How to find someone in this world wide web

March 12, 2013

How to find someoneby Justine Parsons


With over 200 million members, LinkedIn is essentially a database of  business connections.  How to find someone to fit your search criteria can be difficult if you are looking outside of your first and second level connections.

Thanks to helping Kirsten Hodgson (my LinkedIn guru) proof her book “LinkedIn for Lawyers; connect, engage and grow your business I can share what I learnt about Google’s X-Ray Search.

How to use Google’s X-Ray search function

Using Google to perform an “x-ray search” of LinkedIn is one of the best ways to find the profiles of people who are outside of your network. X-Ray searches work for any website, but our goal here is to find that elusive connection on LinkedIn.  To perform an x-ray search, you simply start your search with the following search criteria: and add criteria following the following format: “greater new zealand area” business (virtual assistant) –profiles

or you can search in LinkedIn’s country code: business (virtual assistant) –profiles

This article by Boolean Black Belt goes into more detail and compares Boolean searches using Google and Bing.

Once you have identified the connection you wish to contact, finding their email address is a relatively simple matter thanks to Google.

How to find an email address for a LinkedIn connection

From the X-Ray search, click through to their LinkedIn profile and identify the domain of the company they work for.

For example, if you were to look at my profile you would see that my website domain is

By entering the search email ** “” you can see the format used for email addresses.  In my case it’s first

This works especially well with corporations.  If I was looking for Joe Smith who works at Westpac, I would search **””.  On page one I see the search result:

Meet the Corporate Finance team
Telephone: +64 9 336 9616? Mobile: +64 27 474 4339? Email: andrew_bashford Leighton Dunkley | Associate Director Telephone: +64 9 336 ...

This tells me that Westpac’s email format is first name _, therefore Joe Smith’s email address would be

So when is it ok to use this?  Being the recipient of spam, as we all are, I definitely do not condone the practice.  It’s illegal and won’t win you any friends … or business!  I have used this search in the following circumstances:

  • to find an email address I have lost
  • to contact someone on LinkedIn I have known in the past where they haven’t listed their email in the contacts section
  • to check a bounced email address
  • to invite a LinkedIn connection to my network using their email address where other options do not apply

New Zealand has strict anti-spam legislation (and rightly so), unsolicited emails are not something you should ever practice.  More information on this is available at the Department of Internal Affairs site.




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