Greek Affiliations and Your Resume

Old SchoolShould your Greek affiliations be on your resume?  Reader C wonders…

I’m a current undergrad applying to law schools this fall and am finalizing my resume. I have a fairly senior professor/administrator who insists that students not put their Greek affiliation anywhere on their resume because he worries that being in a sorority/fraternity (or even the “wrong one”) could hurt a chance of a job/admissions offer. I held a leadership role in my sorority (one where there was no committee under me, but I did initiate and successfully complete some large projects) and was also a recruitment counselor for Greek life for two years (a highly competitive position at my school). If I omit these positions, my resume is rather sparse in the leadership category. Do you have any suggestions? Should I say that I was in Greek life, but leave the name of the sorority off? Or can I hope that I won’t be judged to be a shallow, snooty “sorority girl” before they meet me?

I was not a member of a sorority in my undergrad years — something that I slightly regret now.  I went about halfway through the “rush” process, but dropped out of the process before pledging (I seem to remember some frenzied late-night conversation with friends — you know the kind in college, where the World Suddenly Makes Sense — about how “sister” meant more to me than “group of girls I live with” and therefore I should drop out of the process.)  In terms of my college social life, I don’t regret the decision at all — my friends and I had great fun, and I was very involved with a more subject-specific “residential college,” as NU called them — but in the <cough> many years since college, I’ve come to wonder whether a sorority affiliation would have been helpful from a networking perspective.  I seem to remember there being a slight bias against the Greek system from professors, administrators, and a lot of students* as well. (Pictured: I just rewatched the movie “Old School” and laughed really hard — I recommend it if you haven’t seen it!)

Now, that said, should Reader C put her leadership positions on her resume? Well… I’m not sure.  In the “applying to grad school” context, I think there may be a bias against sorority girls and I think your professor might have some good points.  I’m also not sure whether “leadership” is really a quality that grad schools are looking for, above and beyond, say, critical thinking, researching, and writing skills.  I often talk about my theory of preparing for an interview by thinking of three great traits, with stories to accompany them — I wouldn’t have a problem with you pulling a story from your leadership experience at the sorority.  But in terms of written application materials, I might leave your sorority experiences as one-liners in a “Other Interests” type of section.

-------Sponsored Links--------

Ultimately it depends what else your resume looks like, though — if you really have very little work experience then a sorority-filled resume is better than an extremely sparse resume.  However you put it on your resume, I think it would look very weird to leave off the specific affiliation and just “say you were in Greek life.”

All right, ladies, I’m curious — how many of you were in the Greek system in college?  How has it affected your professional lives since — have you used your sorority as a networking tool? And, of course, what’s your advice to Reader C?

*I will always, always, always remember taking a psych class in college and having a teacher ask the class, “What affiliation are you?” and hearing a student immediately call out, loudly and proudly from the front row, “GDI.”  “What affiliation is that?” asked the professor.  “Gawwwwd Damn Independent,” she said just as loudly and proudly. Ohhhhhhh-kay.

(L-2)

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

Comments

  1. Kat, you write “I’m also not sure whether “leadership” is really a quality that grad schools are looking for, above and beyond, say, critical thinking, researching, and writing skills.”

    I completely disagree. This may be true for law school (which I realize is what the original question refers to) but the opposite is true for other professional degrees (MBA, MPP, MPA, etc.) — demonstrating leadership is *very* important and a critical element of admissions decisions.

    • Demonstrating leadership is undoubtedly important for law school. I can’t really imagine any career-oriented graduate school for which leadership experience is not an asset.

      • Anonymous :

        Anything in the arts or humanities. Those are careers.

        • Completely disagree with this one! Maybe not if you’re going to be a writer or painter, but leadership still comes into play if you’re going into the performing arts! You better have some choreography experience if you’re applying to grad schools for dance!

          • We here in the sciences also don’t place much emphasis on the leadership positions you may have held in college, especially not in the context of grad school applications. We also have careers.

