Marcelle was a strategic communications consultant before she moved overseas with her husband. Since moving, she has created not one, but two flexible and portable businesses. She uses her background in communications to help people find new career opportunities and revamp their resumes. Marcelle is also a job recruiter who focuses on placing military and government spouses in professional jobs.
When you started you career, what were your doing?
I graduated from college with a degree in Russian and was determined not to lose my years of study! My then boyfriend (now husband) and I set off after graduation to work in Moscow for two years. When we returned to the U.S., I found a consulting job at a public affairs and strategic communications firm that worked with international clients. With this job, I fell into the communications field, but it made complete sense because I have always loved writing and working with people. After several years, I was able to retain the international aspect of my job by working for the federal government, but it just wasn’t a good fit. So I returned to communications consulting at another firm, where I worked until my husband joined the U.S. Foreign Service.
What do you do now?
When my husband joined the Foreign Service five years ago, I knew I had to continue my career and I felt it was the right time to start a business, which is something I’ve known that I wanted to do since I was young. I began researching portable career options and developed a business plan for a resume writing and job search business while finishing my MBA before we moved overseas. A former colleague of mine and I started Career Valet, which I continue to run today. In 2015, I co-founded a second business, ServingTalent, with a military spouse. We are a full-service recruiting agency that actively places professional military and government spouses in jobs. There are a significant number of well-qualified and educated spouses without work or who are underemployed, and we are trying to address that.
How did you get from Point A (your first career) to Point B (your current work)?
I see a thread between it all though it certainly hasn’t been a straight line. In my prior communications jobs, I was responsible for mentoring junior staff, hiring and interviewing candidates, and/or supervising interns. Over the years, I’ve advised friends and family on job search techniques and reviewed their resumes and cover letters. That’s what made me realize I should start a writing and job search company, which naturally flows into the recruiting work I now do with ServingTalent.
What is one thing you wish you had known when you were moving into your new career venture?
To keep products and messages simple. At first, Career Valet had too many offerings and it was confusing to prospective clients. It took me a long time to realize that we should focus on a few services, i.e., what clients are most in need of, aligned with what we are best at.
What is the best part of your job?
I love the constant opportunities to be creative and maintain a flexible schedule for my family and interests outside of work.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome when transitioning to a new career?
Because I am a very social person, it was difficult for me not to have a team that I was working with and seeing in an office every day.
How did you overcome this challenge?
Talking with clients on the phone and Skype and learning about their backgrounds fills that gap for me. I also make sure to talk with local and distant friends who inspire me as I grow my businesses. I continue to make connections with partners and experts in the United States, both from afar and in person when I’ve been back in Washington, D.C.
What is the best resource you’ve found in the past year to help you pursue your career goals?
Two books that stand out to me are Passion Capital and Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.