Using a creative and meaningful cover photo is an important part of making sure that you have a great LinkedIn profile, as well as on other social networks, so do take the time to set one up for yourself.

LinkedIn Opens Cover Photos For Everyone

In June, LinkedIn launched a number of new features designed specifically for Premium LinkedIn members, including a brand new profile layout that included a custom Cover Photo. Like Google+, Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn Premium members could now upload a custom, branded image that streches across the top of their profile, creating an opportunity to communicate visually something important to profile viewers.

We've now noticed that non-Premium account holders are being given access to this feature. While there has been no official announcement from LinkedIn as yet, the change was first noted by reader Rebecca Wagner, and has been confirmed on other free LinkedIn profiles.

Here's what mine looks like:

New LinkedIn Cover Photo

Note that your profile header information appears above the central lower part of your cover photo, which makes this one of the tricker graphics to create and customize.

The LinkedIn Cover Photo should be 1400 x 425 and under 4MB in size. I recomend bookmarking The Complete Social Media Cover Photo Guide where these requirements, as well as those for all other networks, will be kept up-to-date.

To add yours, log into your LinkedIn account, click on Profile, and then click on the grey Edit Profile button near your profile image. Once you're in edit mode, you'll see where your cover photo could go and a prompt to upload one of your own. (Using the Edit Profile link in the main menu currently does not work.)

Upload Image for a new cover photo.

I did note that strangely, the interface is somewhat different between free and premium accounts. Premium accounts are offered a number of stock options, whereas free accounts can only upload their own image.

Using a creative and meaningful cover photo is an important part of making sure that you have a great LinkedIn profile, as well as on other social networks, so do take the time to set one up for yourself.

UPDATE: LinkedIn has also added a widget that will appear in the lower right corner above your new cover photo. This widget suggests to your profile viewer someone else they might be interested in viewing. Who is displayed depends on how they got you. If they found your profile while doing a profile search within LinkedIn, the widget will show the next person in the search results. Otherwise, LinkedIn will suggest someone that other people have viewed after looking at you, so likely a peer or colleague. The impact, however, to your cover photo, is that the lower right corner will be covered for most viewers of your profile, so do not put any meaningful information there. You can refer to the section on cover photos within The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile for more detailed instructions on crafting a cover photo for your LinkedIn profile that works well.

This is clearly a developing story, so if there are additional updates or changes, they will be noted here. If you're unable to access this functionality yourself, please leave a comment below letting me know. It's possible this is being rolled out, and of course it's possible this wasn't even intended to be released. Either way, if you leave a comment, I'll be able to reply and let you know if there's a change.

Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner

Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.

Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."

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