How to Filter Connections on LinkedIn

[scroll down for a video demo of the steps in this post]

Have you ever tried to review someone’s LinkedIn contacts before a networking meeting to see if they know anyone you would like to meet?

If so, you’ll know that it can be difficult because most people active on LinkedIn have 100 or more connections (some have many more). Paging through their contacts 10 profiles at a time can be time consuming, particularly if you have to click through to the individual profiles in order to find basic information like their geographic location.

So what do you do? Recently I ran into some folks assigned the tasks of reviewing profiles to their admins or virtual assistants. Others have downloaded their contacts to an Excel spreadsheet and provided them to their strategic partners who could then use functions in Excel to sort and filter the data.

In most cases, you can save yourself a lot of time by taking advantages of LinkedIn’s search feature and the search related filters. The biggest trick to this can be finding the right starting place. I’m sure there is more than one way to do this, but the easiest way that I have found is to:

  1. Start by going to Advanced Search – click on “Advanced”, just to the right of the search box at the top right corner of the page.
  2. Enter the first and last name of the person whose connections you would like to view. Click the search button.
  3. Find the person you are looking for in the search results. Each search result consists of a “box” of information. At the bottom of the box you will see an indication of the total connections that person has. Hovering your mouse over that number should reveal a tool tip that says “View all connections” – click on that link.
  4. You should now be viewing a search results page displaying all of the connections for the person your began with. Look on the left hand side of the page and you will see a series of filters (check boxes, text boxes, etc.) that you can use to narrow down the search results. The number of filters you can use will depend upon whether you have a free or premium (paid) LinkedIn account. If you have a free account, you will be able to narrow the results using the following filters:
  • Company Name
  • Connection Level
  • Location
  • Industry
  • Past Company
  • School
  • Profile Language

If you have a premium version of LinkedIn, you can also filter the your search results by:

  • Group Membership
  • Years of Experience
  • Function (Sales, Finance, etc.)
  • Seniority Level (CxO, VP, etc.)
  • Company Size
  • Fortune 1000
  • Recently Joined

Let’s pretend I’m meeting my friend Dan (I use Dan in the sample video below) to determine how we can help each other grow our business, specifically, if we can introduce one another to prospects we would like to meet. Rather than trying to wade through Dan’s 500+ connections, I can use the search filters to come up with a very targeted list of people he knows that I would like to meet.

Let’s pretend that I only want to meet local people (I don’t but we’ll pretend for this post). The first thing I might do is check the Kansas City box in the location area of the filters. With a premium account, I could also narrow the list down to owners, presidents, and vice presidents if that is my target market.

Another thing I like to do is check the “2nd Connections” box. I found this a little confusing to begin with, but what this does is remove the people in Dan’s contact list with whom I already have a 1st degree connection. This works because the connections filter refers to my 2nd connections, not Dan’s.

Here is a short video demonstrating this:

Now that you know how to filter an individual’s connection list, hopefully you can spend less time preparing for you one-on-one networking meetings and more time making business building connections.

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