          • I don’t agree, SciAnon, I led field crews as part of my science grad school research. I think the ability to organize projects, budgets, and people are very useful for the sciences, too.

      • Former MidLevel :

        Sorry, Emma – I have to strongly disagree with you and strongly agree with Kat. For law school admissions, what matters is your GPA and LSAT. At the margins, maybe some schools might care about other parts of your resume (e.g., leadership).

        But I hope the original questioner does not lose sleep over this issue–put it on your resume if it is experience you are proud of and it helps fill out your resume, but don’t expect it to affect your chances significantly. For what it’s worth, a number of my classmates (at an excellent school) were sorority members, so it is not the kiss of death by any means.

    • As a professor who serves on admissions committees for Masters and PhD programs, I can tell you that I don’t look at the “Greek” affiliations on a student’s application. Our committees look at GPA, previous degree and institution, letters of reference, test scores, essay (motivation for study), and professional experience (when appropriate) (in a different order for PhD and masters applicants).

      In my experience, listing Greek affiliations and other activities is often a way that candidates will signal race or gender, if they think that will help them acquire financial support… That strategy can turn some faculty off and work to turn others on.

      For those posters that note that a fellow “sister” might preference your application, I would warn that the probability that a professor would vote to admit you because you are Delta Delta Delta seems low – and most likely equal to the probability that another professor would count Greek affiliation as a strike against you.

      My advice: if the leadership activities are important to you list them. If not, don’t list them. But it will not make or break your graduate school application.

  2. I was active in my sorority during undergrad/held a leadership role in it/held a leadership role in the larger Greek community and that information is still on my resume under “community involvement.” I honestly believe that it has actually helped me in terms of getting into grad school and then getting a job because it shows that I was able to balance an active social life with a full academic schedule. It may depend on your major, but I know that my business professors always told us to include this information on our resumes for the above reasonas and because you never know who may be a fellow sister, significant other of a sister, etc. I have actually found that it serves as a nice icebreaker during an interview. Also, somewhat unrelated but do check out your sorority’s alum group in whatever city you go to grad school – it is a great way to meet new people!

    • Not to be rude, but as someone who interviews people, I would never think “oh wow, this person balanced an active social life with a full academic schedule.”
      There is zero excuse not to balance the two. College is not hard.

      • Anonymous :

        Whether you mean for it to be or not, that is rude. There are better schools than others, and harder majors, as well. Your experience is not universal. College can be hard — it just depends on your choices.

      • Yep Anon that was rude. Also, untrue. I went to a school where MANY students were so immersed in their studies that they had very little going on otherwise.

      • I agree and don’t think it’s rude. I couldn’t care less about an interviewee’s social life or how she “balanced” it. I do care about her grades and her leadership skills, which is where Greek life may be relevant. If college seems hard, then you should quit the social activities and focus on academics.

        • This

        • Second

        • Agreed.

        • Aimez-Moi :

          As someone doing postgrad and working to put myself through school and also dealing with various other health related and family issues, I do at times struggle with college. To assume that it’s my social activities that affect whether college is “easy” or not, is naive and rude.

          When you live with a disabled parent or a volatile home environment, commute 2 hours a day to college, have various health issues, and have to work to pay the bills to put yourself through college, it’s at times an issue to get time to study, despite having the ability. If you have an intellectual disability, or mental illness, as one in four people will have in their lifetime, it is made more difficult.

          Just because you had everything handed to you on a silver platter and didn’t have to worry about where you would sleep on a given night because of violence at home, or having to pay the bills while you were studying, doesn’t mean everyone has the same experiences.

          Yes, college is easy. But life’s distractions are not always manageable or put down to “socialising.” Seriously, get a world view and some perspective outside of your own.

