As discussed in our previous post, if you do a People search on LinkedIn and get results with only last initials (or no name at all), don't despair. You just need to do some more work. Find a partial name you think will be a useful contact. Click on it and look at their profile. There may be several ways to find their full name:
1. Check their profile. They may have their full name elsewhere in the profile, along with their email address. (If they entered their full name in their Professional "Headline," as described in the earlier part of this series, you already see it.)
2. If they have links to a Twitter account, a blog, or an online résumé, click on the link the find their full name. (On most browsers, use the right-click button to open the link in a new window or tab.)
3. Also check their business name. If Alfred B. is owner of Baumann’s Flowers, there’s a pretty good chance that his last name is Baumann.
4. See if you already share a group with the prospect. If you do, click on the link to the group and use the group's Members search tools with the first name and initial. If necessary, copy the first few words of their Headline, too. You should be able to find the full name for the fellow group member. Click on that search result, and now you may see the profile with the full name. (You could conceivably join a group just to search for that contact, if all else fails.) This technique might not work with the newer open groups, though, and LinkedIn is getting better at hiding some people’s last names in groups, too. (For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they would want to.)
5. Here’s my favorite trick and it works almost every time. Look at your prospect's Recommendations, both given and received.
If your prospect has a recommendation, see if the person entered the full name of your prospect when writing the recommendation. If not, click on the recommender's name to go to their profile. Even if you can't see the recommender's full name, look on the right column for Firstname Recommends. Click on the link to See all Recommendations. There, you should find the partial name of your prospect. When you click on the partial name, you go back to the original profile and now see the full name.
The same technique usually works for recommendations written by your prospect. Go to the Recommendee's profile and search for who gave that recommendation (located at the bottom of each recommendation). This will only work, of course, if the the recommendee approved the recommendation for viewing.
6. If all else fails, check the names of others who have looked at that profile. If you find one from the same company who is also a connection to you, click on that profile and check their contacts. They might already connect with your prospect and you can see the full name. You may need to check several profiles for success with this technique.
If none of these techniques work, then it’s time to ratchet up the search to include Google or Bing. The next part of this series will show how you can do advanced searched for LinkedIn using the search engines.
Keywords: LinkedIn, search, names, members, guerilla, recommendations