Mar 16, 2015

Overcoming Fears & Landing the Job: A Successful Tuck Partner Job Search

By Allyson Himelstein, Tuck Partner (TP) '16

Allyson works at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth in the career services, communication, and advancement departments. Before moving to the Upper Valley, she worked as a recruiter in Manhattan and guest lectured at NYU's Career Center. While she misses New York’s food scene and architecture, she’s fallen in love with her new life in the Upper Valley. She recently bought ski gear and has learned to appreciate snow—and lots of it, at that! She loves to read memoirs, explore cities, is an outspoken book club participant, and is currently learning how to cook.

I can’t believe that a year has already gone by. Wasn’t I just boarding the Dartmouth Coach to head up to Hanover for Admitted Students Weekend? Stationed on 42nd street with WiFi and a Keurig machine to boot, a really nice bus does a lot to allay one’s fears. Yet, I was still nervous that I wouldn’t fit in. (How can a girl who loves Manhattan enjoy living in a forest without sushi?) Yes, it sounds superficial, but that fear encapsulated many others: leaving my current job and friends, saying goodbye to my septuagenarian roommate whom I had grown so fond of, forsaking speakeasies and tapas bars.... (Note: there is a tapas bar in Hanover called Candela, although I have not yet been.)

But then, I attended ASW and suddenly, I was sold. 

First off, it was 73 degrees and sunny. I assume that the MBA Program Office played a major role in organizing the weather, although this hasn’t been confirmed. Second, can people really be this nice? Yes. They can. Third, I was fortunate to have a lovely cocktail during an intellectually stimulating dinner—phew! Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, I began envisioning what my future would look like up here. For me, a lot of this envisioning happened during panels: “Life at Tuck” (nestled in the woods), “Couplehood at Tuck” (lack of restaurants inspires creativity), and “Employment at Tuck” (I could actually work for Dartmouth?!). I left ASW feeling motivated to start job searching, and moderately anxious that I hadn't already begun.

Hand on heart, the job search wasn't easy, which came as a bit of a surprise. Since I had previous experience in career services and recruitment in Manhattan, I naively assumed that there would not only be many openings in my field, but also that I wouldn’t have much difficulty finding a job. I networked like a madwoman (I had twenty email addresses by the time we boarded the bus back from ASW), and camped out on the Dartmouth Employment website.  Literally.

The first few job applications didn’t move forward. Either I was too late, not the right fit, or didn’t hear back (again, not the right fit). I became somewhat demoralized, so I expanded my search to surrounding high schools and colleges (Colby-Sawyer). To be fair, while Dartmouth is very competitive, Tuck in particular does its best to accommodate partners. In fact, someone who I had interviewed with at Tuck’s Career Development Office sent me a description for what would become my job at Dartmouth’s engineering school, Thayer. Parlaying perfectly with my previous position, I now work in career services, development and communications. I could not be happier. I should mention that working at a university is my dream job, so I recognize that my situation is special.

The job process taught me to be patient, to put yourself out there, and to just press send when you've proofread your cover letter ten times. 

I would love to answer any and all questions related to the job search and other topics: