“Build Your Dream Network” author Kelly Hoey helps us network better and explains how you can use networking to change your career.
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Kelly Hoey is obsessed with changing the way we understand and approach networking. She’s the author of Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Connections In A Hyper Connected World, a modern, practical guide to the necessary (and frequently dreaded) task of networking.
Kelly has worked with top companies, brands and conferences. She’s appeared on NBC’s Power Pitch, co-created and moderated the “Meet The Innovators” speaker series at Apple, and contributed to publications such as The New York Times, Forbes.com, Fast Company, and Inc. Kelly’s insights have been featured in Real Simple, Working Mother, Good Morning America, AARP, Vogue.com, Brit & Co, The Muse, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, CBC Radio, Monster.com, AARP, The Ladders, Parade, Business Insider and many more, as an authority on networking.
A former attorney and active participant in New York’s startup community, Kelly has been lauded from Forbes (“1 of 5 Women Changing the World of VC/Entrepreneurship”) to Fast Company (“1 of the 25 Smartest Women On Twitter”) to Business Insider (“1 of the 100 Most Influential Tech Women On Twitter”) and Inc. (“1 of the 10 Most Well-Connected People in New York City’s Startup Scene”). EBW 2020 included her on their list of the “100 Most Influential Global Leaders Empowering Women Worldwide”.
What you’ll learn in this episode
- [03:12] Kelly discusses how she made the shift from law to become a networking expert.
- [04:40] Kelly explains her definition of the term ‘networking’.
- [06:14] How observing and working within your existing network can lead to opportunities.
- [07:50] Utilising your existing connections to unearth opportunities.
- [10:45] Tips for controlling the anxiety that comes with networking.
- [12:03] How to start networking when changing your career.
- [15:12] Looking to your network before reaching out to people outside it.
- [17:41] Working through hesitation in building relationships.
- [19:19] Showing appreciation for advice given to you and why following up is important.
- [21:34] How to schedule your time to encourage yourself to network.
- [23:28] Conducting informational interviews to research a potential change in career.
- [25:52] Thinking about the landscape of your ideal job to judge if it’s the right fit for you.
- [29:19] Engaging with people regularly to build your relationships.
- [31:01] Actively helping industry peers to help you understand other perspectives.
- [34:01] How by getting together with others in the middle of a career change you can help each other.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase. This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.
To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.
Episode 88: How networking can help you change career - with Kelly Hoey
Jeremy Cline 0:00
We all know how important networking can be in your career. But if you want to find out about how networking can specifically help you change career, then this is the episode for you. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.
Jeremy Cline 0:27
Hello and welcome to Change Work Life, the podcast that's all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. Regular listeners will know that networking is one of those themes which pops up time and time again. And you may remember my interview with Charlie Lawson back in Episode 45, which was all about how you approach networking, particularly when you're an introvert. I wanted to revisit the subject of networking and in particular, how networking and career change interact, and what sort of networking will help you in changing career. To help us explore this, I'm so pleased to be joined by Kelly Hoey. Kelly is a speaker on the subject of networking and career advancement. She's the host of the Build Your Dream Network podcast, and she's author of a book with the same title, Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships in a Hyper-Connected World. Kelly, welcome to Change Work Life.
Kelly Hoey 1:19
Thank you for having me.
Jeremy Cline 1:21
Kelly, can you start by telling us a bit more about yourself and what you do now? So, who do you speak to, who are you trying to help, is speaking your full-time thing as well as writing books?
Kelly Hoey 1:31
I would say speaking and writing seem to be the full-time thing. It's sort of one of those things you have to try and explain to your parents, that this is what you do for a job, when the last time they really saw you in terms of starting out your career was heading off to law school, and they have a very contained knowledge of what a career is. It involves an office and suits and regular hours, and somehow doing this other thing is a little more confusing when you try and explain that podcasting and blogging and tweeting is actually part of how you do business.
Jeremy Cline 2:01
So, who do you speak to, who's your typical audience?
