10,000 Hours on LinkedIn with Jacob Warwick
In his ground-breaking book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell wrote that it takes 10,000 hours of intense practice to become an expert. Whether you’re learning to play the guitar or mastering an art form, those 10,000 hours will turn you into a pro.
So, what happens if you spend 10,000 hours on LinkedIn? What can you learn, what tips and tricks will you pick up, and what can you teach other entrepreneurs and executives?
That’s the topic of conversation for the latest This Week With Sabir, as I sat down with Jacob Warwick, an entrepreneur who has logged over 10k hours on the world’s biggest professional social network.
You can read the full blog below or watch the accompanying video, but here are a few snippets:
- Title and Picture: Your profile and title are two of the most important things in your profile. They need to be relevant to what you want from your career. Put yourself in a recruiter’s position and try to see what they see. If you’re an executive, use a professional photograph; if you’re an entrepreneur, you can afford to be a little more relaxed.
- Relevance and Consistency: Your profile should have a consistent thread. Make it relevant to your profession. Not only is that what companies want to see, but it also shows LinkedIn who you are and what you do.
- Optimize Your Resume: There are a couple of ways you can update your resume on LinkedIn. One is a feature available on your profile that lets you compare your resume against an ideal resume for your chosen job title. The other involves the use of a third-party tool and will check your resume against a specific job post.
- Change Your Skills: Have you updated your skills since you first joined the platform? Most users don’t, even if their careers have taken them on a completely different trajectory. If you’re not the person you were when you first joined LinkedIn, make sure those changes are reflected in the skills section.
- LinkedIn Bias: One of the most eye-opening lessons learned by Jacob Warwick concerns gender and cultural bias that exists throughout the LinkedIn platform. It’s shocking, and it could change how you approach the platform.
At the end of our discussion, Warwick gave his biggest insight, one that could provide 6-figures of value to entrepreneurs and executives. Make sure you watch/read to the end to see this for yourself.
How To Make Connections And Have Lifechanging Conversations On LinkedIn
The average user spends just 17 minutes on LinkedIn every month. Compare that to the 24 hours spent on TikTok or the 15 hours spent on Instagram, and you get an idea of why people use LinkedIn.
It’s not the sort of distracting, time-wasting platform that you mindlessly peruse as the hours melt away. It’s a professional network that facilitates connections and lets you showcase yourself to lucrative clients and employers.
Jacob Warwick knows this better than anyone, as his total time on the platform far eclipses that of the average user.
Warwick has clocked over 10,000 hours on LinkedIn, putting him firmly in the “Expert” territory according to Malcolm Gladwell’s “10k hours” theory.
Warwick wrote an incredibly informative article about his experiences, going over his learnings and listing a few of the things that matter and many others that don’t. As a LinkedIn user myself, I was keen to pick his brain about this experience, so I invited him on This Week With Sabir.
As always, you can watch the episode on YouTube or see the embedded video on this site. In this accompanying blog, I’ll go over a few of the important things that we discussed.
How To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile
One of the first things that Warwick discussed was how he spends some time pruning his profile and removing the connections that are no longer important.
It’s something I also do on a regular basis, with the goal being to remove the connections seemingly formed just so they could try and sell me something.
You don’t want to waste too much of your time doing this, as there are more important things to focus on, but it helps to clean things up every now and then.
Warwick noted, for instance, that he had to get rid of about 20k connections when LinkedIn changed the way it operates. It gives you an idea of just how many connections power users can have.
Why should you do this? Well, it’s good to have a spring clean. And as Warwick put it, “feeds can become echo chambers of bullshit”. If you don’t pay attention to who you’re following and connecting with, your feed will be an endless deluge of bigoted tirades and regurgitated content.
After pruning, Jacob Warwick spoke about some of the ways you can make your profile stand out:
Choose The Right Profile Photo
They say that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what most people do.
When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, most recruiters and clients will simply check your photo and read your title before making a conclusion.
