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

September 11th, 2012

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.

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The Most Important Networking Question: “Who do you know…” (Degrees of Separation)

September 10th, 2012

Last week someone in my LinkedIn Group asked some clarifying questions about Degrees of Separation.  We disagreed on what a Degree of Separation (DoS) is.

Here’s how I see it:

If I know you, your are my 1st DoS contact.

If you introduce me to your spouse, they are my 2nd D0S contact.

If your spouse introduces me to to their colleague, they are a 3rd D0S contact…. and so on.

It kind of looks like this (thanks for the image, Shari at Delivering Happiness):

Let’s say the 3rd D0S contact is Shari…

My position is that Shari is always and forever a 3rd DoS contact, regardless of how strong our relationship becomes later. In other words, let’s say that Shari and I go into business together… we become business partners.  Our relationship is clearly very, very strong.

But she is still a 3rd DoS contact, isn’t she?

That has been my position for years… until Lamar challenged it.

Honestly, that’s still my position, but I can see his point.

If you come to me and say “can you introduce me to Shari?  You know her, right?”  I’m going to think “of course I know her, I work with her.”  As far as you are concerned I’m YOUR 1st DoS contact, and Shari is your 2nd DoS contact.

To me, she’s a 3rd DoS contact, so she’s really YOUR 4th D0S contact, but that doesn’t seem to matter. I have such a strong relationship with her, she seems like my 1st DoS and your 2nd DoS.

Okay, I can see that, and in that way I agree with Lamar.

And, that’s how LinkedIn does it.  Once Shari says “I know and trust you, let’s connect…” she becomes my 1st DoS in LinkedIn.

But I’ve never really liked that.

For practical reasons, I guess it’s okay (thanks Lamar, for helping me think through this).  But one day Shari and I will be chillin and she’ll say “how did we meet, anyway??”  And I’ll say, “John Smith introduced me to his wife, who introduced me to you…. ”

And I can see that Shari was, and still is, my 3rd DoS contact.


Does any of this matter?

YES, it matters, and here’s why:

In your job search you MUST drill down on your network contacts.  You must ask them the magic, powerful question: “who do you know….”

Who do you know that works at my target company?

Who do you know that is a programmer?

Who do you know that is in this industry?

You can vary it by asking: Who should I talk to?  Who can you introduce me to?

The point is to get them, a 1st DoS contact, to introduce you to someone else.

This is absolutely critical in your job search. If you don’t do it, but you network a lot, you can have success.  But this single question is THE question that should get you closer and closer to a hiring manager, a decision maker, and someone who is in a position to end your job search.

More on this idea tomorrow… for now, what do you think?  How have you seen the DoS equation… like I described it, or as Lamar describes it?



Do you feel like you are a “dime-a-dozen” competing in your job search?

September 7th, 2012

A few months ago I was talking to some friends over dinner and mentioned that a particular profession was a dime-a-dozen, and it’s easy to find someone to do that particular job.

And then I realized one person at dinner, who I like and respect a lot, was just getting back into that field.


I did that about a year ago with another type of profession.

Wednesday morning I was thinking about these almost-commodity skills/roles/people, and something significant hit me.

If you are in a dime-a-dozen field, I’m going to ASSUME you have all the right skills, and you are very good.

You can spend time helping me understand why your skills are superior to your “competition,” but I was thinking, as an employer, what would be most valuable to me.

I would want someone who was “high speed, low drag.”  Another way of saying it is that you can “hit the ground running.”

I want someone who I won’t have to worry about.  They aren’t going to be at the water cooler whining about management direction or decisions.

They aren’t going to waste hours a day with social networks or other things online.

I want someone who I can trust to do the right thing, every time.  Someone with high integrity.

I want someone who will strive to make me, as the boss, look good.

I could go on and on, but what I was thinking was I want someone who has personal values, including honesty, integrity, strong work ethic, sense of pride in doing the job right or well, someone who can learn quickly and especially learn from mistakes… someone who is punctual (or not chronically late) … for that matter, someone who is not chronically __________…

See where I’m going?

In my job search I told someone “I’m just a general manager… not specialized.  And in this valley there are tons of managers.”

That someone wisely responded “yeah, but there aren’t very many GOOD managers.”

How do you differentiate yourself when you feel like a commodity?

Show how you are GOOD, or better, and definitely help me understand I’ll never have to worry about you.  You won’t embarrass me or give me headaches.

That’s who I want to hire.

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Organize Your Job Search: What to do if you forget to BCC to JibberJobber?

