How to Build LinkedIn Boolean Search Strings

Build LinkedIn Boolean Search Strings that Deliver Your Ideal Prospecting List


If you’re using the free version of LinkedIn, knowing how to develop targeted LinkedIn Boolean search strings is foundational for successful prospecting. Originally called Boolean Search, search strings employ a mathematical formula to deliver a specific list that meets your defined criteria, pinpointing the buyers, influencers, and stakeholders you’re looking for.

LinkedIn will eventually restrict your ability to search for prospects if they feel you are overusing the search. Using Boolean logic will ensure that you get better results before LinkedIn restricts your activity.

Learn how to find your ideal buyers using LinkedIn Boolean Search

LinkedIn Boolean Search LinkedIn Search String Formula - Vengreso

Got Prospects? Vengreso's CVO, @LinkedInExpert has the formula to find your buyers. #SellingWithLinkedIn #SalesClick To Tweet

Linkedin Boolean search strings utilize the following modifiers: OR , AND , NOT , “” (quotation marks) and () (parentheses). You MUST capitalize OR, AND & NOT for this to work.

Here’s how you can develop a powerful LinkedIn® search string to ramp up your social selling prospecting efforts:

When combining two titles or keywords with OR , you will get all-inclusive results. For example, a search that is defined as Marketing OR Sales will result in a list including everyone with the word sales and everyone with the word marketing in their profile.

AND is a limiting term. If you enter a search for Marketing AND Sales, the resulting list will include only profiles that contain both of those terms.

NOT will eliminate words and phrases from the search results. Marketing NOT Sales will provide a list of only profiles that contain the keyword Sales, but do not mention Marketing anywhere.

How to do a Boolean Search on LinkedIn

The second part of developing a productive search string is utilizing quotation marks.  These are indispensable when using phrases or terms that include more than one word. For example, if you are looking for a Vice President, enclosing the term in quotation marks ensures that your results only turn up instances of those words together.

The last part of understanding Boolean search on LinkedIn includes:

Parentheses – Using parentheses is necessary only if you are looking to use a second term or set of terms to narrow the results. The search (Marketing OR Sales) , for example, is the same as using Marketing OR Sales without the parentheses—you want results that contain at least one of these terms—either Marketing or Sales. But the following criteria:   (Marketing OR Sales) AND (“Vice President” OR Director)  tells LinkedIn to find profiles that have either the terms Marketing or Sales within them, AND that are Vice Presidents or Directors. The AND means that they must have one term from the first set of parentheses and one term from the second, to show up in the search. The quotation marks mean that the words Vice President must be together.

Got it? It can seem a little complicated at first, but once you perform some searches, it all makes sense.

Using #Booleansearch on #LinkedIn isn't complic8d if u follow @LinkedInExpert's prospecting guide. #DigitalSellingClick To Tweet

Here is how to use your search strings!

  1. Click into the search bar and hit enter.
  2. Choose the People option
  3. Choose the All filters option
  4. Try using boolean search on LinkedIn in the title field to find the right prospects

If you are not getting the results you want, alternatively, you can create a whole search string in a Word or Notes doc and copy and paste that into the search bar and hit enter. Try this one to see your results:  

(Marketing OR Sales) AND “Internet Technology” OR IT NOT assistant NOT consultant.

  1. Now choose “See all people results”
  2. Click on All Filters and adjust your filters on the right-hand side for Connections, Connections of, Locations, Company, School, Industry, Language, Service Categories, and Keywords (like titles).
  3. Identify who you would like to connect with and open their LinkedIn profile (tip: right click on their name open in new tab so you don’t lose your search)
  4. Click on shared connection to identify who you know that can introduce you to your targeted buyer, choose someone you know and send an introduction request, example:

I hope this note finds you well. As you may know, I am leveraging LinkedIn to grow my network and noticed that you are connected to XXXX at XXXX. I was wondering if you would kindly provide an introduction for me. If you could copy us both in an email or LinkedIn message I can take it from there. To make it easier for you, I have included a short paragraph below that you are welcome to copy and paste.

Also, please feel free to look through my connections, I am happy to make introductions for you as well.

Thanks so much!

I would like to introduce you to Viveka von Rosen, Chief Visibility Officer at Vengreso. I thought it might make sense for the two of you to connect and investigate how you might work together. Viveka helps enterprise sales teams build their pipeline, reduce the sales cycle and close more business through leveraging the power of LinkedIn. Viveka really understands how to Monetize LinkedIn and has created programs that have made a significant impact on the way professionals are growing their business. Viveka will be contacting you in the next couple of days, please take her call; I believe it will be well worth your time.

If you would like to reach out to Viveka, her contact information is: | @LinkedInExpert

Find your ideal buyers on #LinkedIn through these #searchstring tips by our Vengreso CVO, @LinkedInExpert Viveka von Rosen. #DigitalSales #SocialSellingClick To Tweet

BONUS: Finding targeted 1st-degree  connections by using this LinkedIn search technique will allow you to re-engage with the stakeholders you are already connected to but have been ignoring.

Take some time and build out your perfect LinkedIn Boolean search strings for sales, once you have this down, your searches will bring you to the buyers you’re looking for. Plus, learn how a text expander can help your entire sales team and save them a lot of time!

Do you want to learn all the tricks of LinkedIn and get the most out of it? Make sure you participate in our LinkedIn Sales Mastery training (click on the image below). You can also check these 10 LinkedIn tips that will help you book more sales meetings, grow the sales pipeline and attain quota!

7 thoughts on “Build LinkedIn Boolean Search Strings that Deliver Your Ideal Prospecting List”

  1. Good article Brynne. Focused Research to get to the best prospects is vital, otherwise we are ‘doodling’ or wasting time. Thanks for sharing for all.

  2. Thanks, Brynne. It appears that the Boolean terms have to be in upper case and that is what the LI documentation says too. Too bad they don’t have an XOR statement (exclusive OR) – this is from my programming days. 🙂

    Sales XOR Marketing would get both sales and marketing but exclude those who have both. So in your Venn diagram above, it would be the left-hand and right-hand portions, but exclude the middle. I guess you could structure that by using:

    (Sales OR Marketing) NOT (Sales AND Marketing)

    Oh well.

  3. Monica Venturella

    Perfect article for anyone that is social selling or anyone that doesn’t know where to begin!!!!! Light bulbs going off everywhere!

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