If they’re interested, they’ll read more; if you don’t win them over, they’ll look elsewhere.
When choosing your picture, opt for something that suits your job title. If you’re an executive, invest in a good headshot. Alternatively, choose a picture taken at a wedding or black-tie event, something where you’re dressed smartly and professionally.
Of course, that doesn’t apply if the photo in question was taken at the end of the night after a few dozen beers.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you can afford to be a little more relaxed.
Not sure what image would be a good fit? Take a look at what other professionals in your space are posting. Check the profiles of successful people, as well as individuals who are very popular on LinkedIn.
Keep Your Title Short, Snappy, And Relevant
Use your title tag carefully. As Warwick explained, he is listed as a founder, which works for what he wants to do. But if he was looking for a job in marketing and trying to attract recruiters, he wouldn’t even appear in their searches. At that point, he’d need to adjust his title and, potentially, his entire profile.
Think about how LinkedIn sees you and how they will rank you in their searches, as this affects what other people will see. If you want to be hired as a Chief Marketing Officer, that should be your recent experience.
In my case, I treat my LinkedIn profile as a landing page, as that’s basically what it is. I’m not looking for work, I’m looking for clients, and my goal is to showcase my skills/experience and funnel those clients to where I want them to be.
Be Consistent Throughout Your Page
Your LinkedIn profile should be consistent throughout. It should represent who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and most importantly, where you want to be in the future.
LinkedIn picks up on keywords in your profile and uses these to determine your visibility.
As Warwick says, you need a thread of consistency that runs through your entire profile.
You should also change your industry to focus on what you want to be and not what you are. For instance, if you’re a small or medium business owner seeking a role as a CEO, focus on your experience in management and highlight your skills as an executive.
Optimize Your Resume
There are a few ways that you can optimize your resume on LinkedIn.
The first allows you to upload a resume and adapt it to the sort of job you’re looking for.
On your profile, click “More” and then “Build a Resume”. From here, you can upload your resume and then select the job title that you’re looking for.
LinkedIn will recommend changes that align your resume to that job title. So, if you find a general job title for which you’d be a good fit, but your resume isn’t exactly aligned, you can upload it, tweak it, and ensure you’re hitting the right skills and keywords.
If you’re putting yourself forward for a specific job, there are tools that let you compare your resume to the role, highlighting the areas where you need to improve.
To access this feature, simply check out the Resume Scanner on Cultivated Culture.
Update Your LinkedIn Skills
You are prompted to set up your skills when you first join LinkedIn, but never again, and many users don’t change this section. They assume that these skills don’t matter as no one will read them, but they will influence how you appear in the rankings when you’re looking for new work and trying to get noticed.
LinkedIn has been around for a long time. Your skills will no doubt have changed a lot in that time. You might not be the person that you were when you first joined. I know I’m not, as most of my skills related to computer programming when I first joined LinkedIn and I’m now known as a growth strategist and e-commerce guru.
Spend some time looking through your skills and seeing if there is anything that needs to be updated.
Don’t Worry About Making Regular Updates
LinkedIn is not like TikTok or Instagram. You don’t need to make multiple daily updates, and this is true even if you’re using it to market yourself and your services.
As for how often you should update, it really depends.
LinkedIn is a highly subjective environment. Jacob recommends not trying to analyze it, as it is constantly changing and what works today might not work tomorrow.
He recommends spending more time engaging than worrying about posting. If you have something interesting to share, then share it, but don’t feel like you need to post for the sake of posting.
This is somewhat contrary to previous recommendations on marketing and building a brand. But that’s because LinkedIn works completely differently from Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and other platforms.
You’re not constantly chasing an algorithm and trying to create a personal brand that’s accessible to everyone. You’re focusing on a very specific group of people, and those people use the platform transiently.
So, stop worrying about posting every day or even every week. Check your skills, update your picture and title, make sure your profile is nailed down, and focus on making meaningful connections.
