Networking's "rule:" Give before asking. But I've had countless clients give and give, yet when they ask, they get zip.
For example, today, I had a client, Eric, who's been unemployed for two years and, has followed the standard exhortations to--before asking for a job lead--give generously to a good-sized network of people with the potential to offer a lead. But when Eric finally asked, and asked, and asked, no one gave him squat.
Frankly, I understand. Eric's self-esteem is too high--he's a pretty dim bulb but fancies himself as someone who shouldn't have to sell insurance any more--that because he's a caring, supportive guy, he should be hireable as a manager. Even if he offered to take me out to lunch, sent me interesting articles, offered to teach me bowling, etc., if I felt he wasn't fully qualified for a job, I wouldn't give him a job lead.
What did I tell Eric? Keep giving, albeit only when you feel you want to give without any expectation of return--it's the right way to live life. And ask yourself, "If none of those many people to whom you've been so giving has offered you a job lead, perhaps you need to identify a new job target they'd feel more comfortable referring you for.
Ironically, the people who most need their network's help are the least likely to get it.