How to Choose Your LinkedIn Cover Photo
Many job seekers neglect the LinkedIn cover photo, but that’s a mistake. Here’s how to choose an image that will give your profile stand out.
By: Ryan Thornton | Blog Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma
You’ve polished all the important sections of your LinkedIn profile and done everything we’ve suggested to attract recruiters, but have you taken a moment to consider that big dull rectangle at the top?
If you’re like most LinkedIn users, probably not. Here’s what to do about it.
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But Do I Really Need a LinkedIn Cover Photo?
First of all, know that you’re not alone if you just don’t see the point in having a LinkedIn Cover Photo (or for that matter, a LinkedIn Banner). The majority of LinkedIn users have underutilized or left this space empty. That’s great news for you, though. It means your profile will instantly stand out once you select your cover photo!
It’s true that your skills, not your cover photo, are going to land you that dream job. However, you should take advantage of anything that helps keep positive attention on your profile. With an interesting picture at the top of your page, you have an even better chance of employers sticking around long enough to be stunned by your relevant work experience and outstanding qualifications.
As a plus, a good cover photo makes your profile look complete, which shows employers that you’re the kind of person who crosses your t’s and dots your i’s in everything you do.
Choose Your Own Adventure
The wonderful thing about a LinkedIn Cover Photo is that it doesn’t need to amaze anybody. Neither does it need to be the “perfect” photo. In fact, just about any photo will look better than nothing at all. The only thing left is for you to choose yours!
So if you’re starting from scratch like most people, here are some great options.
Custom graphics as a LinkedIn cover photo
One of the best options for a cover photo is to design your own branded image. These can vary greatly, but depending on your line of work, you may want the design to reflect an industrious vitality or a sleek aesthetic. You can make your own from scratch, or you can use online tools like Canva’s LinkedIn banner templates to have a professional looking cover photo or LinkedIn Banner within minutes. No design chops needed!
A variation of the custom graphic is to use the space to provide information about yourself in a super fancy way, like a digital business card. Whatever you put in here will be visible to anyone who can see your profile though, so you may want to keep that in mind when sharing personal information such as your phone number or email address.
Industry-related inspirational pic
Another great option is to find or take an inspiring photo related to the work you do or would like to be doing. The cover photo to the right appeals to the romance of working for the flight industry and lends the profile an uplifting quality. This strategy can easily be adapted to other industries. For example, you may snap a photo of a grand hospital facade if you’re entering the health care sector. Those heading into artistic professions like interior or graphic design could even use the space to showcase some of their favorite personal work.
Action shot or demonstration
Consider using use a snapshot of you in your element that demonstrates your work, personality, or hobby in action like canoeing, paragliding, or playing piano. You can also show an example of what you create, like LEG team member and professional chef Alexis does.
If you usually sit in a cubicle all day, you could also look for a photo of a moment when you led a group presentation or took your work out of the office. You can also easily say that you are a team player if it’s a group photo of you smiling with peers or colleagues. If you really want to show off your virtues, you might search your files for recent pictures of group volunteer work or other laudable activities for a LinkedIn Banner.
You can’t go wrong with a nice landscape or city skyline photo (it can even include you). Skyline shots are an elegant option for those who live and work in urban areas, but this can be adapted to any setting. If you live and work by the beach, you might replace the towers with sailboats and seagulls. If you find great pleasure in traveling, a photo of your favorite recent destination may do the trick!
(Example photo to the right by Rachel Leonard)
Stock image or industry graphic as a LinkedIn cover photo
Visual thinkers may also want to look for images that reflect their work or their industry in a nice, clean design. You can find a wide variety of stock cover photos here and here (and as an added bonus, they’ve already been sized to the correct dimensions!).
Final Touches on Your LinkedIn Cover Photo
Once you’ve got the right picture, now you’ll just want to make sure it looks sharp and fits the right dimensions for the page layout. For this you can use your own software or head over to Canva’s free online photo editor to finish the job. If you upload to Canva, crop your photo to the dimensions of 1128 (w) x 191 (h) pixels, then scroll the photo up or down to capture the part of the picture you want to be displayed.
That’s all there is to it! Now you can rest easy knowing that your extraordinary accomplishments will look even more distinguished beneath a handsome cover photo.
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