How to Craft Your Career

September 8, 2014—After she’d been in the workforce for several years, Marcelle Yeager (C’02) knew she wanted an entrepreneurial experience that would allow her to pursue her passions from anywhere in the world.

To do so, Yeager founded Career Valet, which provides hands-on advice, strategy, and guidance for those looking to enter the workforce, re-launch their careers, or find the right job. Through services like resume reviews, LinkedIn profile optimizations, and one-on-one career consultations, Yeager helps her clients move their careers in a new direction.

At Georgetown, Yeager majored in Russian and minored in business, and she has been able to apply her education to a variety of industries in Russia, Uzbekistan, and the United States. After starting her career at an American law firm in Moscow, Yeager held positions at APCO Worldwide, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

As a graduate student in business administration at the University of Maryland (UMD), Yeager first hatched the idea for Career Valet.

“At UMD, I did an independent study on how I could create my own portable career,” Yeager explains. “I thought about one question: What would I do for free?”

“I realized that in all of my jobs, I’d always been asked to mentor other staff members,” she continued. “I’d been part of the recruiting and interviewing processes, and also I had experience helping people groom their resumes and conduct salary negotiations.”

Yeager also needed her business to be mobile; in 2011 her husband (a fellow Hoya) entered the Foreign Service and she recognized they’d soon be moving around the world every few years.

“I knew that this type of career would allow me to work anywhere in the world with United States and international clients while giving me a consistent connection to the United States.”

Today, Career Valet continues to grow, and Yeager feels she’s found her niche.

“It’s incredibly rewarding when clients tell me that they were hired based on the quality of their resume,” Yeager said. “I love what I do.”

As students begin to craft their own careers, Yeager has a few tips and tricks for navigating the workforce.

  1. Your resume is worth the time you spend on it. “A lot of people dread updating their resumes and LinkedIn profiles, but it is so important. Always have your resume up-to-date; you never know when someone will ask for it, and you don’t want to rush through at the last minute.”
     
  2. People want to share their experiences. “When I was thinking about getting an MBA or joining a management consulting firm, I reached out to a bunch of Georgetown alumni (through the online directory), and I got so much advice. One person broke down the difference between various firms; others gave me advice on how to choose the right business school for me. One person even tried to get me to work for his company—you never know what can happen! A lot of my clients are afraid to reach out in this way, but that’s what these networks are for; most people really do love to help.”
     
  3. Make every connection personal. “Don’t be afraid to reach out, but be sure to do it in a meaningful way. For example, I get a lot of LinkedIn requests, but very few people include a note. If it’s someone you’ve never met, it’s great to reach out, but write a note about why you want to connect. It takes five minutes of your time but it makes a big difference.”
     
  4. Your passions matter. “When I was studying Russian as an undergraduate, I met a lot of naysayers who told me I’d never use those skills again. I even met someone recently who told me that they never would have gotten a language degree. But I’ve used those skills in almost every job I’ve had. You can make it happen by putting yourself out there.”

—Melissa Nyman

 


More from Marcelle Yeager

To learn more, visit Career Valet’s website and connect with the company on Twitter @careervalet. Get more advice from Marcelle Yeager at U.S. News and World Report, where she is a blogger for On Careers.