30 LinkedIn Profile Tips 6/30 – Use a header image

30 short, useful, actionable LinkedIn tips in 30 days from Doctor LinkedIn™, David Petherick. #30×30

#6/30: Use a custom header background image.

You have free real estate at the top of your profile: use it.

You have a free piece of advertising real estate at the top of your profile – it’s a header or background image.

Many people don’t bother to add an image – but you can use yours to differentiate and brand yourself to stand out from the many millions of other profiles on LinkedIn.

So rather than leaving it blank, or using one of the rather bland, generic images that LinkedIn provides, invest some time and thought into personalising your header to showcase your talent and underscore your branding.

This is a version of my profile header image – a mixture of text and photo, and it has a clear and useful call to action. It says who I am and what I do, it points you to something useful, and it echoes the colours and imagery of my brand.

You need to be aware that you’re dealing with an oddly-shaped ‘viewing window’ which is somewhat like an inverted ‘U’ where your own profile photo, name and header information will appear – but it’s easy to use this element to stand out from the 42o million+ other individuals on LinkedIn.

  • Graphics tip: If you have no graphics editing software installed on your computer, try using a simple, free, but powerful online tool that makes it easy to create a custom header image, with options to upload your own logos or photographs and then add text – canva.com

How do I add my header image?

Easy – just click to edit your profile, and then click into the area at the top to select ‘Edit background’. The image size should be 1400w x 425h pixels.

Important: When you are editing your profile and adding your background image, the default view of your header image does not appear on your profile as others will see it. In edit mode, it obscures more than is obscured in reality.

[Figure A: What you see of your header when editing your profile]

Sadly, even when you click to view your profile as others see it as below, in Figure B, the horizontal offset dimensions of the image are not always quite accurate.

But you still have a clearer indication of the ‘clear’ dimensions at the top of your header which is approximately 180 pixels in height, and 975 pixels in width.

[Figure B: Indication of what your header will actually look like]

LinkedIn, rather annoyingly, also from time to time adds adverts in plain text format on a semi-transparent background to encroach on the top of the header image by approximately 45 pixels – slightly smaller in height than the band shown at the top of Figure B. So your clear real estate is often only 975 pixels wide and 135 pixels high.

Header images also of course appear differently on tablets and mobile phones – the best thing to do is to experiment with a few different layouts, and then check how these look on different devices. You can also ask a LinkedIn connection to send you screenshots of your profile, so you can see exactly how things appear.

It would be nice if one day LinkedIn offered an accurate preview facility!

Some effective example headers

Here are three examples of effective profile header images. You can also see that having a Premium Account gives you a slightly different format, and does not place ads alongside your name.