Since I work on a college campus where 25% of students are involved in greek life, I receive a fair share of questions about how to represent this involvement in the job search process. When I’m lucky, I get to present workshops to entire fraternities and sororities about how to leverage their greek experience as they look to take their next steps after college. (I have to admit, these workshops are probably the most fun part of my job because the students are so engaged and the atmosphere is less formal than most presentations.) Here are some frequently asked questions about greek life and the job search:
Should I put my fraternity/sorority on my resume?
Unless your organization has recently been in the news for something bad, I think you should list it. Being a member of a greek organization shows that you’re a natural team player. You’re used to being part of something larger than yourself and working towards common goals as an organization. With many employers citing interpersonal skills and the ability to work in groups among the most important qualities for new hires, putting your sorority/fraternity on your resume is a no-brainer.
In response to the common argument that some hiring managers have negative stereotypes of greeks, I think that just as many have positive regards for them – especially if they were involved in greek life themselves during college. Heck, you may even find yourself submitting a resume to someone who is a member of your own organization. The potential benefits outweigh the risks here.
Where should I put my fraternity/sorority on my resume?
Typically, your greek experience is most appropriately listed under an “Activities” or “Campus Involvements” section. If you held a position within the house, note the name of your role.
If you’ve held major leadership roles or positions directly related to your career, you may want to list greek life in the same category as your professional experiences. For instance, a sorority woman pursuing a career in public relations can include her role as communications chair alongside internships and jobs. As you would provide descriptions for these positions, also provide a description for your professionally-oriented greek leadership role(s).
Here is a website with suggestions of specific language that can be used to describe greek life activities on your resume.
During job interviews, what should I say about my fraternity/sorority?
It’s up to you to frame your experience in a way that is positive and will enhance your candidacy. You can talk about your improved time management skills, as a result of having to balance academic, personal, and greek commitments. Or you can discuss your heightened interpersonal skills, developed by working with a diverse range of personalities within your fraternity or sorority. You can even mention how, through community service and philanthropy, your greek organization gave you a greater appreciation for life beyond your own bubble.
If you held a position of leadership, it’s a bit easier to come up with talking points for an interview. Some skills that greek leaders utilize include: public speaking, conflict resolution, budget management, people management, problem-solving, and event planning. Think about the core activities you were involved in and how they might be related to the job you are interviewing for.
Should I connect with alumni from my fraternity/sorority for professional networking?
Yes! Most graduating seniors don’t consider the full extent of their organization’s national network. I wrote an entire post with tips for tapping into this network.
As I speak with members of the greek community at Syracuse University, I am constantly impressed by the number of students who attribute success in landing a job to some aspect of their greek experience or greek network. While membership in a greek organization can be a great way to get the most out of four years at college, it can also help you advance successfully into the next phase of your life.
Dan Klamm is the Outreach & Marketing Coordinator for Syracuse University Career Services. In his position, he is responsible for student engagement with Career Services. This includes managing the marketing campaigns for events and programs, leading social media initiatives, and fostering relationships with people across campus to build awareness of the office. Connect with him on Twitter @DanKlamm.