An interesting question. I offer a provocative answer.

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Okay, the question is "how do I write to a second degree connection without making it look like I'm going behind the back of my first degree connection "
Now, my philosophy is you are inconveniencing the first so, it's quite okay to go directly to the second and if you're looking for tactically how to do this, well, yes, you can reach out to them directly and reach out to them with the idea of them becoming a first before you actually reach out to them.
what you can also do is have the first degree connection provide the introduction, but that seems so old school and so passe in these modern times. I think you're best off just and best served by just reaching out to the the person that you want to get to, connecting with them or going around the entire LinkedIn system altogether.
You know where they work .You call them up on the phone and you reach out to them and say, "hi. My name is . . . And I'm looking for position doing such and such. I saw you work for the firm that I like to work for. Can I pick your brain for a minute and see if you might be able to introduce me to someone . . . If you're comfortable doing that? I want you to feel comfortable that I have a background would be appropriate. But, you know, I'm wondering if I could just pick your brain for a couple of minutes."
What that does is circumvent this entire "reach throughyour first degree connection" to introduce you to the second, getting the connection request accepted If you're going to them directly.
Just call them up on the phone, introduce yourself and say, " I understand the firm is looking for such and such. I was wondering if you might introduce me to the hiring manager. Can I ask who that might be or would you feel more comfortable interviewing me for a couple of minutes to see that I'm competent before referring me?" That will save you a lot of time,a lot of Agony, have you develop an advocate within the firm instead of worrying about this extraneous thing called LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a database. It gives you information. How you use that information is your choice. You don't have to use their system. There's no requirement. Just use it and get your. interview.

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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