Everyone is an influencer nowadays.
All you need is an Instagram account, a couple hundred followers, and the perfect scenery, right?
Well, not quite. Believe it or not, there’s a huge difference between a career influencer whose advice you might want to actually consider and a happy-go-lucky Instagram guru who’s pushing the same old motivational quotes.
Unfortunately, the latter is more frequent nowadays.
The hard reality, meanwhile, is just because you’ve written a blog post or two - doesn’t mean you’re an influencer.
To cut through the noise, we’ve prepared this guide as a way to help you find the career influencer who’s just right for you. Someone who understands your situation and offers actionable advice and motivates professionals to be the best version of themselves.
From career advice to personal development, rest assured that the list below has a little bit of everything for everyone.
What differentiates the career influencers in the list from Instagram gurus is their passion.
You might have noticed that most Instagram gurus provide the same old advice on the importance of being happy, with just a little bit of humble-brag mixed in.
Career influencers are worth their salt meanwhile acknowledging that life is not all sunshine and rainbows. They’re more than just a fad and deliver genuine value to their followers through insightful content and actionable advice. In most cases, they’re speaking from experience when they’re talking about their pitfalls.
And you know it’s genuine because it doesn’t sound like a cliche superhero backstory.
While we put numbers next to each name, that is just for ease of navigation. We've narrowed this list down to the top 21 career influencers, but they are listed in no particular order. Everyone who made this list is remarkable.
So, without further ado, here’s our list of the top 21 career influencers you might want to be following in 2021:
1) Biron Clark
Biron began working as an executive recruiter in 2012. Shortly after, he started a publishing career and providing job-search advice online in the form of Career Sidekick in 2013, while still working as a recruiter full-time.
His advice is based on direct experience of working with hundreds of job seekers, recruiting for more than 50 companies, including Fortune 500 firms and top venture-funded tech startups, and going through thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles for hundreds of job openings.
With so much experience under his belt, Biron felt he was qualified enough to become a career sidekick and help job seekers feel confident in their career development and land high-paying, in-demand jobs. He shows you what it really takes to get noticed in his blog (covering everything from pre to post-interview process), and by sharing his master list of best resources for job seekers.
To take things one step further, his own products include a 40-minute job interview cheat sheet and a complete guide (up to 172 pages) to answering job interview questions. He’s got the job hunt process down to a science, as he prepares readers on everything from getting into a job interview, to what they should do after getting out of it.
Where to find Biron
2) Farnoosh Brock
Farnoosh Brock is the passionate founder and president of Prolific Living - a space for smart habits for rich living. On the course of transition from corporate to entrepreneur, she learned how to rewire her brain to start thinking the SMART way and now encourages others to do the same.
Farnoosh’s awakening from within happened in 2010, at the Blogworld event in Las Vegas. Her point of no return was like crossing a bridge - going from a place of constant searching and frustration to a place of belonging.
Almost poetic, even.
And so, she slowly transitioned from an electrical engineer and a corporate career to being a business coach, speaker, author, and of course, entrepreneur. She quit a cushy job and created a lifestyle that prioritizes health, well-being, balance, gratitude, and most importantly, living fully with a purpose. Her guiding principles were two-fold:
- Always listen with your whole heart.
- Do what you want, whether or not anyone approves and take full responsibility for your actions and decisions.
With that, she found this place of fulfillment and is now devoted to helping you find it too. To do this, she offers business coaching, practical advice on getting to know yourself, finding your path, and staying motivated in your corporate job.
In her own words - living a courageous life is not about being fearless, but rather about knowing what to do with all those uncomfortable fears.
Where to find Farnoosh
3) Austin Belcak
Austin Belcak, the self-proclaimed luckiest person on the planet, is the founder of Cultivated Culture, and wants to help you land the career of your dreams and make more money, while you’re at it.
Why is he the luckiest person ever?
Only until a few years ago, he was making close to nothing at a job in a small middle-of-nowhere Southern town, with over 10,000 USD credit card debt breathing down his neck. Deep down, he knew he was worth more than that, and the following year, he spent his waking hours improving his skill set - applying to any and every job he could find.
Soon enough, he was interviewing with companies like Google, Uber, and Twitter. Two years and over 50 interviews later, he managed to perfect the process of finding THE job and wants to show you how to do the same.
Now, he’s giving back his secret sauce. Austin spent over 2 years gathering data on top-performing individuals, who’s salary was in the top 1% of their age group & worked in top companies. Armed with this knowledge (coupled with his own personal experience), Austin is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
He is actively getting the word out about free tools, resources, and toolkits to help you up your career development game.
