In 2011, my company Reach Personal Branding turned 10. In the early years of the business, personal branding was seen as a luxury—reserved for CEOs and entrepreneurs. As personal branding became a little more visible and better understood, marketers jumped on the "brandwagon."

Today, professionals in all job functions view personal branding as a proven technique for enabling career success and personal fulfillment. The philosophy has remained the same, but the way we build our brands and the workplace trends related to personal branding are evolving. Each year, I compile those trends for you early-adopter marketers so you can stay ahead of your peers as you build and express your brand.

Here are the first six of my 12 personal branding trends for 2012.

1. Headshots Everywhere

There was a time when only actors, models, and senior executives had professional photos of themselves taken regularly. Well, thanks to personal branding, the need for virtual visibility, and the universal desire to connect a face with a name—the professional photography business is booming! We now expect to see a photo alongside a blog post, on a social network profile, and accompanying an online article.

People are less likely to click on a LinkedIn profile if it is missing a photo and are less inclined to believe Web-based content if the contributor's photo is missing. Yet many people are still reluctant to post their photo. Some fear age discrimination or harassment, and others just haven't invested in high-quality photos. (Have you seen really weird avatars or photos that clearly were taken at someone's party—after a few too many cocktails?)

Social media companies realize the importance of connecting a face with a name and are developing apps to make that easier. For example, Plaxo now allows you to take any contact's photo and view it in your Outlook and iPhone contacts. Many more apps will offer similar capabilities. And the next frontier—face recognition—will add a whole new twist to Google image searches!

What does this mean for you?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of William Arruda

William Arruda is a personal branding pioneer, the founder and CEO of Reach Personal Branding, and the author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.

Twitter: @williamarruda

LinkedIn: William Arruda