Although it may seem confusing at first, LinkedIn degrees of connection do not reflect a person's level of professional experience nor do they serve to rank more advanced users. LinkedIn ratings show how close you are to other users on this social networking site and who you can connect with to expand your professional contacts.
You can see the degree of relationship you have with a LinkedIn user in the number that appears right next to their name.
* Zero-degree connection: in this case, the person in question has no relationship with you or your contacts. Even people who are in the same interest group as you but have no contacts in common will be categorised as a zero.
* First-degree connection: all the people on your contact list are first degree connections, which means that you have a direct and mutual connection.
* Second-degree connection: these are the people who are in contact with one or more of your aggregated first-degree contacts.
* Third-degree connection: third-degree connections are users who have someone in their contact list from your second-degree connections. This means that you maintain an indirect connection with this person as a result of third-party contacts.
Degrees are LinkedIn's system for suggesting people around you on the web, whether you’re currently in contact with them or not. This serves to map out a career path of people you could relate to for inspiration, to potentially hire you, or to hire them, if you are an employer.
For example, if you added a school you studied at (first-degree connection) to your personal information, LinkedIn could show you John (second-degree connection) because he is a contact at the school and may have professional affinities with you. Also, you may be shown company X (which would be the third-degree connection) because it features among John's contacts. You don't know John, but perhaps you have common interests, and John makes this third-degree person or company relevant to you too and who knows, he may have a job offer.
* Zero-degree connection: you can send this person an InMail message.
* First-degree connection: you contact this person directly with a private message.
* Second-degree connection: using InMail message or by sending them an invitation to your contact list through the option Connect.
* Third-degree connection: you can only connect with the person if they have their profile open, in that case, you will see their name and surname. If you only see the name and the option to connect does not appear, it means that the profile is private, but you can send them an InMail message.
As we explained at the beginning, degrees are not used to evaluate a person’s professional experience and no one can move up a degree because it is not the concept. The degrees of connection only serve to show you your level of contact with other people.
However, it is also important to clarify that having many first degree contacts does not give you a higher professional status either, this only serves your personal interest in surfing the net, searching for interesting profiles or finding jobs.
The main advantage of having a first-degree connection with someone is that you can send them a direct message, which can be very useful in times of professional recruitment or when in need of advice. Also, having many people in the first degree will increase the suggestions of people you can relate to. Expanding your network of contacts in the first degree will also expand the suggestions of new people in degrees two and three.
In the same way, you will appear as a suggestion for your contacts' contacts. Therefore, the more people you add, the more likely you are to be seen by others if you want your profile to be visible. However, always remember that the objective of LinkedIn is not popularity but the search for work, so choose your contacts well so that the suggestions from the network are effective. It's no use to have many users from professional sectors that have nothing to do with you. Also remember that every time we talk about users, they may be a person, but also an institution or a company, in other words, a potential employer.
Photo – 123rf.com.