Using Boolean and Linkedin Search Operators for Sales Automation

Are you using targeted search strings to get the best results on LinkedIn text; person holding phone with LinkedIn in the display

LinkedIn is one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, with an estimated 700 million active monthly users. LinkedIn is essentially Facebook for professionals, combining some of Facebook’s unique tools with a few of its own. LinkedIn helps professionals and employers come together to share news, positions, advancements in their industries, and much more. 

As one of the top social media platforms on the planet, LinkedIn is tasked with managing millions of professionals, pages, and employer profiles. This means that your average search bar simply won’t do. Building targeted search strings on LinkedIn with Boolean and operators narrows your results and increases your social selling engagements. How? That’s exactly what I’ll be showing you today.

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool in your business’s arsenal when you learn to leverage it correctly. But first, let’s dive into what a search string actually is and how it can help. 

What Is A Search String?

A search string on LinkedIn functions much like a mathematical formula. This formula helps create a more narrow list of results based on your search criteria. General searches can yield thousands of pages and profiles, leaving you to sift through mountains of information with little to no effective results. A search string is like a magnet for what you’re really looking for—and they’re quite effective. 

How can you utilize a search string? First, you need to understand search string modifiers or operators. Here are some Boolean basics. 

Search String Modifiers Or “Operators”

Search string modifiers or operators form the backbone of Boolean searches on LinkedIn. These string modifiers increase the specificity of your search terms and group or combine keywords together. 


When you use NOT in a Boolean search, it goes before the terms you’re searching for, so as to exclude certain keywords. The operator must be capitalized. An example would be if you’re searching for a designer NOT a developer. You would type “designer NOT developer” into the search bar. 


AND is the next Boolean modifier. Using all capital letters, you’ll include AND in your search to yield results that include all of your search terms. An example would be “copywriter AND editor AND SEO writer”. 


Next is OR. You use OR when you’re looking to broaden your search results. Again, you need to capitalize each letter of the word and place it between search terms. For example, “content editor OR copywriter”. 

Exact Quotes

For further specificity, you can use quotation marks to only search for the exact terms you put into the search bar. For example, “copywriter” will yield only results that include the word copywriter. Don’t use stop words with your quotations. Remember also that LinkedIn doesn’t support the “curly quotation marks”, only straight marks. 


Parenthetical searches are used for more complex searches. An example would be if you want a developer with HTML experience but not Python experience. You would type “HTML Developer NOT (python developer)”. 

Using Operators For Your Search Strings

Now that we better understand what these search strings are and how they function, let’s talk more in-depth about how they can be used to yield the best search results. Let’s say you’re a firm that’s looking for an experienced copywriter and content editor. You want to exclude any copywriters that don’t have significant SEO experience, and you don’t want to include anyone with no experience editing web content. You could use a few different Boolean searches to achieve these results. Generally, the more specific a search is, the better the results will be. 

If you need a list of leads that match exactly what you’re typing, you’ll use quotation marks. For this example, you could use

  • “SEO copywriter”
  • “Content editor”
  • “SEO copywriter content editor”
  • “SEO expert”

These will yield search results with those exact terms attached to them. You can also try “SEO copywriter AND editor” as well, or another combination of the terms. 

The Power Of AND/OR

The OR search string is for when you need to cast a wider net. Where AND is inclusive, OR is more so, including multiple search terms. For example, maybe you’re looking for an editor. You can use OR to search for specific editors. 

“content editor OR freelance editor OR editor”

This helps combine the general term editor with more specific terms to widen your results. And works much the same way, where replacing OR with AND will yield search results for all of your terms. Taking the same example, your search would bring up results for content editor, freelance editor, and editor. When you need to cast a more inclusive net, use AND/OR. 

How To Use NOT In A Boolean Search For Exclusivity

With some positions and industries, there are several closely related terms that can confuse your search and bring about a wider list of results. NOT is for when you need exclusive results. Let’s use the same example from above. 

Your firm needs an SEO copywriter, not a standard copywriter. You need someone with experience in SEO techniques, keywords, and tools like WordPress. Your search query would look something like this:

“SEO copywriter NOT “copywriter”

More Advanced Strings To Consider

Advanced Boolean search strings can potentially yield the best results, but they’re more complex than their counterparts. LinkedIn supports keywords like “searching” and “opportunities” that you can leverage for more specific results. If you combine these search terms with the strings we’ve already covered, you end up with a searches string that looks something like this:

“seeking” AND “opportunities” AND copywriting

This combination will yield results for copywriters looking for new opportunities in copywriting. You can replace the copywriting term with any job title or skill you can think of to gather a more targeted list. Another approach is to use keywords like “I help” to narrow down targeted candidates for things like marketing and other services. 

The More Targeted Your Searches Are, The More Effective They’ll Be

LinkedIn is an effective and widespread social media platform for professionals, but if you’re not using the advanced boolean search features, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Try building your search strings with stronger keywords that are outside of the standard realm of thinking. For example, if you’re searching for that SEO copywriter, don’t just search for copywriter or SEO copywriter. Try including keywords like WordPress experience, blog writer, SEO content, and more to narrow down your search and find the best possible fit. 

Your Profile

On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll want your own LinkedIn profile to be fully optimized to respond to these search queries. If you want your profile at the top of the results, it’s time to look into optimizing it for keyword searches. If you’re a copywriter, you might include keywords like SEO copywriter, experienced copywriter, and more. Be sure your location is correct and that your headline catches attention and dictates what skills you possess in a concise manner. 

The Bottom Line

LinkedIn Boolean searches provide an opportunity to leverage LinkedIn’s huge network of professionals to find the right candidate, services, or companies. Using advanced search terms and building powerful search strings helps increase the specificity of your searches, cutting down on time and money. 


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