LinkedIn Search: finding and connecting

Friday, June 17th, 2011 - Blog, LinkedIn, Social Media, social networking


LinkedIn Search: finding and connecting

I was going to post something else about LinkedIn today. But after receiving so many spam-like messages from various covert internet marketers over the past few weeks, and discovering that a leading  Internet Marketer is now saying to his followers that “there’s no money on Facebook, so get to LinkedIn and add them to  your list” – I decided to post this instead.

This post will cover two topics: how to find people; and then who to connect to, should someone approach you. LinkedIn have made both of these actions easy for the average member, particularly since they integrated Social Media tools such as Twitter, so there really is now no excuse not to find or connect with anyone that you want to.

LinkedIn Search: basics

LinkedIn in its own marketing continually repeats that their members include representation from every major company, and now with company profiles there is positive evidence of this. However, users still find the ability to find and connect with such people difficult, so lets help you out here.

The basics of LinkedIn search are pretty simple to understand, but lets take a step backwards and understand what you will see. LinkedIn operate their members networks on a three-level triangle:

  1. Your connections
  2. Your connections contacts
  3. Their first first level contacts

Whilst on the LinkedIn platform, there is no way around this visual network restriction. So if some one sits outside your three level network, then you simply won’t see them! It is hence why for most people the tipping point of seeing a reasonable number of people in any search is above the 100 first level connections point. Secondly that the power of LinkedIn groups enables you to see more interested people quickly – groups break the three level network view – so do join all the appropriate groups.

Undertaking a LinkedIn Search

LinkedIn’s search box is in the top upper right hand corner of your browsers screen, on every page that you view. The default setting is “People,” but from selection from the associated drop-down menu, it allows you to enter a simple text-based search string across seven different options:

  • People [Advanced search available]
  • Updates
  • Jobs [Advanced search available]
  • Companies
  • Answers [Advanced search available]
  • Inbox
  • Groups

What search results do you see?

The results will be ranked, by a system of:

  1. Relevance: hence SEOing your LinkedIn profile becomes essential for both selling and job seeking
  2. Network rank: your first level connections will rank above your second level connections, and your first level connections will rank above your Group connections
  3. Account type: premium accounts will rank above standard accounts

However, here’s the problem: you won’t see much data on your third level connections and beyond. While you can see that they exist, you won’t see their full name (Scott W, or — —-), and only limited details of their profile, even if you click on their individual profiles from the search facility.

I can understand and fully appreciate why LinkedIn do this. The most prominent thing you will see after clicking on such a hidden profile is the option to upgrade to a premium account, and hence contact them via InMail. But is this the only way to find out who they are?

LinkedIn Boolean Search

No, because LinkedIn allows the search engines, including Google to view all profiles publicly. Hence LinkedIn search becomes a restricted and trying to make you upgrade view of what are publicly available and search able profiles. Now that may seem a little crazy, but if you understand the commercial economics, perhaps can be reconciled to not great customer service.

So what do you do if you find someone interesting, but they are outside your three-level network? You simple tap on their profile, and note what looks like some original text, ie: title at company, company name, something in their work history, etc. Then open a new tab in your browser, go to your favourite search engine, and tap in:

Site:Linkedin.com “unique text

On hitting return, the search engine will show you their public profile in a list of similar LinkedIn profiles. By comparing the text you see from the search engine search, to the profile you see on LinkedIn, you will know that you have the same person. Plus now you have their full name, details, employment history, and groups that they belong to that you could join to connect to them.

As I said above: don’t be upset with LinkedIn for restricting your view on platform of your search results. You have a free account, and they are a commercial organisation. You just have to step outside on this occasion to see more of what you want.

LinkedIn: requests for connection

I will cover making connection requests once you have found people in a separate piece. It is a whole art in itself, and there are at least six methods all of which need to be covered in detail – the simplest advice is not to use the standard message, and have some interaction first: the power of those groups and LinkedIn Answers!

In this section I want to cover incoming connection requests. Firstly, when you receive a connection request, be positive about it and don’t dismiss it instantly. What ever your needs for placing a publicly accessible profile on a network site were, they think that you may be able to add value to them or their business. Secondly, be most open to the idea of connecting to people in both your company, your profession and your geography. Personally, not connecting to these people is more of a problematic networking issue, than connecting to anyone!

Once you have a connection request, the first questions to ask are:

  • Did they use the standard connection message? The best connectors use personalised messages, related to either your profile, LinkedIn activity or off platform activities
  • Do they have a photo? While photographs are not normally used on CV/resumes, they are essential in online networking
  • Does their name look normal? Profiles using company names, single names like a gangsta rapper, or trying to revive long dead 1950s movies stars or Soap actors should be instantly dismissed

I never connect instantly with a profile, I now always click through on their name. Now you need to check out if they have fully filled out their personal profile page, but often the most useful information will be within their external links, including their Twitter feed stream.

In these tough economic times, their are some very nice and respectable business people signing up with some wholly unrespectable MLM or affiliate internet marketing schemes. As they know that LinkedIn doesn’t like too much of such activity on their platform, they often hide such activity off platform. As these people copy a predictable and “you must follow this to become successful” pattern, their personal website and their Twitter stream are often the best clues to spotting what is simply a spammer: someone looking to add you to their affiliate list, and get you to buy the same thing that they wasted a few thousand dollars on!

You have to decide who you want to connect to. I have a list of connections choices for our CV Writing clients which analyses who they should be connecting to to get employed quicker. But simply good networking is both having an agenda and being open to opportunity: knowing what you offer (in both sales opportunity and network connections); and who would be most likely to buy, or at least know/be able to influence a buyer.
LinkedIn Search is an important skill to master, if you are to make the most of your membership of LinkedIn. If you can successfully master search, then there is (almost) not a person you can’t find or connect to in the whole world.

If you want to know more about how to apply it specifically to your job search, for instance experiencing high rates of job application, and few or no telephone interviews – less than 1 interview per 10 job applications – its time to get some help from a Professional CV Writer.

Good Luck!

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6 Responses to “LinkedIn Search: finding and connecting”

  1. Tyron Hercman Says:

    You have some great thoughts! Thank you so much for the insight

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  5. Neil Lills Says:

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  6. Felton Carin Says:

    Above poster: Seconded.

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