Your cover image is just one more way to promote yourself. Learn how to give your cover images on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook a make-over!
Cover Images That Capture Your Personal Brand
Cover images, sometimes referred to as header images or cover photos, are prime online real estate for showing off your career success or providing another way for someone to remember you.
Whether you are actively job searching or just want to keep your “line in the water” and troll for new opportunities, there’s no reason NOT to have a cool cover image.
It’s probably fair to say that you could do a much better job showing off your unique abilities and value by updating your cover photo on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
- Decide what you want to convey (or what you want your message to be).
- Find images and create a cover that captures your message.
- Use the right size layout.
What Do You Want To Convey?
What message do you want people who find your profile to remember about you? The answer IS NOT that you are available for work. That’s not how this works. Your availability is only important to you. If you have all the right stuff, a recruiter won’t care if you are working or not.
You want to convey your personal brand, in other words, what’s different about you and the value you bring to an organization. What are the problems you are good at fixing, who benefits and how you do it uniquely? Always focus your message with the reader/viewer in mind. Think about what is important to your future employer or people who stumble across your profile. And what will make you memorable?
Defining your personal brand isn’t easy, but well-worth the effort. Here is help for defining your personal brand.
Cover Image Ideas
- Your favorite quote, You can use your own quote or someone else’s. If you do use a quote by someone else, provide attribution (credit).
- A photo of you doing your job.
- A collage of photos and images of you at work (and play perhaps).
- An image that represents your field of expertise.
- Sample of work or current project you are working on
- Your work environment
- An upcoming event you are part of
- Summary of your skills/experience
- CTA (call to action). Let’s connect, follow me on other social platforms, see my work, see my online portfolio, etc.
- Highlight a testimonial
You may have screen shots or your own photos to pick from. But in case you don’t, you can find royalty free, attribution free images and photos. (This means you can use and edit the photo without providing credit). You want to use these types of images instead of the ones you find online. Using someone else’s photo without giving them credit is not a good idea.
Personally, I’ve had great luck using Pixabay to find royalty free, attribution free images. No sign up or fees involved if you choose from their curated images. Just don’t get suckered into using the “sponsored” ones from companies like Shutterstock.
- Finding the right image may require you try searching by different terms. A single word works best.
- Horizontal images will work best.
- You could try and filter results by “Category” or just browse by category to get ideas.
Play around with Pixabay. If you still can’t find images you like, you can try some of the 17 sites suggested by HubSpot in this post.
Getting The Cover Image Size Right
Each social platform has a different size requirement for cover images/photos. Here are the dimensions in 2016.
LinkedIn 1400 x 425
Facebook 851 x 315
Twitter 1500 x 500
If you are not familiar with what all these numbers mean, here’s an easy work around.
Use Canva To Create Your Cover Image
- Create a free account on Canva
- Click on the green “create a design” button
- Search for the template you want to create (Facebook cover, Twitter cover)
- For LinkedIn, you will need to select “custom dimension” and insert the dimensions (1400 x 425)
- Upload your images and fit to the full screen
- Add text (if desired). Just note, you don’t want to put anything close to any of the edges as they may get cut off.
- Download to your computer as a .jpg file and name it “first name last name cover [Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn]”.jpg
- Your design will be saved on Canva and you can see them by clicking on “all your designs” on the left side of the screen. This makes it easy to go back and edit if you make a mistake.
You may be more comfortable using PowerPoint. You will have to know what slide dimensions to use but once you’ve made the conversion, you can use that canvas to upload photos and add text.
Many people don’t know what to do with their cover image on LinkedIn. And even when they do, they have difficulty getting it to appear just right. Use work-appropriate messaging, but don’t be afraid to inject some personality. Here are some examples to inspire you.
The city you work in can be a powerful image. People from that area will recognize it. However, if you plan on moving or are not “tied” to your city, this wouldn’t be a good image to use.
A collage of photos of you in the news (or presenting) helps build credibility.
Want to learn more about improving your LinkedIn profile? Is Your LinkedIn Profile Awesome?
The cover image you choose to use on Twitter can help the viewer learn more about you.
A combination of words and an image helps display your expertise and cement your personal brand.
A quote is another way to create a unique brand.
Your tagline or branding statement let’s the viewer know exactly what you do (beyond what you are able to write in your bio on Twitter). Adding media appearances or logos of past employers is another way to establish credibility.
Want to learn more about how to use Twitter for job search? 11 Beginner Twitter Tips
Don’t overlook personal branding opportunities on Facebook, especially if you are actively job hunting. You could use the same image from LinkedIn so your friends can see it or you can choose an image that represents who you are or something important to you- hobby, professional interest, or life event.
Facebook reminds you:
If you add a cover photo to your profile, it will be visible to the public, just like your profile picture. This means that anyone can see your current cover photo. You can adjust the privacy settings for a photo you’ve used as a cover photo in the past.
Want to learn more about using Facebook for job search? Facebook Is Great For Job Search
A Final Reminder
You can change your cover image as often as you want. So go ahead and experiment with different types of images.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.