By Ron Johnson
January 24, 2013 in Social Media
LinkedIn people search is one of the most powerful and underappreciated features of the world’s most popular business social network. You can use people search to find new connections, find jobs, search for clients or even recruit employees. The people search function puts this huge social media site’s more than 135 million users at your fingertips. Here are some ways you can make the best of this function to find exactly who you need to find.
LinkedIn offers an advanced search option. You can find the link for advanced search right next to the regular search bar. Always use the advanced search because it lets you see extra parameters and additional options not found in standard search. Instead of just entering a generic keyword or phrase and getting a jumble of mixed results, you can drill down your results and refine them to get exactly what you want.
For example, if you are searching for people working at a certain company, just search for the company’s name and it should turn off anyone who mentions the company anywhere in your professional profile. They could be past employees or someone who uses the companies product. Advanced search helps drill down those who work for the company currently.
The people search function lets you use Boolean terms to refine your search. These terms include:
AND – To include two or more terms and only those profiles that have them
OR – For searches where there are multiple keywords used for the same thing
NOT – To exclude profiles that contain a certain word
Parenthesis – For an exact phrase rather than just words
Once you have your search results, there are a number of different ways to sort them. Normally the site sorts everything by relevance using default settings. However, you can choose to sort your results by relationship, recommendations, connections, or any combination of the above factors. This can help you filter the results and only find those that you want.
While you’re looking at the results, there are also two different viewing options, one of which provides you with more information at a glance. They can also show who you have in common, which are connections or groups which you share with that person.
LinkedIn search function allows you to save searches so that you can always refer back to them later. Using a basic account you can save up to three of these searches. When you upgrade your membership, each level provides even more searches to use.
You can also choose to get reminders directly to your email whenever a new profile matches your search. When somebody signs up and their profile contains what you have been looking for, you will be notified instantly. It can also let you know when somebody changes their profile to match your needs.
The people search function isn’t just for finding people. You can also use it to look for companies, groups, answers and jobs. All of these offer the same options for advanced search.
The best way to get relevant, useful results rapidly is to know exactly what you want to find beforehand. Imagine your ideal prospect, employee, employer or client. Construct an idea of what kind of information from the profile will tell you that they are the one you’re looking for. Once you refine your search with the perfect search terms, you can save yourself a lot of time.