Try this Advanced Search Hack for the New LinkedIn Desktop

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February 13, 2017
There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth about the disappearance of advanced search in the new version. I have also been guilty of that, however on the weekend conversations with colleagues forced me to take a fresh look at the free search feature.  

It’s not so much a case that advanced search has been removed from the free desktop version as that it has been replaced. In its place, there is a multi-layered search which always begins in the keyword search box rather in multiple text fields as the original advanced search did.  

Crucially the new desktop version supports Boolean search in key fields. You might have heard people refer to AND, OR, NOT searches, these are some of the most commonly used Boolean phrases.

How Boolean Search works

Using Boolean logic you can construct searches on LinkedIn to look for:
  1. an exact phrase e.g. “Marketing Director”
  2. to exclude a particular term e.g. NOT “Marketing Director”
  3. to include one or more terms in a list e.g. “Marketing Director” OR “Sales Director”
  4. or to get results that include two or more terms in a list e.g. “Marketing Director” AND “Sales Director”
It is also possible to build more complex searches by combining terms in brackets. For example, this search will find people who have Marketing or Director and Division in their profiles. 

“Marketing OR (director AND division)”

Note, that phrases have to be entered in quotes, and the Boolean operator must always be uppercase.

LinkedIn supports Boolean searches in the first name, last name, title, company, and school (college) fields. See LinkedIn’s official help explanation here

Let’s have a look at an example, a search for people with sales or marketing in their titles at computer giant SAP.


LinkedIn Boolean search in new desktop design

Fig 1: LinkedIn Boolean search for sales and marketing people


This is a global search which gives 35,000+ results. I could now refine this with the filters on the right-hand side of the page. 

1. Relationship
2. Locations
3. Current companies
4. Past companies
5. Industries
6. Profile language 
7. Non-profit interests
8. Schools

Now I will try a different search and look for multiple titles, Fig 2.  


Boolean search on LinkedIn

Fig 2: A Boolean search for multiple titles


This search brings up 452 results. I am searching profiles with SAP in the company field, however,  that could be a previous position, so if I now select “SAP” in the current companies filter in right-hand panel that brings my result down to 373.

LinkedIn search filters help to refine search

Fig 3: Using company filter highlights people in current positions at SAP


I could also use any of the other seven filters mentioned above e.g. connections, location etc. to further refine my search.  

Here is one more example of a Boolean expression just to make sure you have understood how to build these. I am looking for people who are in a finance role who work at Ecotricity or Scottish Power but aren’t called Green. 
  
Boolean AND, OR and NOT search on LInkedIn

Fig 4: Example of an OR and NOT search


Pretty powerful stuff eh. I hope you can begin to see now that the advanced search hasn’t so much gone away as morphed into a different type of search. 

There is one temporary problem which you may have noticed. There is no longer an option to save the search, however, I am assured that LinkedIn does plan to restore this in the immediate future. 

Extra Filters on Premium

So now that you have seen what the new search feature can do, and how powerful it is, is there any need to upgrade? Well, the answer is it depends on what you need. The Sales Navigator account has 12 extra filters, these are:
  • Function
  • Years of Experience
  • Company size (employees)
  • Seniority level
  • Postal code (and postal code radius)
  • Groups
  • Years in current position
  • Years at current company
  • Company type (e.g. public v private)
  • Interest in
  • Member since
  • Posted content keywords
If any of these filters are business critical to you then you probably should upgrade. Premium accounts also have access to 15 or more saved searches.

The decision to upgrade is not just about extra filters, it’s also about whether Sales Navigator (or Recruiter Lite) will help you t0 do your job more effectively. If you are thinking of upgrading then you might find this article helpful: “Should I upgrade to LinkedIn Sales Navigator“.  

Conclusion

The new desktop version is evolving, we are all still learning how to get the best from it, including LinkedIn.  I hope this article has been helpful and given you a fresh perspective on LinkedIn’s new desktop search. All is not lost. In fact, very little has been lost, it’s just different. Love to hear your comments below.

Thanks to Mark Williams, Brynne Tillman, and Samantha Bailey who prompted me to look again at LinkedIn’s new desktop search. 

If you enjoyed AND/OR found the article useful please share it so others can too. Thank you. Greg

2 Responses

  1. Carl Lens says:

    Powerful stuff indeed. thank you for this.

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