twitter @FanshaweCS and Pinterest