LinkedIn FREE account: get smarter people search results with Boolean logic on LinkedIn

Ever gone fishin’ without a single bite?

You can fish on LinkedIn using Boolean operators for faster, better results as long as you know these 5 modifiers:

  1. Quotations (specify exact search)
  2. AND (narrow your search)
  3. OR (expand your search)
  4. NOT (exclude certain people)
  5. Parentheses (combine modifiers for complex search)

Boolean logic explained

Although a great many people seem to think that Boolean was developed for improved Internet searches, Boolean logic and searching have been around WAY before the Internet existed.

Finding the right number of hits can be tricky. Sometimes LinkedIn (or internet) search tools will bring up thousands of hits when all that is needed is one. Sometimes only a couple of hits emerge from a LinkedIn search when you need as many as possible. Here’s how to use the right modifier for your searches. Be sure to use upper case (capital letters) each time. If you read to the end of this blog, you’ll get a cool tool that many LinkedIn users overlook.


To search for an exact term, use your quotation marks around the word string. For example, “board director” will deliver LinkedIn profile results with those keywords included in the profile. You can dive into LinkedIn modifiers using Location, Connections (1st, 2nd or 3rd level) or Company filters to narrow your search even further.


The Boolean operator AND narrows a search. If you are looking for LinkedIn profiles that include 2 or 3 terms, you will separate those terms with upper-case AND. For example, let’s say you’re looking for those who are developers in the internet cloud storage business vertical: developer AND “cloud storage” will be your keywords.


Type the word OR to see results that include one or more items when searching LinkedIn profiles. This typically broadens your search results. Here’s the example: coders OR developers OR programmer.


A huge part of whom you’re looking for is whom you are not looking for. Type the word NOT immediately before a search term to exclude it from your search results like this: coder NOT developer NOT programmer.


When you have a complex search to combine keywords, this is your ticket to drilling down with specificity in LinkedIn searches. For example, let’s try this: developer AND (Oracle OR Google OR Microsoft). Or this one: developer NOT (“hybrid cloud storage”) AND (“big data”).

Key takeaways

  • Remember to use these modifiers in the search bar for People. You’ll have a personal assistant, helping you to find the right results specifically tailored to your needs.
  • Try to use the right modifier and keywords to develop a manageable list of LinkedIn profiles that solve your search criteria. Many times, I will keep adding modifiers to shrink the amount of LinkedIn profiles to a manageable list.
  • Save this search by clicking on Create Search Alert, located on the right rail (in the blue box below) when conducting your search. Here is what it looks like:

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