After all, it only takes one connection to change your life for the better, and that’s true regardless of what your skillset is and what you want to get out of the platform.
The Terrible Truth (Bias On LinkedIn)
Do you feel like you’re doing everything right but just not getting the attention you deserve? Are you sending well-constructed outreach messages and making valuable connections without really getting anywhere?
It could be down to your name, nationality, culture, and even your gender.
This is something that Warwick wrote about in his article and mentioned during our discussion. It’s also something that I have experienced personally, and I believe it could be an eye-opener for many non-American entrepreneurs, so it’s worth mentioning.
During several studies on gender and cultural biases, Warwick and his team found that men get blocked more than women, but only because women were more prone to being harassed.
In other words, while many users were quick to dismiss male approaches and block them on sight, they were more likely to respond to female users and immediately try to flirt with them.
Women are disrespected much more often on LinkedIn, and they deal with this harassment every single day.
The more connections they have and the more time they spend on the platform, the greater that harassment becomes.
It’s hard to imagine what this is like from a male perspective. But imagine a world where many of your messages are not treated seriously and are met with harassment, sexualized comments, and cringe-worthy flirting. Imagine feeling like you need to be polite when responding, but also knowing that being polite will just encourage them and that ignoring them will lead to an escalation of abuse.
It’s a very tough position to be in, and it makes life difficult for female entrepreneurs who are already dealing with discrimination.
The issue isn’t limited to gender, either.
More American-sounding names get more attention. It’s something I can attest to personally, and something I have seen in many of my friends and family members, as well. The unfortunate fact is that if you have a foreign name, you’re less likely to get respect and won’t be treated the same when reaching out to clients or applying for jobs.
You can have a fantastic command of the English language, a polite and well-structured approach, and all the experience in the world, but if you don’t have a traditionally American name, you won’t be treated the same.
As Warwick notes, it’s an unconscious bias, as the assumption is that a foreign name equates to spam, and so the message should be ignored.
When I reach out, I don’t get the same engagement rates and response rates as members of my team who have English-sounding names. The email content is the same. The message is the same. And we’re trying to promote/sell the same thing. The only thing that changes is the name, and yet that’s enough to significantly reduce the efficacy of those emails.
I’ve had people tell me that they won’t work with me because “I don’t work with people from India”. I’m Turkish. I was raised in New York. I’m about as Indian as they are, and yet they make that assumption and are happy to vocalize it.
It’s not just the bigots, though. If it was, Jacob’s results wouldn’t be so high. Most of those biases occur subconsciously, so you may be making them without realizing it.
It brings to mind what Warwick said about profile pictures and titles—people make snap decisions and judgments based on the most basic of information.
The $100,000 Question
At the end of this week’s show, I asked Jacob Warwick for his biggest insight following his 10,000-hour journey.
He reiterated his point about making valuable connections, noting that your main KPI on LinkedIn is the conversations you have.
It’s not about making as many connections as you can or publishing content as often as you can. It’s about speaking to the right people and using these conversations to progress your career.
It’s a give-and-take process. You scratch their backs and they’ll scratch yours.
If you’re doing it right, you’ll be spending more time conversing and less time worrying and posting. You’ll be devoting your time to creating meaningful connections and not simply broadcasting to the abyss.
As Jacob says, when you scale the ladder and start doing things right, the doors will begin to open for you and you’ll understand exactly what LinkedIn has to offer.
About Jacob Warwick
Jacob Warwick is a 3-time multi-million dollar founder and the current CEO of ThinkWarwick CORE Connect. CORE Connect is a private network for executives to forge meaningful relationships with fellow leaders who want to maximize their quality of life while keeping their careers interesting.
Jacob is a family man first and an executive coach and author professionally. He is the former CEO of Discover Podium and was previously a Forbes 30 Under 30 finalist and executive in Silicon Valley. He lives in North West Montana with his wife, 3 dogs, and soon to be first child.