September 5th, 2012

You might know my FAVORITE feature in JibberJobber is the ability to send an email to your contact(s), and also to the JibberJobber server.

Why would you want to do that?  By doing that you can add a new Contact and/or add the email as a Log Entry.  It takes a 30 – 240 second job and makes it a 1/2 second job.  It’s awesome.  If you haven’t heard of this, check out this post.

So, what if you FORGET to BCC JibberJobber?  That is, what if you send the email to your Contact but forget to put the special email address in the BCC field (and you don’t want to email them again)?

You have two options:

1. You can copy and paste the email into a Log Entry, the way you have always been able to.  This might take 30 – 240 seconds…

Or, more convenient, you can…

2. Forward the email JUST to the JibberJobber email.  This will send the email to JibberJobber, where we take care of it as if you did it right the first time.

Here’s what it looks like:

1. You’ll see my special ultra-secret email address in the TO field.

2. I’ll delete all of this… so the body has this:

There are 3 parts you put at the beginning of the body:

1. write the word contacts

2. Put a colon… to separate the word contacts and all the email addresses

3. Put any and all email addresses you want the Log Entry to be associated with. I just delete all the gray text (in the first image, above), and that’s it.

There you go… I do this regularly… it’s pretty easy.  Of course, it’s easier if you simply put do the BCC thing in the first place, but all isn’t lost if you forget :)

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Why Recruiters Lie When Rejecting You (Recruiting Animal on JobMob)

September 4th, 2012

Ah, the unthinkable atrocity. The horror!

Would a recruiter really lie to you, during one of the lowest parts of a job search (getting rejected)?

Of course.

Read The Recruiting Animal’s post: Why Recruiters Lie When Rejecting You.

He starts with this:

I’ll often see a recruiter puffing up her chest online and strutting around bragging about how transparent she is with candidates.

So, then, I’ll ask her, “If the hiring manager rejected a candidate because he didn’t like her voice, would you tell her that? Imagine he said, ‘She’s very intelligent but if I had to listen to that all day, I’d shoot myself.’ Would you pass that on?” continue reading…

What do you think? Would they tell you?

Here’s how he ends his post:

“So, remember this job hunters: recruiters aren’t social workers. It’s not their job to tell you how to improve. If they can, they will; but usually they can’t.” continue reading…

A little dose of reality from one who knows. Thanks Animal for the honesty.

Now, job seekers, where can you go to figure out what you are doing wrong? You know, the stuff a recruiter won’t tell you?



Is Your Job Search Grounded?

September 3rd, 2012

Last year we had our floors replaced… it was definitely time to get rid of our abused floors and get something that should last a while longer.

During the process, we had to move the kitchen island to we could put the new floor underneath.  I had a friend come do that.  When it was time to put it back I wired the electrical boxes back together. I like doing electrical work (more than plumbing) and have done various electrical projects before.

But something weird happened.  Something I didn’t think was possible.

Let’s say the electricity comes from through a wire in the floor (0), to the first box (1), and then to the second box (2).

So, from 0 –> 1 –> 2

0 worked fine.

2 worked fine.

1 didn’t work.

I thought if I made a mistake in 1, then 2 wouldn’t work, since it is “downstream.”

Stay with me… I’m almost to the easy part.

So, as is my tradition, I thought about it for a few months.  And when I was sick and tired of not having this outlet work, I decided to get my handy screw driver and see what the problem was. I was thinking one of the wires came loose when I screwed the whole thing back together…

Guess what?  I had put the ground wire in the wrong place.  Typically there are three wires: white, black, green (which is the ground).

For some reason I put the ground in the wrong place.

Without the ground in the right place, the outlet didn’t work.

If I was a real electrician I could tell you why 2 worked, but 1 didn’t work.

That’s a lot like your job search, isn’t it?

Are you grounded?

I don’t know what that means to you — I guess you could be emotionally grounded, mentally grounded, physically grounded, socially grounded…

You could have grounded (or, principled) job search strategies.

My point is, if you aren’t grounded, no matter how many times you go the network meetings or whatever else you are doing, it could all be for nothing.

Please, sit down with people to figure out if you are grounded.  Start with yourself – have a really honest conversation with yourself.  It could go something like this:

You: Self, are you grounded?  Seriously, you know what it means, so be honest!

You: No, I’m not grounded.

You: Okay, good.  You recognize and admit it.  What do we need to do to get grounded?

You (being really honest): “Well, I really need to …….”

See how easy that was?

I went for months and months without my outlet grounded.  I wonder if you are going for months and months without being grounded, and not understanding why things aren’t working right?


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