Kelly Hoey 2:04
Well, I have the great pleasure of speaking to a lot of audiences, in the sense that my book has appealed to both those who are starting their careers, so new grads, but also to those who are seeking encore careers or new careers, second acts, however you want to refer to it, as well as those in the middle who are within existing careers and looking how to expand and improve where they are. So, I sort of have that, you know, maybe it's a unique position, but also a frustrating one at times, of having a book that appeals to so many people. In the last year, I've done a lot of work with the Bright Network out of London, with students, because they've been, obviously graduate students, who have been particularly impacted. And we've also seen the impact of this past year or so on the career prospects for women. So, a lot of audiences have been female as well.
Jeremy Cline 3:00
You mentioned law school, and I am keen to get onto the topic of networking itself, but I'd love to just know how you went from being a lawyer to doing what you do now. It's quite an interesting shift, I'm sure.
Kelly Hoey 3:12
Well, it wasn't initially. I really, seriously, I had this very narrow view of what my career could be, and what my career, kind of... There's sort of the career expectations, which I think a lot of your listeners could probably relate to, you know, sort of an expectation of going to school, getting a higher education, getting a certain type of job, and then you pursue that and it gives you a good life. And when I tired of that route, not hating the law, but just sort of tired of that, I had a very limited horizon that I imagined where my skills could be put to use. And so, from there, I went into law firm management. And it wasn't until, I don't know, so at this point, Jeremy, I'm probably 17, 18 years into my career. It wasn't until I got involved with a global business networking group for women, and got really involved in that group in terms of volunteering and raising my hand and being a very visible active member, it wasn't until I did that, that what I could do, like my skills in action, when they came to be seen by other people who held a mirror up to me of what I could do, I hadn't imagined that I could write a book and stand on stage and speak and get paid for it. I never had imagined that sort of thing.
Jeremy Cline 4:31
Let's start with a real baseline question. And I'm interested to know your view on this. But if you had to define what networking is to someone, where do you start?
Kelly Hoey 4:41
I jokingly usually start with telling them to take what they think networking is and write it on a piece of paper and then go over and flush it down the loo. Just get rid of that old thought, because I think, when we think of networking, Jeremy, we think of a certain personality type that is good at it. I know you've had a prior guest who talked about networking, networking for introverts, because you think extroverts are good at it, therefore, that means everybody else can't be. And I think we think of it as an activity that involves a time of need and a power imbalance. And all of that gets very uncomfortable and a bit anxiety-causing and thinking about how we're going to talk to strangers, whereas what I think of as networking is human interaction. So, for me, networking is every single human interaction, how we greet a neighbour, who we see on our, when we went to offices, who we saw on our regular commute, who we grabbed coffee with, who we grabbed coffee from, how we send a text, how we send a tweet, do we remember birthdays, what's on our business invoice, is our LinkedIn profile up to date – all of those little pieces to me all add up to who we are and how we care about those who are around us.
Jeremy Cline 5:58
So, if I was to ask you the question, when should people start networking, it's sounding to me like what you're saying is they already are, what they need to do is identify the interactions that they already had, and do something to optimise those interactions.
Kelly Hoey 6:14
Exactly. You're interacting with people on a daily basis. What can you do a little bit better? How can you observe a little more? Because maybe stopping and observing what's going on in your network, you will unearth opportunities for yourself, whether that is directly or by being of service to somebody else, providing them with a resource or lead or a tip, and in doing so strengthen a relationship that they're going to be more willing to help you in the future.
Jeremy Cline 6:46
Can you give an example of this in some sort of small way? Because you mentioned things like what your invoice looks like, that sort of thing. So, can you give an example of a sort of a small tip that people wouldn't have thought that in that sort of context?