If you want to learn all about the unconventional strategies people are using to land their dream jobs - Austin’s your guy.
Where to find Austin
4) Darius Foroux
Darius Foroux is an entrepreneur, blogger, and podcaster, with one question at the core of his work: How can we live a useful life that matters?
That’s the question he tackles on his blog without getting too philosophical about it. In short, his work focuses on four main topics:
- Productivity - how can we achieve more without sacrificing our well-being?
- Habits - what habits will make our lives better, and how can we form them?
- Decision making - how do we make life/career decisions we don’t regret?
- Personal finance - how do we build wealth without sacrificing our energy?
Every week, he shares a new article or a podcast about one of those topics to help people live a productive life. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, artist, programmer or an executive, you’re guaranteed to find nuggets of gold within his content that you can apply to your life.
Aside from his blog, he also has 4 online classes, is the author of 5 books, and has over 124K followers on his Medium account. In his own words, the purpose of life is not happiness - it’s usefulness.
While writing his Master’s thesis, Darius co-founded a laundry technology company with his dad, and since then, he’s been researching and learning about productivity. After he started writing about building a better life and business, he hasn’t stopped yet and shows no signs any time soon.
Where to find Darius
5) Lindsey Pollak
Often simply called a “translator”, Lindsey Pollak, is an expert advisor for both young professionals as well as organizations looking to succeed in today’s work environment. She is also the NYT bestselling author of Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders. Her audiences and consulting clients include over 250 corporations, law firms, conferences, universities, and more.
Her passion for mentoring goes back to when she was a dorm RA at Yale University. Now, she coaches at conferences instead: providing subject matter expertise, entertaining storytelling, and practical, actionable advice on how to optimize your multigenerational workforce.
She is also no stranger to media campaigns, working with select brands as an influencer, and regularly appearing in outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and more.
Finally, in between all that, she is constantly educating people about Generation Z, the multigenerational workplace, and other similar subjects on her blog. Though she has come far since her RA days, she still sees herself as an RA for life - guiding young people to their careers and helping the “grown-ups” understand the younger generation.
Where to find Lindsey
6) Debra Wheatman
Debra Wheatman is the founder of Careers Done Write and an experienced human capital management strategist who knows her way around the career ladder.
With more than 18 years of corporate HR experience, Debra specializes in helping people manage their skills and accomplishments in a way that will get them noticed by the decision-makers at leading corporations.
At Careers Done Write, she focuses on personal branding, executive coaching, networking, the interview process, and more. But her services don’t end there as she also helps with everything from perfecting resumes to helping people rise to the top of the list.
If you're still unsure, you can simply take a look at her professional resume writing samples for inspiration and a sneak peek into her work.
Where to find Debra
7) Dan Schawbel
Dan Schawbel is on a life mission to support his generation, from students to CEOs. He is a NY Times bestselling author, serial entrepreneur, Fortune 500 consultant, and much, much more.
It’s hard to categorize Dan with just a few words because he has accomplished so much.
His list of accomplishments starts with him entering the workforce at the young age of 13, having his first internship in high school, and his first business (a web design firm) in college. With work ethic instilled in him at such an early age by his family, he's still going at it to this day and doesn't show any signs of stopping anytime soon. And his list of national recognitions is just as long as the experience under his belt.
With that said, no wonder he has so much value to give. Dan’s long list of offerings includes: speaking at events, an online course, his own blog, podcast, newsletter, press releases, and more.
Whether you tune in to his podcast, read his book or catch him at his next event, know that you’ll be in the safe hands of a workplace futurist who knows what he's talking about.
Where to find Dan
8) Jenny Foss
Ever since she was young, Jenny was convinced she’d grow up to become a California beach lifeguard. But instead, she ended up saving lives through JobJenny by helping job-seekers navigate through the hurdles of career development.
Having worked as a journalist, PR leader, corporate marketer, and recruiter for most of her career, Jenny never imagined that her mix of talent would have her end up at JobJenny. But it’s her combination of talents of writing, marketing, and branding that allow her to understand how hiring managers and recruiters think.
JobJenny was born in 2010 from the belief that navigating through a career patch shouldn’t be so damn hard. Through her blog, 1:1 coaching, LinkedIn optimization services, online courses and more - Jenny is dedicated to helping you pull together a winning game plan and to market yourself like a boss.
