During one’s college years, participating in a Greek chapter is a great opportunity to get involved on campus and develop relevant skills necessary to succeed in a future career. Joining a sorority or fraternity develops an individual’s skills and strengths while providing professional insight. Although members may not realize it, the many aspects of Greek life prepare college students for the workforce.
Become a Leader
Getting involved in the Greek community brings several opportunities for leadership experience. The first female Senator and first female astronaut were both members of a sorority. Since 1825, 48% of U.S. Presidents have been members of a fraternity.[i]
Greek chapters have their own elected leadership positions. There is an executive team comprised of six to eleven members, and other positions overseeing every aspect of the chapter. Each leadership position gives members a unique opportunity to plan, set goals, and manage their fellow members. Governing peers is not an easy task. Members who are leaders in their chapter gain the necessary skills required to be a successful leader in their professional life. Curtis Burrill, American University’s Greek life coordinator said, “If you can be the new member educator for 30 women, I’m probably going to hire you to run a team.”[ii] Each leadership position requires problem solving, communication, and risk management.
Of the Top 10 Fortune 500 Companies, five of the CEOs are fraternity men.[iii] Many factors lead to one becoming a CEO. Sororities and fraternities help college students reach for the stars and become leaders in their chapters, as well as in other organizations and even student government. Being a part of Greek life prepares men and women for larger management and leadership roles later in life.
Build a Resume
Involvement in Greek life is a great way to improve a young adult’s professional life, especially the appearance of their resume. While participating in a sorority or fraternity, many chapters require their members to be involved in other organizations on campus. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “you will find Greek members as student government leaders, student organization members, and NU athletes.”[iv] This gives Greek members an advantage in that those individuals have more extracurricular activities on their resume showing their involvement on campus. This shows future employers that the student wants to better themselves through networking, learning, and involvement.
Another positive addition to a Greek member’s resume is the philanthropic work required while involved in a chapter. According to The Fraternity Advisor, “The Greek system is the largest network of volunteers in the US, with members donating over 10 million hours of volunteer service each year.”[v] At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “The Greek Community prides itself on the selfless service it provides to the community.”[vi] Volunteer opportunities in the Greek community are excellent experiences that each member can add to their resume. These philanthropic experiences show future employers that Greek members are generally selfless individuals who are willing to help others in need.
Network for the Future
Getting involved in a Greek organization is an easy way to build one’s network and improve their interpersonal skills. The Greek community at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is so large that a member’s network would increase by 34 people by meeting one person in each fraternity and sorority chapter. Networking with peers, volunteer groups and others in the Greek community is beneficial to one’s career because, “it’s always about who you know.” A huge advantage of membership within a Greek chapter is that everyone is given the opportunity to lead and solve problems regarding their peers and organization. This provides individuals with the opportunity to improve their interpersonal skills, preparing them for the workplace.[vii]
Below are a few simple examples demonstrating how participating in a Greek community can help an individual’s future career:
- A fellow brother/sister can refer a member to an open career position not available to the public.
- Members will have the ability and skills to speak with alum in their chapter if the opportunity presents itself to connect and network.
- Individuals are able to connect with fellow Greek members in a job interview, providing positive talking points and a solid conversation starter.
- Members learn key marketing skills by engaging in activities such as fraternity/sorority recruitment events.
Ace the Interview
A job interview plays a key role in determining the value and compatibility between the company and candidate. Essentially, it is the gateway to a new career. Recruitment is a fundamental part of every Greek’s membership. They have to learn how to get to know someone in a short amount of time, which is primarily an interview. Recruitment provides valuable interview skills to potential and active members by requiring them to work on their conversation techniques, positive attitudes, interview questions and answers, and stress management. Members are given an insight into what it’s like to be on the other side while learning to sell themselves as well as their organization.
According to the Fraternity and Sorority National Statistics from University of Missouri-Kansas City, “85% of Fortune 500 key executives are fraternity or sorority members.”[viii] These executives learned how to build a network, make friends, and develop leadership and social skills while participating in Greek Affairs, all top traits sought by employers. As stated previously, participating in a Greek Community can provide the necessary skills to ace an interview.
Gain an Advantage
According to Forbes, the top 5 skills employers deem important when applying for a job include: the ability to work in a team, solve problems, communicate inside and outside an organization, prioritize and organize work, and obtain and process information.[ix] These are all traits sorority and fraternity members acquire through active involvement in their organization. In an interview, Greeks are able to capitalize on their leadership, teamwork, interpersonal, and time management skills as well as their involvement and experience gained through membership. They can use each topic as a key talking point along with relevant stories to help paint a picture of who they are as a person and future employee. To say the least, participating in a Greek organization provides one with a competitive advantage and a high chance of success.
College students are able to acquire a plethora of skills and experiences through Greek life. Sororities and fraternities provide young adults with a wide variety of beneficial opportunities, such as: volunteering, interview practice, professional networking, public speaking, leadership, and much more. Greek life provides many skills and accomplishments to help build a member’s resume throughout their college years. Greek members have access to a substantial support system, encouraging them to perform at a high level, realize their potential, and ultimately reach their dream job.
Written by: Liz Hadwiger, Kirsten Hiepler, Mackenzie Rief, Stephanie Thomsen & Talia Wood