Is it necessary to have a custom LinkedIn background photo? And if you do opt for a custom banner, how do you create one that grabs the attention of recruiters and hiring managers in today’s competitive job market? Continue reading and you’ll learn:
- Whether it’s necessary to have a custom LinkedIn banner
- What to include in your LinkedIn background photo
- How to make a custom LinkedIn banner
Is it necessary to have a custom LinkedIn banner?
For starters, is it really necessary to change your LinkedIn background? While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether you want a custom banner, the background photo is the initial section of your profile.
Since you only get one first impression, it doesn’t hurt to create a customized LinkedIn background that is eye-catching and quickly communicates your value to prospective employers.
Your banner is the first section that a recruiter or hiring manager will see when they view your profile page. Swapping out the stock LinkedIn background for a well-branded one allows you to quickly communicate your unique value proposition (AKA your fabulousness).
How do I make a custom banner for LinkedIn?
You have a few options for creating a custom LinkedIn banner, and here are three of the most popular:
- Hire a professional graphic designer
- Choose one of LinkedIn’s custom images
- Use a self-service graphic design tool
Option 1: Hire A Professional Graphic Designer
If you have the resources, I advise working with a graphic designer to create an eye-catching banner that sets you apart from other job seekers. I’m a fan of Christa Fleming Design, as she created the background photo for my LinkedIn profile as well as my other social media platforms, and her work speaks for itself.
Option 2: Choose One Of LinkedIn’s Custom Images
If you’re cost-conscious, another option is to opt to swap out the stock background photo for one of LinkedIn’s custom image options. The platform is good at introducing new images to show support for diversity, so check regularly to see which options are available.
Option 3: Use A Self-Service Graphic Design Tool
Lastly, you can use a self-service tool like Canva to create your own LinkedIn banner. The platform has hundreds of free LinkedIn background templates available with a free account, and thousands more unlock with a paid subscription. If you need free or low-cost stock photos, Unsplash is a great option; I use it for all the images for this job search blog.
“Keep. It. Simple” if you decide to create your own LinkedIn background photo, cautions Fleming.
What do I include in my LinkedIn background?
Whether you decide to work with a graphic designer or create your own LinkedIn banner, you’ll have to decide what content to include, which can be a challenge since you have limited space. As of publishing this article, the dimensions for a personal LinkedIn background photo are 1128 (w) x 191 (h) pixels.
You can begin with an abbreviated or modified version of your LinkedIn headline and focus the banner content on your:
- Areas of expertise
- Consolidated career wins
You can also craft a branding statement that concisely summarizes your work and impact. This can be as simple as, “I help [target audience] to [solution] so they can [result].”
Although some job seekers add their favorite quote to their LinkedIn banner, I advise against this, as your profile is about you, not someone you admire. Instead, you might opt for an excerpt from one of your LinkedIn recommendations.
What colors look best in a LinkedIn banner?
Because I’m no expert in graphic design, I asked Fleming whether there were any best colors to include in your LinkedIn banner.
“I don’t think certain colors are necessarily better than others when it comes to social media banners,” she says. “LinkedIn has a pretty neutral palette, which doesn’t conflict with personalizations on individual profiles.”
“If you have branded colors, that’s always best — that way, you’re tying your banner in with the look of the rest of your collateral,” Fleming explains. “But if you don’t have any collateral to pull from, then choosing colors you love or that you feel represent you is a good way to go.”
Are there any colors to avoid in your LinkedIn banner?
Now, are there any colors to avoid in your LinkedIn background photo? Fleming says no colors are entirely off-limits for LinkedIn.
“Colors are very subjective and can vary in how they’re seen, or interpreted, from person to person or even culture to culture,” she explains. “It would be almost impossible to please everyone with color choices.”
“That said, if someone is targeting a certain part of the world in their career search, a bit of research might be in order to determine if certain colors have negative connotations there,” she adds.
How To Create An Eye-Catching LinkedIn Banner
Creating a custom LinkedIn banner is an opportunity to quickly communicate your fabulousness to prospective employers. In the digital age, you have several options for creating your banner, including partnering with a professional graphic designer, selecting one of LinkedIn’s custom images, and trying a self-service graphic tool. If you decide to design your LinkedIn banner yourself, remember to keep it simple. You’ve got this!