It’s getting to be the time for looking for summer jobs and internships, or–if you’re graduating–your first real world job after college. You’ve spent so much time and effort over the past four years attending and planning events, talking to PMNs during recruitment, and juggling a very busy schedule for your Greek organization, but how can you make that relevant to a future employer? How do you make sure your interviewer realizes fraternity and sorority life is about so much more than the partying and hazing scandals they hear on the news? Something Greek has some tips for you!
1. Your ability to talk to anyone (i.e. Communication Skills)
At recruitment events, you will talk to all kinds of people. In most cases, you probably have never met these people before either. Having small talk stills and being able to carry on a conversation with anyone is a very marketable skill.
2. Budgeting skills
Were you fundraising chair or treasurer? Even if you weren’t, you had your own budget to manage. Budgeting your own finances between dues, formals, and any other spending money you needed wasn’t always easy.
3. Event planning skills
Whether you were president, vice president, recruitment chair, fundraising chair, alumni chair, social chair or philanthropy chair you probably helped plan some type of event during your Greek experience. Also, you probably have some story from planning one of these events that is the perfect response when you get a question like, “Tell me about a time when something didn’t go as you planned and how did you fix it?”
4. Explain all of the good things your organization did.
Be sure to mention how important philanthropy was to your organization and how much you focused on fundraising. This is especially important if the interviewer didn’t go Greek in college and sees sororities and fraternities in the way that the media portrays them.
4. Coordinating schedules.
If you were president or member-at-large or something of that nature, you know how difficult it can be to coordinate the schedules of an entire organization for events where it is pertinent that each member is present.
Sometimes I think about one specific semester where I was president, had a part time job, an internship, and a full time schedule of classes and wonder how I did all of that, managed to have fun, and keep my GPA above the 3.4 that was required for me to keep my scholarship. Being in Greek life perfects your time management skills.
6. Show your personality.
Okay, that is SUPER general, but I think that talking about something you’re passionate about (and I’m assuming you’re passionate about your fraternity or sorority) will show the interviewer a different side of you than the side you show when talking about your thrilling sales associate position at your local grocery store. I’m a huge believer that your personality meshing with that of your interviewer is a huge part of winning the job.
7. Your ability to work on a team
When you’re in Greek life, you rarely do anything alone. Your ability to work with others–and sometimes others that you might not always get along with (probably another interview question that you’ll encounter)–is a great skill to have!
8. Decision making skills
I always joke that I’m terrible at making decisions, but the reality of it is that I’m actually really good at making decisions. It just takes me longer to make them because I consider all of the repercussions. When you’re president of a sorority or fraternity, the decisions you make can effect 25-500 people. You understand the value of weighing the pros and cons of any decision when your decision will effect so many people. The same can be said when you’re making decisions on the job.
9. Being the face of a brand
Do you know how many times my pledge class was reminded that we were the face of our sorority the first semester we were in our organization? The same is true when you work at a company. Your actions become representative of that company. (For an in depth view of this, read Jon Ronson’s new book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.)
10. Your ability to put something ahead of your own desires.
My 19th birthday fell on the night of Relay for Life which was kind of great because it meant all of Greek life was required to spend my birthday with me, but I was also a little disappointed that it meant I wouldn’t get to plan anything exciting for my birthday. I’m certain, you’ve had a similar experience where you had to put your sorority or fraternity ahead of your own plans. You will probably find yourself missing out on fun beach days during the summer, but hopefully these tips will help you land an amazing job where you won’t mind missing the random beach day!
One of the toughest things when applying to internships or entry level jobs is marketing yourself as the ideal candidate when you have very little experience. It might feel like you need experience just to get experience, but you can absolutely talk about the skills you learned in your fraternity or sorority as relevant job experience. What other ways do you leverage your fraternity or sorority days in job interviews?