How to Connect if the Reason is Not Listed

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(“Part One” briefly outlines some background. If you are only interested in “how-to”, please jump to the “Part Two” below.

Please note, that I think that inviting others for no good reason is NOT appropriate.)

Part One. Reasons to Connect

LinkedIn is a business networking site, where people can “connect” with each other. Connecting provides for ways to keep each other’s contact info; track interactions; perhaps get on the phone or meet in person; or follow-up after having met; follow each other’s business activity; refer business to each other, and more. In fact, LinkedIn is “the” Business Networking site.

LinkedIn provides us with a number of choices on why we’d like to connect with someone, including: colleague, classmate, we’ve done business together, and a friend. Up until a few days ago there was also a “fellow group member” option, that seems to be gone as of now.  This could be just a bug (or not).


(Here’s a post about the missing feature: OMG! LinkedIn Invite No Longer Has “Groups” Option. If it is a bug we’ll hopefully see it back soon.)

Whether the absence of groups among choices is “a bug or a feature”, sometimes it’s hard to find the reason to connect and network among the offered “radio button” choices.  Sometimes there’s not a group in common either. How about these reasons:

  • “I [read your books/posts/ listened to your presentations] and would like to connect to hear more and stay up-to-date”
  • “I met you at a business gathering/conference, enjoyed our conversation, and would like to stay in touch”
  • “We have not done business together (yet) but from your profile information I see a really good reason to discuss the opportunities”
  • Such-and-such has advised I connect with you because…


NOTE: I think inviting people who (you suspect) may NOT want to connect with you is a bad idea. This is spamming.

Compare with the InMail choices for the Reasons

By the way, compare the above with the choices for InMails.  These still may not cover all the possibilities, but the selection is, obviously, wider. (Why?):

Thanks for reading through the brief intro. Comments are welcome.

Now, here are two workarounds. Here’s how to invite while avoiding the limiting choices for the “reason”.

Part Two. How to Connect if the Reason is not listed

Let’s say you have a good reason to connect with this person (listing a co-worker here as a real life example):


OPTION ONE: Search (for what you have already found!)


Select the person’s name and a few keywords from the headline.


Search on LinkedIn for the selected text. In the search results page you can now connect without stating a reason.


That’s it!

The advantage is that you can do this really fast. The drawback is that you cannot customize the connection message.

OPTION TWO. Save and Invite

 If you are able to Save the profile


(which is subject to some LinkedIn limitations), you can then invite the person from your Contacts page and customize the text as well.


Save the profile.


Go to the Contacts Sorted by New – see a way to invite – with customization text (and no selection list for the “Reason”)…


… and send a customized invite:


Thanks for reading :) I hope many readers will benefit from the “how-to” part.

What is Sourcing? vs. What Does a Sourcer Do?

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Humpty_Dumpty“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass


A definition of a term works, if the majority of practitioners agree to it. It’s quite remarkable, that with Sourcing becoming hugely popular and necessary, we still lack a definition. Sourcing still “means so many different things”.

Back in January Glen Cathey wrote:

“It believe it would certainly be helpful and beneficial to have a universally agreed upon definition of exactly what sourcing is.”

The question “What is Sourcing?” remains unanswered, because, apparently, at this moment in time our definitions still vary dramatically. Yet conferences, discussions, and classes on Sourcing very much exist and bring together like-minded people.

Not wanting to go into a useless round of arguments yet another time, at a panel at the recent Sourcing Summit Europe I replied to someone from the audience: “Sourcing is what we do”:) 

…But then, it occurred to me that we may be stuck simply because we mix “Sourcing” with “What a Sourcer does”, and those are two different things!

I was reminded about this topic again, looking at today’s SourceCon tweets:



To add to this, here are some definitions from elsewhere on the web:

That is all over the place!

Below I will try to provide a suggestion that may lead us to agree on what Sourcing is (or not – who knows!).

