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What do 1st, 2nd and 3rd-degree connections mean on LinkedIn?

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  • 3 min read

Linkedin calls users in your network connections and there are three degrees of connections available on the platform — 1st-degree, 2nd-degree and 3rd-degree connections. While surfing Linkedin, searching for members or in connection recommendations, you might’ve come across the aforementioned degrees of connections.

While all of these degrees of connections are a part of your Linkedin network, the major difference lies in the amount of interaction different degrees of connections can have with you and the amount of information they can access through your Linkedin profile.

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Difference between 1st, 2nd and 3rd-degree connections on Linkedin?

1st-degree connections are your direct connections, which means either you invited them to connect and they accepted the request or they sent the invitation and you accepted the request. You can contact your 1st-degree connection directly on Linkedin by sending them a message in-app. These users have a ‘1st’ badge alongside their name.

2nd-degree connections are the people who are a direct connection (1st-degree) of your 1st-degree connections. For example, if you and I are 1st-degree connections on Linkedin, anyone who is my 1st-degree connection will be your 2nd-degree connection, of course, unless you’re directly connected. You can only contact 2nd-degree connections by sending them a connection request and messaging them or sending them an InMail — a feature offered by Linkedin Premium membership. These users have a ‘2nd’ badge alongside their name.

3rd-degree connections are the direct connections (1st-degree) of your 2nd-degree connections. For example, if you and I are 1-st degree connections on Linkedin, anyone who is a 1st-degree connection of my direct connections will be your 3rd-degree connection. In other words, Linkedin users who aren’t directly connected to you or to your 1st-degree connections are your 3rd-degree connection. These users have a ‘3rd’ badge alongside their name.

If a 3rd-degree connection hasn’t made their profile private and you can see their first and last names, you will be able to connect with them but if only their first name is displayed, you can only send them an InMail.

Anyone who isn’t directly or indirectly connected to you within the degrees of connections explained above but is a part of a group that you’ve joined is also considered a part of your network as you share an interest for the same group. You can contact such users directly via message on their profile or within the group.

As mentioned above, anyone who is a 1st, 2nd or 3rd-degree connection on Linkedin is considered a part of your network on the platform, and this is important because you can control several aspects of your account’s privacy around these indirect connections.

Any user who isn’t connected to you in any of the ways mentioned above is considered ‘out of network’ and any information that isn’t public on your Linkedin profile won’t be available to them.

Also read: How to change your email address on LinkedIn?



Writes news mostly and edits almost everything at Candid.Technology. He loves taking trips on his bikes or chugging beers as Manchester United battle rivals. Contact Prayank via email: