Author: Karoline Thomasen
Publication date: 09.11.2023
LinkedIn is like the virtual cocktail party of the professional world, where connections matter, but not all connections are created equal. If you’ve spent some time on the platform, you might have come across terms like “1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree connections.” What’s all the buzz about, and how can you make the most of these distinctions in your networking adventures? Buckle up, as we demystify these connections.
The Three degrees of connection
1st degree connections: Your inner circle
Imagine you’re at a party: these are the folks you’d invite over to your place for a game night. In other words, these are your direct connections – people you’ve connected with on LinkedIn. They could be former colleagues, classmates, or professionals you met at the conference last summer. You can send them messages, check out their shared updates, and even endorse their skills. You can also call them, your so-called LinkedIn besties.
2nd degree connections: Friends of friends
At the same party, these are the people your close friends bring along, and you hit it off quickly. 2nd-degree connections are the friends of your 1st-degree connections. They might not know you yet, but they’re just a friend request away. You can send them connection requests but don’t forget to add a personalized message to stand out. These are the potential collaborators, mentors, or job leads waiting to be discovered.
3rd degree connections: Friends of friends of friends
Picture a massive networking event with hundreds of people. 3rd-degree connections are like those interesting people you hear about but haven’t met yet. They're the friends of your friends’ friends on LinkedIn. While you can’t send them a direct connection request, you can still reach out to them through your 2nd-degree connections. Think of them as the hidden gems in your professional network – you never know when they might come in handy.
Leveraging your connections
Now let’s explore more of how you can make the most of these connection degrees on LinkedIn.
1. 1st-degree connections
Nurture the bonds staying in touch with your 1st-degree connections. You can do so whether by congratulating them on work anniversaries, engaging with their posts, or sending personalized messages to catch up. Don’t be shy to ask for recommendations or introductions within your immediate network.
2. 2nd-degree connections
Expand your reach when sending connection requests to 2nd-degree connections. What’s more, you should personalize your message and explain why you’re interested in connecting. Use your shared connections as conversation starters, and you might discover common interests or goals.
3. 3rd-degree connections
This is what we call the art of introductions. Ask your 1st-degree connections for introductions to their 2nd-degree connections. A warm introduction is more likely to be well-received. Join relevant LinkedIn groups or participate in discussions to increase your chances of crossing paths with 3rd-degree connections who share interests.
Does the size of your LinkedIn connections matter?
Now that we have a good understanding of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd LinkedIn connections, let’s shed some light on whether your LinkedIn connection’s size matters or not. Even though it’s a professional platform, LinkedIn is also a social media platform designed to build your network. Therefore, the number of your connections does matter. However, you should create a balance between the number of connections.
A small number, less than 500 connections, indicates that you do not know how to use LinkedIn effectively. Furthermore, it can also indicate your low networking skills too! On the other hand, if you have a very high connection number, it can also indicate that you don’t take your connections seriously. Therefore, the safe size of connections on LinkedIn would be more than 500 connections. The highest connections you should have on LinkedIn should be around 2000 connections.
It’s not always about the number
Even though the size of connection matters on LinkedIn, you also do have to start from the bottom, to be able to work your way up. LinkedIn supports more than 830 million users. Therefore, you can feel free to explore new connections now and then. Use LinkedIn to create a healthy network of professionals. However, it’s important to remember to connect with people who mostly share the same interests as yours, to gain the most efficiency.
How to unlock LinkedIn through your connections
In the digital realm of LinkedIn, your network can be a treasure trove of opportunities. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree connections offer different avenues for growth, learning, and collaboration. Remember, networking is not about the numbers. In fact, it’s about the value you bring and the relationships you nurture. So, whether you’re into the world of LinkedIn for the first time or you’re a seasoned pro, approach your connections with an open mind, a touch of humor, and the goal of mutual growth.