The other day I was chatting with Chris Olson, a mobile app consultant for Bolderimage in Chicago. We first met in person at a Business Marketing Association event here in Chicago. Within a few days we connected on LinkedIn, and then scheduled time for what I call a “virtual latte” to see how we might add greater value to each other’s network. We were talking about mutual connections, target prospects, and soon started talking about how some people were more difficult to find on LinkedIn than others. Chris Olson is a far more common name than Sima Dahl, and a LinkedIn search for her might return hundreds of results. What’s more, basic account holders now only see the first name and last initial of their third degree connections.
It’s true, I have a premium LinkedIn account, but only because I make a living consulting, training and speaking about social media. As I’ve said in the past, upgrading your LinkedIn account is no replacement for learning how to leverage the one you already have. To conduct a fair test, I logged in as a friend of mine who holds a basic account and did a search for a fictitious person I called Jim Barren. Logged in as my friend, I found a couple of people named Jim Barren, but was prevented from viewing their full profile. There were many more search results, but only the first name and last initial were displayed.
So what do you do when you hit one of these LinkedIn third degree “blind spots?” Sometimes you can use LinkedIn Groups to get around the wall, but it isn’t foolproof. Chris reminded me about another back door: Google Advanced Search. Here’s what it looks like:
Google Advanced Search lets you narrow your results to a single site or domain. When I search for my first name within the LinkedIn.com domain as depicted above, I find 62,000+ results for people with the name Sima (first or last) on LinkedIn. I of course did not check all 62K for accuracy, but I did scan random pages. When I got to the 30th page of Google search engine results and still found more people named Sima on LinkedIn, I happily called it quits. Check it out:
Give it a whirl and see how it works for you. Have other power search tips for LinkdIn? I’d love to hear them!