Nowadays, you hear a lot of talk about building your professional network, particularly through LinkedIn. How do you do it? For that matter, why do you do it? Can your network actually help you get a job? Can you use it to help other people?

One time, I was working with a coaching client. During her last coaching session, we had talked about how most jobs get filled by someone helping someone else network in. Afterward, I didn’t hear from her for a long time. But now, two years later, she got back in touch with me with some comments that gave an excellent perspective on this. She said:

You put a name to something that I was not ever able to articulate. You told me that I had established a “legacy of goodwill,” which I had always dismissed and devalued, as people just giving me jobs because they liked me. Thank you for validating a “legacy of goodwill” as something that should be valued and appreciated, and as an actual trait that others might be seeking in the workplace.

Job vs Career workbook

The Merriam-Webster defines goodwill this way: a kindly feeling of approval and support; benevolent interest or concern people of goodwill. In my talks with my client, I discovered that she “paid it forward” and made an effort to mentor some other people about how to build relationships that create goodwill.

So, what can you do with this “Legacy of Goodwill” concept?

  • Study your LinkedIn connections, person by person. Think about how and why you know each other. It will take some time to do this. Did you work on a project together two years ago? Was that person your boss at one time?
  • Then think about how that person might perceive you and how you perceive them. What do you think was their experience working and interacting with you? 
  • If you treat people well, you are essentially sending out goodwill into the universe. And the old saying is true – what goes around comes around. You earn people’s respect based on how you treat them.

If you contact people who might be able to help with your job search, start with the assumption that they like you and have appreciated knowing you. With that mindset, you will have already created a legacy of goodwill.

Over my time as a career and interview coach, I’ve seen examples of this over and over again. If you’d like some perspective on how you can create a legacy of goodwill and how it could help you land your next job, feel free to book a free consultation! Remember, sometimes by helping others, you will be helping yourself too!