How to Choose the Perfect LinkedIn Background Photo
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You probably already know that a professional profile picture is an absolute necessity for your LinkedIn account. But that’s not the only picture people will see when they check out your profile. There’s also your LinkedIn background photo.

The background photo is a relatively new thing on LinkedIn; it’s only been around for a few years. And it might not seem all that important. But choosing the right background photo can give your LinkedIn profile a big boost 7 Essential LinkedIn Profile Tips for Success in 2018 7 Essential LinkedIn Profile Tips for Success in 2018 Want to improve your search rankings on LinkedIn and get more profile views? These LinkedIn profile tips will give you the boost you need. Read More .

You can no longer choose from a default list, so you’ll need to provide your own. Thankfully, we’re here to help with a set of tips to help you choose the perfect LinkedIn background photo.

1. Use the Correct LinkedIn Background Photo Size

LinkedIn background photos are 1584 x 396 pixels

Your LinkedIn background photo needs to be the right size, or you’re going to end up with weird proportions or cropping.

The official size of the LinkedIn background photo is 1584×396 pixels.

Not all of that space is usable, however. Much of it gets cropped out on smaller screens—if someone is using the LinkedIn app or mobile site, they’re not going to see much of your photo. And some if it is covered by your profile photo.

The safe usable space is around 1000×120 pixels at the top of the image. That doesn’t leave you with much space for a logo or a call to action. But if you want everyone to see it, that’s where it should be.

2. Decide What You Want Your Background Photo to Do

What purpose do you want your LinkedIn cover photo to serve? For example, it could be an extension of your company or personal branding, like Dave Grow’s background photo:

Dave Grow LinkedIn background photo

Using his company’s colors, name, and logo associates him with the brand.

You could also use a phrase or a few words that channel what you want your visitors to think of when they come to your page, like I’ve done here:

Dann Albright LinkedIn cover photo

Or you could share your credentials and achievements, like Tony Robbins has done here:

Tony Robbins LinkedIn cover photo

You could insert a call to action, telling people to email or call you. Or just choose a scene to impart a specific emotion to your profile.

Whatever you want your LinkedIn background photo to do, decide on the specifics before you create it.

3. Use a LinkedIn Background Photo Generator

Unless you have some graphic design skills 10 Great Design Courses on Lynda That'll Supercharge Your Skills 10 Great Design Courses on Lynda That'll Supercharge Your Skills Read More , it’s a good idea to use a LinkedIn cover photo generator. You’ll get a professional-looking image.

There are plenty of free services that will help you create a cover photo. Canva is one of the most well-known.

It has a ton of free LinkedIn background templates that you can use to create one for your profile. Here’s one that I made for myself in just a couple of minutes:

Custom LinkedIn background photo from Canva

(It’s watermarked, but you get the idea.)

And there are paid options if you want a specific look.

Adobe Spark is another free way to create a background photo for your LinkedIn profile. Choose an image, add some text, and you’re ready to go. There aren’t any LinkedIn templates like there are on Canva, but it does give you the tools to create something quickly.

Of course, you can always design your own, using any other service (like Crello, which we reviewed Is Crello Really the "Graphic Design Tool for Everyone"? Is Crello Really the "Graphic Design Tool for Everyone"? Crello is a new, free, online graphic design tool that touts itself as the "Graphic Design Tool for Everyone." Does it live up to the name? Read More ) or a design app. But using one of these sites is going to make the process easier.

These services are best if you want to customize your cover photos in some way. In the example above, I added text. Canva also lets you add two different photos, so you could customize it that way.

4. Download Free LinkedIn Background Images

FreeLinkedInBackgrounds technology category

If you don’t want to customize your cover photo, upload a photo that will complement your profile’s theme. For example, a software engineer might choose something code-related. An artist could use something artsy. A manager might choose a photo that evokes the idea of growth.

Fortunately, there are plenty of places where you can browse and download free LinkedIn background photos.

Unsplash is a great place to find free photos of all types The Best Place for Guaranteed Free-to-Use High-Quality Images for Any Reason The Best Place for Guaranteed Free-to-Use High-Quality Images for Any Reason The images on Unsplash come with a generous license: they can be used for personal or commercial projects with no attribution necessary. Read More that don’t require credit, and you can find images that support any kind of theme.

LinkedInBackground.com and FreeLinkedInBackgrounds.com have many photos that are already cropped to the right size, so you don’t have to worry about resizing them. FreeLinkedInBackgrounds has categories like technology, sports, and abstract images.

You can use any royalty free image you want, as long as you obey the rules for crediting authors. Just make sure that you’re consciously choosing an image that evokes the feeling you’re going for on your profile.

5. Choose a Creative Background Photo to Stand Out

LinkedIn profiles usually look pretty similar to one another; they’re text-based, so you can’t add a whole lot of visual flare. But your background photo can set you apart if it’s creative.

But how do you choose a creative LinkedIn background photo?

The best way to see what other people are doing (so you can avoid it) is to look up people with similar roles.

Head to your LinkedIn profile, then look for the “People Also Viewed” section on the right-hand side:

People Also Viewed section on LinkedIn Profile

Take a look at those profiles and their cover photos. See if they’re using text-based calls to action, custom graphics, simple photos, or the default LinkedIn background photo.

Then, do your best to stand out. Try something different. Think about what will set you apart.

The Best LinkedIn Background Photo for You

In the end, choosing the best background photo for your LinkedIn profile comes down to you personally. What do you want people to think of when they visit your LinkedIn profile? How do you want to stand out? What are you trying to accomplish on LinkedIn?

It’s easy to put up the first abstract background photo that you come across. But if you want to use LinkedIn to its fullest 11 LinkedIn Features You Aren't Using (But Should Be) 11 LinkedIn Features You Aren't Using (But Should Be) LinkedIn has a number useful features and tricks, some of which were very well hidden. Taken together, they can help make the network a tool for far more than just job-hunting. Read More , take the time to figure out what it is you want from your background photo, then choose or create the perfect one for your profile.

Explore more about: Careers, Job Searching, LinkedIn, Resume.

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  1. Michael Madarasz
    March 29, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    I left LinkedIn's august rolls after they adopted the slogan, "It's not what you know, it's who you know". There was a follow up line that we used in the Service that is not printable. It rhymed. If getting a job isn't about what you know, why bloody bother? All of this "personal branding" is just unnecessary bloviation. Marketeers want to run everything now, and it is even worse than when the accountants ran things. Disgusted.