Making Greek Life Count on Your College Résumé

Last Updated on January 30, 2017

Resume on the table with laptop.
Photo via NAN104
Believe it or not, I talk about résumés in my Greek life leadership presentation, “The Black Greek Success Program”. The reason is a college résumé should tell a student one of two things—either he/she has done a great job of campus leadership or that student needs to improve his/her leadership skills. For the purposes of a college résumé, leadership would be defined as achieving high academic standards and displaying essential organizational success skills via campus activities.

What should your résumé do for you? It should be able to get you an interview, point blank. Since recruiters and hiring managers’ first contact with candidates is most often by résumé, these folks don’t have the privilege of experiencing students’ wonderful personalities up front. A study done by The Ladders revealed that recruiters spend only an average of 6.2 seconds looking over a résumé, so it has to make an immediate impression. That impression starts with the objective statement.

As a job recruiter, I read résumés on a daily basis. One of the biggest mistakes people make is having a generic objective statement like the example below:
Generic Objective Resume Statement

Your objective statement should tell me who you are, what you can do, and what you want to accomplish. The example below is what my college résumé’s objective statement would look like if I could rewrite it:
Improved Resume Objective Statement

Next, brag on yourself! The biggest mistake that most job seekers make on their résumés is not bragging enough about their skills, accomplishments, and experience. If you don’t brag about yourself, who will? If your GPA is at least 3.0, put that right under the objective statement. Tell us about what you have accomplished outside of the classroom, whether it is campus leadership, work study jobs, internships, or part-time or full-time jobs. Even if you got “Employee of the Month” working a fast food job, I want to know about it!

In Greek life, it is not enough to list your fraternity or sorority. Sure, it is likely to earn you “cool points” if a fellow Black Greek is reviewing your résumé; but don’t assume that the reviewer is a fan of Greek life (especially in the wake of the SAE controversy and stories of hazing allegations among Divine Nine organizations).

In “The Black Greek Success Program”, I advise students to focus on three things to make Greek life involvement stand out. Demonstrate that you have done something, show that you have been a leader in your organization, and/or show the results of the work you have done.

Consider the example below of what my college résumé’s campus leadership section looked like:
College résumé campus leadership section

The excerpt below, however, is what that section would look like if I were to redesign my college résumé (noting that IFC appears on my résumé because I attended a majority institution that did not have NPHC at the time):

Improved College résumé campus leadership section redesign

Always remember that being Greek affords you the privilege of being labeled a leader because you were initiated into an organization of high standards. Wearing letters, however, doesn’t matter if you don’t do your part to honor what those letters stand for—scholarship, service, and brotherhood/sisterhood. Your college résumé should reflect that commitment.

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