How To View Any Profile On LinkedIn

LinkedIn_LogoI’m sure it has happened to you too. You look someone up on LinkedIn only to find they are a third degree connection (or not even!) and you get a profile page with basically no information.

LinkedIn profile access is even more restricted, today you now need a premium account to view third degree connections.

Of course, you can solve this with a premium membership, but here is how to view the full public profile without a premium account.

Here is an example using Eric Cantor, a Congressman from Virginia that I don’t share any groups with and isn’t a connection. Searching in LinkedIn, this is all I was able to see of his profile:

Limited profile available for 3rd degree connections

1. Search On Google

Don’t start with LinkedIn. Instead, use Google and include LinkedIn in your search (or even start the search with site:linkedin.com to limit your results to just LinkedIn).

You are looking for a search result that goes directly to the individual, not a LinkedIn search results page. Here is what it should look like. Notice the title and location indicate it’s a result for an individual profile.

Eric Cantor Google Result

Particularly if its a common name, adding a title, company, location or other info to your search will help to narrow the results and find the right person. In this case, I searched for site:Linkedin.com Eric Cantor Majority Leader.

Eric Cantor Public Profile

2. View the Cached Profile

Mouse over the search result, you will get a chevron to the right of the result. Mouse over the chevron and you will see a preview of the page and a link to view the cached version of the page.

The cached page is your ticket. This is the profile Google sees and indexes.

Click to view the cached version, and viola, you will see the full public profile. Here is Eric Cantor’s full public profile (click to see it full size).

If you are identifying contacts, researching prospects or just spying on a competitor, now you can access any profile on LinkedIn.

Troubleshooting

If you cannot easily find the profile using Google, view Google’s cached version of one of the LinkedIn search results pages. You will get the full name, headline, title and both current and past companies. Add the title or headline to your search and you will get directly to the right person.

For Eric Cantor again, here is the cached search results page, showing significantly more information than the typical LinkedIn search results page offers.

Eric Cantor Search

Similarly, if you are searching for a contact by title at a company, start by searching for the company plus title on Google and limiting your results just to LinkedIn. By viewing the cached results, you can identify the person and get their full name, even if you are not connected to them at all.

Update: It appears the cached version is no longer available in Google search for some users. If your browser has an incognito or private browser option (Chrome does), you can simply open the Google search result in an incognito window to get the full public profile.

Your Turn

Do you have favorite LinkedIn tricks you have discovered? If so, please share them in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake)!

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  • Ryan

    I’ve been doing this for months now but I’m glad you pointed it out. A lot of people don’t know this workaround!

  • http://www.wonderoftech.com Carolyn Nicander Mohr

    Very cool tricks! Thanks for letting us know about these tricks. I will definitely be sharing this.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Glad you liked it and thanks for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/dashtonwagner Doreen Ashton Wagner

    Thanks for sharing this tip, Eric. I had read it elsewhere before, but your detailed explanation makes it easy to revisit.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Glad it was easy to read, that was a concern when I was reading it. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Romona Foster

    Thanks Eric. This indeed works, however if the person has changed how they appear in searches on their LinkedIn profile the cache still may not work. It depends on their settings.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Good point Romona, the cache can be out of date (Google shows the cache date at the top of the cache, so you can check how old it is) and it only shows the Public Profile. People may share more information with connections. Good point, thanks for adding it!

  • Lana

    Thank you for such a useful advice!

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      You are welcome!

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  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/shanebowen Shane Bowen

    Hi Eric,

    If you already know the persons name, you’re better served to use LinkedIn’s search: http://linkd.in/V4Tsf5

    Because LinkedIn assumes you know this person based on you having their full name, they will show you the full profile.

    Here are a couple of other approaches to look at as well.

    http://bit.ly/WZ2BtY

    http://bit.ly/RpFPYV

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Shane, searching by name or through Google should both give you the public profile. I generally use Google anyways though for a couple reasons:

      1. Google tends to do a better job for me of finding related names, for instance Joe and Joseph. Through LinkedIn search, its often difficult to find an individual, particularly one with a common name.
      2. Sometimes I still get the restricted profile on LinkedIn, possibly because of a slight name mismatch like above, I haven’t been able to figure out why.

