Your LinkedIn profile has your work experience, connections, plenty of endorsed skills, and a great headshot. How else can you improve your page in 30 seconds or less?
Easy: update your default LinkedIn cover photo.
You've probably seen the default background image dozens of times on profiles for Senior VPs, startup founders, and just-made-my-profile-today young professionals.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with the default background photo picture, it certainly isn't going to help you stand out.
However, this photo real estate could be serving you better. You can easily upload something that represents you, your passion, or your professional goals. Keep scrolling for tons of ideas!
Best size of a LinkedIn background photo
Your LinkedIn background image should be long but narrow. LinkedIn recommends a picture that is 1584 (w) x 396 (h) pixels, and you can upload it as a JPG, GIF, or PNG file 8MB or smaller.
How to change your background photo
From a desktop computer, log in to LinkedIn and go to your profile page.
Click on the pencil icon in the top right hand corner to open the photo upload box.
Click "upload photo" and select the new backdrop to your headshot.
Crop, filter, adjust, zoom, and straighten as you see fit. As with most photo editing, less is more!
Click "apply" and you're good to go!
While you're at it, get yourself a custom LinkedIn URL to add to your resume's contact information!
How to choose a photo
You want your cover photo to represent your professional self. You can choose to shine a spotlight on a symbol of your industry or on a key skill that helps you succeed. Key skills should pop up naturally within your LinkedIn work experience section and your resume.
Some professionals make use of a color theme that creates a common thread through their resume, LinkedIn profile picture, and LinkedIn background photo. This post will offer a variety of free options for you to use or get inspired by.
Many people use multiple social media outlets to boost their online presence. Using the same background image across your online profiles is an easy way to create consistency. In addition to LinkedIn, here are some other websites that allow you to add a cover photo or background image:
A hiring manager or recruiter may check out any of your social media profiles while considering your candidacy for a job, so a united theme can go a long way. Make sure your public social media accounts are work-place friendly!
While you're taking a critical look online, compare your LinkedIn profile and resume. They shouldn't be exactly the same, but should have the same basic information like job titles, dates of employment, and names of employers. Read about the difference between your resume and LinkedIn profile and make adjustments while you're updating your cover photo!
Where to find photos
First, take a look at your own photo library. Do you have any pictures of your team, your office, or your milestones that you'd like to share?
If you can't find anything fitting, check out sites like Unsplash or Pixabay for free images. All the photos on this page are from one of those sites.
Unsplash offers "Beautiful, free images and photos that you can download and use for any project. Better than any royalty free or stock photos."
Pixabay advertises "Find your perfect free image or video to download and use for anything. ✓ Free for commercial use ✓ No attribution required ✓ High quality images."
As an alternative, you can also use Google image search. You can use the tools setting to filter by usage rights.
You can't go wrong with a picture of the tools of your trade, and accounting tools are easy to find pictures of.
While informal and playful, a piggy bank is symbolic of the finance field. This would be a great choice for an accountant at a children's charity or a purchasing clerk with an artistic side.
Green and growth are good associations for a finance professional. If you want to choose a more natural background image, something featuring grass, trees, or leaves would be a smart selection.
Admin & Office Support
You can use a photo of your workspace (or ideal workspace if yours is somewhat more cluttered) to offer an "inside view" to you at work.
A photo like this represents a clear table, a blank slate, a new step.
Administrative office support workers tend to be organized. A picture of a neat calendar alludes to your time management and scheduling skills. If you actually use a calendar to organize your day, consider taking a similar photo to use instead!
Art, Creative, & Media
Bright, bold, and colorful provide an eye-catching backdrop to your profile photo.
Many creative people like to work issues out on paper. A blank notebook can demonstrate your artistic or problem solving nature.
Water brings flexibility, peace, and buoyancy to mind.
This photo offers an interesting view: an empty theater looking at you. This positions your audience as the big screen.
Beauty & Cosmetology
Beauty and cosmetology professionals know about color, so there are a lot of great abstract options like this that will help make your profile picture pop. You could feature a selection of your clients and past work, but a soft abstract helps brings the focus back to your own professional image.
You might be sick of seeing plants on your Instagram, but succulents are still a fresh way to brighten up your LinkedIn.
Geometric and powerful, an image like this portrays a bold leader. The neon lights can allude to a tech industry.
Are you a reader? Driven by curiosity? A life-long learner? Use an image like this--or better yet, your own shelfie--for a classic and timeless option.
