Boolean search on LinkedIn is a key skill if you want to build really targeted lists of people.
If you want to get to the next level in linkedin prospecting, you absolutely need to master it.
In this article, you are going to learn exactly how to use LinkedIn boolean search works with concrete examples.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Content
Where can you use Boolean Search in Linkedin?
You can use linkedin boolean search in several field on the basic linkedin search.
The most obvious one is the search bar that will look into the whole profile, including:
- job titles
- job descriptions
- Basically every word on the profiles
There is also other filters that will allow to use boolean search looking into specific fields like:
This way you can use your linkedin boolean search targeting a specific field
Know that you know where to write your boolean search strings, let’s see how to do boolean search on linkedin.
How to Use Boolean Search on Linkedin?
Linkedin boolean search is a programmatic language that work with a combination of logical connectors and punctuation:
You can use them seperately or combine them do even more sophisticated queries.
1. AND: search for multiple keywords
If you want to search for profiles or job title that include two terms, you can separate those terms with AND.
- Sales AND Marketing
- HR AND Talent
Linkedin will give me a list of all the profiles containing these 2 keywords.
Let’s see an example on a boolean search for job titles. I want people with the keywords Sales and Marketing in their job title
Here are the results of my search, you can see that keywords Sales and Marketing appear in every job titles.
2. OR: search for at least one keyword
Using boolean search on linkedin with OR will allow you to build a list of profiles that contain at least one of the keyword of your choice.
OR is most often used to search for alternate spellings, or for terms that mean the same thing:
- “Head of Sales” OR “VP Sales”
- “HR” or Human Resources”
- “CEO” OR “Chief Executive Officer”
Linkedin will not automatically make this translation so you need to do them yourself.
Let’s say that this time I want to target people working in Sales or in Marketing. Let’s just take the same search and replace AND by OR.
Note: it will normally be necessary in the boolean logic to write “VP Sales” OR “Head of Sales” here but Linkedin can’t handle. We will see this later with the quotes.
You can see in the search results that I get profile with both job titles, some are VP Sales and some are Head of Sales.
3. NOT: exclude keywords from your search
NOT is a great way to delete irrelevant profiles from your search results.
Let’s see you want a list of developers and you write “developer” into the job title field.
You will get plenty of business developers, but you want to a list of tech people right?
No problem! Just add NOT Business in your boolean string and you will exclude every profile with the word “business” in their job title.
Now only have tech people left in your search.
A good practice when you are using NOT is to crawl your search results and to add new exclusion as you detect irrelevant profiles.
Let’s say you continue to analyze your search results, and you see a Sales Developer.
You can add NOT Sales to your boolean search that will become Developer NOT Business NOT Sales.
4. Parentheses: combine boolean search parameters
Parenthesis are way to combine AND, OR and NOT to create sophisticated boolean search queries.
Let’s say you are looking for:
- Head of Sales
- Head of Marketing
- VP Sales
- VP Marketing
- Sales Director
- Marketing Director
You can look for these 6 job titles with only one boolean search string.
(Head OR VP OR Director) AND (Marketing OR Sales)
Basically here you tell linkedin that you want one of the keyword in the first parenthesis and one of the keyword in the second parenthesis.
You see here that this boolean has 3×2= at least 6 different possibilities which fit the 6 job titles mentioned above.
5. Quotes: search for sentences
If you want to search for an exact phrase or terms that include several words or punctuation You must enclose the phrase:
- “sales manager”
- “account manager”
- “human resources director”
If I forget to add the quotes to a phrase, linkedin will assume there are AND’s between the words. So:
- “Sales Manager” will look for Sales Manager
- Sales Manager will look for Sales AND Manager
However, Linkedin basic search engine does not seems to handle this. If you try to use multiple quotes, the search will crash
If you try add only one phrase with quotes linkedin will delete.
If I write this, Linkedin will delete the quotes.
You will see in your search results people that don’t fit your search. Here for example we can see a “Sales Development & Customer Success Manager” which respect the query “Sales AND Manager but not “Sales Manager”
We have no info on why LinkedIn is not applying quotes, but I guess they are restricting this feature to make you buy LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
With Sales Navigator, you can use quotes, and they are applied to your search.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is indeed a much more powerful search engine if you are looking to build lead lists and use boolean search.
Here is a video showing you how to use LinkedIn boolean search on sales navigator
Linkedin Boolean Search Examples
Here a 2 linkedin boolean search examples to give you some ideas on how you can use this powerful tool to build your prospect lists.
1. Targeting People With Specifics Skills
In the job title, you want “Developer” and maybe some of them will add the name of the languages they master on the title as well so you can write a boolean like this:
If there is alternative spellings to your keywords, make sure to add them as well
Some developer will not put the name of the languages they master in their job title but in their job description or skills.
2. Targeting Decision Makers Using a Specific Technology
You can use the same technique to target people using a specific tool. Let’s say you to target Marketers using Mailchimp or Sendinblue.
You can create a boolean search by adding:
- Marketers OR Marketing in the job title field
- Mailchimp OR Sendinblue in the general keyword field
Obviously people won’t mention these tool in their job title so you need to look for them in the profile.
You will obviously end up with people working at Mailchimp or Sendinblue so make sure to exclude these companies using NOT.
Linkedin will find profile with the tools written either on job descriptions or skills.