Kelly Hoey 6:58
Well, I think of my own case. I wrote a blog post, a career blog post, well, it's donkey's years now, on why I learned to play golf, which we would think of as a very traditional networking activity. But I told the story of how I came to learn how to play golf back when I was practising law in Toronto. And I wrote this blog post for a career website. And it was probably five years later, after I had wrote that blog post, thanks to search engines, the PGA of America found me. And that's the Professional Golf Association, for those who are unaware of that. PGA called and I've had the good fortune of working with them multiple times. I can't say that I'm an active golfer anymore. But I have been on more fabulous golf courses for PGA championships than my golf loving father, much to his annoyance, and to my chagrin, so there we are. I think of a friend of mine, when asked the question, 'Hey, what's going on with work?', he leaned into the conversation to say exactly what was going on with work. The person who asked the question was his personal trainer. And most people think, 'Well, it's your personal trainer, just get on with doing the squats and the crunches, right? That's what you're there for.' But a personal trainer has other clients and those other clients could be the people that you're looking to connect with. And in this case, it was exactly it, as my friend says, the direct introduction that unlocked a business opportunity for him was his personal trainer. So, I think, you know, you can reinforce a relationship by how you respond to someone. You know, one of the stories in my book, an attorney responding to a request for information, opened up a dialogue and sort of a lifetime of not-for-profit and other board positions in community organisations that were huge business makers for her, in terms of meeting clients and the type of people that she did work for. So, you know, those little things, I think, for people listening to this podcast, you know, kind of stop and think back to how something happened for you and unravel it by the people, by the personal relationships. Invoice gets passed on, a business card gets passed on, emails get forwarded, people talk about you when you're not in the room, based on their experience with you. And so, if you start kind of looking at it in that context, all of a sudden, you're like, 'Wow, okay, if I just changed a little something here, someone may put in that good word for me. I might get that word-of-mouth referral or recommendation that I'm seeking', that elusive thing which is, in my mind, not so elusive.
Jeremy Cline 9:36
So, it sounds to me like you're describing two things. I mean, you're describing essentially habits, so this becomes a sort of habitual thing where you check how you're sending the email and what it includes and you work on how you interact with people and what you put at the bottom of your invoice and that sort of thing. But also, that networking is more about laying the groundwork, not necessarily with any expectation that something is going to come of it, but you just keep on doing things in this way, and eventually, something will and it'll come from a completely unexpected source.
Kelly Hoey 10:13
Well, it can be part of that. That can be the, as I like to think of, when people say, you know, serendipity: 'Oh, Jeremy's just so lucky'. I'm like, no, no, you put yourself in front of luck. You want to talk about that piece of the networking. The other part of networking in terms of how you orchestrate opportunities, sending a resume at the right time, or making the right business pitch, I mean, that comes from listening and observing. And listening and observing first, before just opening your mouth or firing off the email. And too many times, I think, Jeremy, people think, when they think networking, like I said, it's the talking part. And maybe part and overall arching with my message for people is, this activity of networking that can be so anxiety-causing, and you can feel so absolutely hopeless about it, is actually something within your control. You have the ability to control over how you treat other people. You have the ability to control a lot of the information they find about you. You have the ability in many ways to control the conversation. Maybe more than anything, my Build Your Dream Network message is giving people sort of their power and their agency back over this really critical and essential career activity.
Jeremy Cline 11:37
Let's focus a bit more on how networking and career change interact. If someone is contemplating, perhaps they are contemplating a career change, maybe they're not sure what they're going to change to at this stage, but they're thinking about it, they're thinking, 'Maybe where I am is not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life, or for the next however long', how can networking help someone in that situation? And what should that person start thinking about doing?
