And ‘big’ is the word. Premium members (and in due course all members) can now upload a massive 1400 x 425 background image to the top of their profile. The profile header has also been expanded giving users even more opportunity to make an impact on visitors to their page.
LinkedIn is clearly following Facebook and Google+ where you can also upload large images to the top of your profile, but in fairness to LinkedIn this is part of a package of measures they’ve introduced to make your profile very much more visual. Indeed, LinkedIn Showcase pages have included this functionality for a while.
LinkedIn is the tool to help you manage your professional image and identity online, and whilst your experience, expertise and credibility are at the core – powerful imagery significantly helps to communicate your story to potential customers, business connections and employers.
It’s also important to remember that Google indexes LinkedIn profile pages, and a well-optimised page will usually appear in the top three Google results for a search on your name. This means that your LinkedIn profile really does matter in terms of how you are perceived online.
And what people see is what they believe, so it’s worth taking full advantage of this new functionality and use some imagination as to how you use the new space on your profile. As I mentioned, it’s a big space, which means that you don’t have to restrict the picture to just one image.
If you don’t have a suitable image, LinkedIn gives you some colourful ready-made backgrounds, but other than adding a splash of colour it does little to enhance how you are perceived by people. One option is to create a collage of smaller pictures which tell people something about you. Take a look at how I’ve done it at https://www.linkedin.com/in/conferencespeaker (you need to be logged into LinkedIn to see the full profile).
I used a tool called PicMonkey to set the size of the collage, and then uploaded three photos. I saved it and then uploaded to my profile. In theory you could be really creative and it might be worth investing in the services of a graphic designer to create just the right image that communicates and enhances your professional identity.
And one more thing – your new background photo need not be set in stone. From time to time you should consider changing it to keep it fresh, alive and engaging.
An excellent step forward from LinkedIn and one which continues to help users to leverage the Internet in ways which support and enrich their personal brand.
By Philip Calvert