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Throughout my series of blogs, as well as all of the other great ones featured on this site, you have been learning powerful ways to create your brand and position yourself for success. That, of course, helps you to know what message to get in front of a hiring manager or other persons of influence. Equally important, though, is determining precisely who the hiring manager (or other persons of influence) is that you need to get that information in front of. In this blog, I will show you how to quickly and easily make that all-important determination using the LinkedIn “hack.”

Your LinkedIn connections

Most everyone knows the tremendous power of LinkedIn. Still, there are also limitations, and two of the more significant ones are the following:

  • You need CONNECTIONS; and
  • In order to see most of those connections (beyond your first degree), you need a PAID account.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could view over 95% of ALL profiles on LinkedIn whether or not they are in your network—without a paid account? Well, actually, you can! Let me explain how that’s possible. (Significant to note here, however, is that the technique covered here does NOT negate the tremendous value of a LinkedIn paid account; It actually complements it.)

Google indexes public profiles from LinkedIn. The LinkedIn “hack” is an easy and powerful way to access those profiles in Google.

The LinkedIn “Hack” – An Example

  • Go to
  • Copy and paste the following search string into Google: intitle:linkedin (“Chemical engineer” AND “Georgia Tech” AND “Georgia Pacific”) -intitle:profile -intitle:updated -intitle:blog -intitle:directory -intitle:jobs -intitle:groups -intitle:events -intitle:answers

The phrases within the parentheses are the variables which you can modify depending upon the people you want to target. (Change the company, the school, etc. You may, for example, want to search for “vice president” AND “general electric” AND sales.)

photoThe phrases outside the parentheses are the “required” constants. These constants force Google to only look at people’s profiles and eliminates discussions, questions, answers to questions, job postings, polls and all of the other information available on LinkedIn. (Remember: “who” to get your brand in front of is our objective here.)

Two limitations to this approach

There are, however, two limitations to this approach: (1) If a profile is marked “private” Google won’t find it; and (2) The person has to have put the key words you are looking for in his/her profile.

So, for example, if you are looking for a “Georgia Tech” graduate, the person has to have used “Georgia Tech” in building his or her profile. If they used “Georgia Institute of Technology,” for example, then you won’t find them unless you do a second search using those key words. (Other Boolean operators such as OR and NOT don’t work as well in this so-called “hack,” so you should stick with the AND operator.)


  • If I use the above search string, I find 3 people who either are or were a “chemical engineer” at “Georgia Pacific,” from “Georgia Tech,” and who have a public profile on LinkedIn, and who used those particular words in their profile.
  • If I change “Georgia Tech” to “Georgia Institute of Technology,” I now find 15 people.
  • If I want to find all Georgia Tech grads at Georgia Pacific, I would take out “chemical engineer” and use the following: intitle:linkedin (“Georgia Tech” AND “Georgia Pacific”) -intitle:profile -intitle:updated -intitle:blog -intitle:directory -intitle:jobs -intitle:groups -intitle:events -intitle:answers

With this search string I NOW get 2,840 results!

  • If I want to find ALL names at Georgia Pacific, I can try to find hiring managers, people to network with, et al. I would use: intitle:linkedin (“Georgia Pacific”) -intitle:profile -intitle:updated -intitle:blog -intitle:directory -intitle:jobs -intitle:groups -intitle:events -intitle:answers

When I do that, I get 45,000 results.

Clearly more than I can handle but a great start for finding people of interest to network with and/or contact.

  • As a point of comparison, I have a very robust network (over 19 million out to my 3rd degree). When I search for Georgia Pacific people within my network, I get 10,500 results. Thus, you can see how the “hack” greatly extends your view into the world of LinkedIn.
  • A way to manage this quantity of information is to go back and put in qualifying key words. For example, if I go back and put in a qualifying key word such as “sales” I get 24,000 results. intitle:linkedin (sales AND “Georgia Pacific”) -intitle:profile -intitle:updated -intitle:blog -intitle:directory -intitle:jobs -intitle:groups -intitle:events -intitle:answers

So, if you’ve become frustrated and discouraged using the more traditional methods of trying to find just the right people to put your information in front of, then you should seriously consider using this powerful, highly workable LinkedIn “hack.” It can literally save you hundreds of hours of time and eliminate a great deal of frustration and effort.

A personal success story

Let me conclude this week’s blog with a personal success story using the LinkedIn “hack.”

Last year our daughter, who is a university student studying public relations and communications, was seeking an internship in Nashville, specifically at Gaylord Entertainment. Even within my robust community on LinkedIn only 200 or so people were either “current” or “past” employees of Gaylord Entertainment. Enter the LinkedIn “hack.”

Using the “hack,” we uncovered over 2,300 people, and among that group was exactly someone she needed to reach out to. She crafted a powerful cover letter positioning her brand and what she could do for Gaylord, mailed it via certified mail, followed up with a phone call and email, got an interview and landed the internship! And, by the way, the person she contacted would never have been able to have been easily identified using traditional methods.

P.S. I accept ALL LinkedIn invitations. Feel free to send me an invite. I’d love to connect with you! (My 11,600 first degree connections immediately become your second degree and my 3.4 million second degree connections immediately become your third degree.)

The information featured in this blog is based on an excerpt from “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!, and is just one of 100’s of valuable, workable “secrets” that can be used by today’s job seeker to brand and set themselves apart from the competition—other job seekers—and help them land the job of their dreams.


Skip Freeman is the author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever! and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.