I must admit that until I started using the search technique that I am about to describe, I did not realize that a significant number of LinkedIn members customize their Headlines. I had expected most members to stay with the default Headline, which is <Job Title> at <Company>. Not true. It won't be easy to estimate the percentage of customized Headlines, but they are quite common.
What members put in Headlines often falls into one of these categories:
- "I am hiring" <...>
- "I am open to opportunities" <...>
- <identifying the person's desired - rather than actual - role>
- <identifying the person's skills - rather than a job title>

Clearly, it would be to our advantage if we could search for keywords in Headlines only. We would be finding additional leads via the Headline search. However, LinkedIn does not provide this type of search to any of its account holders - LinkedIn Recruiter included. Perhaps, they haven't thought of that.

X-Raying for profiles on Google may be an approximation of this capability since Google will give higher search results ranking to profiles where keywords appear in Headlines. Still, as we all know, X-Raying is way imprecise.

Here is where a Google Custom Search Engine and some special operators can shine. It turns out that we can search for keywords precisely in a LinkedIn profile Headline any time we use a Custom Search Engine. To achieve that:

1) Create or find an "X-Ray" CSE. Here is one I have just created: LinkedIn Smart X-Ray.
2) Use special Boolean operators, unavailable in google.com, narrowing the search to Headlines only.

Here are example searches that demonstrate the "search in headlines only"operator format.

  1. "Open to new opportunities" - more:p:person-role:open*to*new open to new
  2. "I am hiring" - more:p:person-role:i*am*hiring am hiring
  3. Lists a Gmail address - more:p:person-role:gmail "gmail.com"
  4. Self-identified top skills example (lists the skills, not a job title) - more:p:person-role:django*python django python

Now, you can try your own searches - just use the search engine and follow the format.

Isn't that cool?

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