Let’s pause with definitions for a moment and let’s imagine a sole Recruiter serving a small, growing start-up. With a job requisition in hand, the Recruiter:

  1. Searches for matching professionals
  2. Calls them and tries to engage
  3. If all goes well, interviews follow, etc.

Everyone agrees so far?

If during the step 1 (searching for potential candidates) you walked up to the Recruiter and asked what she is doing, what do you think she’d answer?

  • “I am sourcing”
  • “I am recruiting”

I bet you expect her to say “I am sourcing”.

Attention, please! Now, if during the step 2 (calling potential candidates and trying to get their interest in the company and the position) you walked up to the Recruiter and asked what she is doing, what do you think she’d answer?

  • “I am sourcing”
  • “I am recruiting”


I think she is recruiting.

What do you think?

Now, let’s go back to what a Sourcer’s job functions are? - which is a different question from what is Sourcing?

We may say that part of the job is Sourcing and part of it is Recruiting. (Maybe part of it is also making good coffee for the office.) What a Sourcer does, obviously, varies from place to place.

It’s a fact that many Sourcers engage candidates on the phone before passing the information on. I’d say many Sourcers recruit as part of their job.


Eight Ways to Guess and Verify Email Addresses

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Suppose you are determined to find someone’s email address. With the new LinkedIn InMail policy, some say, this may happen in their practice more often. The post below outlines top eight ways to figure that email address out, starting with a list of guesses.

Before we go there: as the creator of one of the most popular email-finding techniques Rob Ousbey says,

With great power, comes great responsibility.

Let’s keep that in mind! (Don’t spam anyone.)

To find someone’s email address, you can try to come up with a number of guesses, using “email permutators”, known email formats for employers, and, perhaps, your imagination. For larger companies, try this custom search engine to find company email formats.

Note #1: Researching company email formats deserves a separate blog post; I am not covering it here in any detail.

Note #2: The eight verification techniques listed below can work with whole lists of guesses. Verifying just one or two email addresses can be done in some additional ways; that would be the subject of yet another blog post (coming soon).

Once you have a list of email address guesses, here are the eight ways to try and pinpoint the correct address. These eight methods all work in different ways, so if you are not successful with one, you can try another and you may succeed. Each of the 8 ways is quick to try; all are free except the last one.

  1. Find emails with Rapportive (by Rob Ousbey). LinkedIn recently changed Rapportive , so this technique is less powerful now: it won’t cross-reference against any Social Networks, other than LinkedIn, any longer. But the technique still works, by finding the LinkedIn profile registered with the correct address, if the profile exists.
  2. Find Almost Anybody’s Email Address with #LinkedIn: this, actually, works differently from Rob’s technique. This is dynamic cross-referencing; Rapportive provides cross-referencing against stored information, which can, in some cases, be incomplete or outdated. It’s pretty reliable and provides up-to-date information.
  3. Find Almost Anyone’s Email Using MS Outlook: this technique will check email address guesses against LinkedIn, Facebook, and possibly XING, depending on your Outlook version.
  4. Uploading a list of emails to Gmail will identify those with Google-plus accounts. Unfortunately, this is not 100% reliable in our experience, meaning, it may miss the correct profile even if it exists; it’s still worth a try, of course.
  5. The post Find People on Google-Plus by Emails  has a few more relevant hints.
  6. Uploading a list of emails to Gmail will let you to cross-reference them on Twitter. This will not work with large lists, as our experience shows, but will work just fine with a few dozen email guesses.
  7. You can verify a list of email guesses against Facebook. This option is not easy to find! On the page Invite Your Friends locate the link “Import your email addresses” and point to a text file with a list of emails. No worries, you can use it without inviting anyone. Cancel all the invites – and see which email address is right. Note that if you work with a larger volume of addresses to verify (say, for several people at once) and wanted to look at the imported list in detail, the page Manage Contacts is not that helpful, but exporting your Facebook data would be. In the exported data you will clearly see the addresses which have and have not been identified as belonging to members. (I guess there’s another blog post this can be expanded into.) The downside to exporting is that you can’t select only some data to download, so you’ll have to get a complete archive.
  8. Finally, tools like provide free email checking for one address at a time. They “ping” email servers without sending an actual email. We know that they only work with some email servers. Checking email lists using that technique is offered by a good number of vendors for a price; I have not used that, so my comments will be minimal. Aaron Lintz has pointed me to this site as a good one.

