How to Find Someone on LinkedIn

By Pragati Bidkar | Small Business

Last week I had a call from a client trying to locate a prospective candidate on LinkedIn. The email address the candidate provided did not work anymore and there was no other contact information provided. The question was how to locate this elusive person with just a name and maybe a vague idea of his profession. LinkedIn provides an easy solution for this kind of problem. Let us see how to find someone on LinkedIn.

We are assuming that the person we want to look for has a profile on LinkedIn. But in today’s digital world, anyone who is serious about their profession does! Many people may not be aware of how powerful LinkedIn search can be. Especially LinkedIn Advanced Search. I am going to illustrate how to leverage this tool the good folks at LinkedIn have placed at our disposal.

LinkedIn Advanced Search

* I am using the name of long time friend, mentor and Agile guru Joe Little to illustrate this example.

Let’s say you have a name and little else. These are the steps you need to follow to find this person.

  • From your LinkedIn home page (you must be signed in), click on next to the search symbol to open the Advanced Search screen.
  • Consider the ‘Relationship’ field. The options ‘1st connection’, ‘2nd connection’, ‘Group Members’ are selected, by default. What this means is that LinkedIn will search only among these people, people who form your extended network. Leave these as they are for now.
  • Your current location or country is selected, by default. If you have any idea of the location of this person, select that country.

How to Find Someone on LinkedIn image LISearchLocationHow to Find Someone on LinkedIn

  • Enter the name of the person you are looking for. I will enter ‘Joe Little’ in the First Name and Last Name field respectively and click ‘Search’. Five results are displayed. Now we are assuming I do not know much about this person so I will not recognize him by a photo.

How to Find Someone on LinkedIn image LISearchResultsHow to Find Someone on LinkedIn

  • The results displayed include a job title and location. If you are able to narrow down the person based on these, you found your man. If not, we have to search deeper.
  • Let us say I know only one thing about ‘Joe Little’ and that is that he has something to do with Agile or Scrum.
  • Enter ‘Scrum’ in the Keywords field to drill deeper in the search results. Only one result is displayed. You can click on this profile now and verify other facts to reasonably establish that this is the person you were looking for.

How to Find Someone on LinkedIn image LISearchNarrowHow to Find Someone on LinkedIn

Viola! You just used LinkedIn Advanced Search to locate a person you pretty much know nothing about.

LinkedIn Search criteria

What are some of the fields that you can search on when you have limited knowledge about a person? Apart from the name, you can add a Title, Company – past or present, School, Location and the all important Keywords field. All these options are available even with a free LinkedIn account. A paid LinkedIn account provides some more criteria for search and is an excellent tool if you are a recruiter or head hunter who regularly needs to mine data on professionals.

The ‘Keywords’ field is powerful because it will help you identify a candidate based on any skill they have or any certification they may have gained. So this is where you would enter words like ‘PMP’, ‘C++’, ‘Tester’, ‘Manager’, ‘Blogger’ etc.

How Simple is LinkedIn Search?

Is using the search as simple as given in our example above? Well, it is simple but it may take many more permutations and combinations. But you will get the hang of it once you use it multiple times. Most people develop their own search pattern or routine to narrow down the results.

The LinkedIn Advanced Search feature can be used to find people based on work profile too, and can be especially useful to job seekers. Why not try your hand at finding people via LinkedIn? If you have a question on this, just let me know via the comments or write to me. Once you find the person you are looking for, we will take a look at how you can contact this person.

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