What makes her stand out is her bubbling personality, which you can instantly tell from her writing, and that she’ll make sure you’ll have fun along the way. Take your shoes off, let your hair down, have a drink, and once you’re ready - she’ll have you moving toward that next big thing in your career development in no time.
Where to find Jenny
9) Kathy Caprino
Kathy’s story begins working as a corporate marketing professional and spending a total of 18 years in corporate life, rising to VP.
Though it was somewhat rewarding in the beginning, as she approached 40 years old, she realized that despite being considered highly “successful,” she was facing numerous (12, in fact) serious hidden crises that she now writes and trains about, and she struggled deeply.
She faced discrimination, sexual harassment, chronic illness, toxic bosses and colleagues, zero work-life balance, and work that felt meaningless and inauthentic.
After a brutal layoff, she made the decision to understand what was behind these challenges. She transformed her career and focused on helping other women bypass and overcome these serious challenges.
She earned a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and became a therapist, coach, career researcher, and launched her career consulting firm as well as her own blog and later, a weekly column “Career Bliss” on Forbes.com and her podcast, Finding Brave.
Now, as a career success coach, “finding brave” expert, writer, speaker, and leadership trainer, she focuses intensively on helping professional women “dig deep, discover their right work, and illuminate the world with it.”
Her new book coming in 2020 is The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss, from HarperCollins Leadership, exploring the 7 damaging power gaps professional women face and how to close those gaps forever.
Where to find Kathy
10) Jenny Blake
A side-hustler turned entrepreneur, Jenny Blake is the founder of Pivot and a woman of many talents. She is a strong advocate for change and has embraced the concept with open arms as she built a business helping people navigate critical moments of their lives when faced with uncertainty.
After two years at a tech startup and five years at Google, she moved to NYC to run her own consulting business - Pivot. Her Pivot Method is based on four stages that you can cycle through to propel you to success:
- Plant: What is currently working? What does success look like one year from now?
- Scan: What’s out there (potential skills, projects, etc.)?
- Pilot: What can you try? What small experiments can you run starting from where you are?
- Launch: How can you go all-in in a new direction, or start with a “little L” launch to answer your questions from the previous stages.
Essentially, it boils down to this one question: if you could suspend your fear and practicalities, what would your one next move be?
This is the question she tackles in her career development book Pivot, the Pivot Podcast, and her weekly-ish Pivot roundup of the best tips, tools, books, and resources she discovers throughout the web. Oh, and she also does coaching, regularly speaks events, and offers career pathfinder courses.
Not bad, right?
Where to find Jenny
11) Emily Liou
Emily is the founder of Cultivitae, where she helps other people design a career and a life they love.
Like many career coaches, her story begins with her not being satisfied by the status quo and deciding to grab life by the horns. Her first real job, straight out of college with a liberal arts degree, was at a cold call sales center. At the age of 22, she was making $75K a year, which doesn’t sound too bad, right?
Well, she learned her lesson early on not to chase money when she became miserable there.
Unsure of what she wanted to do, eventually, she started working at a staffing agency.
After 6 years of headhunting and recruiting, she decided to take her expert knowledge and focus directly on her deeper desire for helping people. And in 2016 - Cultivitae was born.
Now, she helps job seekers build unshakable confidence and provides them with the freshest strategies to land dream jobs and beat out 99% of the applicants! She guides and coaches corporate professionals through online courses, her career development blog, free and supportive facebook group, and private coaching sessions.
As a career influencer, Emily has been lost many times in her own life: switching majors each semester in college and trying to figure everything out. In the beginning, she only knew she wanted to do two things: help others and to wake up happy on Mondays.
With that vision, she managed to help thousands of ambitious professionals build a life that they genuinely enjoy.
Where to find Emily
12) Noelle Gross
Noelle Gross is the founder of NGCareerStrategy, where she helps professionals from all industries ditch the soul-crushing job search and land a job they love instead.
She graduated from a business school in 2010 but shortly became discouraged upon entering the career search.
Eventually, she caught a break when she landed an opportunity to work as an executive recruiter. After going through and reviewing thousands of profiles and resumes - she finally cracked the code. She started noticing a common trend among job seekers and what companies were looking for when hiring employees.
With that knowledge, she then set out to help other people on the same bumpy road by giving out valuable career advice. She offers one-on-one career coaching that helps people focus on their core strengths. And when she’s not doing that, she’s providing actionable insight on all things from finding career fulfillment to networking on her career blog.
As a part connector, part motivational speaker, part branding champion, at the end of the day, her passion is helping people experience happiness. This mainly includes job seekers, but her advice and insights on happiness apply to everyone.
