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

You have to hunt around a little for an explanation.
January 11, 2023
A blown-up LinkedIn icon

When browsing LinkedIn profiles and search results, you’ve probably seen “1st,” “2nd,” or “3rd” next to someone’s name. But what’s that telling you, exactly? And is there anything you can do with the information?

What does 1st mean on LinkedIn?

A LinkedIn 1st connection

The 1st tag marks someone you’re directly connected to on the social network — they’ve accepted an invitation to connect, or vice versa. More importantly perhaps, it means you can send them a message without paying for InMail credits and/or LinkedIn Premium.

Messaging is often the main reason people get invitations from strangers. It would be costly for small PR agencies to buy InMail credits every time they want to pitch journalists on clients, for example.

What does 2nd mean on LinkedIn?

As you might guess, 2nd indicates someone is connected to one of your 1st-degree connections. If you have a friend at the New York Times, many of their work colleagues will probably be 2nds.

You can’t (usually) message them without InMail credits, but you can send an invitation to connect.

What does 3rd mean on LinkedIn?

Anyone listed as 3rd is connected to a 2nd. You’re unlikely to know them, and you probably can’t message them without InMail or sending an invitation to connect.

Are there any other networking categories?

Yes, but they don’t necessarily show as labels next to usernames. There are three others:

  • Followers are people who track your public news feed, but aren’t connected.
  • Fellow LinkedIn Group members are the exception to messaging rules. You don’t need InMail credits to talk to them, but you’ll have to check their membership through group or profile pages.
  • Out of Network individuals are completely outside your social sphere.

Read more: How to schedule a post on LinkedIn