Kelly Hoey 12:04
I love this question and sort of, I've been there, I've been there, I've had to do the sit back and say, 'What is it?' What is it about the role that I'm in now that I like, what are the attributes of it? What are the aspects, is it the office, is it the people, is it the work? What is it? And is doing it somewhere else why I want to make a change? Or is it I need to go and apply my skills somewhere else? So, this kind of start of this exploration, I would say spend some time doing that back of the envelope, 'Right, is it the job itself? Or is it the work itself versus the place I'm doing it?' And start that kind of, almost like that catalogue of what it is, and then start to go, 'Okay, I'd like to know more what I could do with my skill set. Who are people who have made this type of change? What have they changed to? Does that look interesting? Maybe I could ask them about how it was that they navigated that change.' So, it's almost like writing a grocery list of the types of questions that you have. And then think about the people who could possibly answer that question. Now, one of the things I like to say about networking, I think of it as problem solving, and we solve problems with the help of other people. The benefit too of putting this in a question format, and being very specific over the career questions you have, we need to recognise in any networking scenario, when you're needing the help of somebody else, that not only do we have to be respectful of our relationship with them, whether it's a strong one or a new one, we also need to be very respectful and cognisant of other people's time and their reputation. Reaching out to someone when we're looking to make a career change and just saying, 'Hey, Jeremy, by the way, I'm thinking about making a career change, can you and I jump on a Zoom so I can pick your brain over making a career change?' That's a bit of a fatiguing ask, as opposed to someone emailing and asking a very specific question. 'Jeremy, how did you get into podcasting? And why did you think that that was a really good career move for you?' And getting that kind of more pinpointed question, you're then able to direct someone to an answer. And it may involve a telephone call, it may involve a Zoom meeting, it may involve just forwarding them a particular episode of your podcast or a blog post that you've written that says, here's exactly why I did it. Right? So, we're seeking help, and we're seeking information. So, I think if you're making a career change, start to make a list of the questions you have. Think about the people who are in the position to answer those questions. Take a look at their profiles, look in some of the things they've done, because you may find half your answer by doing that. And then, you have the ability to reach out to them to ask them an even better question about the career change or the particular thing you wanted to talk to them about.
Jeremy Cline 15:04
And are these people likely to exist in your network already? Or is it going to be a case of, in some cases, reaching out to complete strangers?
Kelly Hoey 15:13
Well, I mean, one way to think of it is, first of all, I think looking at your network first is a good idea. Because again, I think our default with networking is, we immediately go outside of who we already know. Because we think networking is an activity done best with strangers, and that is not the right answer. So, look to your network first. The number of hidden gems of the connections you need, they might be right under your nose. And if it's not someone who's in your network, think about who in your network may know such a person, since a warm introduction is the next best thing. So, think about, right, does someone in my network know someone who...? And this is where the upside of, or one of the upsides with social media is, we can see who our people in our network are connected to, because each of us has rich and diverse networks that look different. And we have different relationships with them. So, that's where, start with who you immediately know, do a little audit, do kind of a, like cleaning out the attic, or the garage or the basement, kind of like do a dig around, see what's in there. There might be some relationships you've forgotten about. Think about how and what role they could play in answering some of the career change questions you have. And then, if you can't find the person you're looking for, go to the people who, obviously the mentors and they may be peer mentors, they may be unofficial mentors, and go to them and say, 'Listen, I'm thinking about making this change. And I'm really looking to talk to someone who has done A to B, or someone who is applying these skills, or it's a work environment that looks like – fill in the blank', because that gives them something to kind of mull and chew on and search around in their own networks to see if they have someone to help you.
Jeremy Cline 16:56
You gave a couple of examples of what might be not such a great way to reach out to someone and what might be a better way to reach out to someone. People are going to be a bit nervous about impinging on others' time. I mean, there's going to be, I think, some apprehension maybe about reaching out to people that you only slightly know or you haven't connected with for a long time, a sense that, 'Am I asking this person to help me out and I don't necessarily have standing?' So, you're going to want to approach them in such a way that maximises the chances that you're going to get a result which is helpful to you and isn't going to alienate the person you're contacting. So, how can you kind of make sure that you do it, and I'm kind of having air quotes here, 'right'?
