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How to search LinkedIn

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It's important to remember that finding jobs, recruiting employees, and identifying experts are not the only uses for LinkedIn. Information about activities in companies and industries can be derived from job postings. In searching for whatever type of information you need, there are three reasons why LinkedIn searching is easier and, in some ways, more effective than on other social networking sites. First is the very detailed and easy-to-use search options; second is that on LinkedIn, real names are usually used; and third, the rather extensive information that users post about themselves (though sometimes perhaps “exaggerated”) usually contains real facts.

Search box

In the LinkedIn search box, you can enter names of people, companies, job titles, locations, languages, or keywords; plus, you can use Boolean. As you enter terms, take advantage of the search suggestions that appear beneath the box.

Though you will probably not find it in the LinkedIn documentation, you can also use Boolean in the search box. Adjacent terms are automatically AND’ed and you can use OR’s, parentheses for nesting, and quotation marks for phrases. OR’s particularly can be very useful and save a lot of time when you want to search on many companies or job titles all at once. Here is an example:

"security analyst" (mitre OR saic OR "booz allen")

For simplicity and flexibility, consider searching first just on the string of OR’ed terms; then, use the results filters for the other facets of your search.

Results filters

Formerly, LinkedIn had an extensive advanced search page, but now instead provides filters for narrowing results of a search. On search results pages, you see the list of people, companies, groups, etc., that match your query and, above that list, filtering options. Exactly which filter options appear depends upon what you entered. In some cases, the first filter option is a pull-down menu labeled People, which, when clicked, shows alternatives (All, Jobs, Content, Companies, Schools, and Groups). Usually this option is followed by three pull-down menus for Connections, Locations, and Current Companies. The Connections choice allows you to narrow to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd connections to your own accounts. The Locations filter choice allows you to narrow by geographic location of the company or LinkedIn member. (When you choose from those lists, be sure to click Apply.)

After the other filter options at the top of results page, there is also an All Filters choice. Click there to see a display of all of the people filters just mentioned, plus menus or boxes for searching for connections to a specific person; to Past Companies (former employers); to Industries; and to Schools (attended). Below those search options on the All Filters window are boxes for searching by First Name, Last Name, Title, Company, and School. Particularly for the Industries option, as you type, look at the suggestions provided, but pause after your first letter. That way you will to see a list of all industry headings that contain a word beginning with that letter.

LinkedIn Premium

The features that have been described are all available in the free version of LinkedIn. Premium versions are available that provide somewhat enhanced search filters, alerts, saved leads, and more, depending upon the version.

This article was adapted from an article in The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, a newsletter published by Information Today, Inc. For more information, visit www.infotoday.com.

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