Making Greek Life Count on the College Résumé
As a recruiter, I view résumés on a daily basis. As a student, you have probably been told that a résumé’s purpose is to get you an interview. That is true and it’s part of the story. To me, an even bigger part of the story is that a résumé should tell a job seeker one of two things—that either their skills are strong or those skills require improvement. As a Greek, you have the huge advantage of having an affiliation that has afforded you numerous opportunities to build valuable career skills.
One of my recruitment projects was with a large office supply company. I was on a team that had to identify candidates for a sales training program and the company specifically wanted recent college graduates. During my initial discussion with my client, they made it very clear that they wanted candidates who had been active leaders on their campuses. As a Greek, I immediately included the résumés of fraternity and sorority members. I even joked with a hiring manager that she should interview one candidate because members of his fraternity are great salesmen.
There is one mistake that Greeks, despite possessing strong skills, make—underselling themselves. Selling yourself starts with the first few lines of your objective statement. If you haven’t heard this already, recruiters and hiring managers spend an average of 6.2 seconds looking over a résumé. Why? Well, these folks are strapped for time. So think of an objective statement as a way to "greet" the employer. You can also think of it was a way to establish your brand.
Consider the following examples that I have read:
"To obtain a position that will enable me to use my strong organizational skills, educational background, and ability to work well with people."
"To build a professional career by working with motivated and dedicated people in a very competitive and structured organizational environment."
"Seeking a marketing, or entry-level position where my education and experience will be fully utilized with the ability to grow with the company."
Do any of these introductions motivate you to want to read more? On the other hand, consider the examples below:
"Accomplished sales associate and recent college graduate eager to put my interpersonal skills and ability to make sales into action as a representative."
"Radio intern, graduating senior and student leader interested in news or entertainment broadcasting opportunities in television or radio. Articulate, energetic, humorous, resilient and open to relocation."
"Seeking Supply Chain Management position. Knowledge of inventory and known for outstanding communication and organizational skills developed as campus leader."
The other section that students tend to undersell is campus leadership. In Greek life, it is not enough to list your fraternity or sorority. It may earn you “cool points” with a fellow Greek but bear in mind that the reviewer may not be a fan of Greek life. Therefore, focus on showing three things to highlight the value of your Greek membership:
That you have actually done something in your chapter,
That you have taken on a leadership role, and/or
The results of your participation in your chapter.
Consider the example below of what my college résumé’s campus leadership section looked like:
The excerpt below, however, is what that section would look like if I were to redesign my college résumé:
Always remember that being Greek affords you the privilege of valuable skills training because of the mission and expectations of your organization. Even dealing with your nutty frat brothers or sorority sisters in chapter meeting prepares you for managing diverse personalities in the work place! Most valuable are the competitive attitude, communication, organizational, and leadership skills that you have gathered as a Greek. Show me a hiring manager that isn’t looking for those qualities and I’ll show you a hiring manager that doesn’t want to hire quality talent.