We are all told that joining a fraternity or sorority will open opportunities. Many of us got our jobs via connections we have made through our organizations, but many more are limited by the stigma of having the word “fraternity” anywhere on their résumé.
Here are some quick tips to turn your organizations from a potential liability to a great talking point.
1. Start With The Job
When listing leadership or work positions, choose to organize your information in the following manner:
Title – Time Period – Organization.
The important part of being President was in doing things that presidents do, not in the fact that it was for a fraternity or sorority chapter.
I often tell chapters that when raising money they should remove “Delta Sigma Phi” from things they use to market or sell because it makes them more approachable. There are many people who are immediately turned off when they see Greek letters, delay that sting by leading with your position.
2. Bold What You Want Heard
Okay so an employer will now see that you were a “President” in 2015, but let’s draw even more attention away from your scary fraternity or sorority name: bold to highlight your attributes.
Your résumé should be no longer than one page if you are a recent graduate. Reviewers spend 1-2 seconds scanning your résumé to determine if they want to read it, so there needs to be a way to draw attention to where it’s needed.
Don’t embolden any old word, willy-nilly. Use it as an organizational tool in the same way you’d use bullet points or indentations. We want this to guide a reviewer to relevant information, not to be used as a cheap gimmick like glitter to make you seem special.
President – 2015 – Delta Sigma Phi
President – 2015 – Delta Sigma Phi
By using bold to bring our your titles, someone can have an idea of your relevant experience. Now you just need to appropriately sell that experience. . .
3. Use Data, Not Job Descriptions
In an ideal world you contribute greatly to your organization. It is a typical practice to list 2-3 bullet points under each leadership position or job title, don’t let that space go to waste.
Rather than list a bunch of things that all chapter treasurers do (made an annual budget, managed $10,000), talk about what you did differently.
For example, while I was President, my Treasurer and I worked with a $400 budget to close a $18,000 budget shortfall and we didn’t cut a single activity during the term. The statistic is a part of a greater story. Simply saying that we managed a balanced budget doesn’t leave much room for elaboration. Stories make for more enjoyable conversations and are easier to recall than basic job descriptions.
Talk about the new program you built, how much more money you raised than before, how you cut expenses or how more of your members became involved. Use numbers and percentages.
4. Speak Human
No one knows what “Sergeant at Arms” means. It’s okay to replace it with a word that fits an American’s vocabulary.
Pretend your fraternity or sorority is a credit card company; use only the terms a credit card company man or woman would use. Call your brothers members, call your chapter your organization, call a philanthropy event a charity fundraiser and don’t mention ritual; there is no need for that to be on your résumé.
To put it simply do as much as you can to translate your fraternity or sorority experience into a language understood by most humans and organize your content in a way that highlights your talents and accomplishments rather than on whose behalf you were working.