Greek Experience

Dos and Don’ts of Using Your Greek Experience in an Interview

UNC_pin 18You may be low on real-world job experience. Couple that with some negative stereotypes perpetuating about sororities, you may fear your Greek connection is a drawback. But being an Alpha Phi gives you amazingly marketable skills you may not have even considered.

First of all, remember, there’s also an extremely positive connotation about Greek life that precedes you. “I’ve found that many managers for entry level roles love people who were…involved in the Greek system, because they’re usually outgoing,” says Laura Keidel (Beta Iota-West Virginia), a senior corporate recruiter at Movement Mortgage. On top of that, notes Molly Ahadpour (Gamma Kappa-CSU Long Beach), director of recruiting for customer service and sales at Wayfair, “If you participated, shared ideas, helped on a committee, gathered donations or helped in recruitment, these are skills that companies claw for.” If you held any office position, that interview boost gets even bigger. “Running a chapter is equal to running a small business,” Molly says.

Your Alpha Phi experience broken down into job-relatable concepts:

1. Time Management. You may fondly remember all the required Alpha Phi events as being a ton of fun, but you combined those with keeping your GPA up, participating in extracurricular activities and maybe even working. Translate that to a job interview and you might say, “Required attendance at Greek functions and maintaining minimum GPA improved my time-management skills.” Showing up on time, getting your work done on deadline and knowing when to take breaks are all crucial elements of any work situation.

2. Teamwork. Being a member of Alpha Phi means that you often worked with your sisters to plan events, volunteer, even keep your house clean and generally keep the chapter running smoothly. The ability to function well with a group of people and achieve your goals together has huge implications for your career.

3. Commitment. When you were initiated as an Alpha Phi, you made commitments to follow policies and procedures. Maybe it wasn’t always easy, but you did it. You followed through, which is a valuable quality to an employer.

3. Communication Skills. During your time in college as an Alpha Phi, you have become an Alpha Phi brand ambassador, educating potential new members and then fulfilling traditions and lessons for new initiates. All of this has left you with the very useful skill of being able to convey a message in a clear and informative way.

4. Money Management. If you had anything to do with the chapter budget, planned an event or collected donations, you likely managed money. If not, you certainly learned to manage your finances, budgeting enough for essentials and Alpha Phi expenses—maybe you saved up to pay for your red dress or an Alpha Phi sweatshirt. This shows budgeting know-how.

5. Leadership. What role did you have at your chapter? Even if you weren’t an executive officer, what about being a Big—you were a mentor and leader of some sort, and it’s worth mentioning.

6. Community Involvement. Undoubtedly, you took part in some volunteer work through Alpha Phi. It shines the light on your philanthropy, as well as your ability to look outside of yourself and see the bigger picture. If you ran a charity event, talk about how much money you brought in, how many volunteers you recruited, the growth from previous years, etc.

The Don’ts:

1. Don’t use specific Greek, Alpha Phi or school jargon, unless you know your interviewer will understand the references.

2. Don’t use the terms sister or brother; stick with “member.” It’s just more professional.

3. Don’t talk about all the fun parties you went to every night, unless you’re referring to the planning that went into them and how you were involved.

4. Don’t gush. Expressing your passion for Alpha Phi is OK, as long as you balance it with the specific aspects of your experience that relate to a work situation.