Come to my Webinar on Generating Lists on - NEW DATE! Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 – to hear detailed coverage of these and many other productivity techniques, see examples, get one month of support to practice, and learn not to depend on InMails as much as before. Hurry, I am told there’s not much space left.

How to Generate Lists: Webinar [NEW DATE: Oct 21, 2014]

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Don’t miss it! The new webinar is an in-depth look at the challenge common to Sourcing, Recruiting, and Sales professionals: creating lists of professionals based on certain criteria.

Register here: Top 7 Techniques for Name Generation

Whether you work in Staffing or Sales, the unique presentation will provide proven practical tips and tools for identifying and verifying lists of professional contacts.

Be sure to sign up early; seating is limited.

You Will Learn:

  • How to find the contact information for a professional if you only know the name and the company, or the LinkedIn profile
  • How to quickly create lists of professionals along with the with contact info, given a criteria – such as industry, location, job titles, and target company lists
  • Which sites and tools can provide reliable lists of professional contacts
  • How to verify long lists of contacts in a matter of minutes
  • … and more.

(It should go without saying that spamming is not cool! Messages should be sent with respect and consideration. Once you have learned the powerful techniques from webinar, please only use your powers for good.)

Date:  - NEW DATE! Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 – 
Time: 9AM PDT / 12PM EDT — (Check Your Local Time for this Webinar)
Duration: 90 minutes
Included: The Slides, a Video-recording, and one month of support


Everyone who registers will receive the complete recording, slides, and one full month of support – whether you attend live or not.


How To Email Anyone with a Facebook Profile

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Some recruiters message potential candidates on Facebook and find success in that. Perhaps it depends on the location and the type of a job, whether this would be seen as a good channel to strike a conversation on the receiving side; but it has never appealed to me. My own perception is that Facebook is a place for friends and not as much for business, with the exception of some business-related groups, pages, and some professional connections who are also friends.

As an additional barrier, for non-friends the message will go to their Other folder and will probably be never seen. You may have the option of paying to send messages to the inbox instead, but this option is not always available.

Due to the recent changes to the Facebook emailing system, there is now a way to email (pretty much) everyone on Facebook. There’s no sure way to find the email address, registered with Facebook by a given user, but there’s a way to send him/her an email.

It goes without saying that spamming is not cool; messages should be sent with respect and consideration. What seems attractive in the new way of emailing is that the business-related message lands in the person’s email (and not anywhere on Facebook).

Sending an email to (almost any) Facebook user is pretty straightforward.

How to Find a Facebook User’s Email Address

When you look at a user’s profile, it will either have a custom URL


– in which case the email is going to be <the-custom-part>@ (for the example above it’s mrmartinle @ –

or, in case the custom URL was never set, it will look like this: <ID here>



– in which case the email is going to be <ID>@ (for the example above it’s

How to Send an Email to a Facebook User

You simply send it to the @facebook address and it’s forwarded to the email address that is registered with the account. That’s it!

Please note: this technique seems to not work well when you use MS Outlook. Use another email client or use gmail, and you are in business.

The first time when that forwarding happens, the user will also receive a reminder about the @facebook email.

The @facebook email can be disabled in the preferences, in which case this technique will not work, but I imagine that very few people will do that. The majority of users never touch their default preferences.

Please note: this technique seems to not work well when you use Outlook. Use another email client or use gmail.

LinkedIn Export: Not To Be Missed

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I was surprised that the new LinkedIn Export function got so little attention – and barely any comments on top of repeating the facts – in blogs and on Twitter. LinkedIn Export is, in fact, a big deal! Why? Well, up until now, LinkedIn has been expanding its import capabilities, providing Contacts in the personal accounts with a wide variety of ways to import data, and the Talent Pipeline in LIR (LinkedIn Recruiter) as part of that.

