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Linkedin Boolean Search: The Ultimate Guide 2022

Mastering Linkedin boolean search is an essential skills to find qualified leads or candidates on Linkedin.

Once you master this superpower, the quality of your targeting will dramatically improve.

The best part?

It’s not that complicated.

Let’s dive in.

What is Linkedin Boolean Search?

LinkedIn Boolean search helps you narrow or expand your keyword searches to help you find the profiles your are looking for. It uses a combination of logical connectors (AND, OR, NOT) and punctuations (parenthese and quotes) and can be used on all the different Linkedin search engines (Basic, Sales Navigator, Recruiter).

The 5 Linkedin Boolean Search Operators

There are 5 linkedin boolean search operators you can use to refine your searches:

  1. Quotes
  2. AND
  3. OR
  4. NOT
  5. Parenthesis

1. Quotes

Quotes allow to search for an exact phrase or terms that include:

  1. Several words
  2. Punctuation

If you are look for an expression of several words, enclose the phrase in quotation marks. 

For example:

  • “Sales Manager”
  • “V.P”
  • “Account Representative”
  • “Human Resources Manager”

If you don’t add the quotes to sales manager, Linkedin will look for “sales AND manager

how to use quote sales navigator boolean search

You see that there are some search results that are not relevant in the screenshot above.

However, if I add quotes around “sales manager”, the results will exactly fit what you are looking for.

better results with quotes boolean search

Now, you can see clearly the difference between adding and forgetting the quotes.

2. AND

If you want to search for profiles that include two or more terms, you can separate those terms with AND.

and linkedin boolean operators

Example:

  • Sales AND Director
  • “Sales manager” AND B2B
and boolean operator linkedin sales navigator

If you enter two terms without quotes, the search engine will assume there is an AND between them:

3. OR

If you want to broaden your search to find profiles that include one or more terms, you can separate those terms with OR.

or linkedin boolean operators

OR is most often used to search for alternate spellings, or for terms that mean the same thing.

Example:

  • “Sales Operations” OR “Sales Ops”
  • “Vice President” OR “vp” OR “V.P.” OR “SVP” OR “EVP”
or boolean operator sales navigator

4. NOT

If you want to exclude a particular term from your search, type that term with NOT before it.

not linkedin boolean operators

Your search results will exclude any profile containing that term. For example:

  • Director NOT Executive NOT VP NOT “Vice President”

Let’s see a live example.

Here I added the keyword “CEO” in the title filter

how to use not boolean search sales navigator

If I change it to CEO NOT Assistant, you can see that I exclude 1000 leads from the search.

not boolean operator example

I can do the same thing by adding another keyword and clicking on the exclusion button

exclude keyword from boolean search sales navigator

Once you click, the button will appear in red and the exclusion will work exactly like if you had put a NOT boolean operator

not boolean operator appears red

5. Parenteses

If you want to do a complex search, you can combine terms and modifiers.

For example Marketing AND (B2B OR B2C) This will look for profile containing:

  • Marketing AND B2B 
  • Marketing AND B2C.
parenthesis sales navigator boolean search

Where To Use Boolean Search on Linkedin?

You can use Linkedin boolean search in 3 differents places:

  1. Linkedin Basic
  2. Linkedin Sales Navigator
  3. Linkedin Recruiter

In each of this search engine, the boolean search can be used on:

  1. The job title field
  2. The keyword search field
  3. Company field
  4. School field

1. Linkedin Basic Search

On Linkedin basic search, boolean search operators can be used on:

  • The general search
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Title
  • Company
  • School
linkedin boolean search basic search engine

You can run searches like this one

boolean basic search

Keyword filter will look into specific fields whereas the general search bar will look into the whole profile:

  • job titles
  • job description
  • school
  • skills
  • recommendation
general keyword search linkedin

However Linkedin basic search is not able to handle quotes. If you try add more than 1 expression between quotes you will see this message:

linkedin basic search not handle quotes

It’s weird as Linkedin says there are not able to handle your request. It’s for sure a way for them to make you buy Sales Navigator.

2. Linkedin Sales Navigator

Same thing for Sales Navigator. The global keyword search will look for the keyword into the whole profile:

  1. Description
  2. About Section
  3. Job experiences
  4. Education
  5. Skills
  6. Recommendation
  7. Etc…
sales navigator boolean search keyword filter

The Current job title search will only look for your keywords into the current job experiences of your prospects

sales navigator boolean search title

You can also use boolean search to look into past job titles.