Kelly Hoey 17:42
Yes. I have three thoughts on this. You know, first of all, hesitation, is that caused because you were a jerk in the past to this person? I mean, if you've been a good colleague, if you've been someone who has been there for others, which is where we started in this conversation of networking, you know, people are often very glad to help. So, think about your own behaviours. And is that causing you hesitation? Because, probably rightly so, that it should cause you to hesitate. But if you've been a good person in the past, and have been helpful to someone, then by all means, reach out. And the fact that you're hesitating because you're concerned about impinging on someone's time, you know what, pat yourself on the back, because I think that's fantastic, because you're caring about someone else. And that's part of a foundation of being a great network builder and a good networker. Then, in terms of thinking about someone's time, a waste of time is to not know what you want to talk to somebody about. Spending the time and very clearly crafting a specific or focused question for someone is very respectful of their time, their credentials, their reputation, their relationships. If you can find an answer from reading someone's profile, or their blog, or googling their name, then don't ask them that question, ask them something better. So, spending that time kind of coming up with something very, very specific. And then the third piece on this is what you have to offer someone. You know, there's the two things we've already talked about, but the third piece of it, and this gets dropped so frequently I could light my hair on fire, acknowledging the advice and guidance they've given you. Thanking someone for their time, showing appreciation for the advice given. And then, and here's, this is kind of, because it's kind of a two part, it's sort of a 3A and a 3B in terms of my answer, Jeremy. The second part is the thank you, and the initial thank you, you could say, 'Well, Kelly, that's obvious. That's common courtesy.' Yes. And common courtesy, like a lot of things has gone out the window in recent years. The second part of this sort of part three is, you know, follow up with that person at some point to let them know what you did with the advice. So, 'Jeremy, really appreciate our conversation, and in it, you gave me some really terrific advice that I'm going to really apply to pivot my job search and look in these new areas'. You know, whether it's two weeks later or two months later, to reach out and say, 'Jeremy, just wanted to let you know, it's been a couple of months since we, or a couple of weeks since we talked, I took your advice, I revamped my LinkedIn profile, and this is what's happened.' That's the kind of stuff that starts to solidify relationships, and frankly is, if we think of networking as being an exchange of some sort, like if I help you, you feel you need to help me, that's your part of the exchange. People who want to help others, who want to see them succeed, or land mentors or find new jobs, we just want to know what's going on. We want to know that our advice was useful, or that the introduction we made happened, or the interview we coached you on, did it go as well as we hoped our advice would help you conduct it? So, that sort of thank you and the follow up is a really critical piece. And it's the part too many people drop.
Jeremy Cline 21:08
I'm going to ask a really geeky question now. But I suspect that people go in with the intentions of thinking, 'Yeah, I'll send the initial thank you.' And hopefully, a lot of people do still do that. And they have the intention, then that they get a follow up and then they forget about it. Is there a, I don't know, a system that you've found which is particularly effective, which just reminds you that this is what you were going to do? So, you know, it actually does become front of mind and you remember to do it?
Kelly Hoey 21:35
You know, the best thing to do, like the email exchange that you have with someone, if you're using something like Gmail, just snooze it for a few weeks. Like, snooze that email exchange and then have it pop up at some random time in your calendar. Make it a practice, maybe it's a Sunday night thing that you pull out your calendar, I still use a paper calendar, this is a podcast, otherwise, I'd be flashing my Filofax, you know, and flip through the pages or go back and scroll through your electronic calendar, look at your appointments. You know, maybe this is part of it, schedule and appointment these things, even if it's a schedule or an appointment that you put for yourself as a prompt or a reminder. So that you could go back and look over and go, 'Oh, right. It's been a few weeks since I checked in with Jeremy and let him know what was going on. I'm just going to do that.' Those are some ways that I do it. Because some of this part about networking, I mean, so much of it, Jeremy, we want there to be the 10 hacks to make networking easier. Networking, by definition, will never be easy, because it's a human activity. And we are squirrely and weird. I mean, you didn't need the last year to figure out that, but we're squirrely and weird and difficult and our moods shift and all the rest of it. So, networking is always going to be difficult. And that's sort of where this art, this need to be human, this need to be caring comes in, as opposed to having just a checklist of to-do's of how to work a room or send an email.
Jeremy Cline 22:59
Going back to a career changer who now, having spoken to people, they've now got much greater certainty or a much better idea in their mind where things might go. What can they do then, once they've kind of made the decision that they are going to change career and they pretty much know what they're going to change to, what can they do particularly to target their networking more, to try and make that a reality? And I guess following on from that, leveraging their existing network, how does it change?
