Not what you want

by Jan & Bert

After the AND-operator and the OR-operator it is time to introduce the third Boolean operator: NOT. We sometimes have a clear goal in mind. We are using the right keywords, but we are getting a significant number of results that are unwanted. Why are they unwanted? Because, they have nothing to do with our search.


The NOT-operator

With the NOT-operator you can filter out a group of potential results that are not relevant to you. This means that you want one and NOT the other in your search.


Example: sales NOT marketing


sales NOT marketing


Imagine that we are searching for a sales manager. Unlike in the previous articles, we are now focusing on someone who is a pure sales manager, not a marketing manager nor a combination of both. So, how do we search for this person? We type in “sales NOT marketing manager”. When looking at the numbers we have 95K sales managers, 50K marketing managers and 5.9K sales and marketing managers. Since we are using the NOT-operator, we see that we have 89K results. This makes perfect sense, because 95K – 5.9K is almost 89K. Looking at the picture above you will see that we are only getting the blue part of the sales circle, exactly what we wanted!



The general rule of thumb to apply the NOT-operator is

when you have a lot of results that have nothing to do with your topic.



Let’s have a look at some other examples where certain keywords are used in different situations, with a different background or with a multitude of meanings.



Tablet NOT iPad

Smartphone NOT iPhone (alternatives for iPhone)

London NOT Canada (yes, indeed there is a town called London in Ontario, Canada)


As you can see, the NOT-operator is really useful to fine-tune your results even more.  So, start playing around with it!


To your success,


Jan & Bert


PS: Looking for more LinkedIn tips? Use one or more of the 10 strategies to find the right people for you via the bestselling book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” (a FREE download is available at





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