I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating: Networking is a two way street – in other words if you ask someone for their help, you must be prepared to pay it forward in some form or fashion. You can do this by offering to help people you are actively networking with by ending each conversation with “is there anything I can do to help you, or, please keep me in mind if you ever need any help with networking or job search”.
It happened to me again today for the umpteenth time. Someone I have not heard from in literally a couple of years, is going to be leaving their job and they want my help.
Question: First of all, have you done anything for me lately? Answer: No. (But that’s not really what I have a problem with).
Question: why do you only reach out to me when you want something? Answer: I don’t know why you think it is OK to think that I should be there for you when you need something but you never reach out to me to say “hello” from time to time.
Here’s how it should be done…..
Take my friend who lives in Atlanta for example as someone who never forgets to show their appreciation. We stay in touch on a regular basis (every 2-3 months). We keep each other updated as to what is happening and it’s not just when one of us needs something. When this person needs me I am always there for her and I am I am happy to help… FOR FREE. Honestly, I want to help her, I want her to be successful and I am glad she reaches out to me. All any of us want is a thank you and to not be taken advantage of – and by the way, she always shows her appreciation.
Ask yourself, am I the first person, or my friend in Atlanta? Take stock of your behavior and ask “am I treating other people as I would like them to treat me?” If your answer is “no, I would not want to be treated this way” then I suggest you need to take stock and pay it forward.