Kelly Hoey 23:30
Alright, well, I'm going to use a real live example from my own career, because I switched from being a lawyer into law firm management and I needed to build an entirely new network of people in those roles to make the change because I discovered that these were not advertised positions at the time. If you were someone without experience, air quotes, so to speak, being a lawyer for the 11 or 12 years that I had been a lawyer wasn't sufficient to qualify me to be a manager of lawyers. I had to network and do things to get there. So, initially, I did some informational interviews to decide what I wanted to do when I said I wanted to, decided in my own mind I wanted to stay within the law firm environment, professional services environment, but I wanted to flip over onto the management side. And I didn't know if I wanted to go into marketing, attorney training and development or recruiting. I conducted some informational interviews with people who had made that transition, and I narrowed it down. I said, 'Alright, I'm going to do attorney training and professional development.' It then enabled me to have another series and sort of expand informational interviews to find out how other people, like what they did in their role, things they felt they had done to qualify themselves to be in that role. So, hearing that, I was like, 'Oh, here's some things I haven't done in my work experience. How can I backfill my resume, my CV, so that when someone says, "Oh, Kelly, brilliant that you want to make this career change, but you've never done X", I had an answer for it?' So, I went and took courses at NYU, in their Continuing and Professional Studies, and filled in the gaps in my resume, you know, taking coaching courses and HR courses and writing programme design, that kind of thing. That enabled me to also expand my network with new people who were in corporations and other professional services firms, who were making the same kind of change. And we should touch on that, you know, kind of the benefit of networking with people who are going after the same jobs as you, there's actually a benefit to doing that. So, we should touch on that as well.
Jeremy Cline 25:32
Just pausing there a second. And when you were a lawyer in practice contemplating a change and looking at things like law firm management, I mean, this might be a silly question, but how did you know to speak to people in this way to fill in these gaps? Because there's going to be people who, they're contemplating a change, but they don't think of that. So, where did the idea come from?
Kelly Hoey 25:55
I would say, probably, it might have been intuitive, it might have been some initial conversations where people, knowing that some of the people already in the roles that I was seeking were very reluctant to see someone like me, an attorney, step into those roles. Because this would then mean a change and shift in terms of the pipeline for future promotions. Because a lot of people who were doing attorney training and development at the time did not have, they had not previously practised law, is probably the best way of putting it. So, maybe part of this is, part of your career change and the thing you're thinking about, don't just think, 'Oh, my god, I want to do this.' Think about the landscape of the skills and expectations, the dynamic, the collegial relationships, because that's part of what you need to navigate. So, I knew that there was going to be barriers, and some of the conversations I had initially with people to sort of say, 'Hey, you made this change, what are some of the things you faced?' Sort of hearing that they had come up against some of these roadblocks, I'm like, okay, I'm going to face these roadblocks. What am I going to do? Hit the roadblock unprepared, or hit it prepared and hope I can get around it? So, that's part of the benefit of informational interviews. I mean, I think sometimes people pursue informational interviews with this sort of high and unrealistic expectation that they'll be offered a job at the end of the informational interview, but really go into them seeking information and get as much information as you can. Alright, someone's not going to want to hire me, just because I practice law. Someone's gonna say, 'Oh, that's nice, Kelly, you're bored of billing so many hours. That's why you want to go into management, you think it's going to be easier.' Well, besides gaining skills and a new network, taking courses at NYU also showed people that I was fully committed to making that career change. And people invest in you a lot more than if you said, 'Well, you know, I'm really hoping I might be able to change to this. And if that doesn't work out, I'll do this.' I mean, it's just, why would I invest in personally? I would invest in someone like that, where I could show people, like, I was a horse making a career change that they should bet on. So, every time I met with someone, I sort of would find out more of what helped them make the transition. Was it some courses? Was it involvement in a professional association? Was it involvement with a committee? Was it like, what was it, was it books they were reading? Was it podcasts they were listening to? There wasn't podcasts at the time, but there would be now. And I just immersed myself fully in not only making the change, but living and breathing the information, everyone in the role I was seeking, all the information they were living and breathing on a daily basis. So, I could speak to them in informational interviews, like a colleague, a future colleague, not just simply as a job seeker.
Jeremy Cline 28:38
When you've been through the informational interviews, and you know what you want to do, and you've started to fill in those gaps, so you started doing the qualifications, and it suddenly occurs to you, 'Hey, there were these two or three people that I spoke to, I got on really well with them, they were really good with their time, they were saying a lot of stuff that resonated with me', can you then just reach back out to them and say, 'Hey, following up, I've done this, this and this. Are you interested in talking?'
