“From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it.” As a member of the Greek community, I am completely aware of the many stereotypes and challenges that accompany an affiliation with Greek life. Every person has a different experience with Greek life but there is no doubt that you have gained valuable skills from your Greek involvement. From attendance at weekly meetings (time management, punctuality, commitment) to officer positions (leadership, delegation, public speaking) to volunteer opportunities (altruism, service, communication), Greek life has not only had an impact on your life, but also the many skills that you can use to serve companies in the work force.
Here are my top 6 tips for how to positively market Greek life on your resume:
Ask yourself questions about your Greek experience:
Did you have leadership positions?
What did you do?
What skills does this require?
How does this relate to your future job?
What were requirements of membership in your chapter?
What skills do you have now that you didn’t have before you joined Greek life?
Use “Greek” power words: Power words are used to describe experiences listed on your resume and should represent a specific skill gained from that
Quantify your experience (to the best of your ability): When providing details about your experience, give concrete quantifiable details. These numbers will give your employers a better idea of what you did, how often you did it, and give your experiences more relevance to their company.
How many… People at events? Number of events planned? Dollars raised/counted? People working together as a team? Hours put into planning an event?
How often… Do you public speak? Attend meetings? Volunteer? Plan events?
Include details: The easiest way to explain the importance of your experience in Greek life is to provide concrete details about your experience. If you don’t provide details about what you did – employers will fill in those blanks on their own, which could be a benefit OR a detriment
Ideas of details to provide include:
The purpose of an event
Who an event served (community, Greek life, alumni, etc.)
Your role in the event (coordinated, planned, attended, facilitated)
Tailor your resume: Each resume you write should be focused on the job at hand. Therefore, use Greek life to highlight the specific skills that a company requires. Does their job description include communication skills, organization skills, or management skills? Use specific examples from your Greek experience to show these skills.
Be confident in your experience: No two Greek experiences will ever be the same. Be confident in your experience and recognize the importance of the skills you gained from that experience. If you are unsure about why you joined your organization or what you gained from the organization, interviewers will feel the same way about the experience. While it’s hard to explain your personal attachment to your organization – the skills you learned from Greek life will remain with you forever.
As a student that isn’t very involved in their chosen field yet, it can be hard to come up with a list of companies to target when it comes time to search for a job for after graduation. You can do general Google searches, but that process is inefficient and can actually be surprisingly ineffective. Even Career Fairs will be very limited help if the field you’re going into doesn’t have a lot of prospects in this region of the US. Here are a few options for you to help you target new companies in your job search.
Be aware of geography. Maybe you’re someone graduating with a major that can work anywhere, but not all majors have that freedom. Do some research on what geographic areas have a high concentration of companies in your field (a well-known example is Silicon Valley) and concentrate your research there. It’s not impossible to find jobs in areas that don’t have a lot of companies relevant to you, but it is going to be harder.
Join a professional organization. Many professional organizations will have specific career resources available to you. You can discover companies in your field through the career resources they provide or even through who they’re connected to on LinkedIn – assuming the professional organization has a LinkedIn presence (they usually do).
LinkedIn is a useful tool in general. You can find jobs, follow companies and see related companies, and even enter cities that you’re interested in and it will pull up companies in the area. Don’t be afraid to message people on LinkedIn to start making connections – either by directly expressing your interest in working for them or using it as an informational interview experience.
Use the internet to your best advantage. Sites like Monster and Indeed are well known, but it might be advantageous to find less well-known sites that are set up differently. For example, Glassdoor is a site that’s more about researching companies rather than finding any job listing – what it’s like to work for that company, salaries, etc. AfterCollegeJobs is a site that specifically advertises entry-level and internship positions that are appropriate for a new graduate. There are undoubtedly many more tools you could use, you just have to find them!
Meet with a Career Consultant. Last, but certainly not least, career consultants are professionals in the field of helping you build your career! Meet with a Consultant at OSU’s Career Services office to get great tips on how to optimize your job search. Sign in to Beaver Careers to make an appointment!
It’s easier than you think. And you can do all of these in the first two weeks of the term.
1. Show up to all your classes. On time.
Showing up is the first step to success. It sounds simple, but sometimes getting past all of the basics of negotiating life every day can make it tricky to fully “show up”, and especially to be there on time and prepared. Showing up on time and fully engaging in the activity in front of you speaks volumes about your ability to manage a schedule, assess other people’s expectations and contribute meaningfully to growth and learning. All of those things are essential to growing successfully in your own career!
2. Talk to a professor.
Epic career development, like the epic responsibility of becoming a successful human, is not a project meant to be done in isolation. Translation: make friends and connect now. Professors are typically more experienced versions of people, who have not only had to build their own careers, but have also been instrumental in providing guidance and learning for countless others’ careers. Most hold office hours and are available for networking and learning from NOW, not just during the term before you graduate.
3. Check out clubs and activities on campus.
How will you know where you’re going unless you know where you’re coming from? Getting to know yourself is an unending process and is supported by getting involved and learning more about how you operate in different environments. And there are SO MANY options. Did you know that there is a club for people who like water? And one for zombie apocalypse survivalists? And a place that provides access to a TON of opportunities to volunteer?
Now is a fantastic time to put your professional YOU down on paper. Why? Because it’s waaaaaaay easier to stay updated in real time, rather than try to catch up after the fact. Do an awesome project in class? Write it down! Finish up that summer job? Write it down! Learn the basics of a new computer program? Write it down! If you want some help or advice on how to put a resume together, check in with our fantastic Career Assistants during drop-in resume/cover letter hours, which are Monday through Thursday, 1-4pm!
5. Schedule an appointment with a Career Consultant.
Planning a career can be overwhelming and confusing. Just choosing how to start is sometimes difficult! The good news is, you’ve already started. The better new is, you don’t have to do all of this alone! You have friends, family, classmates, professors, advisors, coaches and more who are available to help. If you’d like to talk to someone who isn’t in one of those categories, schedule an appointment with one of our Career Consultants, through your Beaver Careers account. They are friendly and knowledgeable coaches and counselors who can help you sort through all sorts of questions: What major do I want? How do I find a summer job? How do I work on my grades? Where can I get involved? What is the difference between a resume and CV? Who am I, anyway?? And more!
6. Build a LinkedIn account! And then clean up your Facebook account. And Twitter. And Instagram. And blog. And Vine. And . . .
This is, like all the other steps, an ongoing process. Social media, in some form, is here to stay. And there are more options for engagement every day! If you want to use social media for professional purposes, creating a LinkedIn account is a great way to start now. It’s free and easy to use, and provides a lot of help and information for getting started and building your profile. Once you’re on, you can connect with other professionals, search jobs and companies, participate in discussions, join groups and write and receive recommendations from others.
With other social media, just make sure you clean it up. Over half of hiring managers and employers out there are using social media searches as “informal background checks”. Be sure that what you put out there is what you want your future boss to see!
What else do you do to keep moving towards an epic career? Tips? Questions? Let us know!