If you were to type “greek life” into any search engine, it would likely return more negative than positive articles about college fraternities and sororities. So students understandably feel apprehensive mentioning their Greek life involvement to prospective employers. They worry employers will make assumptions about their character based on the negative connotations associated with social fraternities and sororities. With fifteen job interviews under his belt, Jordan Kaplan, an international business and marketing senior and member of Ohio State’s Zeta Beta Tau Nu chapter, has encountered this problem firsthand.
Kaplan recalls an interviewer’s initial reaction to glancing over his resume: “Oh, we have another frat bro.” It wasn’t exactly the start Kaplan hoped for, and he admitted that it was a difficult upward climb from there. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Many employers are becoming more open-minded and are pleased to see Greek life involvement on a resume. Kaplan’s position as philanthropy chair spoke volumes to his abilities to lead and work with others. As Vice President of Ohio State’s Interfraternity Council, Kaplan demonstrated that he could employ those qualities on a larger scale.
When describing any activity on their resume, students need to demonstrate how their experiences have shaped the person they have become and how those developments can be tied into potential roles with the company. “Your resume is the culmination of your experiences,” says Kaplan. “If you are not 100% proud of your Greek life experiences, there is no need to highlight them because you did not do it right. There are millions of qualified people out there, but companies are searching for what makes you special. I think that if you put in the effort, Greek life does that.”
Margie Bogenschutz, Senior Director of Undergraduate Career Management and Recruitment in Fisher’s Office of Career Management, underscores the key characteristics that employers seek in Greek life participants: adaptability, time management and event coordination. These skills are difficult to teach. Bogenschutz argues that students have the power to manage how they are perceived. Employers are trained to view Greek life indifferently. “If students avoid personal anecdotes and focus on what they have learned, Greek life can set them apart. These students have the unique ability to deliver bad news and step outside of their comfort zones,” says Bogenschutz.
Kaplan is now finalizing a job offer but never hesitated to approach the topic of Greek life in his interviews. “When a company hires you, they are not just hiring you as a skilled laborer. They are hiring you as a person,” asserts Kaplan. “I believe that Greek life involvement proves that you can be the person that they want to work with as well.”