That is to say all the experience with the “Present” tag

present tag job experience

You can also use boolean search in the School, Current Company and Past Company fields.

company boolean search linkedin

3. Linkedin Recruiter

Exactly like Sales Navigator, you can use boolean search on Linkedin Recruiter in the:

  • Keyword search
  • Job title search
  • Company search
  • School search
linkedin recruiter boolean search

How To Make a Super Targeted Linkedin Boolean Search?

There are 4 steps to make a super targeted boolean search:

  1. Definine your ideal customer profile
  2. Look at your existing clients
  3. Write your boolean outside of Linkedin
  4. Keep iterating

1. Define your Ideal Customer Profile

Before you start playing with linkedin filters and boolean search, you must have a clear idea of who are your potential customers.

icp boolean search

Don’t need to rush. First, put everything in a document. Try to create a persona and then try to translate this persona into Linkedin filters.

2. Look at your existing clients

A good way to start crafting your first boolean query is to look at the profiles of your existing clients or prospects.

Try to find the job titles and keywords that come back the most in the profiles and include them in your boolean query.

3. Write your boolean outside of Linkedin

It’s super painful to write a long boolean query in Linkedin search engines. You can’t see the whole expression you are writing and it often get deleted (really frustrating when you spend 15 min on it).

boolean search tiny fields linkedin

It’s way better to first write your boolean query outside of Linkedin in a notepad on then paste it into Linkedin.

That way you can easily spot potential mistakes. When you boolean search start to 10+ line long, errors come easily.

4. Keep iterating

Your boolean query is a tool that will evolve as your business grow and gain more information about your ideal customers.

Each time you will make a search, you might find profiles that you find irrelevant. Add them in your blacklist using NOT.

You might discover new keywords or new job titles you didn’t thought about in the beginning. Add them to your targeted keyword lists using OR.

Your boolean query is not something. It is alive and should make it evolve every time you learn something new about your target.

Linkedin Boolean Search Template You Can Use

You can follow this pattern for your boolean searches:

(Position Keywords) AND (Field Keywords) NOT (Blacklist) 

Let’s say I am looking for decision makers in Sales and Marketing.

I can add all the position related keywords in the parenthesis:

(VP OR "Vice-President" OR "V.P" OR "Vice President" OR "Head" OR "Manager" OR "Chief) 

Then all the field related keyword in the second parenthesis

(Sales OR Marketing)

And then all my blacklist in the last parenthesis

(Assistant OR "Right Arm" OR Founder OR "Co-Founder" OR "Cofounder)

Then put all together into the same boolean query

(VP OR "Vice-President" OR "V.P" OR "Vice President" OR "Head" OR "Manager" OR "Chief) AND (Sales OR Marketing) NOT (Assistant OR "Right Arm" OR Founder OR "Co-Founder" OR "Cofounder)

This template is super convenient to stay organised as you boolean query get bigger and bigger.

The Weaknesses of Linkedin Boolean Search

Linkedin boolean search is a great tool but Linkedin database has some flaws that can harm the quality of your searches:

  1. People don’t update their job experiences correctly
  2. Keyword search looks into the whole profile

Lucky for you, Evaboot is capable of detecting these “false positives”

1. People don’t update their job experiences

When you use boolean search in the “Job Title” field, Linkedin will into all the profiles that declared their experience as current.

You can see it with tag “Present” on the job experiences.

double current experience linkedin

However, many people forgot to “close” their previous experience when they open a new one. It means that many past experiences are still considered as current by Linkedin.

This problem create a lot of false positive in your search. You might end up with HRs in a search that targeted Head of Sales for example.

2. Keyword Search looks into the whole profile

Second tricky thing about boolean search is that the keyword search looks into the whole profile. There are some relevant fields like:

  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Current job description

But it also make you search in irrelevant field like:

  • School description
  • Recommendations
  • Past job description

By using boolean search in the keywork search filter; you might end up with a lot of false positives as well.

linkedin keyword search problem

Here is an example of a search in which I look for the keyword “Marketing” and ended up having someone working in law.

3. Evaboot automatically double check your boolean searches

We realized that this problem wasted a lot of time of Linkedin users.

That is why we developed in Evaboot an algorithm to double check if your leads really match your search filters.

I explain the process at the end of this video (16:34)

We check:

  • If the job title found on Linkedin is really the current one
  • If the keyword appear in a relevant field (Summary, Headline, Job description…)

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