How to Perform Advanced Searches on LinkedIn

By Joel Elad

LinkedIn’s search screens allow you to perform detailed searches by using check boxes and drop-down lists, so you don’t need to know any programming to dig deep into the LinkedIn network. However, built-in options are available if you want to add specific words, called boolean operators, to your search. Here are some of your options:

  • OR: When you do a search that could call for one or more options, but the search must contain at least one of those terms, the OR command is incredibly useful. For example, if you’re looking for someone who knows how to program in either Java or JavaScript, you can type the words Java OR JavaScript to get the desired result. Or when you’re looking for something that could be typed as one word or two, such as Help desk or helpdesk, put OR between the two terms: Help desk OR helpdesk.
  • AND: When your search requires multiple criteria, the AND operator seems essential. Let’s say you need a Certified Public Accountant (or CPA) who knows QuickBooks and lives in California. You can search for CPA AND QuickBooks AND California. Thankfully, LinkedIn assumes that the AND operator is implied with multiple keywords, so you don’t have to type AND. When you type multiple keywords without the word AND between each one, LinkedIn will still look for every keyword, assuming that the word AND is there.
  • NOT: When your search requires you to exclude a particular term, you can use the word NOT (or a minus sign) in front of the term you want to exclude. For example, if you type director NOT president, you’re looking for people who work as a director, but not the president of the company.
  • “ ” (quotation marks): When your search requires exact phrases instead of a string of keywords, you need to add quotation marks around each phrase. That way, when you look for, say, “Executive Assistant,” you’ll get results for an executive assistant but not for an executive who has a job duty of assistant to the president, for example.
  • ( ) (parenthetical searches): You can take the previous operators and combine them, using parentheses to build complex searches. For example, if you need a software developer or engineer who knows either Java or JavaScript, but who isn’t a manager, you can search this by typing:

(Java OR JavaScript) AND ("software developer" OR "software engineer") AND NOT Manager