LinkedIn's Advanced Search tool is excellent for finding potential prospects you can connect with.

The advanced search uses what is known as Boolean search, and this gives you the ability to filter your search so that you find exactly what you are looking for. You do this by adding or eliminating elements from the search parameters.

Add Boolean Search Parameters in LinkedIn's Advanced Search

Boolean search allows you to get even more precise when using the Advanced Search tool. For example, you could include and exclude various aspects of your search.

Let's say for example you want to find someone who is an expert in personal branding, and you use that as a keyword in your search. Your search results would pull up someone who has the words "personal" and "branding" in their profile, even if the two words are located separately in their profile. By adding quotes around "personal branding" your search results will only list those profiles with those two words together.

Another example could be, you want to find someone who has expertise in both branding and graphic design; you could do a Boolean search like this: branding AND "graphic design" to get more relevant search results.

Here is a summary of how to use Boolean search in LinkedIn's Advanced Search and all of the different ways you can use it to create a much more targeted search result:


If you would like to search for an exact phrase, you can enclose the phrase in quotation marks. You can use these in addition to other modifiers.


  1. "product manager"
  2. "account representative"
  3. "executive assistant"


If you would like to do a complex search, you can combine terms and modifiers. For instance, the first example will find both software engineers and software architects.


  1. software AND (engineer or architect)
  2. (instructional designer OR instructional design)
  3. e-learning (human resources) AND "customer service"


If you would like to search for profiles that include two terms, you can separate those terms with the upper-case word AND. However, you don't have to use AND - if you enter two terms, the search program will assume that there is an AND between them.


  1. software AND engineer
  2. software+engineer [You can also add a plus in between the words with no space]
  3. "instructional design" AND "e-learning" software engineer


If you would like to broaden your search to find profiles that include one or more terms, you can separate those terms with the uppercase word OR.


  1. "Pitney Bowes" OR "Hewlett-Packard"
  2. "account executive" OR "account exec" OR "account manager" OR "sales executive" OR "sales manager" OR "sales rep"


If you would like to do a search but exclude a particular term, type that term with an uppercase NOT immediately before it. Your search results will exclude any profile containing that term.


  1. NOT director
  2. (Google OR Salesforce) NOT LinkedIn
  3. director NOT executive NOT VP NOT "Vice President"

So for example, if I were looking for a CEO of a large company, not a small business owner, founder, or consultant, I would use the Boolean tools in the Advanced Search function. In the search box, I could specify the exact search requirements I have. The search may look like this:

CEO NOT owner NOT Founder NOT Consultant

Now, this doesn't mean that all the people who come up will always be perfectly targeted, but it will dramatically narrow your search and provide more targeted results. You can continue narrowing your search down by location, company, and many other filters as well.

You should also remove 1st degree connections from your search parameters because they are already part of your network. You are looking for 2nd degree connections you can connect with. While using a Boolean search will lower the number of results you get, it will also provide more specific and targeted results.