Oh, NOT!

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Not only has LinkedIn restricted Boolean ANDs and ORs in its basic and premium accounts, but it has also now restricted the NOT operator as well.

In the help document Boolean Query Limitations they are saying: “While we do limit the amount of AND or OR Boolean operators, we don’t limit the amount of NOT Boolean operators.” Well, the last part is now wrong. Just try searching for engineer NOT senior NOT manager NOT director NOT recruiter NOT cto NOT ceo and you will get no results (while there should be plenty). Please make a note of it.

I have been sharing a LinkedIn OR workaround based on expressing the Boolean OR through the Boolean NOT. (It was a fun one!) Please note, that workaround no longer works.

However, sourcers never give up. We have come up with a brand new LinkedIn OR workaround that makes any OR query work. We have also figured out how to fix the NOT queries. We are sharing the working workaround in our new eBook “Sourcing Hacks”, just released! Check it out!


Adventure Continues (Five New Undocumented Operators)

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Adventure continues! By now, I have discovered five more undocumented LinkedIn search operators in addition to those covered in my recent posts Two Undocumented LinkedIn Search Operators and Three More Operators!

So here are some other values you thought you couldn’t search for with a free or premium LinkedIn account – but in fact, you can! Let me introduce the additional operators.

1) Operator profilelanguage: searches for the profile languages and can be helpful for expat and diversity searches, along with spokenlanguage:, covered earlier. The values need to be two-letter language abbreviations. Example:


looks for members who have a profile in French.

2) yoe: is the operator to search for years of experience. Example:


looks for members with 3 years of experience. Note that, with the years of experience, LinkedIn gets quite “uncertain” and assigns multiple values to some profiles like these: yoe:”1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8″.

3-4) Operators startyear: and endyear: search for years in school. Example:


looks for members who graduated in 2017;


looks for members who will graduate in 2020.

5) Operator geo: searches for locations, but in an unexpected way. It doesn’t take any geo-codes as parameters (not these codes at all). Nor does it work with postal codes. Instead, it searches within the text of Geonames, which can be found at http://www.geonames.org/postalcode-search.html, as well as within LinkedIn standard area names for members who chose to display them.

For example,

geo:”berkeley california”

searches for all people who live in Berkeley, CA,

geo:”berkeley california bay area”

searches for people who live in Berkeley, CA and are displaying “San Francisco Bay Area” as the location on their profiles, while

geo:”berkeley california” NOT geo:”bay area”

finds those who live in Berkeley and display “Berkeley” as their location too.

So – congratulations, you can now search by a location name for any postal code, which in practice means that you can search for any city and state. Compared to selecting from the standard location names (such as “San Francisco Bay Area”) provided in the advanced search dialog, this gives you much better precision. (I know Bay Area Recruiters will appreciate this for sure).

So here are ten hidden LinkedIn search operators that you can now use with a free or premium account:

  1. headline:
  2. skills:
  3. industry:
  4. seniority:
  5. spokenlanguage:
  6. profilelanguage:
  7. yoe:
  8. startyear:
  9. endyear:
  10. geo:

That is not much less and, in some ways, better than what LinkedIn Recruiter provides!

Like what you read? Check out our new eBook “Sourcing Hacks”, coming out shortly, available for pre-order here. It is full of “hacks” like these undocumented operators and will help your sourcing productivity for sure!



Three More Operators!

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I have discovered three more never documented LinkedIn search operators, that work with any free or premium account, in addition to the ones highlighted in Two Undocumented LinkedIn Search Operators.

The first one is industry:, with the possible values listed in Industry Codes. Example:


searches for people in Accounting.

While the advanced people search dialog does include industries, the operator provides a way to look for an OR of industries or exclude industries from the search. For example,

NOT industry:104

excludes people in Staffing and Recruiting from the search.

The second one is seniority:, with the possible values ranging from 1 to 10, listed in Seniority Codes. Example:


finds VP-level members.

Note that, for some members, LinkedIn has assigned more that one seniority levels (I guess, it felt undecided 😉). For example, this search

seniority:”5 6″

will find members who are both at a Manager and Director levels.

