At Desygner we know the importance of LinkedIn for making connections with employees and peers.  Recently LinkedIn decided to join the social media siblings Facebook and Twitter by introducing the profile cover photo. The wide image profile ‘cover photo’ (or ‘banner image’ as it can also be called) can do just as much for your company brand awareness as your profile photo does. LinkedIn’s official career expert Nicole Williams had this to say about the importance of uploading a LinkedIn cover photo and taking advantage of this feature “You are wasting an opportunity by not including a photo that expresses your professional identity,” Williams told the Business Insider. “It helps potential clients, investors, and hiring managers see you in the professional light you’d like them to.” She firmly believes everyone should “definitely upload a cover photo”. With that importance of this feature stressed, there are also some important tips to making sure you’re making the most out of the important LinkedIn feature.

Don't Be Afraid to Mix It Up

The people who view your LinkedIn profile may also have viewed your Facebook or Twitter profiles. Instead of just using the same image across every platform, change it up. This is particularly important with LinkedIn as opposed to Facebook and Twitter which are more pure social communities. LinkedIn is a community of business professionals and for business professionals.

Connect your LinkedIn Cover Photo to your Profession

“This image should always connect back to who you are as a professional, which isn’t always the case for other channels,” she explains. Citing the example of Richard Branson, who has chosen an image of the sky and clouds for his cover photo, this makes sense give his role as founder of Virgin Group, which includes their aviation and aerospace subsidiaries Virgin Airlines. Willams’ own cover photo, a collection of pencils, expresses her passion for creativity. “My favorite part of my careers is the writing I get to do. This image illustrates that.”

Tell A Visual Story

Your LinkedIn cover photo should tell the story of your professional in a visual manner.  This is an extremely prominent part of your profile page.  You need to make sure it represents you as best as possible.  If you’re struggling with picking out the perfect header image, try reaching out to a colleague at work, friends or family for their input.  Keep in mind there’s nothing holding you back from changing it later if needed.  Once you have one you like, before uploading it, as yourself the question, “Does this image represent me personally and as a professional?”.

Have a Personal Connection to the Image

There’s an old saying in Hollywood, “Show, don’t tell”.  It’s always more effective when a movie or TV show can visually tell the audience something rather than having a character or text explain something.  This holds true with your LinkedIn banner image.  Images have an energy to translate information in a way that sometimes words alone can’t.  Make sure to choose an image that not just represents you or your profession, but also is powerful and even motivating to you.  This will translate visually to the visitors of your LinkedIn profile.

Suggestions for an Effective LinkedIn Cover Photo

Sometimes starting is the hardest part.  Every second on the internet, there’s nearly 500 Instagram posts, 1,500 Tumblr posts, over 7,000 tweets on Twitter, almost 33,000GB of internet traffic and 53,000 Google searches.  You can see the madness for yourself at internetlivestats.com/one-second.  Point is, it can be easy to get lost in it all and not know where to start.  Here’s a handful of generals ideas and suggestions that can get you pointed in the right direction:

  • Accountants: Image with numbers and spreadsheets.
  • Architects: Blueprints or some other type of plans.
  • Barista: Freshly brewed coffee or an espresso machine.
  • Programmer: Computer/Laptop with Code on the Screen
  • Sales Person or Small Business Owner: Imagery of your product or office building.
  • Graphic Designer: Images or any design you’ve created.
  • Writers: Photos of books, magazines, newspaper or even just a pen or pencil and paper.

The Technical Bits

Hopefully by now that you’ve gotten a good idea of what your LinkedIn cover photo should be or at least where to start looking to find it.  Now comes to the technical parts to make sure the image you’ve picked can look its best once it’s uploaded.  According to LinkedIn’s Help Center; the file must come in a PNG, JPEG or GIF format, the file size cannot be greater than 2 MB and the minimum size requirements are 646 x 220 pixels.  For best image results, LinkedIn recommends an image size of 1400 x 425 pixels.  If all these numbers are making your head go numb, don’t worry, there are a number of great free tools online to help you create amazing looking LinkedIn banner image.  Some might even be closer than you think!