LinkedIn's Advanced Search allows you to filter people by various attributes such as location, current company, and industry. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a premium service you can subscribe to (for a cost) that will give you access to additional filters such as years of experience, job function, and seniority level. Regardless of which account type you have, there is a filter absent that would be especially useful for financial professionals . . . age. Wouldn't it be great if you could filter by people in various life stages that fit your ideal client profile?
Here's a secret: There is a workaround to find people by age that you can use to prospect and research potential clients. It involves using a feature on LinkedIn that allows you to view alumni from a specific school. There are a few things to keep in mind in using this workaround. First, this method assumes that most people graduate college at the age of 22. Second, you will have more results if the school you are targeting is in a larger metropolitan area because a larger number of students tend to stay in the same city after graduation. And lastly, LinkedIn recently upgraded the alumni pages with a new look and design. If this hasn't been made available to you yet, the screenshots in this post may appear slightly different.
Let's run through an example: You are a financial professional in the greater Seattle, Washington, area and you want to search for individuals aged 55-65 years old. One school you could target is the University of Washington because it is a large state school where many of its graduates remain in the Seattle area. On LinkedIn, you are first going to search for "University of Washington." LinkedIn defaults to the top results, but if you do not see it listed, you can switch from "Top" to "Schools." In either case, click the correct university from the search results. When you are on the school page, click the button that says "See alumni."
You will be taken to a page with many bar graphs and a gallery of people. The first thing you want to do is use the "Attended" date fields to isolate the target age range in the results. This will require some simple math. If we assume the average age a person completes his/her undergraduate degree is 22, we can work backwards to find the dates someone who is in our target age range would have attended college. Our youngest age is 55, so we will subtract 22 from 55 (55 – 22 = 33). Then, we will take that result (33) and subtract it from the current year (2017 – 33 = 1984). Now, subtract 10 years from the resulting year to get our oldest age year (1984 – 10 = 1974). We can now find individuals in our target age range by searching for those who attended the University of Washington from 1974 to 1984. Enter these dates in the "Start year" and "End year" fields, respectively.
After inputting these dates, LinkedIn will update the results automatically to show individuals who fit our target age range; however, we are not done yet. You can see that putting in these dates narrowed down the alumni from 275,352 to 27,662. Not all these individuals are in the Seattle area, so we want to isolate the local alumni. This is where those bar graphs will come in handy. LinkedIn displays information on where these people live, where they work, what they do, what they studied, and what they are skilled at (for the latter two, you must click "Next" to view results). Under any of these categories, you will see graphs sorted from largest to smallest audience size (note: you can click "Show more" to see more locations and categories). You will notice that the largest number of alumni reside in the Greater Seattle Area. Although it is not obvious, if you click the actual bar graph related to this location, it will be added as a filter and turn the other bar graphs grey. If you want to broaden your search to include multiple locations, you can click each one individually to include them in the results.
If the other categories, such as where they work or what they do, are of interest, you can continue to select from these as well. After you finish the filtering, you will see a gallery of people who fit these parameters below all the bar graphs. LinkedIn does you a favor by sorting these individuals by your degree of connection and the number of mutual connections you have. This makes it easy to identify those you may have a greater chance of connecting with by finding a mutual connection who may be able to make a warm introduction.
As you add more connections, the chances of having more connections in common increases. This opens opportunities for warmer introductions just by using the power of your existing network. There you have it: a little-known workaround that just may help you land that next client. Using this in conjunction with LinkedIn's advanced search are great ways to prospect effortlessly and efficiently.