The third operator is spokenlanguage: – quite useful when sourcing for bilingual or diversity members. Example:



P.S. Like what you read? Check out our new eBook “Sourcing Hacks”, coming out shortly, available for pre-order here – it is full of “hacks” like these undocumented operators 😉.

Look Up Contacts with Outlook Online

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It’s been a while since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn. We have been anticipating some sort of integration between MS Office and LinkedIn, but nothing major has happened. (The “Resume Assistant” in Microsoft Word is a joke! All it does is make the users to add details to their profiles) However, we can now look up contacts (email addresses) in Outlook Online. Here is how.

  1. Connect Outlook Online with LinkedIn: log into your Office account online if you have a subscription – if not, create a new account at https://outlook.live.com (it’s free). Your email must be registered on LinkedIn.
  2. Upload the list of email addresses, that you would like to cross-reference, into your contacts.
  3. In https://outlook.live.com/people, select a contact and the “LinkedIn” tab to see the profile!


Check out our latest presentation on LinkedIn – Overcoming LinkedIn’s Limitations.

X-Raying Bloomberg for Executives

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We have run quite a few Executive Sourcing projects in the last few months, searching for various CxO roles. While LinkedIn is always a site to search, I have found that many executives have “slim” profiles – or no LinkedIn profiles at all!

Bloomberg.com has executive bios that we can find by X-Raying on Google. X-Raying can provide excellent results for those who search for executives.

First, how do we find what to put under the site: operator (for Bloomberg or any other site)? An easy query, searching by a common name, shows the profile URLs:

So, the X-Ray templates would be:

We can combine the site: searches with an OR. Here is an example search.

With several URLs to search, it makes sense to create a Custom Search Engine, looking in all of the above links. You can create your own or use this one: http://bit.ly/Bloomberg-XRay.

If you are comfortable with advanced search operators (more:pagemap:…) in Custom Search Engines, note that the Bloomberg public profiles have the Schema.org “Person” object and a rich internal structure that we can query. We can search specifically by job title, company, industry, school, and work location. (Since this is of little interest to most folks, I will leave out the details, but I’d be glad to explain, just message me.)

Taking advantage of the profiles’ structure, we have just added a Bloomberg Agent to Social List. (You need a subscription to use the tool).

The new Agent runs complex queries that most of us (including me) don’t feel like typing. Here is what the Agent looks like:

And here is an example search results export:


Tip: Find Contact Info for LinkedIn Profiles with Social List

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Are you using Lusha, Nymeria, ContactOut, Hunter, or other tools and Chrome extensions to find email addresses for LinkedIn profiles? The number of tools to find contact emails for LinkedIn profiles is diminishing, and some tools are raising prices. And, LinkedIn is increasingly watching for members to stay away from contact-finding Chrome extensions (see an excellent post from Josef Kaldec). Given all that, I am finding our tool Social List to be my go-to tool to find email addresses when I source. Since Social List uses Google’s Index to find profiles, I can be 100% sure that it is not affecting my LinkedIn account – it doesn’t even “touch” the LinkedIn site.

While the main Social List functionality is precise searching for matching profiles, the tool can be used to find email addresses for profiles you have already found. (You need to be subscribed).

Here is how.

Copy the URL of the profile in question into the Keywords field of the LinkedIn Agent. Select “Enrich Selected Results,” and Social List will show the email address (sometimes, more than one). Here is a screenshot illustrating the technique:

If you are not a Social List user yet, give it a try!

Two Undocumented LinkedIn Search Operators

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LinkedIn supports two search operators that they have never documented. There are no blog posts about the operators either; this is the first one. The operators are available in any basic or premium account.

Using the operators would substantially increase your productivity while searching. Take a look.

Undocumented Operator skills:

Syntax: skills:<skill-name>

Example: skills:boolean
(finds people with the skills “Boolean Search,” “Boolean Searching”).

Interestingly, searching for

skills:”<word1> <word2> <word3>…”

looks for each of the words somewhere in the skills (but not for a phrase). It’s and AND search within the skills.

