Given the current climate surrounding Greek life here at Northwestern, it doesn’t seem as though the benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority outweigh the costs.
However, the extensive networks and outreach that Greek life can provide for its members should not go unnoticed, especially for those involved with important leadership positions that cultivate skills in communication, presentation, budgeting, management and organization.
“I think there’s a lot of applicable skills that can be gained by holding a leadership role in a fraternity because it’s just like holding a leadership role in any other organization,” said Michael Weston. “We have a functioning executive board, a quarterly budget, and many other parallels between us and a company.”
Weston is the president, referred to as the consul, of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, one of many different leadership positions open to students in Greek life. This summer will be the first time he is going through the job recruitment process after spending the previous two summers conducting research.
An article from the USA Today found that 85% of Fortune 500 executives have been involved in Greek Life and the college graduation rates among Greeks are 20% higher than non-Greeks, and not to mention that over 9 million students are participating in Greek life per year. These numbers mean that there will be a vast alumni system for Greeks to reach out to when it is time to fill out their applications and send them to employers.
Hayley Miller, sophomore and president of Zeta Tau Alpha, stressed the importance of Greek leadership at all levels to build that network with people in a sorority.
“Zeta is such a large national organization that wherever you are trying to get a job, there is going to be someone from that sorority and I think having that Greek bond is really strong,” she said.
Miller said that the one drawback to holding so many leadership positions is that employers might be worried that she won’t be able to take direction because she is so used to giving direction, a problem she experienced first-hand when she applied for a job at Francesca’s in Evanston. However, when an employer sees an applicant with Greek life leadership on their resume, he or she is likely expecting many useful, transferrable skills from that applicant, that have developed as a result of interacting in the social climate of a fraternity or sorority.
“I think [employers] are expecting me to be good at managing people first and foremost. We are a social organization and I think that being the leader of a social organization certainly speaks to your interpersonal skills and your ability to communicate in a professional manner,” Weston said. “Anyone who has been in a fraternity or sorority or any Greek organization can have an understanding of what the president goes through and the kind of role they play.”
Despite the stigmas of hazing, partying and drinking that surround the social apparatus of Greek life, the importance of Greek leadership on a resume should not be undervalued or overlooked.
“Employers want to see that you were active in your college campus, in addition to getting good grades and pursuing relevant internships,” said Amanda Augustine, a career management expert and spokesperson at TheLadders, in an interview with Business Insider about the boons of involvement with Greek life.