At NGCareerStrategy, she is now constantly sharing freebies and her expertise for people focusing on their passion.
Where to find Noelle
13) Leah Gervais
Leah is the founder of Urban20Something - a website dedicated to rewriting the conversation about what's possible for twenty and thirty-somethings.
One day, she woke up with a gut feeling and decided to decline her law school acceptances. The thought of six-figure debts wasn’t as appealing as going down the path of entrepreneurship.
And who can blame her?
Instead, she decided to focus on Urban20Something. What came from a quarter-life trap of frustration is now a website where she documents her journey to a more fulfilling career, financial freedom, and peace of mind.
Now, you can find her traveling the world, which she documents on her Instagram, and helping entrepreneurs all over the world monetize their passion. She managed to turn her story and journey into her business and is now on a mission to help other entrepreneurs find their own path.
What started as a side-hustle is now her passion, a dream most entrepreneurs aspire to.
Leah now does one-on-one private coaching, regularly speaks at events, and hosts live programs. When she’s not doing all of that, she’s working on her podcast Your Biggest Vision.
If you want to go all in on your career but don't have the budget or you're just unsure about your approach - be sure to follow Leah and learn how to safely invest in your business.
Where to find Leah
14) Jena Viviano
Jena Viviano aims at helping you become an irresistible hire and build your dream career. Life is too short for you to be hating your job, and that’s where she comes in.
She’s speaking from personal experience here when she says she went from being in a rut of working 100+hours a week in a soul-sucking job to taking the entrepreneurial leap. Now, she’s helping others do the same.
How exactly does she do that, you ask?
Well, let’s take a look. First, she offers practical, and actionable advice in her blog on how to ace your interviews. She has a dedicated recommended free resources page. And if that isn’t enough, she offers a complimentary strategy session to see if you would be a good fit for her signature program, Recruit the Employer.
If you want to level up your career, Jena welcomes you with open arms, ready to equip you with tools to succeed, flourish, and grow to be the best version of yourself.
Where to find Jena
15) Joymarie and Cortney
Joymarie and Cortney are childhood friends who decided to combine their talents and create Joblogues - a podcast for young professionals around the globe.
What makes this podcast so special is that you're getting the best of both worlds. Joymarie is a marketer with a flair for design and travel. While Cortney focuses on design, tech, and storytelling strategies to help creative entrepreneurs take on the world. Together, with their combined efforts, they provide career advice on all things money, career, and life.
They've been featured by iTunes, Refinery29, Black Enterprise, and more. With a highly engaged audience of multicultural professionals, they're constantly growing to this day as they serve up a dose of candid career conversations on their podcast.
Where to find Joblogues
16) Emily Miethner
Emily Miethner is the CEO & founder of Findspark, a professor, speaker, gen Z & millennial expert and more. One thing all of her qualifications have in common is her vision to empower people to achieve their goals through the community, social media, and a little hustle.
For Emily, nothing drives her more than the opportunity to connect with her audience.
Throughout her long-arching career, she has spoken about networking, social media, and millennials, for audiences ranging in size from 10 to 1,500. And as an adjunct professor at multiple colleges, she also has experience in engaging with a variety of different audiences, from freshmen to graduating seniors.
Not too shabby, right?
Nowadays, she publishes her personal insights and expertise on social media on her blog, and is also regularly featured on channels such as Entrepreneur, VICE, Wix, and more. And when she’s not giving out valuable content for free, she’s focusing on career development, social media, and entrepreneurship coaching sessions for creative executives.
Where to find Emily
17) Antonio Neves
Antonio Neves is a millennial workplace expert, award-winning author, journalist, and a recognized speaker. He is a firm believer that the best thing to happen has yet to come. This is the core principle that his actionable strategies are based on. The idea that your best days are ahead of you - not behind you.
With over 10 years of experience as a business correspondent, host, and producer in the television industry, Antonio learned the importance of being a professional storyteller and how to connect with people from all walks of life. His writings on career development have appeared everywhere from the Entrepreneur to CNBC, The Huffington Post, and more.
Now, he utilizes his passion and everything he’s learned to inspire and empower people to overcome challenges, accomplish their goals and produce their best work. His knowledge is now spread out between his books, actionable life advice on his blog, and speaking at conferences.
If you have a general idea of what you want to do, just not sure how to get there, Antonio also offers coaching for mid-career professionals on everything from getting promoted to building your brand and managing obstacles.
