Using Advanced Boolean Search on LinkedIn | Guide 2021


While prospecting on professional social media, there may be times when the typical search is not enough.  These times call for Linkedin’s Boolean Search (best to use the pro search account LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Why is that? Because very often want to target specific types of people that we know would be a great match for our offer, and we want to find them fast.

For example, imagine you are interested in connecting with several Heads of Sales at companies within the fashion industry. You are the director of a premium fabric factory, and there’s a special lot that will position the enterprise as a great provider. 

Get more LinkedIn leads

It’s reasonable to think that by using Keywords such as Head of Purchasing, your search results will present you with relevant prospects.  In this case, the decision-makers that might actually be interested in hearing what you have to say and that have the power to move forward with a deal. 

However, on Linkedin, many people have the title of “Head of Purchasing Assistant” or “Head of marketing, purchasing & eCommerce.” As you can see, the words “HEAD” and “PURCHASING” are within the titles, but these people won’t be helpful to our quest. 

What does Boolean Search mean?

A Boolean search is an advanced audience segmentation tool that allows you to add and discriminate between relevant and irrelevant prospects. It is often used on Linkedin, which is known for its monstrous database containing detailed information about users’ professional life.

The Boolean search it’s constituted by the use of AND, OR,, (), and NOT. Each string launches a command that tells Linkedin to search and behave in a way that polishes the results for our benefit. 

How To Boolean Search on LinkedIn

Combine filtering with boolean string search LinkedIn

The usual (or basic) way to search people on Linkedin is to use the wide amount of filters that the platform suggests on Sales Navigator.

With the boolean search, there’s the option of using Linkedin advanced search filters to make sure you’re targeting ONLY the right people.

LikedIn Sales Navigator's filtering options for prospecting.

As you can see, there are many options to narrow down your search results and help you aim for a specific type of profile. 

By adding boolean search LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you’ll find a much more surgical manner to search for relevant prospects and exclude people who are less likely to turn into customers (if you’re working on sales goals, of course).

In this article, you’ll find out and understand why it is important to learn how to use boolean search strings and complement the practice with regular filtering. So buckle up, happy reading, and happy lead generation! 

Boolean search Linkedin tool

I know it may seem a little bit abstract right now, but trust me, you’ll get it by the end of this blog. So let’s start by explaining what each command does to the behavior of Linkedin’s search engine:

  • AND: 

Using this command will tell Linkedin only to show profiles that contain multiple specific keywords of your choosing. Taking the fashion industry example, we can search for profiles that contain “Head of Purchasing” AND “Premium Fabric.” 

 By doing this, we are making sure that every profile that pops up in our search results contains both the keywords “Head of Purchasing” AND “Premium Fabric” while rejecting every user that has only one or neither of them.

Now,  this might leave us with fewer people to address, but we know that the ones who are still here are high-quality and relevant prospects that are more likely to be interested in the product we have to offer.

  • OR:

If there is more than one type of keyword you would like to use (because sometimes it’s better to widen the search than narrow it), then the command OR is the one for you. 

By inserting OR, you are telling Linkedin to add any user that contains either one of the keywords included in your command. For example, we could say that our search results should include  “HEAD OF PURCHASING” OR “PURCHASING MANAGER.”

Although titles may differ from one another, it’s common to find two people with different titles that do the same job, or at least a similar one; it’s just a matter of semantics. 

So, by using the command OR, you’re making sure not to leave any relevant user out of your LinkedIn advanced search.

  • NOT:

By using the third command, NOT, we are going to exclude people from our audience segmentation. How is that? Imagine using a HEAD OF PURCHASING OR PURCHASING MANAGER, but we want to make sure that we aren’t going to find assistants. 

If we use NOT assistant, we will narrow down the results and find only users that contain HEAD OF PURCHASING OR PURCHASING MANAGER and that do not have “Assistant” written in their profile. 