Export had only amounted to:

  1. PDF export of someone’s profile, available both from a personal account (with some restrictions based on the “social distance”) and from LIR.
  2. Connections export, available for people with not-too-many connections. (For numerous “open networkers” with thousands of connections, instead of exporting, LinkedIn creates an empty file named “export-action.txt”. It is a bug and it has been this way for a long time.)

That was it. The mass-export from LIR was eliminated some time ago.

Other major Social Networks do provide data export for their members:

  • On Facebook, from the Settings, select “Download a copy of your Facebook data”
  • On Twitter, from the Settings, select “Request your archive”
  • On Google, use Google Takeout

… but LinkedIn didn’t. My personal concern has been that I don’t have any back-up of my LinkedIn data, yet the software is buggy and I can’t be sure that the data is kept safely.

As we know, LinkedIn has been cutting off its API access and fighting legal battles around access to its data. I don’t have the right background to interpret those developments in any depth, but it’s clear that there’s little hope for 3rd party software to take a footprint of a members’ LinkedIn data.

Here comes the news of the Export available. Whatever triggered the introduction of the Export feature, it’s definitely welcome news! Now a member can get a back-up of his/her LinkedIn data.



I am not going to list all the details on the export in this post; it’s done elsewhere. The Export function is outlined in the LinkedIn blog post “Giving Our Members More Control”. It is described on the help page “Downloading Your Account Data”. The downloaded data is annotated in this cope of the README file. (Some of the data is quite interesting to look at.)

I certainly recommend to get a back-up of your LinkedIn data.

Here are some notes on the Export.

1. Due to the new function, for the first time in a long time, “open networkers” can have a list of their connections exported. My own list in the export has roughly 8% fewer connections than I have in reality, but it’s still a big deal. (You may notice a slightly incomplete list in your export as well; I am not sure of the reason for that.) The exported file has the same columns that the existing “export contacts” provides (which, unfortunately, doesn’t include the location), so there’s no extra data, but for “open networkers”, this is our only chance to get the list.

2. The LinkedIn export data is not really all of the members’ data. As an example, the Contacts (other than Connections) are not included. As the help file says, “it [also] doesn’t include LinkedIn’s data such as information in People You May Know and Who’s Viewed Your Profile”. That’s OK; we still get much more than before.

3. There’s also a bit of a mystery with this part of the help page:


Why one doesn’t need to sign forms for some data and does for other data, and what this “other data” is, I don’t know. I did fill out the form about 3 weeks ago now and heard nothing since. If you have insights into that part, I’d be curious to hear.

As a side note, LinkedIn export was introduced as one piece of news along with a “security check” for members, the ability to see the list of your sessions. That is also a good thing, but is somewhat unrelated. Of course, both features give the users better control.

Bottom line, LinkedIn Export is a positive change and is not to be missed.

Easy Hidden Name Discovery Hack

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If in your search results you have encountered a profile that has as little as this information…



… the standard X-Raying LinkedIn is not going to be too helpful when trying to find the public profile:

“Hospital & Health Care Professional” “Phoenix, Arizona Area” OR -dir  returns too many results!

There’s a simple way around the lack of keywords to use in X-Ray, that I am about to share. Using the tip below, you will quickly find the profile in question in 99.9% of the cases.

To start, take a look at the “People Also Viewed” section on the profile in question…


…then, start adding the names and taglines of the members that you see there. I.e. for our example, add to your X-ray:

James W. Cairns CEO at Bukacek Construction,
Mary Kali Hospital & Health Care Professional, (maybe more).

In this particular example, actually, just adding one of these “also viewed” names and taglines will do the job, leaving us with the correct result that has the full first-and-last name of the “hidden” person:

“Hospital & Health Care Professional” “Phoenix, Arizona Area” James W. Cairns  CEO at Bukacek Construction 

In some other cases you may need to use 2 or 3.

