On your LinkedIn page, above and to the right of your head shot, is a large rectangle, known as your background image. The default option for this image looks like the night sky — a blue background with stars in constellations.
Instead of retaining this default option, you can make this large space work for you by inserting content that reinforces your “brand.” It’s a great way to help a reader see you the way you want to be seen. The custom background “can make your profile stand out and put itself in a category of one,” said William Arruda, who Entrepreneur Magazine dubbed the “personal branding guru.”
Here are a few examples of how people can effectively use their background image to reinforce their brand:
1. Christopher Doerr is a packaging company sales executive, and his image shows products that use his company’s packaging.
2. Alex Freund is a career coach, and his image shows him teaching a class.
3. Peggy McKee is also a career coach. Her brief webinar on background images inspired me to write this article. Her image (pictured below left) shows the cover of one of her books and identifies her as an “Amazon.com best-selling” author.
4. John Nemo is a LinkedIn guru. His image (pictured below right) includes the covers of two of his books and the logos of publications where he has been quoted.
5. Claudia Williams is a leadership consultant. Her image shows her giving a TED Talk.
Other people use cityscapes, landscapes, or something similar. Such content is more interesting than the default option, but — no matter how breathtaking the shot — it does not help others understand who you are and what you offer.
For further reading:
William Arruda, “The Best LinkedIn Backgrounds And How To Create Yours,” October 7, 2018. He provides links to seven LinkedIn profiles and explains why the images are effective.
Dann Albright, “How to Choose the Perfect LinkedIn Background Photo,” March 27, 2018.
Lindsey McMillion Stemann, “3 Tips for the Optimal LinkedIn Background Image,” originally published September 21, 2015, updated January 2017.
By David Marwick, KempMillJobAssist
David Marwick is KempMillJobAssist’s workshop coordinator. He studied economics at George Washington University and worked as an economist for George Washington University and the U.S. Government Accountability Office.