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.  As I discuss in my book Your Social Media Job Search, 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 marketing manager or director position at Pfizer.  My client began her people search as follows:

  1. On the upper right of her screen, she clicked on “Advanced,” to the right of the “people” search box.
  2. Under “Location,” she selected “In or Near” her zip code, “within 50 miles.”
  3. She kept “Sort by Relevance” (experiment with these sort options to vary the results).
  4. Under “Company,” she entered “Pfizer,” and just below that she selected “Current,” meaning the results will show only people who currently work there.
  5. 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 OR VP OR SVP OR Executive OR Chief OR “Vice President”) AND NOT “Senior Manager” and selected “current” just below to ensure these keywords were in their current job title.

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. She shared a group with the third one, meaning she could reach out to this contact by messaging him directly through their shared LinkedIn group.

Learn more about how to leverage LinkedIn through my recorded webinar and my book.