It’s really important to have a custom background image on your LinkedIn profile today. It’s a free and easy way to brand yourself and because it takes up so much space on your profile, it is a place where you can be bold and stand out.

And most importantly, photos help tell stories – in this case your career story. This is prime career-building real estate. Use it or lose the opportunity to tell your story visually and set yourself apart from others.

Choosing a unique image is a great way to help you stand out from the crowd. Your background photo is a way to show off your brand and your personality. Your LinkedIn cover photo can help  connections and hiring managers get a sense of your personal brand and get to know you better.

So what should you post as your cover image? I use and create custom images with these ideas in mind:

  • Use a photo that represents your field
  • Use a picture of your city’s skyline
  • Use a photo of your company’s logo/branding
  • Use an image of something that represents your company
  • Use a picture of your professional community, clients or employees
  • Use a photo of your workspace
  • Use a quote that inspires you
  • Use an image of an award or accomplishment
  • Use an abstract image
  • Use a collage of images

The image I used with this post is my LinkedIn cover image. I used my Bitmoji in various poses to explain what I do – it’s meant to be a little quirky (like me) and visual. What works for someone else might not work for you but that’s okay. That’s what makes each of us unique.

As you probably already know, you cannot simply find the perfect photo on a Google image search, download it and add it as your cover photo. There are copyright and licensing laws against this, and in order to use these photos, you’d have to obtain permission and then provide credit to the sources. But there are plenty of free stock photo websites you can utilize to find the perfect image such as Unsplash and Pixabay.

Please make sure the image you use is right-sized – so 1584 width by 396 height pixels.

Your background photo appears behind your profile photo in the introduction section on your profile. If you don’t customize it, your photo will be a gray shadowy box.

To add a background photo:

  • Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
  • Click View profile.
  • Click the Camera icon on the upper right corner of your introduction section.
  • Click Upload photo to select an image from your computer, and click Open.
  • Click Apply.
  • The photo will upload automatically.

To reposition, delete or change a background photo:

  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Click View profile.
  3. Click on the background photo and choose one of the following options:
    • Reposition to drag and reposition the image (option available on the image itself).
    • Delete photo to remove the image.
    • Change photo to change the current background photo.

Try customizing your LinkedIn header image today –  a picture really is worth 1,000 words in this case.