Then, the full name and the public profile is revealed.


P.S. Check out the upcoming webinar Intro to Sourcing that is filled with more easy-to-use sourcing hacks for your practice.


Basic LinkedIn Searches NOT in Recruiter

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For those of us who have the expensive LinkedIn Recruiter license (I have it too), there’s a danger of spending all of the sourcing time with the “paid” search capabilities, while missing some ways to search, that are not as “mainstream”, could provide the desirable additional results and make us more competitive!

Last week I we held the Powerful Sourcing Contest asking for three searches on LinkedIn that are NOT available in LinkedIn Recruiter, but are available in a Basic (and any personal) account. Here are some:

1. Find Alumni

This search is just amazing and is often missed by Sourcers. It has lots of ways to search, that the advanced people search dialog doesn’t provide, – not in a personal account and not in LIR (LinkedIn Recruiter). Start using it now (change your school to a different school and use the multiple available search parameters on two screens, as well as Boolean keyword search):

Find Alumni

2. Search for Connectionsconnectionssearch


You can search for all connections of – and narrow the search further down using other search facets:

  1. Yourself
  2. Your 1st level connections who have chosen to show their full list of connections with their connections in the preferences. (Sorry for the confusing language but it reflects what’s true.)

The URL for the search is

Add your LinkedIn member ID, or your connections’ ID, to get to the search. Or, start by searching for the connection, as on the screenshot above, and click on the (highlighted in red) link with the little people icon.

You can search for connections in common- and narrow the search further down using other search facets – for:

  1. Any of our 1st level connections
  2. Any of our 2nd level connections

The URL is the same as above with an additional piece pointing to the 1st level connections (f_N=F). Indeed, the connection in common are the connections of the other member who are your first level connections:

3. Search for Similar

The search for “similar” is available when you click on the green Similar link in the search results. The link is available for members who are in your network.



The challenge with any sort of “similarity” is that it needs to be defined in a context. What matters most – company, job title, location, or skills? The advantage of the Similar search is that it can be further refined by using other search facets.

The URL is

From our experience, LinkedIn has 100 “similar” suggestions for any member. Interestingly, some of the similar for out-of-network members can be discovered by viewing their profiles.

There are more ways to search from a personal account, and some nuances, that may help you to find extra target professionals. Sign up for the (sold-out last time) webinar Powerful Sourcing on LinkedIn on Wednesday, September 10th, 2014, to learn much more, get 100% up-to-date on LinkedIn search capabilities, and learn ways around its new limitations.


Powerful Sourcing with LinkedIn – Webinar 9/10/2014

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UPDATE: the webinar was sold out and will be repeated once more on September 10.

The webinar got rave reviews from the participants, naming it a “fire hose” of information; “informative and intriguing”. Other feedback: “Great information for users of all experience levels.”; “learnt really good little tips I never paid attention to”; “it was great.  Learnt so much”. (& more)


Attend this new webinar to get completely up-to-date on the ever-changing Sourcing functionality of LinkedIn. Learn creative ways to uncover potential candidates, whom others won’t find.

Seating is limited, so be sure to register today.

Powerful Sourcing with LinkedIn

With the “retirement” of many LinkedIn features, the perception is that the available Sourcing options are shrinking. Nothing could be further from reality! LinkedIn has also added many new features that provide new ways to search for and connect with professionals, no matter what industry or location you are targeting.

In this information-packed webinar, you will learn:

  • What has changed in LinkedIn’s functionality and its search algorithms, and how it affects us
  • How to control the people search dialog and overcome its limitations
  • How to utilize the LinkedIn Contacts to source, cross-reference, and verify contact information, (all from a free Basic account!)
  • …and more.

While most of the material will be applicable to everyone’s practice, no matter what type of account you might have, there is also coverage of the most interesting functionality of the Talent Pipeline (often overlooked by busy LinkedIn Recruiter users). We’ll also cover Sourcing features that are only available from personal accounts and are not available in Recruiter.

