What Does 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Mean on LinkedIn?

What Does 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Mean on LinkedIn?
Understanding what 1st, 2nd, and 3rd mean on LinkedIn can help expand your network, bring new opportunities, and better engage your connections.

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If you want to successfully grow your LinkedIn network, waiting for opportunities to present themselves while remaining inactive is the worst thing you can do.

You should think about building a healthy network by carefully sending and accepting invitations.

In order to do so, you first need to understand the different degrees of connections on LinkedIn. 

You may have noticed that a number appears next to each profile’s name and wondered — what does 1st, 2nd, and 3rd mean on LinkedIn?


This number represents the number of degrees of separation between you and the other person.

Let’s dive deeper into the difference between these types of connections.

1st-degree connections

These are LinkedIn users you have a direct connection with. This means that you have accepted their invitation to connect or issued an accepted invitation. You are both members of each other’s network. You can contact them via LinkedIn messaging and see their news in your feed.


To ensure an optimal experience, LinkedIn limits the number of 1st-degree connections to 30,000.

However, once you pass this number, you don’t have to stop growing your reach — follow will become the default option on your profile, and you’ll be able to have an unlimited amount of followers.

LinkedIn recommends that you only connect with people you know and trust. You should manage your connection lists on a regular basis and keep those that bring you the most value in terms of relationships.

To help you organize your network, you can use LeadDelta to tag your connections and add notes, view your connections more efficiently, and even bulk disconnect from connections that are no longer active or useful.

2nd-degree connections

These LinkedIn users aren’t in your professional network directly, but they are directly tied to your first-degree connections. If you’re a Premium subscriber, you can send them an InMail. Otherwise, you won’t be able to send them messages. However, you can still connect to them and make them 1st-degree connections.


If you want to expand your network, a simple campaign targeting your second-degree connections could offer great opportunities.

Begin by checking out their profile, then wait a few days before inviting them. They might even get interested once they see you visited their profile and make the first step themself. Once you connect with them, you will become a 1st-degree connection in their network, bringing you closer to your prior 3rd-degree relationships.

Don’t forget to send a warm, welcoming message to your new connections. You can use LeadDelta to add custom notes and tags to your connections so you can easily filter them out and reach out to them directly from the LeadDelta inbox.  

Check out our ebook to find 50 proven LinkedIn message templates that will help you engage with your connections.

3rd-degree connections

These people are your 2nd-degree contact’s connections. You can send them InMails, but, in most cases, you won’t be able to connect with them.


If you come across a very interesting 3rd-degree link that you can invite, go ahead and do so. However, before thinking about expanding your network, you should first enhance your 1st and 2nd-degree ties.

Those who are known to neither your first-degree nor your second-degree connections will only appear as “LinkedIn members”. You might have a few hints about their employment, but that’s about all. You won’t be able to send them InMails, and you won’t be able to contact them.

Over to you

Most LinkedIn users don’t pay much attention to the different levels of connections, but understanding what 1st, 2nd, and 3rd mean on LinkedIn can help you expand your network, bring new opportunities, and better engage with your connections. 

Keep in mind that a connection is not a relationship, nor are you obligated to accept it. The degree to which you connect with someone is up to you. 

On LinkedIn, your top goal should be to look after and strengthen your 1st-degree relationships before looking into which of your 2nd-degree connections might be able to help you gain more opportunities.

If you need help engaging with your connections, LeadDelta can help you. You can organize your network and remove unwanted connections, filter your connections using tags and notes, and reach out to them via LeadDelta’s built-in inbox.

Download LeadDelta extension here.


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