Hesitant to include your fraternity or sorority involvement when applying for jobs?
Service within your organization provides transferable, marketable skills that will appeal to prospective employers. Whether you’ve held an executive position or not, your experience can be framed in a way which positively contributes to your resume.
Let’s take a look at how to do it:
You oversee the entire direction of the chapter, which provides multiple opportunities to highlight your skills and actions. Fundraising; planning and hosting events; completing community service; and recruiting new members, are all actions that can be transferred to a professional position. You are also pivotal in ensuring that important communications make their way from the national office to the chapter in an efficient manner. This is especially appealing to large corporations, where effective communication is critical.
As most Vice Presidents are tasked with overseeing committees, you most likely have your hands in some of everything; from fundraising and event planning, to community service and recruiting. Be sure to highlight your organizational and multi-tasking skills! If you’re applying for a management role you might want to focus on how many committees you oversee, the number of people on those committees, and the successes of those committees. If you’re trying to go into nonprofit work, you could discuss directing the fundraising and recruitment efforts, as nonprofits are usually trying to raise money and increase their volunteer base.
One of the staple duties of a chapter Secretary is to keep the minutes. This is an integral task at almost any client status meeting, and is applicable to companies on a global scale. You also help create and maintain many of the chapter’s governing documents, which can be likened to standard operating procedures and work instructions in the workplace. Furthermore, we’re in a unique spot technology-wise, so you may be in charge of things like the chapter’s social media pages, content, and listservs for email communication. All of that experience is also applicable to the real world. You can talk about how often you post, how you’ve increased engagement on the chapter’s social media pages, or even the size of the following your chapter has, if you’re trying to get into social media marketing or management.
You handle all the chapter’s finances from opening accounts, to collecting dues and helping with fundraising. Handling money and creating budgets is a large portion of many jobs, so use this to your advantage. You can highlight the size of the budgets you managed either for the chapter overall, or for events you all have had. You can also talk about helping with fundraising efforts, writing grants, or applying for funding from different organizations.
Do not think for a second that being a general member means that you don’t have anything useful to put on your resume! As members of D9 organizations, we all have a part in the recruitment process – neos don’t just come from the NPHC stork. Leverage that to highlight how many recruitment processes you’ve participated in, if you’re considering going into HR recruitment or an organization that volunteer recruiting. If you were a member of a committee (fundraising, community service, events, etc.) discuss the work you did there. If you were your chapter’s step or stroll master, you can talk about coordinating people; how many shows you participated in; or how many competitions were won.
It’s easy for us to dismiss our experience in our orgs as just something we did in college. But as you can see, there are endless ways for us to frame our involvement in a way which makes us viable job applicants. The major key is to translate your tasks into numbers and accomplishments; that is what sells you to a potential employer.
About the Author.
Tristan Layfield (Iota Phi Theta, 4-HΘ- 08) is a career coach and resume writer that approaches career development with clients by combining their own personal branding with their career field. With almost 4 years as a hiring manager and 150+ clients under his belt with Layfield Resume Consulting, he’s on a mission to help millennials flourish in their careers by building a brand around what they’re good at and enjoy to do!
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