Additionally, you get a tip sheet with a list of top LinkedIn URLs and hints to keep around while you are sourcing for professionals.

Who should attend

Recruiters, Talent Acquisition, Staffing, Sales, Marketing, Business Development, Management, Social Media specialists and everyone who wants to utilize the top business network in all possible ways and to understand the scope and the impact of the numerous recent changes.

What you will learn

If you “have already searched on LinkedIn”, chances are that after the webinar you will be able to find other target professionals and information, that others may have missed, will find more information about people who are already in your target lists, and your performance will skyrocket!.

Date: Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Time: 9AM PDT / 12PM EDT — (Check Your Local Time for this Webinar)

Can’t make it? That’s okay! Anyone who registers will receive the complete recording, slides, bonus tip sheet, and one full month of support – whether you attend live or not.

Duration: 90 minutes
Included: The slides for the webinar, a complete recording of the webinar, and one month of Unlimited Support.
Included: A Tip Sheet of “Top” LinkedIn Shortcuts.

–> SOURCING CONTEST (is now closed)

Name three (distinctly) different searches that you can perform from a personal (basic) account and cannot perform in LinkedIn Recruiter (#LIR) – and attend the webinar Powerful Sourcing with LinkedIn  as a guest.

Please email me the answers.

Good luck! :)

Databases @ Your Library

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If you do online research, don’t overlook your local public library. It’s an excellent resource of online information, not just on books and publications, but also on businesses. In this post, I will specifically write about the US Public libraries. Many other countries would have similar services offered at public libraries.

While Librarians are certainly skilled at organizing and searching for info, guess what… there’s not even a list of all the libraries or “just” the public libraries in the US. As the American Library Association points out,  “A directory of all libraries in the United States does not exist. ”  Currently there are about 9 thousand public libraries.


To get access to online info via a public library you would need a library card number, also called a barcode (there’s a barcode on the physical card). Some libraries would only hand those (physical cards with numbers on them) out in person. Some other libraries offer online registrations that lets you to obtain a card number. Some libraries offer to issue cards for non-local people; in some cases, for a fee within a couple hundred dollars. The rules vary.

Bottom line, if you live in the US, you can get access 1) to the databases provided by your local library and, possibly, 2) to databases provided by some other libraries. However, you are on your own for the research on the latter; there is no official way to search on that (and, as we know, there’s no library list either).

It goes without saying that when you use a database, it’s important to comply to the rules for its usage via the library.


The details of sign-ups for various libraries wouldn’t have mattered if all public libraries gave us access to the same business info. But they don’t. Libraries sign up for the databases of their choice, to offer access to their library card holders.

There are several databases, offered by public libraries, worth our (Researchers’) attention. The first one is Reference USA. It should be obvious by now, that there’s no way to find out which libraries subscribe to Reference USA – or to any other specific database, for that matter. A work-around is Googling for that.

The post, so far, contains information that I had figured out by doing online research and comparing various library sites. (Please let me know if you see any errors in the provided overview). The rest of the post, below, is just a quick glance at this first database of interest. I will follow up with another post about more databases.

Reference USA

Take a look and you will see several databases it’s comprised of, on the home page. (Note, however, that your library will usually only subscribe to a subset of those, not to all). ReferenceUSA offers the listings of 24 MLN US-based businesses, along with lists of managerial names and titles; 855K-strong Healthcare Professionals Directory; accurate White Pages with 89 MLN listings; and “US Consumers/Lifestyles” database (that can at least help you to verify where someone lives if their phone number is unlisted). Plus, there’s similar info on Canadians, and finally, a “OneSource” Database with international companies (that last one, I have not seen first-hand).

Here’s, for example, what the result for searching for Fortune 1000 companies in ReferenceUSA looks like. A limited number of records can be downloaded in Excel format.


Here’s what one company record looks like. Interestingly, at ReferenceUSA they show two diversity fields, gender, and ethnicity – on which you can also search. (You will not find that on LinkedIn!)



I will provide an overview of one or two more databases, accessible via public libraries, in an upcoming post.