How to Use Second Degree Connections on LinkedIn to Score Your Dream Job

Aug 05, 2020

If you’re currently job hunting and want to seek out roles at your dream companies, an effective way to do this is to use your second degree connections on LinkedIn.

What are second degree connections and why are they important?

Your second degree connections are ‘friends of friends’ who could be currently working at the companies you’re aspiring towards. They matter because you already have someone in common who could possibly give you a warm introduction, rather than you approaching them directly as a cold lead.

It doesn’t necessarily matter what the role of the second degree connection is at the company you want to work for. Many companies will incentivize their employees to recommend someone for any open job (for example, a $500 bonus once they onboard them and pass their probation). They will often send around job openings to their internal employee database first, before even posting them to the public.

Internal recruitment gets sent to the top of the pile, meaning that your second degree connection will have access to internal recruiting systems, or an email from someone at HR. They can find out who the recruiter for a role is in a way you cannot, and they have the ability to follow up when your resume is passed on.

How to search for second degree connections

Go to your Search, click the drop down arrow on ‘Connections’ and select ‘2nd’.

If you don’t have a dream company in mind, you can go to ‘All Filters’ and narrow down to specific roles (ie. marketing or recruiter) so that you can view a broad range of people from different industries and companies.

But if you’re looking to target specific companies, go to the ‘Current Companies’ drop down and enter the companies you’re looking for (and you can select multiple). Once you hit ‘apply’, the search will show your second degree connections who work there.

Shared connections are extremely valuable

Once you have your results, look through your shared connections. It’s important to note that second degree connections are all the more valuable when the person you have in common is someone you know well. Start with these because they are better able to vouch for you.

You don’t have to contact every single person in the search (and it won’t always be in your best interest to), but I can guarantee that you will find people who stand out and you want to find out more about.

You will then approach your shared connection, asking them, “Hey, do you know [second degree connection]? I’d love it if you could introduce me to them.” It’s important to ask this, as they could be a mutual connection but just not know each other very well.

If it is someone your shared connection knows, all they then have to do is message that person on LinkedIn (or send them an email if they have it) making that warm introduction: “I know this person, they’re great and would really love to work at your company. Maybe you could both get together sometime?”

Also look out for LOTS of shared connections

It’s also good to target people with whom you have lots of shared connections. This will help legitimize you to the second degree connection and make them more likely to recommend you for jobs.

If the second degree connection is someone you REALLY want to be connected with, you can even reach out to the shared connections you don’t know quite as well. Message them to say, “Hey [name], how are you? We were introduced [this way]. I really want to work for [company], and I was wondering if you could introduce me to [second degree connection], is this someone you know well?”

Always follow up with a face-to-face meeting

Once the warm introduction has been made, it’s important to follow up with a meeting. When I’ve done this in the past, I took people out for lunch, however this may not be possible in the current climate. Something you can do now is ask to go on for a ‘virtual coffee’ on Zoom, and maybe send them a Starbucks gift card ahead of the meeting.

You will find that most people will be more than happy to do this. But make sure you ask a lot of questions about them and their experiences.

“I’m really interested in life at [company]. How did you start working here? How do you like it? What would you recommend to someone who wants to work there?” At the end of your meeting, pass on your resume and know you’ll be fresh in their mind when they next hear of a position at their company.

This is how you warm people up and get in through the backdoor of someone who works there. It’s a great way to approach recruiters or someone who is friends with your friends, and get you to the top of the pile in your job search.

So, to recap:

  • Find second degree connections at your dream companies
  • Focus on many shared connections, or mutual connections you know REALLY well
  • Ask the shared connection to start a warm introduction
  • Follow up with a meeting, offer to buy them coffee (or send them a Starbuck giftcard!)
  • Ask about their experience with the company and what they would recommend to someone who wants to work there


As well as longer-term 1:1 coaching, I also offer 90-minute intensives if you're just looking to focus on a couple of aspects of your career, whether you're looking for a promotion or wanting to refine your leadership skills. Get in touch about ways we can work together.