Dirty Rotten Job Search Tricks: Get Info On 3rd Level Linkedin Connections Without Upgrading

Oct 25 2012 in Featured, Networking/Social Networking, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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There are a number of critical features on Linkedin that used to be free. Now, in order to access them, you have to pay Linkedin a monthly membership.

… Or use these dirty rotten job search tricks

There are a few dirty rotten job search secrets that allow you to get the same information, without the membership, by accessing loopholes in Linkedin.

Here’s the problem … Linkedin only displays the first name and last initial for 3rd level connections if you’re using a free Linkedin account. It’s tough get anywhere by calling an employer to ask for Ben F. Unless the company is small, you’ll need to give the person (or automated attendant) answering the phone Ben’s last name also. Linkedin used to give full names of any of your connections – Now they charge you just to get last names of your 3rd level. If you don’t happen to share groups with this contact, you’ll only be able to see their title with no name at all (name will be listed “Linkedin Member” – real helpful!).

In addition, if you want to do some basic research about Ben’s kite and publishing business before calling him, you’ll want to see the details of Ben’s profile. Linkedin also blocks free account users from detailed profile information of 3rd level contacts.

Good thing there’s a number of dirty rotten job search tricks you can use to uncover this information!

Here’s 8 ways to access information on 3rd level Linkedin contacts for free:

  1. Via Google or Bing: This can be an issue if you already know the user’s name and you’re Googling an individual to get more information. If Google returns a link to that individual’s Linkedin profile, you may not be able to see any information on their profile. This can happen to users of free accounts searching for 3rd level connections or to those you are not connected at all – but only if you are logged into Linkedin using the same browser as your Google search. The solution is simple – either logout of Linkedin or search Google in a different browser (signed into Linkedin using Chrome, while searching Google in Firefox).
  2. Search Linkedin: If you already know the user’s name, Linkedin assumes you must know them and will return full profiles when you search Linkedin by name. This method may not help you see the last name of members choosing the highest privacy settings. In this case, try one of the methods listed below.
  3. Linkedin/Google Combo Search: If your Linkedin search turns up a profile with an initial for a last name or “Linkedin Member”, here’s a dirty rotten job search secret for you to use. Copy the person’s title (even though the name isn’t displayed, the contact’s title is displayed). Use a different browser to search using the following string: “Site:linkedin.com FIRSTNAME + FULLTITLEHERE“. This causes a browser to search a specific site for a specific string – if the title has many words, try including quotes around the title.
  4. Export: Most 3rd level Linkedin users (those not choosing the highest privacy settings) will allow you to export profiles to pdf. Depending on user security settings, exporting profiles to pdf may provide more information than what you see on screen. Mouse over the arrow button below the user’s name, to get to the “Export to pdf” link. Some users’ security settings may not display much information on pdf exports – for those members, scroll to the bottom of the pdf and click Contact ____ on Linkedin – This will often return full profiles and last names of 3rd level contacts.
  5. Export when there’s no Export link: Some 3rd level Linkedin profiles of users that choose higher privacy settings won’t display a choice to export to a pdf. Here’s a workaround: Look at the URL in the address line – don’t worry, it’s a mile long. You want to delete everything after the user’s Linkedin profile number (LINKEDINID), so that you have remaining in the address bar this URL “http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=LINKEDINID“. Once you’ve truncated the URL to this first portion, click enter and let the screen refresh. Now mouse over the down arrow, and you should have the ability to export to .pdf for most Linkedin members.
  6. Sharing Profiles To See Names: While Linkedin wants to monetize 3rd level connection information, the social network still promotes free sharing of profiles … what good is sharing a profile that’s blocked from the recipient? So Linkedin left a loophole – Note: This method works for most, but my network is so large (27M+) that this method causes Linkedin to timeout and error. Here’s how you can share to see:
    • Go to the profile you want to see.
    • Use the share function: Below the name, mouse over the down arrow button – on that menu click share. Share the profile with someone you know (better warn them first), or set up a second Linkedin profile just for the purpose of sharing.
    • Go to your own sent messages on Linkedin and click on the sharing message you sent.
    • At the bottom of your sharing message, click on the View Profile link.
    • Boom! You see last name and the user’s whole profile.
  7. Sharing When You Can’t Share: Some Linkedin profiles won’t display the share function – this may be due connection level (beyond 3rd level), user privacy selections or maybe a bug in Linkedin. In those cases, you can still share to see profiles, but it’s a little more work. Note: This method works for most, but my network is so large (27M+) that this method causes Linkedin to timeout and error.
    • Go to the profile you want to see.
    • Look in the address line at the top of your screen, and copy the 7-8 digit number from the URL displayed (Let’s call this LINKEDINID. This number will be right after “id=”. Copy just the number.
    • Open a new tab or page, and copy this URL into the address bar: http://www.linkedin.com/forwardProfileMsg?displayCreate=&profileID=LINKEDINID&network=I
    • Paste the 7-8 digit number to replace LINKEDINID in the URL.
    • Continue with the sharing email, but Linkedin will say it’s sharing a null profile, or it may leave the name blank
    • Go to your own sent messages on Linkedin and click on the sharing message you sent.
    • At the bottom of your sharing message, click on the View Profile link.
    • Linkedin returns last name and the user’s whole profile.
  8. Check Recommendations: If a second level contact has tight privacy settings, you may be able to see their whole profile but can’t see their name. If you can see the contact’s profile, scroll down to recommendations. Since Linkedin doesn’t change the text of recommendations, you may be able to see the contact’s full name because the recommender included the full name in the text of recommendations. This one’s courtesy of my friend Jason Alba from http://ImOnLinkedinNowWhat.com.

Just because Linkedin throws roadblocks in the path of your research … you don’t have to let it stop you or let Linkedin hold your network information hostage.

Please note: These dirty rotten job search tricks all worked as of the date of this article. Linkedin routinely changes its practices and site, so Linkedin may “turn off” one or more of the tips you see today.

Happy Searching!

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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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