The ability to search for skills (which is only “officially” available in LinkedIn Recruiter) helps us to create more targeted searches.


Undocumented Operator headline:

Syntax: headline:<keywords>

Example: headline:Python

Note: this is only available in a personal account (not in LinkedIn Recruiter!) I have a Recruiter subscription but I search this way in the personal account and get extra leads.

Like skills:, headline: searches for each keyword to be present, not a phrase.

Uses of the headline search are multiple. For example, we can search for members who are open to new opportunities, or hiring, or those who have listed a specific skill in the headline, for example, Python.

Like the tip? We will be sharing many more Sourcing tips and techniques in the upcoming webinar Overcoming LinkedIn’s Limitations on Tuesday, October 23rd. Seating is limited, sign up now!

Edited: our October webinar is sold out! We have scheduled a repeat in November. Sign up early!

Work Around Restricted Boolean on LinkedIn

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As so many of you have encountered, using more than a few ANDs or ORs in a LinkedIn query now results in this screen:

(We can still use multiple NOT operators – those are not restricted). I wrote about the unfortunate restriction in a previous post.

Don’t feel like upgrading to a more expensive LinkedIn account? I have great news for you. You can stay with a basic account and work around the Boolean limitations.

AND Workaround

This one is easy. Just don’t use AND explicitly.

Java AND spring AND rest AND aws AND nosql AND “elastic search”  AND microservices doesn’t work, but

Java spring rest aws nosql “elastic search” microservices – does.

OR Workaround

The inability to use multiple OR statements seriously affects everyone who searches for professionals.

I have come up with a workaround that will return this functionality to you! You will be able to search for long OR statements without the restrictions.

Due to the sensitivity of the subject, I am not posting this hack publicly. I would be happy to share it with you privately – please email me at irina@braingainrecruiting.com with the subject “LinkedIn OR Workaround,” and I will share it with you.

We have also included the workaround, along with lots of other useful “hacks” (including some useful undocumented search operators and more) in the webinar Overcoming LinkedIn’s Limitations.



Find Phone Numbers by Googling for ☎, ☏, or ✆

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Did you know that Google can search for symbols – including these: ☎, ☏, and ? We can use this capability to look for publicly posted phone numbers. Use an area code to find phone numbers in a target location.

Here is an example:

site:nl.linkedin.com/in paas software sales director (☎ OR ☏ OR ✆) 31

Nether LinkedIn nor Facebook can search by these symbols; Twitter can, though. Searching by  ☎, ☏, and ✆ when X-Raying LinkedIn is, therefore, another advantage of LinkedIn X-Ray search vs. its internal search.

P.S. Like this tip? Look, also, into searching by ✉.

P.P.S You can search for contact info on LinkedIn with this Custom Search Engine that I have just created: http://bit.ly/LinkedIn☎✉

Restricted Boolean on LinkedIn

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Since a recent update of the LinkedIn search for personal accounts (including the paid business accounts), we are now seeing the above screen for the searches that used to work fine.

Here is what happened. As a push to make people sign up for more expensive accounts, LinkedIn has now restricted the number of Boolean operators we can use in a search. The help article Boolean Query Limitations says this:

LinkedIn now limits the amount of AND or OR Boolean operators in a search.

The limitation has little to do with “scraping” – and makes searching using any personal account quite challenging. What LinkedIn wants is for people to sign up for Sales Navigator, Recruiter Lite, or LinkedIn Recruiter. Only those, higher-paid accounts will allow searching with many Boolean operators (as it’s often necessary).

If you are searching with a personal account:

  • NOTs are not restricted – use as many as you like
  • ANDs are restricted. But there is a workaround: just do not use the operator AND explicitly; we can still search with many terms combined
  • ORs are restricted – and that is very unfortunate! There is no set number of ORs that make queries fail but using more than 3-4 would result in the above screen. (Needless to say, the message on the screen “This one’s is our fault… Retry search” is quite misleading).

Of course, we can still use X-Raying on Google, or a Custom Search Engine like http://bit.ly/LinkedIn-XRay, or Social List.

Edited: I have found a workaround! Email me for details.