Kelly Hoey, Build Your Dream Network
Kelly Hoey, author, entrepreneur and networking expert. Image courtesy of Kelly Hoey

How to win connections and network with people

10 May 2017

Kelly Hoey networked her way to her dream career. Who says you can’t do the same?

It may sound like the oldest trick in the book, but a lot of people looking for their dream job don’t tap into the most basic skill: networking.

According to various surveys and reports in recent years, more than 80pc of jobs are found through networking.

Author Kelly Hoey knows the importance of networking to achieve your dream job. Unsurprisingly, she reached this point of success in her career by doing just that.

“I’m a former corporate lawyer who has networked her career into becoming a published author – a professional milestone I never imagined adding to my résumé,” she said.

Hoey studied political science and economics in university before going on to law school, admitting she didn’t know what she wanted to be.

“From my initial jobs as an attorney to my numerous career changes, my career is only explained by my ability to network and build relationships.”

‘It’s not schmoozing at cocktail parties’

Her varied career portfolio includes: law firm management, president of a global network for women, consultant, director and co-founder of a start-up accelerator.

Hoey wrote her book, Build Your Dream Network, as a modern roadmap for networking. “You’re networking every day, whether you know it or not!”

She said the book challenges readers to rethink what networking is, and guide them with a new approach to networking in a hyper-connected world. “It’s not schmoozing at cocktail parties.”

Networking happens every day

According to Hoey, networking is an everyday occurrence, from your email signature to your last LinkedIn update. “Networking is every human interaction. Networking also starts with the people we already know.”

For people trying to find their dream job or achieve their life ambitions, Hoey believes that networking is the way to do it – and it may be with connections you already have.

“Your current community of co-workers, friends and classmates know you and are more invested in your success than someone you may meet at a meet-up or mixer,” said Hoey. “So before you start running around, wishfully thinking you’ll make the right connection, share your ambitions, goals and aspirations with your existing connections.”

If you’re wondering how to ensure you’re sending out the right message to these people, Hoey advises checking your social media posts.

When it comes to networking outside of the channels you already know, meeting and connecting with new people is the first half of the job. The other half is retaining them as viable contacts.

“Everyone needs to create a follow-up strategy, not only for new connections but for existing ones as well,” said Hoey, adding that the biggest networking mistake is failure to follow up or stay ‘top of mind’.

“For me, an obvious first step is to connect with the person on LinkedIn. Send a personalised note when you do reach out to connect, as it makes a stronger impression and takes you out of the category of people who make random connection requests on the platform.”

Making the switch

For those thinking of making a sudden career change, take solace in the fact that Hoey has done it successfully, several times. She shares her first career transition story in her book.

“The formula I used to pivot my career in 2002 was subsequently repeated when I changed management roles, left full-time employment, started angel investing and so on,” she said.

Hoey also cites several other success stories from her book, including venture capitalist Jessica Peltz-Zatulove, who “cold-emailed” her way into the Madison Avenue advertising industry.

Also mentioned is Joe Styler, a manager in the aftermarket department at GoDaddy, who networked his way from an entry-level position at the company to a recognised industry expert.

“Don’t overlook the possibility [that] you can pivot and advance your career within the same company,” said Hoey.

Kelly Hoey will be speaking this summer at Inspirefest, Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEMBook now to get your Early Bird tickets.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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