Being Greek gives you an edge, especially when you're looking for your first big job or an internship. Reaching out to an alum to ask for help is awesome, but knowing how to do it is another thing. And you also need to know how to leverage your Greek experience when writing your resume.
We've watched eager seniors and grads make a few basic mistakes when they're starting a job search. Here are a few tips to help you....
Practice how to talk about yourself to others. The most disappointing calls I get are from seniors who call or email me with the typical "I have a X degree and am looking for a job." What am I supposed to do with that? Tell me what your'e really good at, what's your passion and how can you solve a problem for a potential employer?
You're underselling yourself on paper. Greek leaders have a tendency to list their chapter positions on their resumes with no detail. You were chapter president? Awesome! How many members belonged to the chapter while you were in office? How many officers did you manage? Were you in charge of managing meetings, killing deadlines, reporting to alumnae advisors? How big was your chapter budget? Did you get involved with hiring staff? Any detail you can provide about the scope of what you did in your position demonstrates VALUABLE skills and abilities to a potential employer.
Learn how to use LinkedIn. Get an account, put up a profile. It's not a grown up Facebook; it's a professional networking site so treat it it like one. Trash your t-shirt and baseball hat profile pic for a more professional picture. List the offices you've held with specific details about how you contributed to the success of the chapter. Balance your profile with non-Greek activities and campus involvement.
Treat your alumnae connections like gold. Tapping an alum to help you fine tune your resume or provide job search advice is a huge opportunity. When an alum has helped you, always send a handwritten thank you note or a very nice email. And keep the alum updated on where you are with your job search.
Don't go overboard with Greek speak. Your Greek experience isn't everyone else's college experience. If you're interviewing with someone who wasn't in a sorority or a fraternity, be careful you don't focus too much on your Greek experience. Try to present yourself as a well-rounded candidate.
Kristin Wing is President of GreekGab, a resource for members alumni and advisors to build sustainable chapters.