Why Should I Use LinkedIn? It’s a Lean, Mean Networking Machine

Jul. 1, 2015 How to get Hired


“Yeah, yeah, yeah. LinkedIn and Networking are synonymous with each other,” you say. “I know that’s the point of it,“ you say …but did you also know just how much your network can expand thanks to multiple degrees of connection? It’s exponential.

Six Degrees of Separation? Try Three Degrees of Proximity

For those of you familiar with the game “Six Degrees of Separation,” you’ll be happy to know that LinkedIn has come up with a similar practice for a user’s network. LinkedIn has 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections, all of which are technically in what LinkedIn calls “your network.”

1st Degree: These are your direct connections. Either you’ve accepted an invitation to connect, or you’ve sent one to them and they’ve accepted. You’re able to contact them by sending them a message, see their full profile and have access to their contact information (if they choose to display it).

2nd Degree: These are people directly connected to your 1st degree connections. Typically, you will often find folks you know in these groups. You can easily extend invitations to connect and/or send them InMail messages.

3rd Degree: These are people that are directly connected to your 2nd degree connections. These are the friends-of-friends-of-friends, so to speak. Often, you will see just bits and pieces of their profile. If their full name is displayed, you will be able to send them an invitation to connect, but if only their first name and the first letter of their last name is seen, you will only be able to connect via InMail messages.

There is also another group coincidentally called “Group,” which is just fellow members of your LinkedIn Groups. Technically, LinkedIn will group them into your network somewhere in between 2nd and 3rd degree connections.

YOUR LINKEDIN NETWORK: LET’S DO THE MATH

 Okay, so now you know these levels of connections, let’s see just how large the average “network” can really be. The average number of 1st degree connections per LinkedIn user is 394.

If each one of your 1st degree connections has (on average) 394 1st degree connections, then you have 154,842 2nd degree connections. Granted, some of them may overlap, so this number could be slightly different depending on your social and professional circles.

So now you have these 154,842 2nd degree connections, each with their own 1st degree connections. That means, if no connections overlap, you’d have 60,852,906 3rd degree connections. That’s right – over 60 million people in your network – not even including groups!

With numbers that high, make sure you add every friend and family member, former professors/teachers, fellow college students/alumni, former/current work colleagues, fellow club members… anyone you can think of that you’ve interacted with on a social or professional basis. If you really want your network to grow, you could even consider adding a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) as a connection.

Looks like you’ve got some connecting to do. We’ll see you next week for our final “Why Should I Use LinkedIn?” tip!