      Thanks for pointing out the alternative, hopefully it works better for others than it has for me!

    • Numan Abdullah

      Shane, I haven’t been able to see 3rd degree profiles even I have their
      names in full. The only time it helps is when I copy the link, log out
      ad paste it in the nav bar. It shows me the full profile. Of course, as
      Eric pointed out Google’s caches are supercool! And your ID based query
      is fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  • Mark Gavalda

    Excellent tip Eric, I use Google’s cached pages function in some other but very similar situations myself. One can understand why Rupert Murdoch had problems with Google back in the days ;) Cheers.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Thanks Mark. I’ve been finding it more useful myself lately!

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  • http://twitter.com/tylerphinkle Tyler Hinkle

    Another nice work-around is within the LinkedIn profile, there is an option to “share profile”. Share this profile with a co-worker or another friend who knows you’ll be sharing this profile with them. Send the message and then go find this message in your own sent messages inbox. Open your sent message and you will see a link that says “view profile”. Click that and you now have the full profile. Hope this helps too.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Good to know, thanks!

  • Jim Ker

    I wasn’t able to replicate this at all. The page preview, and the cached version, showed me the locked out profile every single time. I assume this doesn’t work all the time?

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      As others have pointed out, it actually shows the “public” profile, so if someone has set their profile to be mostly private, you will only get the public sections (which LinkedIn doesn’t even show anymore otherwise).

  • http://bigleapcreative.com/ Lisa Gerber

    That’s tricky and cool and awesome! :)

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Thanks, glad you like it!

  • Paul

    Hi Eric , good article !! I’m not able to open 2nd degree connections from the people you may know section, this was possible just a week ago , has this been changed by linked in also ? any help would be great , Thanks Paul

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Paul, I just tested this and I am still able to open 2nd degree connections. Maybe you are on the front end of a new wave of changes from LinkedIn, although I certainly hope not.

      Note one extreme possibility is LinkedIn does have some controls to keep people from using the system as a database to build lists from. I’m not clear what triggers it, but if you have diving into a large number of profiles, you may be running into LinkedIn’s protection mechanism. If so, give it a break for a few days and it should return to normal.

  • Rachel

    LinkedIn has really shot themselves in the foot with this. The one and only reason to have a profile that existed has gone. I only had a profile so that it could be viewed by prospective clients / employers, who I could therefore be sure had seen my written recommendations. If they’re not able to do that without already knowing me, what’s the point? And if users don’t have a reason to keep their profile updated, LinkedIn’s marketers won’t have anyone to market to. Dumb on their part.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Rachel, I’m not a fan of the change, but I don’t believe it will drive many people away from LinkedIn. If anything, LinkedIn may use this and other new features to encourage people to expand their network, join and participate in more groups, etc. More active members means more page views for advertising and more lock-in with LinkedIn as our primary professional network.

      It will be interesting to see what LinkedIn does next.

  • Vikram

    Thanks for this useful information!

  • Nate

    after i accidentally deleted my summary, Your post saved my profile…i was searching my browser cache…but hadn’t thought of google!!

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      That’s great, so glad it helped! Thank you Google for not just organizing, but storing, all the world’s information. ;-)

  • Elijah

    Does this trick still work please?
    I have tried it now, but it’s not working for me. Do you you have suggestions?
    Thank you.

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      Yes, it does still work, although Google has moved the link to the cached copy of a page to a small dropdown next to the URL. Alternatively, you can open the link in an incognito or private window depending on what browser you are using.

  • Haroon

    what should i write on search of google engine to find all names beyond 100 names since my account is basic can you help with that please?

    • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

      I haven’t tried that. I would start by narrowing the search. You could search for specific titles instead of broader roles or even add a state to your search. It doesn’t get you around a limit on the number of search results directly, but it gives you fewer results on each search.

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  • Emi

    Does anyone know if viewing cached profile will log you as having viewed that person’s profile on their LinkedIn notifications?

    • e

      It won’t, since the cached page is a copy held by Google, external to the whole LinkedIn system. *But* if you don’t stop the page load quite quickly (press Esc) it will sometimes redirect you to the current page on LinkedIn, which presumably *will* mark you as having viewed the page.

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