Where to find Antonio
18) Marti Konstant
Marti Konstant is a workplace futurist and the best-selling author of Activate Your Agile Career. She is a former technology executive from Silicon Valley, has an MBA, is an investor in multiple tech companies, and an expert in agile principles.
Her story begins at a swimming lesson when she jumped into the water without a life jacket. This was the first of many incremental lessons that taught her about life, positive outcomes, and trust. She then wasted no time and started applying her hardcore discipline in all of her habits.
Marti started quickly navigating through different roles and moved ahead in her profession. Curiosity, learning new things and earning an MBA steered Marti to unique areas of interest and responsibility, eventually leading her to launch her Agile Careerist Project.
Through research, interview, and stories, she developed a system of tools, workshops, and a killer blog called The Idea Zone for all things branding, career advice, and more. If you’re interested in the future of work and career development through an Agile mindset, rest assured, as Marti has plenty of resources to offer.
Where to find Marti
19) Marla Gottschalk
Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an industrial & organizational psychologist, diagnostician, speaker, and the founder of The Office Blend. She helps people and organizations thrive through the development of core strength.
She believes that success is personal and that getting where you want to go, should be for everyone. With years of experience of working with individual contributors, managers, and leadership, she understands the elements that contribute to fulfilling career paths, healthy teams, and competitive organizational advantage.
She believes we all need a strong foundation, the right soil chemistry, and a robust support structure that will help us thrive. In short, we can empower careers on a deeper level by adopting a lens of stability. This includes supportive elements like clarity, vision, and meeting our non-negotiable needs. She explores this in more detail in The Office Blend Blog.
For those ready to dig in and explore their core stability (CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, etc.), she offers The Core Training program, which includes unique skill-building exercises, building a strong knowledge base, and a unique behavioral tool kit that helps people grow and thrive.
Where to find Marla
20) May Busch
Following her successful investment banking career, May Busch is now on a mission to help people succeed in their career and life. She focuses on bringing her insights and experience in helping high-potential and high-performance leaders perform at their best.
On her site, she regularly shares her career insights through different forms - including keynotes, workshops, executive coaching and consultations, her blog, webinars & courses, and more. She also speaks on leadership, career development, and works on interdisciplinary initiatives at Arizona State University.
As well as her popular blog where she shares practical and actionable career advice, May offers other free resources to advance your career including a free quiz to discover your #1 Career Promotion Killer, a free guide on networking, and a free chapter from her book, Accelerate: 9 Capabilities to Succeed at Any Career Stage.
She went from being the “nice, quiet Chinese girl”, in her words, to a Chief Operating Officer for Europe. And now, she helps others get out of their comfort box and rise up through their organization.
Where to find May
21) Margaret Buj
Margaret Buj is an interview coach, specializing in helping professionals get hired, promoted, and earn more. With over 14 years of experience in recruiting for global technology and eCommerce companies across Europe & the US, Margaret has successfully coached hundreds of people get the jobs and promotions they really wanted.
She has been recognized as one of LinkedIn UK’s power profiles in HR and her blog has won a couple of awards too. She has spoken at career events & conferences and has done training sessions or workshops in London, Monaco, Athens, Saudi Arabia and more.
But before all that, Margaret had no idea what it took to get hired in the competitive job market.
With a Master’s in Marketing and Management, at first, she spent several months doing sales, marketing, and PR for a small book publishing company. Soon, she left that job as she wanted to figure out what she really wanted to do.
And, well, that did not go as planned…
After a number of rejection letters, her friend suggested making some changes to her resume. Suddenly, she started getting interviews and acing them left and right. Over time, her interview skills only got better.
And now, she gives back.
With extensive international experience in interviewing professionals at all levels, from students to senior executives across a number of industries, she has recruited thousands of people for global corporations and start-ups over the last 14 years.
Apart from helping people master their interview skills with free resources, she also helps them discover their unique selling points in her blog, and create a self-marketing strategy that enhances their reputation.
Where to find Margaret
To recap, there is a lot of white noise within the career development world online nowadays. To save you the time of having to go through influencers and gurus with no actual substance behind them, we’ve put together this guide as a starting point.
For those looking to up their career development process, you can safely go with anyone on the list, knowing you’ll be in good hands. From personal development to networking, these career experts know their way around the career ladder and are regularly sharing nuggets of gold.
If you do want to land that dream job though, you should know that the search begins with writing a perfect resume.
Want to learn more? Our career blog covers everything you need to know about job search, from perfecting your resume, to acing the interview.
Once you’re ready to take on the world, you can use one of our resume templates to craft THE resume that’ll help you land that dream job.