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Hanover, and Beyond: How Tuck Delivers Lifelong Career Support

Heather Law, associate director of Alumni Career Services at Tuck, on her vision for career services, new employment trends in the COVID-19 era, and her advice on how to be successful in today’s job search.

Tuck is often touted for its personal, connected, and transformative approach to career services, resulting in record-breaking employment results for its students. 

But what happens when graduates reach the end of their MBA journey and embark on their next career chapter? That’s where Heather Law, associate director of Alumni Career Services, comes in.

Law, who holds a master’s of arts in counseling psychology, joined Tuck from Harvard University in August 2019. Since then, she has been dedicated to working with Tuck’s extraordinarily supportive network of alumni—10,000+ strong—to support them through every stage of their career, and life. From one-on-one career coaching to delivering rich virtual programs on networking during times of crisis, negotiation, and new employment trends, Law is building and delivering an impressive array of resources for today’s job-seeking alumni.

We sat down with Law to discuss her vision for career services, new employment trends in the COVID-19 era, and her advice on how to be successful in today’s job search.

Since joining Tuck, what have you most noticed about the alumni community?

The most powerful theme that has pervaded my work in the past year is the amazing support that Tuckies want to give to each other. You often hear that Tuck has one of the strongest networks in the world—I could not agree more and I’ve witnessed it firsthand. Everyone I’ve worked with has been so willing and open to work with each other regardless of where they are in their own career journey and life. Every time I reach out to an alum, there is a genuine eagerness to give back. It is astounding and amazing. That’s been the takeaway that has been the most surprising, heartwarming, and exciting as a career coach.

What is your vision for alumni career services at Tuck?

I want to be able to offer the Tuck alumni community a comprehensive array of resources that really help them achieve and sustain professional success. Students get an amazing education at Tuck and they receive personalized career support while on campus. I want to continue this service to our alumni by providing them with custom career resources at every age, every stage—no matter where they are in life. Examples of our offerings include career coaching sessions, networking opportunities, our lifelong learning programs, and more. I want alumni to know they have continual service throughout their lifetime—long after they leave Hanover.

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Law networking with alumni during a 2019 event in Boston celebrating 50 Years of Women at Tuck.

What are some trends you are seeing in today’s job market, amidst COVID-19?

I’m seeing a lot of interesting trends in the job market right now. New data show that, in the COVID-19 era, just two to 15 percent of job seekers are getting job offers by applying online. No longer are the days where you can apply online and hope your application is noticed.  It’s crucial now, more than ever, to leverage your network. That’s how I’m seeing job seekers get interviews.

I look at the job process as a spectrum. If people are having trouble getting interviews, that can often mean something is going wrong with the networking process. If people have trouble landing jobs, that means that something is going wrong with the interview process. Where a lot of people are getting stuck is, they’re still relying on applying online and not hearing back, when they should be leaning on their network. This is a great opportunity to reach out to the generous and famously loyal Tuck network for support, and to pay it forward by engaging with students and other alumni going through the job search process.

Another trend I’m seeing is that companies are so much more willing to have employees work remotely, and they’re also hiring virtually. This means that you don’t have to limit your search to one geographic location. I’ve worked with multiple alumni recently on negotiation packages that include a remote work setup with monthly or quarterly travel to the company’s headquarters. More and more companies are becoming comfortable with this setup because employees have proven they can be successful in a virtual work environment.

What companies and industries are hiring right now?

We’re seeing a number of industries thriving in this COVID-19 era. Health care and tech specifically are booming, especially big tech companies. Those aren’t much of a surprise, but we’re also seeing some fun and surprising trends in the job market. Companies that specialize in freezers and refrigerators are doing well, because people are stocking up on food supplies and spending more time at home. Others that have been fun to witness: home and garden; exercise gear and bicycles; e-books; and then coffee and alcohol, again, as folks spend more time at home.

I want to continue this service to our alumni by providing them with custom career resources at every age, every stage—no matter where they are in life.

What are some example questions today’s job seeker should ask during an interview, beyond your typical interview questions?

When you’re interviewing, take that time to ask your potential employers about how they’re working to be more inclusive and promote diversity. This is your opportunity to find out if your values align with the company’s, so don’t be afraid to tailor your questions to what matters to you. Some examples can include: 1. How do you empower members of your team? 2. Can you share data on current employee diversity? 3. What groups do you consider underrepresented at the company and how is leadership working to hire and empower those groups? 4. What does diversity training look like at your company? 5. What resources or benefits do you offer for family planning (fertility, surrogacy, adoption) and of course, asking about maternity and paternity leave. 

Take ownership of your job search and don’t be afraid to ask those hard questions.

We’re seeing a lot of alumni who are interested in transitioning into an entirely new industry or role. What advice do you have for them?

For career transitioners, I recommend first outlining all of your skills on a piece of paper and then articulating how those skills are transferable to where you want to go. That’s the starting point, and that’s how you’re going to develop your pitch when reaching out to folks in the industry that you want to transition into. Do that pre-work! And most importantly, think about your audience and tailor your message based on that audience. I work daily with people who have successfully pivoted and transitioned into a new industry. It’s really all about positioning yourself to show you can make an impact in an industry or in a type of role.

Don’t forget also about the incredible platforms and resources that Tuck offers. Leverage the Tuck Networking Hub, for example, to connect with fellow Tuckies who work in the industry you want to go into.

When you’re interviewing, take that time to ask your potential employers about how they’re working to be more inclusive and promote diversity. This is your opportunity to find out if your values align with the company’s.

What words of encouragement would you offer to alumni searching for new opportunities?

There are jobs out there! Though there have been furloughs and layoffs, many companies are hiring, and we’re seeing a number of industries thriving.

There are so many resources available to you here at Tuck. The Tuck Networking Hub, as I mentioned, is a great opportunity to professionally connect with current students and alumni. There are currently over 1,200 alumni on the platform and 400 students. Everyone on that platform has agreed to help each other, and it is specifically for Tuckies. There is also an alumni career services website dedicated just to Tuck alumni and a job search portal that now has opportunities for Tuck alumni: Tuck Recruiting.

Lastly, please feel free to reach out anytime to set up a career coaching appointment. I can’t reiterate enough that we are here to support you.
 

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