Are you using LinkedIn more than ever before? As the pandemic continues, many midcareer professionals are using the extra time to network online. Whether you have been on LinkedIn for some time or are just getting started with it, having a strong profile is important. And having a solid LinkedIn profile includes choosing a cover or background photo.
While having the standard LinkedIn background photo is a good starting point while you brainstorm ideas, choosing a unique image is a great way to help you stand out from the crowd. While your profile photo should be professional and conservative, your background photo is a way to show off your brand and your personality. When used correctly, your LinkedIn cover photo can help new connections and hiring managers get a sense of your personal brand and get to know you a little bit better.
It can be confusing to choose a photo that perfectly represents who you are as a professional, so here are some tips and ideas on how to choose a LinkedIn cover photo:
- Use a photo that represents your field.
- Use a personal photo.
- Use a photo of your workspace.
- Use your favorite quote.
- Use an image of an award or accomplishment.
- Use an abstract image.
- Use the right dimensions.
- Use quality sources.
The Step-by-Step Guide to Career Success
Use a Photo That Represents Your Field
Is there a certain image that would resonate with new connections or hiring managers in your current industry? Is there something that represents how your industry has changed over the past few months due to COVID-19? For example, an architect could use a blueprint, a teacher could use a blackboard and a graphic designer could use a stencil image as a cover photo. Try to think of something that represents your field that is still unique. See what other professionals in your field are using to make sure that your cover image will stand out.
Use a Personal Photo
Is taking photos your hobby? Choose one of your own photos of a nature scene such as the mountains, the ocean, flowers or even architecture. You could make a small note of why you chose your cover image to help viewers make the connection. For example: “I am an avid traveler. My cover image is from my favorite vacation spot in X. I hope it inspires you to dream of better times soon.”
Use a Photo of Your Workspace
Using a photo of a workspace is a great way to showcase your great work ethic and professionalism. If you don’t feel that your office or home workspace would make the greatest photo, you can search for a free stock image online of what you would like your ideal space to look like. Alternatively, you could use a skyline photo of the city where you work.
Use Your Favorite Quote
Is there a certain quote that you live by or that serves as professional inspiration to you? This is a great way to provide inspiration to those who visit your profile. This is also a great way to let them know a lot about who you are in one phrase. You could use the quote over a solid color or over one of the above image ideas. Make sure to give recognition to the author of the quote in the image as well.
Use an Image of an Award or Accomplishment
Have you received an important award in your industry or workplace recently? Showcase the recognition of your hard work and accomplishments by using an image of the award or you with the award. Your claim to fame could also be work that you have accomplished in the past, perhaps something that you include in your portfolio. This is a great way for others to understand what you do.
Use an Abstract Image
If you are struggling with finding a picture that represents your brand, you can always use an abstract image. Whether it’s a photo of abstract art or an image with texture, choosing something with color or other eye-catching features is a unique way to grab the attention of a new connection or hiring manager.
Use the Right Dimensions
Once you have found your perfect LinkedIn cover photo, you will want to make sure that it is a high-resolution image so that it doesn’t appear grainy. You will also need to ensure that you have the correct size. LinkedIn recommends that a cover image be 1584 x 396 pixels. If your image doesn’t quite fit those specifications, the image will be adjusted to fit the screen when you upload the image. If it doesn’t look right to you once you upload it, you can edit it on your own before uploading by using Paint on your laptop or a free online photo editor like Canva.com. LinkedIn also offers a few options for further personalizing your image, such as filters, brightness, saturation and vignette.
Use Quality Sources
If you do not have a personal image to use for your LinkedIn cover image, there are many websites that offer free stock images to use. It is important to make sure that any image you use is under the Creative Commons licenses, which means they are free to use for any legal purpose. Pexels.com and Unsplash.com are just a few examples of websites you can use to find a unique cover image. Using sites like those as opposed to grabbing any image from a search engine ensures that you choose a free image without getting into legal trouble.