From Housekeeper to HR Pro, How an Army Reservist Built Her Career
Name: Jacquelin R.
Position: Human Resources Manager
Location: Marriott Select Brands in Southern California
Dream destination: To explore the Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Canada
Drink or treat of choice: An iced strawberry horchata chai with soft top (from Dutch Bros!)
When Jacquelin was transitioning back to civilian life from the Army Reserves, she was having trouble finding a role that aligned with her military occupational specialty code (MOS 35M, Human Intelligence Collector).
“I needed a job as soon as possible,” says Jacquelin, who considered a role in hospitality because of the specific way a hotel operated. “I remembered when I’ve stayed in a hotel before, and observed how a front desk agent checked me in, a Housekeeper cleaned my room, and an Engineer fixed my TV. I realized how these different departments came together as an army of one to serve the guests, and I knew then I wanted to be part of it.”
→ Search Open Housekeeping & Laundry Positions at Marriott
She applied for a housekeeper position at the JW Marriott & Ritz-Carlton at LA LIVE, a glittering, 54-story tower in downtown Los Angeles that houses the two distinct luxury brands.
“I wanted to learn the back of the house first and since I love cleaning, I wanted to give it a try,” says Jacquelin, adding that her Marriott interview wasn’t easy, given her lack of specific housekeeper experience. “I was trying to find similarities in the role of housekeeping with the Army, such as cleaning the barracks or cleaning my gear.”
Translating her skills and experience like that worked — Jacquelin received a call the very next day that she landed the job. Later, she asked her manager why he took a chance on her when she didn’t have any direct experience.
“He said, ‘I saw one word that stood out in your resume, and that was Army. I knew you would have the integrity and commitment to do this role,’” recalls Jacquelin. “From that day and 11 years later, I have been loyal to this company and have continued to learn and grow.”
Just as her manager thought she would, Jacquelin thrived as a housekeeper (“I learned how to clean rooms in a timely manner and learned more about brands.”) all while balancing her service in the Reserves.
“My managers were flexible with my schedule as I attended drill, and they would always encourage me to cross train in different roles,” Jacquelin recalls. “I then transferred to be a front desk agent because I wanted to learn the front of the house operations and I also love connecting with guests. Upselling rooms became an easy task as I already knew the room details from my experience as a housekeeper.”
Following her role at the front desk, Jacquelin then went on to become a night auditor, learning how to run daily reports and process payments. And she didn’t stop there.
“After learning the front and back of the house duties of the hotel, I knew what I wanted to do,” says Jacquelin. “I wanted to help people achieve their dream goals in working in hospitality.”
So, she transitioned to the LAX Marriott as human resource generalist, a position in which Jacquelin yet again thrived, achieving certifications, leading trainings, and becoming a recruiting pro — she even earned her hotel the company-wide honor of having hired the most Veterans in 2018.
Now, Jacquelin is the human resources manager for Marriott Select Brands in Southern California — it’s an “above property” role, meaning she doesn’t work directly at a specific hotel but rather with a large cohort of hotels and brands.
“This new role has given me the opportunity to do what I love to do the most,” says Jacquelin. “Connect with people and let them know that Marriott does not give out jobs, they give out careers.”
Below, Jacquelin shares more of her Marriott career story, plus her advice for potential Marriott associates.
What’s your favorite part about working at Marriott?
Knowing that Bill Marriott himself, served on the USS Randolph aircraft carrier as a wardroom mess officer in the United States Navy Supply Corps. “It is my privilege and honor, not only to have served in the military myself, but to work alongside so many courageous men and women who served and continue to serve.” -Bill Marriott
Do you have any tips for candidates who want a role like yours?
Be yourself, take a chance on something new, do your research on the company, study the job description and ask questions. After you feel you have accomplished everything in your role, see what else is out there with Marriott, expand your options and learn new roles.
How has your military experience served you in your Marriott career?
My military experience has taught me to never quit and to never leave a fallen comrade, which serves me in my Marriott career, specifically in team building. Success is never final.
Which of Marriott’s values most resonates with you?
Putting People First, and specifically our cofounders’ most valued principle: “If you take care of the associate, the associate will take care of the guest, and the guest will come back again and again.” Marriott consistently recognizes employees across the globe whether by employee of the month, work anniversary, yearly reviews, trainings and much more. Marriott also gives us the opportunity to expand our careers and boost our physical, emotional and financial wellbeing.
Do you have any advice for Veterans looking to pivot into hospitality?
First of all, I would like to thank all Veterans for your sacrifice and bravery for this country. Marriott fully supports Military Veterans and takes pride in treating associates like family. If you think about looking into hospitality, use the Military Occupation Code Translator Tool, which enables you to map your military skills, experience, and training to current Marriott career opportunities, or you can also do what I did — discover a new opportunity a create a rewarding career path.
When have you felt like a part of a community at Marriott?
Marriott’s fifth core value is Serve Our World, and that spirit to serve allows us to connect with our communities and give back. I’ve been part of Children’s Miracle Network fundraising which includes the Torch Relay, organizing a blood drive and selling root beer floats to our associates and guests. I am an avid hiker and as a TakeCare Champion, I was able to host three hikes locally with our associates to promote physical and mental wellness.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
Marriott allows us to travel and explore other brands worldwide while using the Explore Rate and participating in Marriott Bonvoy as earning members. I’ve stayed in Marriott hotels in places such as Hawaii, Arizona, Utah, Maryland and close to various National Parks.
→ Marriott Is Hiring! Find What You’re Looking For in a Career