However,  use caution when utilizing these tools because it is very common to use NOT followed by a word that doesn’t describe the prospect, but that might still be in their profile. 

For example, a Head of Purchasing may have been an assistant sometime in the past, so the word is there, but the person is now the boss in his or her company’s purchasing area. We could be excluding a very relevant prospect, so be sure to think twice before choosing your keywords and launching your searches.

  • The use of quotation marks (“):

Though these are not specifically for boolean search, you need to know their use. For example, by inserting a word between quotation marks, you are asking Linkedin to search for an exact phrase as a keyword, meaning that the whole sentence will be interpreted as one sole item.

For example: if we were to use HEAD OF SALES as a keyword, Linkedin would look for profiles containing the word HEAD and SALES but wouldn’t put them together as a whole. Only when using “HEAD OF SALES” with the quotation marks, the keyword will be interpreted as the three words together.

  • Parentheses [()]:

We use parentheses to organize the terms on our boolean search LinkedIn tool’s formula as in math. By seeking prospects with keywords in parentheses, we ask LinkedIn’s search engine to group multiple terms with boolean string commands and prioritize some keywords over the others.

Imagine we want to look for our long-awaited Head of Purchasing and Purchasing Managers, but now we want to exclude shoe and hat makers because our fabric is not relevant.

What we are going to write down is: (“Head of Purchasing” or “Purchasing Manager”) NOT (shoe AND Hat)

In this example, the search engine will first find people with the keywords within the first parenthesis and exclude anyone with “shoe” and “hat” written in their profile.

You can see how I grouped the NOT keywords so that there’s no need to write “NOT” twice (or more).

LinkedIn Boolean Search on  Sales Navigator [cheat sheet]

Boolean Search on Sales Navigator

Boolean Search LinkedIn Example

So far, we worked on ANDORNOT(). Let’s give them a try and see the difference between a regular LinkedIn search using filters and compare it with an advanced audience segmentation containing Boolean search strings.

In the first scenario, we used only the filters suggested by Linkedin and got 1K results targeting the fashion industry within the USA and aiming for titles that are in charge of purchasing for the company.

What is an example of a Boolean search?

Now let’s see what happens when we exclude profiles by inserting (Buyer OR “Director of purchasing”)  NOT (Jr OR assistant OR logistics) 

After boolean searching.

We successfully excluded almost 600 people from our search. Now, there may be fewer prospects to address, but we know that the ones who survived the filters and boolean strings are much more important and relevant to our fabric selling purpose.

Sales Funnel

Experts on Linkedin Boolean Search 

It may be a little overwhelming at first, so it’s better to start using boolean strings with the aid of an expert in the subject. Gaining experience takes hundreds of hours of practicing and working on your search results. In the beginning, you’ll be sure you got it right in the first attempt, but more often than not, we realize our mistakes only when messaging the prospects and getting negative responses.

At Growth-X, Customer Success Managers make sure you don’t waste any valuable time reaching out to false prospects. Prospecting with an experienced mind that provides a winning strategy translates to more sales in less time. Isn’t that what we are all here for? 

Growth-X: One step forward on Linkedin Prospecting

The automation tool they offer saves hundreds of hours on messaging, following up, and organizing the thousands of chats you may have active while prospecting on Linkedin.

I encourage you to watch a very short video explaining further what this high-tech marketing solution company has to offer.

So what are you waiting for? Aren’t you tired of having to manually prospect and spending uncountable hours with little results? Go one step further than the competition by saving that precious time with Growth-X’s automated lead generation tool for Linkedin.

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Starting his career at McCann Erickson as a creative copywriter at only 20 years old, he showed creative thinking and writing for brand ad campaigns in ATL and BTL. He got invited to be a part of Fast Media Management as team coordinator and scaled his way up to be a partner and the agency’s Chief Operating Officer. Later on, the company was renamed Fast Media Group. Today, Dan spends his days working from Israel building relationships for FMG and creating alliances with other digital marketing bulls, such as Growth-X.