      • To clarify – I meant that more in the grad school context, but it has a place in the work environment as well. I know A LOT of people, esp. from law school who did nothing else in undergrad except study in order to get into law school x or med. school x. Demonstrating that you can maintain a high GPA and leadership roles in social organizations at the same time does show an ability to balance both aspects of a young person’s life. Also, your comment was rude whether or not you intended it to be.

        • I interview people. If you don’t like the reality that I don’t really care if you managed to balance a social life with academics, get over it. The real world doesn’t care that you did. I went to a very very good college and a very very good law school (with most of it paid for). Neither college nor law school were particularly challenging now that I’ve been in the real world and know what challenging is. Employers really don’t care about what you think is important. They care about what they do. Leadership, intelligence, competence, and personality are important. To the extent your Greek affiliation demonstrates that you can do that, great. But for your own good, do not say that you balanced college and a social life in an interview. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t say that and have reasons to prove it up and, frankly, I don’t care what you did in college. Lots of people partied their way through college and then got their act together in the work world…and other people burned out after grad school and cannot operate in the real world.

          • I’m glad you found undergrad and law school to be so easy and congratulations on apparently having a full resume to demonstrate your obvious abilities when applying for law school (likely at the age of 22 if you went straight through). However, I absolutely highlighted my sorority leadership experience when applying for law school because at 22 it was the most relevant leadership experience that I had and I believe this is true for a lot of people. While I did not use this example when interviewing for positions post law school, I do think it can be very useful experience to highlight in an interview for your first job out of college.

          • Puh-Leeze! Be careful b/c people are sensitive. Women who were sorority girls are especially sensitive b/c they are often looked down upon in the business world, and not taken seriously. It is OK for a guy to be a frat boy, but women, well, we are judged by a different standard, and many men have leered at me once they found out I was the Vice President in charge of Social Events at Delta Mu. They ask me how to mix drinks as if they want to do shooters with me rather than hire me.

          • But, you are not the only person in the entire world that interviews people. SO, maybe *you* don’t care, but maybe other people do. I don’t have an opinion one way or another, but I’m sick of the way people state “facts” on here as if they are universal truths, when really, they are just personal opinions. If its a personal opinion, it should be stated as such.

          • That was a reply to Anon, and not KM.

          • I interview people as well, and I disagree rather strongly. “Social life” isn’t how I’d put it, but “did something other than spend four years in the library cramming” is a plus for me. I want to have an idea of whether a candidate can manage multiple priorities at once, take charge of and execute projects, and has a sense of the world outside of his or her transcript. College activities can make a difference in that case.

          • @cbackson: I feel like I can get that from an in-person interview, though–the sense that this person was not a grind and will be personable and good to have around the office. Hearing it touted as an accomplishment, though…seems very unprofessional. I don’t look as highly on people who highlight Greek experience on their resumes when I’m the one doing the interviewing. (A mention is fine.)

        • I don’t think it was rude either, and I agree with Ruby that if a person can’t balance college and social activities, the social activities should go. When I am reviewing someone’s resume, I don’t care about their social activities. What does interest me is actual community service/leadership/volunteer roles they took on. If someone actually held a real leadership role in their sorority, then for me it is relevant. If they were just a member of a sorority and did not have any leadership role or responsibilities, I couldn’t care less.

          • I think social activities are helpful, particularly in a profession where you will have to work to get business. Being in a sorority is at least somewhat indicative of your abilities to socialize with others, and it also will give you connections that can help in the long term. As an employer, I think it would be a plus.

          • “Being in a sorority is at least somewhat indicative of your abilities to socialize with others”

            I don’t think that’s true. Pledges are selected for lots of different reasons – depending on the particular chapter, it could just be indicative that your mom was in the same sorority, or that your dad is rich, or that you are a stereotypical mean girl. Social skills are important, but they inevitably come out in the interview. Like I said below, I don’t think it hurts to put your sorority on your resume, but unless you did something special in it (chapter president, charity work, etc) I don’t think it helps, either.