Kelly Hoey 29:06
I would say yes. And I would say, this advice I dish out on networking, Jeremy, literally, I've had to live and breathe in. My dad's a veterinarian, so maybe it's why I use the expression, 'I have to eat my own dog food', as it comes to networking, because I'm not telling people to do what I haven't done myself. And what I really realised in the change I was making at that time, I had met within a short period of time most of the people I needed to meet, who were instrumental and critical for me making the career change. And then, I had to keep those relationships warm and engaged, and I can't email them every week and go, 'Hey, it's Kelly, got new job openings for me this week? Hey, have you heard anything?' So, I would reach out and let them know what I was up to. It's been a few weeks, I just wanted to let you know, here's some of the things I've been doing. I spoke with, I talked to, I just finished reading, I found... And you know, sometimes I would find articles related to things that are going on in the legal profession and someone in the professional development role, and I wouldn't hesitate to send it along: 'I recall our conversation and we talked about annual performance reviews and I just saw this article where this firm has implemented this new review system, and etc., etc.' And I would forward emails to these people kind of along those lines, and more often than not, I mean, someone would get back to me and say, 'Oh, wow, thanks. I hadn't seen that article.' Or they'd reach out and say, 'Yes, I saw it too, it was on my to read list, but I'll bump it up based on what you've told me.' Or they'd reach out and say, 'Yeah, I read it as well. And I had the same reaction you did.' I talk to people, Jeremy, and they're like, 'Oh, why would I send articles to people who are in the industry? They've probably seen them.' They're busy in their jobs. You know, you might be doing them a really big favour by pointing out a conference, an article, a piece of information that they haven't seen.
Jeremy Cline 30:54
You mentioned there may be benefits of networking with people who are in a similar position to you, so people who are also going through their own transition. Can you expand a bit on that?
Kelly Hoey 31:04
Well, one of the things I did is I discovered there was a number of attorneys, and by this I mean, number I mean, a handful of people who, when I was making my switch from practising law into management, they were looking and seeking to do the same thing. And maybe it was a misery loves company kind of approach, but I thought, you know what, let's get together every once in a while. Being on a career change, it can be a very lonely enterprise. And you can get all sorts of seemingly good advice, you know, keep at it, keep going, you'll be fine, just send out some more resumes. And what you really need is, you know, people who are in the thick of it, who can tell you that they're having a hard time too, or they can tell you some of the strategies that they're undertaking. And it's always going into it with the recognition that, yeah, we all might be applying for the same jobs, but we don't have any control over who gets hired. And we're all by definition not going to get hired for that one role. Why don't we help each other out, because we want to be all peers in the industry anyway? So, let's act like it now. And so, we would get together, back in the day, as we say in New York City, back when we could get together in person, and we would sit at some wine bar, and there'd be about a half dozen of us. And we'd talk about some of the firms we were talking to and what we were seeing in the interview process and what are the things that we were doing, and we would swap and share ideas. And I remember one woman, she said, 'Kelly, when you started this, I thought it was the weirdest thing that you would actually organise opportunities for competitors to get together.' And I said, 'And now?' And she said, 'Thank you for doing this.' We quickly realised that things that one of us liked about one firm and one job that was being offered, the next person was like, 'Oh, good grief, I don't want to do that.' I remember when I turned up again as the bridesmaid on a job and the hiring manager called me, she said, 'So sorry, they went with another candidate because...' And I thought, I'm glad you went with that other candidate. I don't want to spend half of my professional development days doing immigration work. Because they thought, this other candidate had a background as an immigration attorney, so they were like, 'Great, we can get her to do all the immigration work for our foreign attorneys.' And I thought, 'The last thing I want to do is that kind of paperwork.' Somebody else I know, ultimately, she wanted a role that was more HR heavy. And I was like, 'Oh, good grief, that's all yours. I want nothing to do with that.' So, while on its face, it looked like we were competing, what we were actually all seeking was slightly nuanced and different. And having that company for the career change was far more upside than downside.
