Highlighting Your Fraternity/Sorority Experience on Your Resume

Maggie Becker, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Keyboard Job Search

As an Associate Director in Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Career Development Center and a Chapter Advisor for the Iota Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi International Fraternity, I find fraternity/sorority resumes to be extra special. Men and women do not realize the potential of highlighting their fraternity/sorority experiences on a resume, nor give them justice.  I would like to shed some light on how best to highlight fraternal experiences on the resume.

If you are looking for an internship or job that is finance, operations, marketing, sales, non-profit focused, event planning, program management, or general office related – then you can be direct in creating a section that might very well align with your role in your fraternity/sorority.  You can create sections on your resume that are called: Marketing Experience, Sales Experience, Operations Experience, etc.  If you are a vice president or director in one of those areas, you can bring your leadership role into one of these sections.  You would treat your role just as you would a job; be specific on what you did, how you did it, how many people you managed, the budget you oversaw, the events you planned, the finances you explained, and much more.  When introducing the experience, I encourage you to put your role, followed by your fraternity/sorority name, the school you are at, and the dates you held the role. 

One example could be:

Vice President of Member Recruitment, Alpha Phi International Fraternity, WPI, Jan 2011-Dec 2012

(Note: Bold your role).

I always encourage men and women to answer the following questions when describing  the role/experience:

  • What did you do?
  • How did you do it? (including software)
  • Who did you work with? (did you have directors, a committee, collaborate with other organizations)
  • What were the results? (including attendance numbers, percentage involvement, amount of budget)

You do not need to write in complete sentences elaborating on the details of your position.  Begin each phrase with a verb that clearly highlights your role, not the department’s accomplishments or who you served, but that emphasizes what YOU did.  You don’t want to include pronouns or complete sentences on a resume.  It should be clear, straightforward, and highlight what you did.

An example of a description addressing the above could be:

Oversaw three directors and a committee of 20 women with the goal of attracting new members to the organization.  Distributed budget of $3,000 among operating costs, materials, four formal recruitment events, three informal events, and marketing materials.  Delegated event planning while ensuring compliance with governing regulations and budgetary constraints.  Recruited 36 new members and engaged membership of over 100 women in process.

(Notes: Any number under 10 should be spelled out.  Be action and number oriented as best you can; always begin with a verb.)

 Now this is great when the job function you are seeking (or the objective on your resume) clearly aligns with your leadership role.  If it does not, then create a section on your resume called Leadership Experiences.  In this section, you could include, and describe, your role, similar to above.  If having everything fit on one page (as most undergraduate students will have a one page only resume), you might need to remove the descriptions of your role.  This doesn’t mean you cannot be detailed in your accomplishments and skills gained in your cover letter, or talk about it on an interview; of course you can and should!  However, the roles, projects, and jobs that are detailed on your resume should be in alignment with your career objective.  If you have space after elaborating on the related experiences, please elaborate on your fraternity/sorority role in a leadership section!  If space is an issue, then remove the descriptions.

When you remove your descriptions, you have two options.  One option is to have a Leadership section which will include your role without a description.  The other option is to move your role into an Activities section and list it with your other clubs and organizations.  An example could be:

Director of Chapter Facilities, Alpha Phi International Fraternity, WPI, Jan 2013-Present

Member, Habitat for Humanity, WPI, August 2012-Present

Senator, Student Government Association, WPI, August 2011-Present

(Notes: The order in each section is always most recent first/reverse chronological order.  Always include months with your dates; after all companies do not operate on seasons but rather months.  Bold your role. Unaffiliated employers might not understand what it means to be the Gamma chapter, or what a Delta Gamma chapter is; instead focus on your school rather than the chapter number.)

 If you do not have a role in your fraternity/sorority, but are on a committee, you can easily put this experience into one of the above sections.  If you want to only highlight your membership that is okay as well.  Having one line on your resume with your fraternity/sorority and the dates highlighting the length of your commitment and participation is important to employers.  Ultimately it is up to you where you want to put it, focusing on how you want to highlight your experience.  Do you want to highlight what you accomplished?  If so, then put it into a targeted section or leadership section.  If you want the employer to know you were involved, but do not want to go into detail on you role (whether or not space permits), then include it in an Activities section.

If there is one thing I do recommend, it is always keeping your fraternity/sorority involvement in your on your resume.  Even years after you graduate, I recommend staying in good standing with your organization and having it on your resume.  After you are about 3+ years out of college, it might be time to bring your fraternity/sorority involvement into that Activities section or Volunteer section.  At this point you probably would remove the descriptions, unless you are working in higher education or looking to be a chapter advisor.  Being in fraternity/sorority life is more than four years, it is a life time.  Employers will continue to connect with your involvement beyond graduation.  The leadership skills you gained, experiences managing other members, working within a budget, ensuring safety, and training new members on historical values are all relevant to the working world.


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About nglablog

NGLA builds community among students from a variety of fraternal experiences, challenges members to align their actions with fraternal values, and empowers advocates to transform and improve their communities.

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