      • anonymous the fifth :

        I don’t think you’re rude, merely inaccurate. Whether college is hard depends on where you went to school, what you majored in, how hard you worked, whether you had to work at a job outside of your studies, what else was going on with you life.

        Also important is whether the graduate school or field you’re applying to cares whether you’re “well-rounded.” In some fields, they just want you to have a terrific academic record and to be a decent person, not the life of the party or president material.

        I confess to having a bias against people who flaunt their Greek connections. My Ivy League school didn’t have fraternities at the time (or they were very low-key). Instead, there were private clubs that were very snobby and which I couldn’t have afforded to join even had I been asked.

        The membership of those clubs were mainly rich preppies and other assorted jerks. At least they many of them were smart. They produced people like Winkelvoss twins.

        For me, and I’m sure it is a stereotype, Greek organizations produce stupid, rowdy frat boys and sorority sisters who are incredibly parochial, undistinguished, uninteresting, and they never outgrow it.

        They’re low-rent snobs. If I have a choice, I take high-rent.

        • anonymous the fifth :

          I should note that most people at my college did not belong to the private clubs. They were exclusive, small, and incredibly expensive. Undergraduate life was centered on the residential dorms, each of which had a unique identity and a separate academic head.

      • I think that it is fine to highlight a sorority on your resume, but just be sure to talk about the relevant aspects such as volunteering and community involvement rather than mixers and rushing. Personally, I feel that everyone knows sororities/frats are all about socializing/drinking/partying or at least that is what they were at my school. It also depends on the field/interviewer. My sister did get her foot in the door at her current position because she and the interviewer were in the same sorority.

        • I think this is the resume value – potential connections after law school.

          And, as a partial aside, I know that there are certain people in the Greek community who espouse the view that leadership–and particularly, Greek leadership–is a huge plus factor for law school admissions. I found this out when a friend’s mom expressed dismay that I got into a much better law school than her daughter, despite my lack of Greek connections.

      • While snarky in tone, the point is still valid. Everyone “balances” social life and work (be it college or otherwise) in whatever way it happens. Some do so with an “active social life” (i.e. time with friends and family), while others are much less social. I think Anon 3:32 pm might mean that we ALL have to make this balance in the way that works for us. Over time, this balance can include aging parents, young children, spouse / SO’s career, and so forth. Sometimes our inability to balance shows in work performance (lower grades, fewer billable hours, etc.).

        Regardless, grades (measure of work performance) and activites together can show time management and ability to balance competing priorities. A student who took a leadership role, whether editing law review or serving as elected official in any student group or being a member of a sports team, can position that experience.

        Thus, I wouldn’t say “balance college and social life”. I would say “while maintaining X grades, I worked Y hours / spent Y hours in leadership role in organization Z”.

      • College is not hard? Try being Pre-Med.

    • question for Anon123? :

      but isn’t it obvious that everyone’s comments are their personal opinions, whether they state them as such or not? does that have to explicitly stated?

      or is your issue more with the tone of some people’s comments in general?

      • My issue is with the tone. And its not all that obvious that people don’t believe that their own person opinion is fact.

        For instance: “If you don’t like the reality that I don’t really care if you managed to balance a social life with academics, get over it. The real world doesn’t care that you did.”

        Sure, *you* don’t care that someone did, but someone may. To say, “the real world doesn’t care” implies that you speak for all of us living in the “real world.” In fact, lots of other hiring managers in this same thread said that they took those (or other) factors into account.

  3. I think a lot of this is geographical. I live in the Northeast. I am in two scholastic honor societies that sound like sororities. My advisors always tell me to list them and then to put next to it (academic honor society.) I have a friend who was in an engineering fraternity. He also spells his out rather than just using the greek letters. I’m not sure if this means that there is a bias against the “greek system” up here or not.

    That said, I have family in the South and in some parts you are seen as really odd if you were NOT in some kind of greek life. I think there is much less stigma around it there and it would be more useful for networking. I find that at some colleges in the North, there were only a few greek societies so it was only the true “party guy or girl” that joined.

