Get better LinkedIn people-search results with “Boolean Logic”

LinkedIn’s “Advanced People Search” feature is a fantastic tool for finding people in your extended network or shared groups who can help you to reach your career goals.  Including boolean logic in your search terms such as AND, OR, NOT, parenthesis and quotes around phrases can greatly expand its power.  To demonstrate, here’s an example of a client who was interested in obtaining a VP of Marketing position at Pfizer.  My client began her people search as follows:

  1. In the Search window at the very top, she clicked in the search box and pressed “enter” to reveal a whole list of search menu options.
  2. She chose the “All Filters” search option all the way to the right.
  3. Under “Location,” she selected “In or Near” her zip code, “within 50 miles.”
  4. She kept “Sort by Relevance” (experiment with these sort options to vary the results).
  5. Under “Company,” she entered “Pfizer,” and just below that she selected “Current,” meaning the results will show only people who currently work there.
  6. She then clicked on “Search” at the bottom.

Her result: Thousands of entries came up. Within the first couple of pages she saw many 2nd degree connections (people to whom she could be introduced by her first degree contacts) working at Pfizer.  But she realized she was not getting enough senior marketing people in her results– that is, people in a position to hire her.  So she refined her search by adding the following criteria:

  • For “Title” she entered: Marketing AND (“Senior Vice” OR SVP OR Chief OR “Head”) NOT “Senior Manager” and selected “current” just below to ensure these keywords were in their current job title (you can use up to six terms in your search).

Notice that entire phrases such as “Vice President” can be searched for (or in the case of “Senior Manager” excluded) by enclosing them in quotes, and that the boolean logical connectors (AND, OR, NOT) must be capitalized.

The result—my client found the potential hiring managers at Pfizer that she was looking for, including a Senior Vice President- Marketing, Senior Director/Group Leader- Consumer Marketing, and a VP – Head of Global Marketing & Brand Strategy.  The first two of these were second degree connections, and she was able to leverage her first degree connections to get introductions to them.