What’s the Difference Between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degree Connections?
Last week in the prior blog post, we covered how to develop a LinkedIn profile that would grab the attention of an employer and recruiter. Now that you’ve got your completed profile, it’s time to look at ways you can find connections with whom to start networking. So let me explain how Connections work on LinkedIn. As you invite people to connect with you, they are called your first-degree connections. Your first‑degree connections also have their own first‑degree connections. So their first‑degree connections become your second‑degree connections. Your second‑degree connections’ connections become your third‑degree connections. It will make a lot more sense the more you play around with the LinkedIn site. It was kind of confusing to me, too, when I first started.
How to Find Good Networking Connections
So to find connections, go to the homepage on LinkedIn, back to that main navigation bar, where you see home, profile, my network, jobs and interests. Click on that third choice called My Network, and on the dropdown menu you’ll click ‘add contacts.’ You can allow your LinkedIn account to work with your email address book to find people in your address book who are already on LinkedIn. These contacts are people you know, like and trust, so we call them your warm leads.
Use the Alumni Feature on LinkedIn to Find More Networking Connections
Next we’re going to go back to the homepage. We’re going to click on ‘My Network’ again. In the dropdown menu we’re going to select, ‘find alumni’ to find people that we might know from the place where we received our post-secondary training.
Now, in this example I chose Auburn University and received an overwhelming 93,414 results. However, there are ways I can filter results to get this to a lower number. One way is to change my dates of attendance to the years I attended and that reduced the number to 67,428. That’s still too much. So I am going to take it one step further and change it from attended to graduated. So I changed my choice to ‘graduated’ and put the year I graduated. This made the most significant difference because I reduced from nearly 93,000‑plus results to 1,935 results.
I can filter even more. You have several columns underneath where they live, where they work, what do they do, what they studied, and more. Clicking on any bar in the Alumni Tool helps you to drill down into specific careers, employers, locations, major, or degree of connection.
Top 25 Companies Who Hire People with Your Degree and Education
When you think about it, if you are a student or a parent, this is also an amazing resource to see which schools place graduates in the types of jobs you want. You can simply search for a school you’re interested in attending, select a field of study, and you will get a top 25 list of employers that have hired graduates. And, guess what? This is also super helpful in giving you ideas if you already have a degree of the Top 25 companies that have hired alumni from your school in your field of study.
If you have developed your targeted company list, use the Alumni Tool to find graduates of your school and with your major who work there now. Do a comparison of their skills to your own and see how you match up. Reach out to these alumni because many alumni want to help fellow alumni, so it can be a great way to get an introduction to that company.
With Whom Should You Connect?
As you’re adding connections, other people may start connecting with you. Remember at the navigation bar at the top right‑hand corner on LinkedIn where we managed your privacy settings? By the silhouette with the plus sign is where you will receive notifications of connection requests. Click on this to see who has sent you an invitation. If you want to connect with the person who has sent you an invitation, you’ll just click on the check mark by the person’s name. Otherwise, just ignore the request. With whom should you connect? Well, it really depends on the reasons you are using LinkedIn. Some people only connect with people that they know, like and trust on LinkedIn, while others are lines, which are called LinkedIn open networkers, and that means they accept all connection requests. If I were looking for a job, I’ll want to connect with people from my industry, fellow alumni and people who work at the target companies where I want to work. Since I have a business that serves people who want job search and social media training, it makes sense for me to be a LinkedIn open networker. Again, it’s up to you and the reasons why you are on the platform.
LinkedIn has an app called LinkedIn Connected that is available in the Apple IOS and the Google Playstore. This app can make networking on LinkedIn a breeze. I can see people celebrating a work anniversary, birthday, a new job and more. I can filter my contacts by first or last name, newly added connections, companies, position titles, locations, and tags I’ve assigned. LinkedIn Tags are similar to lists on Twitter and Facebook – you can assign people to various lists through tagging on LinkedIn, such as career experts, social media, personal branding, and more. If I click on companies, I can search for a company. I might do this to arrange a job shadowing opportunity or connect with someone in a company where I might want to work. Likewise, if I click on position titles, I can find people who might talk to or provide a job shadowing opportunity or let me have an informational interview.
My Success Story with LinkedIn
Now, I want to talk about how LinkedIn worked for me. We had just moved to South Carolina and I didn’t know a soul who lived there. My former husband had taken a position at a company there. I looked at LinkedIn’s job board (which we will talk about in an upcoming episode) and I found out the person who posted a particular job that I was interested in doing. I clicked on her name and I was able to see who I knew that knew her. I reached out to him to request an introduction to the poster of this job and was able to make the connection. I was able to make a connection that way, I was able to land a contract, freelance position with that company and the rest is history. I worked for that company for a period of 2 years and I really enjoyed what I did until we moved back to Alabama.