While job hunting might seem like a daunting task, you probably have more experience than you think. While sororities are amazing opportunities to meet your best friends, get involved on campus, and have a lot of fun, they’re also fantastic ways to gain leadership and professional development skills. The stereotype of Greek life being all about partying might come up as an issue in job interviews, but it can absolutely be dispelled if you present your accomplishments in a positive way.
1. Take on a position that fits your future goals.
While each sorority has its own unique executive structure, most have a board of execs that have the most responsibility, with directors or committees underneath them. It is so important to try to get involved with something. You don’t need to be the president to be involved or contribute to your chapter. Go for a role you’re passionate about. For example, if you’re in computer science you can be the web developer for your chapter. If you want to go into teaching you could be the director of academics, or work for a non-profit you can run for philanthropy chair. If you’re looking to work in marketing then take on social media or advertising, and if you want to do any sort of political work then an executive position (vice president, president etc.) looks amazing on a résumé!
2. Connect with alumni and your chapter advisor (AKA network).
In my sorority, our chapter advisor is a reference for at least 30 different girls. Developing a relationship with alumnae and advisors is an excellent way to get career advice from older women working in a field you’re interested in, get references, and potential contacts for jobs or internship opportunities. They’re your sisters, so don’t be afraid to reach out, ask to get coffee, and learn from their wisdom. They are also a great resource to check over your résumé and give you tips for improvement. The more involved you are, the more your chapter advisor will have to work with when giving you a reference. Also, it should go without saying that your sisters are a go-to fountain of information when it comes to job opportunities.
3. Explain your experience in the right way.
Depending on the company and the interviewer, being in a sorority could be more of a hindrance than a help. This is, sadly, due to negative perceptions about Greek life, but you can be the one to prove them wrong! You need to emphasize the positive aspects of your role. Talk about how your sorority has helped you academically, if your chapter has study hours or a minimum GPA. Talk about what you accomplished with specific numbers. For example, if you were recruitment chair, talk about how you have experience with event planning and organizing 100+ girls. If you were philanthropy chair, talk about how much money your chapter raised under your leadership. Don’t be afraid to be passionate and confident about your sorority and let that shine through to the interviewer!
4. Look beyond retail or service jobs.
It’s awesome and really impressive if you waitress or work in retail during the school year to help with finances. Those are tough jobs that take a lot of hard work, energy, patience, and people skills. But eventually, especially in the summer, you can start to look beyond those and seek out jobs that are more related to what you want to do after graduation. Hopefully you have an idea of what that is, and because your daytime hours will be freed up when you don’t have class to go to, you can take a look at some of those 9-5 positions. Many universities have online career sites where jobs are posted specifically for summer students and interns, so check to see what resources are out there for you. Talking to one of your school’s academic advisors if you’re unsure of where to look or what direction you want to go in is also a really useful source of information.
I started off working as a waitress and receptionist in high school, moved on to doing newspaper internships during my first and second years of university, and am currently working in the communications department of a major company, despite being told I wasn’t going to get a job with my English degree. I have been able to use my experience in a sorority in a positive way and I’m only in my junior year – a lot of it began with some fantastic advice from older sisters. Landing the summer job or internship you’ve been dreaming about is totally within your reach if you have confidence, reach out to the right resources, and work hard..
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