Sourcing Hacks to View 3rd Degree and Out of Network Profiles on LinkedIn

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May 24, 2013

Editor’s note: This post is part of our Source the Web series here on SourceCon. It features articles on how to mine particular online data resources from experts like Shane Bowen.

If you’re one of the many recruiters or sourcers that do not have a LinkedIn Talent Finder or Recruiter account, you’ve likely noticed that viewing “full” 3rd degree connections has become more of a challenge recently. Below, you’ll find several solutions that will allow you to view full 3rd degree and Out of Network connections on LinkedIn, with little effort.

At the time of this post, your best options are: “log out of LinkedIn” OR “open a private browsing session“ OR “perform a Name Search”.

Because logging out of LinkedIn is pretty self explanatory, I’ll list how to accomplish viewing 3rd degree connections without logging out of LinkedIn, which I personally find inconvenient.

Private Browsing

Google Chrome – (incognito)

In the customize (3 bar icon) section, select New incognito window.

Shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+N


Additionally, Chrome allows for quick access by right-clicking the profile link in the search results where you can select “open link in incognito window.” This approach is fantastic if you have multiple monitors, or sufficient desktop real estate. Source in one browser session and every profile you select to view will now open in your incognito browser session with its own tab.

Firefox – (Private Browsing)

Under the Firefox Tab at the top of your browser OR if you have the menu bar enabled, it will be under Tools, select Start Private Browsing. 

Shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+P


IE – (InPrivate)

In the tools section, select Safety – InPrivate Browsing. 

Shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+P



Under the tools section (cog icon) OR if you have the menu bar enabled, it will be under Edit, select Private Browsing.


Name Search

I ran an X-ray search in Google for a “Programs Specialist” at Google and acquired the full name of a 3rd degree connection. I then placed the full name in LinkedIn’s people search, added Google as the company (optional), and was able to see the full profile on LinkedIn, while logged in.


Another trick here is to remove the “First” name, and run your search again to get full name access of all 3rd degree and Out Of Network profiles that match your search criteria, with the last name you’ve entered. This is certainly not a recommended way to approach your search initially, but it can definitely uncover potential talent that you may not otherwise find through more traditional methods.

As long as you continue to keep a last name in your search, you’ll maintain access to full profile views, even if the user has opted to only set the first initial of their last name to display on their profile.  This approach also eliminates the “LinkedIn Member” profiles you may have seen in your searches.

What if I don’t know the last name?

Not a problem. If you have a first name, you can X-Ray linkedin armed only with the basics.

Example: [ intitle:lance “location * san francisco bay area” “industry * e-learning” ]

If you’re 3rd degree or beyond, you’ll notice that Lance has no mention of his employer, skills, or anything outside of his name, location, and industry. These three elements are the minimum a public profile can have so take those and run your string to identify your prospect. If your search is more generic and their public profile has additional identifying information, you may want/need to include that in your search query.

Tip: LinkedIn automatically makes a profile non-public if a users has selected to only show the first letter of their last name in their profile “Display Name” settings. This means you will not be able to find the users profile via X-Ray.

Export PDF

LinkedIn has been messing with the PDFs of profiles for some time now and it seems that they have a pretty good handle on only having the PDF display what you see on the profile you’re viewing. You may get lucky here and there, but it’s simply not worth the time and frustration when there are better ways to get the information you need.

Other methods

There are certainly other methods for viewing full 3rd degree and out of network profiles. From upgrading your account to sharing the profile or using the Viewers of this profile also viewed.. section. However, it’s in nobody’s best interest to share things that only work intermittently, or would potentially slow you down, as there are more efficient and effective ways to approach your search.

If you found this article helpful, please share with others. Thanks!

This article was originally posted on Shane’s blog, Sourcing Hacks.

Hacker image from Bigstock.

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