Find Almost Anybody’s Email Address with #LinkedIn

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Many of you have read through the post Find (Almost) Anybody’s Email Address by Rob Ousbey and use his technique. Rob has developed a Google Doc email permutator to create a list of potential correct email addresses of a person. Rob suggests that after populating the list with the possible email addresses we use to verify which one is correct. Great work! The technique has become quite popular; the above link has enjoyed impressive 25K+ uses.

For those who may need more than an occasional email guesswork: Here is how to do the same verification faster and, in some cases, more reliably, using #LinkedIn. The technique below is a variation of my 2010 post on this blog, that worked beautifully for almost four years, but is no longer working for those of us who got the new LinkedIn Contacts.

The technique below is good for some other sourcing hacks besides the address guessing; we’ll touch upon this later.

Have a name and a company name?

Step 1. Use the famous tool to generate a list of possible email addresses.

Step 2. Use this file: Outlook-Export-Format. Paste the list of emails from the Step 1 into the “email” column.

Example. Suppose we want to find the correct address for Siobhan Neilland who works at Amazon. The Outlook-formatted file, which is the result of the steps 1 and 2, will look like this:

Step 3. On the Contacts Settings Page on LinkedIn select the “Outlook contacts import” option to import the saved file.

This is it!

Here is what you will see in this particular example in the Contacts’ MS Outlook-imported section, found among the “Sources”. The person number two on the list is the one.

So here is the result: we have identified the email of the person in question. If you look at her profile, you will see this email listed now “for us personally” in the “Contact Info” section of the profile. (Finding her correct email wasn’t such a hard task in this specific case, since she also lists the email address publicly on the profile.)

As a “side effect” in this case we have found one more real person who is using another one of the generated email addresses (see the screenshot above).

Apparently, the rest of the email addresses do not point to any LinkedIn members.

Now… if you are looking to verify the correct email addresses of several people, you can do this in only one “step 2/step 3” action for all of them, just by pasting the emails in question to the end of the outlook export file’s “email”column. The file will get extra rows but will continue working just fine. You can accomplish all of the guesswork about many people in one shot.

Further Applications of the “Hack”

Here is a variation of quickly solving another sourcing task, using the import function as described above.

You could use the technique in the steps 2-3 for a different sourcing task: verifying that for a given list of employees at a specific company everyone has email addresses following a specific pattern. In this scenario you may start with auto-creating a list of Emails instead of the email permutator.

There’s another thing or two that can be done with this… later.

If the target professional population you are working with is typically registered on LinkedIn, then this method of locating their correct email address may find more up-to-date results than Rapportive. This is because Rapportive crawls social profiles and is “behind” compared with straight checking with LinkedIn, as I have explained in this post. In any event it’s quick and is worth trying.

For those people who are not on LinkedIn but are on another network such as Google+, Rapportive may work better; the two approaches can be combined, of course.

Please keep an eye on this blog for other methods to be described, soon.

Comments 19

  1. Irina – you are smart!

    this method is great for people who need to find email addresses occasionally.

    If someone needs to do this 20 times a day, this becomes an absolute chore and waste of precious time & money.
    For them I suggest purchasing Account-Researcher from egrabber

    here you can just enter the name and company, and let it find all the contact details within a minute.

    Wishing you all the best


      1. James – If the email is FOUND, it gives the URL of the page. If it is PROJECTED it gives the URLs of all the pages it got emails of the company used in coming up with the dominant pattern.

        eGrabber does not use any 3rd party verification software – in our testing, these software return lot of false positives or false negatives. We find our projection system the most accurate way to get the job done.

        thank you for your interest in eGrabber tools for sourcers

    1. I feel about 50%+ or so don’t give their company IDs. These are usually people who feel LinkedIn is a job-board or the profile is their personal property like FaceBook and Twitter.

      Also I found most executives not in sales and marketing use their personal email-ID

      CEO – eGrabber

  2. Hi – I did steps 2 and 3 – uploaded the file but then could not find the next bit – this piece “Here is what you will see in this particular example in the Contacts’ MS Outlook-imported section, found among the “Sources”. The person number two on the list is the one.”

    Am I missing something or am I being stupid. Would be grateful if you could clarify because I think what you have created is very clever and useful

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  3. I was able to do it once. I assumed I had to delete the first .csv file so when I had to search for another it wouldn’t get crowded. But when I try to repeat the process for a different person. It seems like it is not reading the .csv file anymore because no contacts is pulling up…

    Please help

  4. Hi.

    Once i clicked import to upload the saved CSV file. the number of contacts on the upper right corner increased in number but when i clicked ‘back to contacts’… And filter my contacts by Source>OutlookCSV

    No results showed up.

    HELP.. there must be some step i missed.


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      1) This doesn’t happen instantly; you may see the results later (even the next day)
      2) Sometimes it just doesn’t work on the first try. It’s bugs not you 🙂 Try again.

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