Jeremy Cline 33:37
It almost sounds like a kind of a mastermind group. So, you know, you hear of entrepreneurs who get together in a group of five or six and meet every month and discuss what are the biggest challenges in their business at the time and open it to the floor and discuss it with others. It kind of sounds like it's a similar approach, where everyone just comes to it with a slightly different perspective and the pooled, collected knowledge just helps everybody.
Kelly Hoey 34:01
That's exactly it. I mean, I think with networking, like with mentorship, we're always looking for some more experienced, sage person to come in and save the day, kind of thing. Whereas, you know, looking to those who are similarly situated, your peers, is far more powerful and more helpful.
Jeremy Cline 34:21
I think the last question I'd like to ask is kind of a closing thoughts, and I'm going to pilfer Tim Ferriss's billboard question again, which I know I've asked a few guests in the past, but if someone who has listened to this and, I don't know, they're feeling a bit apprehensive, they're feeling a bit, no, I can't do all this, they're feeling it's too late. And you've got like a billboard with a message for them, what does that billboard say?
Kelly Hoey 34:23
It's never too late to start over or start again.
Jeremy Cline 34:45
What resources can you recommend for people where, if they want to find out more about this, other than your book, which I will definitely be putting a link to in the show notes?
Kelly Hoey 34:54
You know, it's a career book I frequently recommend to people, Jeremy, and it is actually a memoir. And it's the memoir Personal History written by Katharine Graham, who is the late great editor of The Washington Post. And she was the editor of The Washington Post through Watergate. And I recommend this book, because sometimes we have to think we have to be all prepared for what we want to do. And her story is of someone who took on an extraordinary leadership role and took on an extraordinary career and had an extraordinary career where she never anticipated it. So, sometimes the best thing is to step up and dive in and do it.
Jeremy Cline 35:36
Kelly, where can people go to find you and all of your stuff?
Kelly Hoey 35:39
Oh, well, my website's a great place to start. And it is jkellyhoey.co. That's jkellyhoey.co. You can find me on Twitter, @jkhoey. But if you go to my website, all my social links are there. There's a career blog with endless amounts of information and links to the podcast and all sorts of other good stuff.
Jeremy Cline 35:39
Fantastic. I will put links to those in the show notes. Kelly, thank you so much for the insights, some awesome tips there, which I'm sure people will enjoy taking into their everyday lives.
Kelly Hoey 36:13
I hope they do. And I hope they're helpful.
Jeremy Cline 36:15
Thank you. Okay, what do you think of that? Hope you enjoyed that interview with Kelly Hoey. What I thought was probably the most important point in that interview was what Kelly said at the beginning about what networking is. It isn't just about going to cocktail events, phoning up people, lead generation, that kind of thing. It is literally about every human interaction. It's being purposeful in how you speak to people, how you email people, it's about giving a good impression, so that people think of you and when they think of you they think, 'Oh, yeah, I really enjoyed dealing with that person.' Because it's when you do that, that someone is more likely to want to work with you. And it's also something that you can easily work on. When you're sending an email to someone, you probably read it back to yourself anyway before you hit send. But this time, as you do that, you can think, 'Is this person going to take the right impression away about me?' Similarly, when you're talking to people, again, it's something you can practice. I also love Kelly's idea of having a mastermind. So, if you're in the process of changing career, and maybe you know some other people who are in the same position, you can get together and bounce ideas off each other, see how things are going. You don't necessarily have to find someone who's a step or two ahead of you. But just talking things through with people who are in the same position can be incredibly beneficial.
Jeremy Cline 37:30
Full show notes for this episode are at changeworklife.com/88 for Episode 88. And you'll find there the usual summary, a transcript and links to all the resources that we mentioned. And you know, there was so much stuff in Kelly's interview that there's going to be some stuff which is going to benefit not just you, but also people you know. And not only will you help them by sharing this interview, but they'll probably also think a little bit better of you if you do so. So, it's a win-win situation. If you know just two people who you think might benefit from the content in this interview, then I'd love it if you'd share it with them. There's another great interview coming up next week. So, make sure you hit subscribe if you're not subscribed to the show already, and I can't wait to see you then. Cheers. Bye.
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