How to Perform Boolean Search on LinkedIn

Boolean operators are great tools to maximise your targeted search capabilities on LinkedIn. Making use of Boolean operators can help you find precise and accurate results when searching for clients or candidates on LinkedIn without having to filter through unnecessary candidate profiles that won’t match your search. 


What Is Boolean Search on LinkedIn?

Boolean search on LinkedIn can be used to make advanced search techniques to obtain more accurate, precise, and exact results from your search. 


Why Should You Use Boolean Search on LinkedIn?

For those of you who don’t know, Boolean operators can open lots of doors when it comes to searching for candidates to recruit on LinkedIn. Using Boolean operators can help you cut down on keywords you don’t want to appear on profiles. Boolean searches can help you organise and refine your searches to get far more accurate results. This process can save you a lot of time and can make things a lot faster. 


Why Is the Boolean Search on LinkedIn Important?

LinkedIn offers a subscription-based service to their users, called sales navigator. You can use Boolean search along with the search filters that sales navigator offers to make things much faster. Combining them both can give you excellent results. 


What Are Boolean Operators?

Boolean operators are characters that are equipped with a specific set of instructions. Each Boolean operator has its purpose and can be used to carry out search results on LinkedIn. Since each operator has specific functions of its own, you can use them to cut short and refine your search results. 


The Types of Boolean Operators

A LinkedIn Boolean search uses modifiers to organise, refine, or exclude keywords in your searches. These operators are: 

  1. Quotation Marks [ “ ”].
  2. Parentheses [ () ].
  3. NOT.
  4. AND.
  5. OR.

This is also the order of precedence used by LinkedIn when handling searches. 


Quotation Marks [ “ ” ]

Quotation marks are a game changer if you didn’t know about them before. You can use the quotation marks operator to get the exact same results as your search. When using keywords on LinkedIn, it is important to keep in mind you must use quotation marks when using terms that are made up of two consecutive words. 

For example, if you intended to search for a content writer without using quotation marks, like this, content writer, you may end up with search results for content and writer as separate terms. It will also pull up search results that contain both the words, content and writer. Quotation marks are used to prevent this from happening.

Example:  To find the exact phrase type, “Content Marketer.”


Parentheses [ () ]

Using a parentheses operator can help organise things a lot better. Parentheses tell your search engine how to process the search. It can be used to combine two terms and do complex searches. It gives priority to the keywords within the parentheses over others around it. 

Example: Type: VP NOT (assistant OR SVP). 



The NOT operator is used to exclude any keywords from your search. It’s a simple operator but can work wonders for you. It is the most powerful operator of them all. Having the ability to exclude any unnecessary keywords from the search can make your search results precise and accurate. The NOT operator must be added before the keyword you want to exclude from your search. 

Example: Type: manager NOT programmer.



An important factor to keep in mind when using the ‘AND’ Boolean operator is that it must always be used in capital letters. Using lowercase to write the ‘AND’ operator will not work, and must be avoided at all costs. The ‘AND’ operator can be used when you want to include several keywords in your search. Combining two key phrases in a search can be done with the ‘AND’ operator. Another thing to keep in mind when using the ‘AND’ operator is that it will search for profiles that contain the keywords you have entered. If one keyword is missing in any of the profiles the results will be excluded. The ‘AND’ operator searches and finds profiles containing all the keywords you enter in the search. 

Example: Type: content marketer AND writer.



The ‘OR’ operator is very useful when you want to include other titles within the same job or role. This way you can search for people who specialise in specific areas and only get the results for those keywords. The ‘OR’ operator searches for the keywords you use to specify certain job titles that contain either of the keywords you used. Even if one keyword is missing, you may get results from profiles that contain other keywords you used. 

Example: Type: marketing OR advertising


Important Factors to Keep in Mind

Boolean search operators only work if you follow these instructions.

1. Boolean search operators AND, OR, and NOT must always be written in uppercase, not lowercase letters. For example: content marketer AND manager.

2. When using two or more phrases to define a search use quotation marks.

For example: “content marketer.”

3. Use parentheses when combining Boolean operators. For example: (content marketer OR content manager) NOT content writer. 


Use Cases for a Boolean Search on LinkedIn

Here are some of the areas where boolean searches can be helpful for professionals:

1. Recruiting – A Boolean search can be massively helpful for recruiters. Having the ability to narrow down candidates directly from the search itself can save recruiters lots of time. 

2. Outreach – The outreach team can greatly benefit from advanced targeting search to get exact matches to their customer profiles. 

3. Researching – LinkedIn advanced search can also be useful by helping you research. You can use the search to check what keywords your competition is trying to get. 


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between advanced search on LinkedIn and Google? 

Google does not recognise NOT as the operator to exclude keywords. Instead, it uses ( “-” ) to exclude words. 


2. What is the order of precedence used by LinkedIn?

These are the 5 different types of Boolean operators used on LinkedIn

  1. Quotation Marks [ “ ” ].
  2. Parentheses [ () ].
  3. NOT. 
  4. AND.
  5. OR.


3. Which LinkedIn filters support Boolean search?

These are the filters supported by LinkedIn, sales navigator, and recruiter filters for Boolean searches:

  1. First name.
  2. Last name.
  3. (Job) title.
  4. Company.
  5. School.


4. Are these filters better than the keywords filter?

Yes, using the Boolean search with these specific filters can give you more accurate and refined results. This is because LinkedIn applies the Boolean search only to those specific sections of the profiles it searches for. 


5. Can you use plus “+” and minus “-” searches on LinkedIn?

The minus or plus sign can’t be used in LinkedIn Boolean searches. Instead, they are replaced with AND and NOT. 


Final Thoughts

Understanding the Boolean search and the way it works can be a useful skill. By knowing how it works you can use it for other platforms as well. Having the advantage of excluding and filtering out unwanted profiles can save lots of time for professionals, like recruiters and outreach teams. Hence, Boolean search operators on LinkedIn are essential.  



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