1st and 2nd Degree of Separation vs 3rd and 4th Degree of Separation: What’s the Difference?

This is the second of three posts talking about Degrees of Separation. Yesterday I talked about how to drill deeper in your network by asking the “who do you know” questions.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about how we do this in JibberJobber (with the Tree View and Referred By).  It’s very powerful, and easy to use.

Today I want to talk about the differences between the 1st/2nd Degree Contacts and the 3rd/4th Degree Contacts.

A job search coach (I wish I could remember who… it’s been about 6 years) told me something like “you get your job leads from your 3rd and 4th Degree Contacts, not from your 1st and 2nd Degree Contacts.”

Profound. Powerful.  And when I had just a spreadsheet to organize my job search, very FRUSTRATING.  I couldn’t keep track of that.  And LinkedIn would change it, if a 4th Degree Contact decided to connect with me.

It makes sense because my 1st Degree Contacts are my close friends and family and they typically have nothing to do with my industry (but I still like them) :p  Going to them time and again can be exhausting and embarrassing.  You aren’t going to ask them every week “do you have a job opening for me yet?”

If you ask them for and introduction to someone in your industry or profession, they might introduce you to someone who is a great person to talk to, but might not know of any opportunities.

But, think about this, when you as THEM, the 2nd Degree Contact, for an introduction, they might get you much closer.  This 2nd Degree person should be someone in your industry or profession… and know someone who you should talk to.  You should be able “speak the same language” enough to gain a level of trust, and let them know you are ready for a real introduction.  This person might be plugged in to someone who is influential, in-the-know, etc.

That’s your 3rd Degree Contact.

This is the person who really might know of some openings at their company or locally.

If they don’t, they surely know some great people to introduce, who become your 4th Degree Contacts.

It’s not that one person is BETTER than another.  But as you get deeper you can get CLOSER to the right person at your target company, or that knows about openings.

Imagine a number of introductions… even 4th Degree Contacts, at your target companies.


And it generally comes through introductions.


I know you are meeting people… going up to them and introducing yourself.  That’s good.

I dare you to network DEEPER.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about how to track that in JibberJobber.

1 thought on “1st and 2nd Degree of Separation vs 3rd and 4th Degree of Separation: What’s the Difference?”

Comments are closed.