Most people are happy to help when asked. If your experience is different and people do not seem willing to help, ask yourself if your approach is the reason why you’re not getting the support you’d like.
When reaching out for assistance, know exactly what you want from the other person. “I’d like to talk to you about potential opportunities” is vague and makes work for the other person. “I am looking for a marketing position, can you tell me who to speak to within your organization?” allows the other person to more easily assist you.
Time is a precious commodity. If you’re asking someone for an hour of their time, there’d better be something tangible in it for them. Be realistic in your expectations of others.
Do the Work
If you’re requesting a favor, do the work. Don’t make it difficult for the other person to say “Yes.” Ask for time windows that work with their schedule and do everything you can to accommodate them. If you’re offering your time availability, make sure you are expressing it in the time zone of the person you’re hoping to speak with. It doesn’t matter if the person you’re reaching out to used to be a subordinate; you are the one asking the favor, so you go the extra mile.