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Greek Life and Your Job Search

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.

Author:

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.

Related posts:

  1. How to Leverage Your Fraternity or Sorority Network in the Job Search
  2. Building Professional Skills Through Leadership Roles on Campus
  3. The Importance of Work-Life Balance

4 Responses to “Greek Life and Your Job Search”

  1. Dan, I have some of the same questions and reservations about promoting my experience as a college athlete. I am very proud of the knowledge and depth I gained as a student athlete, yet I don’t know what is appropriate in terms of branding myself.

    Similar to your advice regarding Greek life, I list my athletic experience in the “activities” section of my resume. Any other suggestions?

    Thanks!
    Kevin

    • avatar Dan Klamm says:

      Kevin,
      Much of it is the same. While you may not have worked on structured committees and held formal leadership positions on an athletic team, you still probably developed your teamwork and leadership skills.

      In terms of how to discuss athletics on your resume, you have a couple options. You can list it under Activities, as you do. Or another option — I’ve worked with Division 1 athletes who feature their athletics experience prominently in a section entitled “Athletic Experience,” with a breakdown of the professional skills acquired through their team involvement.

      Do a Google search for ways to incorporate athletics into a professional resume. You should find some powerful ways to phrase your athletic experience in terms of relevant professional skills.

  2. HEllo Dan

    I am a career counselor at a unversity in Texas and my department is looking for more ways to get the students involved in career service. Since I am Greek myself I wanted to tap into our greek life. I want to be able to do presentations about getting a job and using their greek organization to do so. Do you have any suggestions on what subjects I should talk about or where I can find more information on the subject.

  3. avatar Dan Klamm says:

    Hi Conssandra,
    I usually focus on two areas: 1) the skills that you develop as a Greek and how these can be transferred into the working world and 2) networking with alumni and even current members.

    For the skills portion, I lead a conversation about the different roles in the fraternity/sorority — Treasurer, Social Chair, Recruitment Chair, Communications Chair, etc. I discuss how these positions can be listed on your resume and how they may be relevant to various careers.

    For networking, I emphasize that everyone has family, friends, and a personal network and that it’s really important to network right within your chapter. You may be living down the hall from a fraternity brother who has an uncle working at a company you’re interested in. Then I go into LinkedIn and some other routes for tapping into alumni networks.

    Hope this helps! I’m happy to talk about this sometime. Feel free to e-mail me (deklamm@syr.edu).

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