If you're actively looking for a job, one of the most stressful and frustrating things about the search can be the networking. Many job seekers I coach hate the idea of leaning on their network for help. They tell me they don't want to appear "desperate" or "needy" to 
colleagues. I tell them, "If this is what you think networking is, then you've missed the point."

Rule No. 1: Offer value first, ask for help second.

If you're reaching out to your colleagues for help without having offered value first, you're skipping an important step in the process. It's why I find lots of people get "ghosted" during their job search. The secret to good networking is to be known for providing information, resources, and insights related to your area of expertise. This is called "personal branding," and it's one of the most important things you can do in your career. Here's why.

Today, you're a business-of-one (and every job is temporary).

As a business-of-one, you need to always be marketing. Otherwise, when the time comes to find a new gig, you'll be starting from scratch in terms of your network's knowledge and understanding of how you provide value at work. Personal branding is about validating your professional worth. The more you share with your network, the better. In fact, when done right, you will earn so much trust and respect from your network that the job opportunities will come to you! That said, what do you do when your request for help has gotten you ghosted?

It's never too late to offer value.

When someone isn't responding to you, the one thing you shouldn't do is send a follow-up email asking again. The "...just wanted to see if you got my message?" email is desperate and annoying. So, here's what to do instead. Find a really relevant article or video online that you think they would find helpful and send it. Simply write, "Thought of you when I saw this" in the headline. Then, in the body of the email, put:

"Came across this article and realized you'd probably find it interesting. I hope you like it!"

That's it. Don't even mention the previous outreach. Just send the value. You'll be amazed at what happens. You're giving this person a way to circle back with you without the pressure of responding to your earlier request. Better still, you're providing the value needed to show you want to help them in their career. Networking is about serving one another. Serve up some value and watch the ghosting disappear.

P.S. Avoid Mondays. 

I always tell job seekers to not send messages on Mondays. Why? People are coming off the weekend and trying to get back into their work groove. Many people are stressed and have what is called the Monday Blues or the Weekend Flu. So, your email, even though it adds value, may fall to the bottom of their pile, only to get buried and ignored. Wait until Tuesday, when they are in the zone!

Published on: Jun 3, 2019
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