What are LinkedIn Boolean Searches?

Careful filtering on LinkedIn can save you a great deal of time and the tedious effort of examining many profiles to find the few you are looking for.

In other words, it is so worthwhile taking the time to understand LinkedIn searches and work on improving your searching techniques.

LinkedIn allows you to enter the following filters:

  • Connection level (1st, 2nd and 3rd);
  • Geographic locations;
  • The text you would like to appear on a candidate’s profile to be selected for your further examination.

Your search text may contain the Boolean operators OR NOT AND. When entering any of these 3 operators, you must enter them in capitals for them to be recognised as Boolean operators.

It will save you some frustration when you know about the following quirks of LinkedIn:

  • If you have more than 5 OR operators, LinkedIn will issue an error message and suggest that you simplify your search.
  • LinkedIn interprets a space between words in the same way as the AND operator. You should use space instead of AND because LinkedIn will give you an error message if you have 5 or more AND operators but not if you have 5 or more spaces.
  • You can have many NOT  operators if you don’t combine them with the other operators. For example, NOT(talent) NOT(recruitment) is better than NOT(talent OR recruitment).

The free version of LinkedIn has a “Commercial Limit” of about 15 searches per month. If you exceed this limit, you will have to wait until the start of next month before you can do any more searches.

However, we will show you how to save your search so that you don’t have to keep using your allocation of searches every time you go into LinkedIn.

All versions of LinkedIn allow you to send a maximum of 100 requests to connect per week. It is therefore important that you choose carefully before sending an invitation to connect.

Let’s look at some examples of searches.

If you were to enter the words tall, space dark, space handsome

All the profiles returned from your search would contain all of the words, tall, dark, handsome.

On the other hand, if you entered tall OR dark OR handsome, all profiles returned from the search would contain at least one of these words. This will be a much more extensive list than that produced by tall, space dark, space handsome.

When you look at the following example:

(founder OR entrepreneur)  (“digital marketing” OR information) (relationships OR others OR difference OR, partner) NOT(talent) NOT(recruitment);

it’s apparent that Boolean searches can be sophisticated and powerful. Many people in the CC have a great deal of experience using Boolean searches and will be more than willing to help you iron out any kinks in your search strings during some of our workshops.

It’s worth taking the time to think about Boolean searches. As always, it helps to work smarter as well as harder.

Here are some hints and tips that may help you:

  • Include words that help you find others of like-mind.
  • For example, the words “Others” & “Difference” often mean that they are interested in making a difference in the lives of others.
  • Include words that help you find others that are likely to be interested in expanding their networks.
  • For example, words such as owner, founder, start-up, entrepreneur.
  • Include words that will make it easy for you to connect with them when you meet them on Zoom. For example, if they have a similar profession or entrepreneurial spirit, you will have an affinity that can make it easier to connect.
  • As you examine LinkedIn profiles, take note of words you may want to include in future searches.
  • Ideally, your search should yield about 500 profiles. Unfortunately, anything above 1000 is wasted because LinkedIn will only allow you to access the first 1000.