I was looking for something a couple of weeks ago on LinkedIn and found a contact, Chris W. I thought this was odd that someone would put only the first letter of his last name in his LinkedIn account but thought he may have some reason for it. I performed some other searches and found others with only an initial for a last name and then it hit me.
LinkedIn has changed.
LinkedIn now requires you to pay to see the first and last names of connections farther than 2nd degree. It is only a matter of time until they restrict it further and start charging you money to manage your contacts on-line.
I want to show you how I have been getting LinkedIn search results farther than 3rd degree for years. It works every time if you know what you are looking for and you have specific search criteria.
Here is the hypothetical situation:
I want to contact the CFO a Gucci. I have a solution that CFOs buy and my territory is apparel companies. I don’t know anyone that works at Gucci nor do I know many CFOs in that part of the country so I am assuming that s/he will be 3rd degree or farther.
Log in to LinkedIn and go to the Advanced Search feature and type in the search fields for Title: CFO, Company: Gucci. Use Current position and company when trying to find who works there today.
My search based on my connections retrieved 13 contacts. All are 3rd degree or farther so I only see first names and initials of last names, title and company information.
Based on my search results I am interested in Sandro R. He has the title I am looking for “CFO” and is currently at the company I am interested in “Gucci”.
Now I want to click on Sandro R.’s profile and determine if I can see it. I cannot but LinkedIn will help me with this at a $99 per month up charge. This is crazy. I can go to Jigsaw and by it for $1 or use this work around for free. Here is how it works.
When you go into your LinkedIn account you see your profile and you see your public link, right? Everyone has this and it is on the internet and indexed by all the search engines. Mine is http://www.linkedin.com/in/thescottking. This is what you want to find. You want to find your desired contacts public profile because it is not restricted by your LinkedIn account (doesn’t apply if you pay already).
Now copy/paste your contacts current title and company information into Google. This is all of the information behind “Current:”. In Sandro R.’s case this is “VP and CFO at Gucci”.
After I paste the Current information in Google I notice that the contact that I am after is the second result in my specific Google search.
Now I know my desired contacts first and last name and his LinkedIn public profile.
Public Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sandro-risi/4/477/528
I can now see all of his information and who is between us since he is a 3rd degree contact. I can contact him via LinkedIn Inmail or via a connection request. Alternatively I can do it the old fashioned way and pick up the phone and call Gucci and ask for Sandro Risi.
Best Practice: Using Google Advanced Search on LinkedIn
Another great way to find the same information is Google advanced search. Google advanced search is a wizard that helps you write logic for certain data inclusions or exclusions. Here are the same search parameters for Sandro Risi using Google advanced search and searching only inside the linkedin.com domain. I search inside the linkedin.com domain because I already know that he has a LinkedIn account.
You will notice that using the Google advanced search wizard gives me a search term of “cfo gucci site:linkedin.com”. This is not complicated and you could actually create this yourself after using the wizard a few times. It works really well for finding people with titles, companies and key words based on their job descriptions that they write for themselves.
Now type in “cfo gucci site:linkedin.com” into Google and you get back the below. (Here is the search)
Sandro Risi is now the first item in the search and his public profile is displayed by only searching for a cfo that works at Gucci inside the linkedin.com domain.
The point of this exercise is to find the information about your desired contact that is already available on-line. And, since it is on-line you need to assume that the contacts that you are searching for are open to being contacted. They self-published their resume LinkedIn for networking purposes so they should not be offended if you contact them for a genuine reason.