Minimal yet powerful, a single pen and notebook sends a message that you're listening or thinking deeply. Or, perhaps you're waiting for inspiration to strike!
Think: big picture, long term, and global connections.
Creative, artistic, passionate, bold, and fun.
What will you do with these building blocks?
Construction & Maintenance
This image leaves plenty of room for your profile picture in either the lower left hand corner or the center (depending on your audience's view and device).
If you work with your hands, showing off your tools is a great way to show your authenticity.
Customer Service & Retail
Sunflowers might allude to your sunny disposition or professional opportunities for growing.
Librarians, teachers, writers, and readers could all draw some inspiration from a well-organized book shelf or shelving system. Bonus point if you make (or create!) a shelf that features your favorite titles.
Another case of simplicity for maximum impact: the pencils and classic school-bus color communicate "school" clearly.
A nice cityscape works extremely well for civil engineers or government workers.
If you build bridges literally or figuratively, check out some bridge options to tie you LinkedIn profile together.
Nothing says "detail oriented" quite like a graph you charted yourself.
Coffee connoisseurs rejoice! There are tons of options for coffee cups, coffee beans, and coffee plants. If coffee is your bread and butter, add it to your LinkedIn to share the news.
Government & Public Sector
Simple and positive, a staircase can represent that you're ready for the next step--or ready to get your employer to the next step.
Healthcare & Wellness
Another variation of the tools of the trade theme: feature your blood pressure cuff or another tool you use frequently as a healthcare worker.
If you agree with Hippocrates about food and medicine, you might want to feature a fresh assortment of healthy food as part of your personal branding message.
Lemons are widely understood as clean, fresh, and bright. They make a striking image on a kitchen counter or a hotel check-in desk.
If you believe people are stronger together, an image like this one might be just the thing to catch a recruiter's eye!
If your personal brand includes where you live, a wide view of your city can go a long way to show your pride.
Puzzle pieces represent a problem waiting to be solved. If problem-solving is one of your key skills, this sort of image might be a great segue into a conversation about new challenges to overcome!
Flowers are an easy way to show your optimism on LinkedIn. Pair that with a great photo of your smile and you've just made a great first impression without saying a word!
Do you spend all day with your fingers poised over a keyboard? Use that same image on your profile to give your network the same view you have.
Sure, you can use a picture of a courthouse or the scales of justice. Or you can use this part of your LinkedIn to promote a different side of you such as hobbies, interests, or volunteer work.
Marketing, Advertising, & PR
Stand out with a splash of color from a neutral background. Are you the office plant whisperer? Use a photo of your own plants to invite conversations that allow you to "humble brag" about your green thumb.
If your personal brand as a writer is classic, timeless, or traditional, a typewriter can be an excellent way to convey your value. Typewriters required writers to be more deliberate and thoughtful. Those are attributes you can reiterate in your headline, the perfect LinkedIn summary, and the LinkedIn work experience sections.
When you're more about the journey than the destination, a trail of footsteps can help you communicate that you're looking at the long-term goals as well as the short-term wins.
The bold pop of purple in this photo is really going to stand out to anyone who sees it on LinkedIn. Make sure you use its rarity to your benefit: mirror the purple in your headshot to show that you are also unique and bold!
A peaceful seashore or a powerful force? Use an image like this to allude to your personality with the help of your LinkedIn headline and profile picture.
Are you passionate about nature conservation and environmentalism? Underscore your passion with a zoomed-in detail like the end of this branch. It's great to look at the bigger picture, but the details are what get us there.
Transportation & Logistics
Bricks are a common backdrop for people taking professional headshots, so borrow that idea to give your LInkedIn profile a sturdy foundation.
Nothing says "I can build my own IKEA furniture in an hour or less" like some diagrams and tools.
Hopefully you found an image (or some inspiration!) from this list of 20+ images to use as a background photo on your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is by design a mostly-text platform which is why you should take every opportunity to use logos, photos, and images to reinforce your professional brand.
If you didn't find quite the right thing on this post, remember not to go overboard when selecting another image. Keep your background photo simple, personal, and workplace-appropriate--you won't go wrong!
ZipJob is more than a resume writing service. We also write professional LinkedIn profiles to increase your online visibility. Check out more ZipJob reviews or compare our three resume writing packages.
Caitlin Proctor, CPRW, Certified Professional Résumé Writer
Caitlin joined the ZipJob team in 2019 as a professional resume writer and career advisor. She specializes in strategic advice for executives, career pivots, and remote workers. Read more resume advice from Caitlin on ZipJob’s blog.