    • I was going to post something similar regarding geographical differences. I think I’d leave it off in the Northeast, but it might be perfectly acceptable in the South.

      Of course, I wasn’t in a sorority and less than 10% of my school belonged to them.

    • I would agree with the statement that these affiliations can evoke vastly different reactions depending on the geographic area (for example, physical proximity to the school where the interviewers might know of the specific chapter of the Greek organization), but I don’t think the reaction will be a blanketed “approval” or “disapproval” based on the region of the country. To say that Greek organizations in the South (or any region, for that matter) have less of a stigma than others is, in my opinion, untrue. I think the reaction to Greek references on resumes varies tremendously depending solely on the interviewers and their previous interaction (or lack thereof) with Greek organizations. As unpredictable as that is, there’s simply no way to know how your interviewers will feel about your sorority involvement.

      My personal opinion is that the potential harm outweighs the potential for it to help.

      • This. Sure, there is a chance that your interviewer will be from your sorority. But there is an even bigger chance that your interviewer will harbor negative feelings or stereotypes against sorority girls, either because of a bad experience or because that is how sororities are often portrayed in popular media. The chance of meeting a fellow sister who might help you out is pretty minimal compared to the chance of meeting someone who hates sorority girls or at the very least isn’t impressed by them. Too risky, in my opinion.

    • anonymous the fifth :

      I was about to say that I also associate Greek life with the South. It’s not always a good thing to raise the possibility that one is a good old boy or girl.

      Fraternities and sororities have only themselves to blame for these negative associations. The hazings, the cruel humiliations, the petty tyrannies, the racism, I could go on and on.

  4. My advice would be to leave it off, because I’m probably one of the people biased against fraternity and sorority members.

    • I wouldn’t say that I’m biased against the members, and I have and had plently of friends who were in them, but the whole concept just makes me cringe and I’ve never understood why people join them. (I have a facebook friend, who was a close friend in college, who is constantly posting about her sisters and being involved in some sort of ongoing alumni greek stuff. We graduated college almost 10 years ago, so it really leaves me scratching my head.) So I’m having a hard time separating out that bias from the question. Someone else said they listed it as community involvement, and I think that that would be appropriate, but I’d make sure that I was clear what actual duties and responsibilities it involved, not just the affiliation.

    • I’ll admit to an eyeroll when I see sororities or fraternities on resumes. But I went to school in the Northeast (and live there now) — though I am from VA and base it on scenes I didn’t really appreciate.

    • My gut reaction upon learning about someone’s Greek membership is that the person is a c0nformist. N.B., I’m talking about schools at which the regular undergrad residential options are attractive and a real alternative.

  5. I think it’s fine to put it a leadership position in your sorority on your resume. Being in a sorority or fraternity is very common, and I don’t think it’s likely to cause you to be discriminated against and it could even help if the person reading your resume was a member of the same sorority. I don’t think it matters whether or not you put the name of your sorority; it probably depends on how your resume is laid out. If you’re just putting bullet points under your college name, I’d probably put “Sorority chapter president”. If you do put the Greek name, you should add sorority afterwards (e.g. “Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority chapter president”) because there are other organizations that use Greek letters and it may not be obvious to someone reading your resume that you’re referring to a sorority.

    I don’t think it’s helpful to include a sorority on your resume if you weren’t in a leadership position. At best, it’s just resume filler in the same way that “chess club” would be.

    Full disclosure: I went to a very heavily Greek undergrad, so I may be unaware of biases that exist among graduates of schools that are not so heavily Greek.

    • I agree, Ruby. Putting the name doesn’t matter. Putting “Served as president of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority” under your university information may be all that’s required. In Reader C’s case, she could put “led and organized ___ for ___ sorority and served as counselor to students going through rush process.” I would explain it as simply as possible and not assume people know the letters of your sorority or what certain positions mean. Disclosure: I served as president of my sorority, and it has never gone on my resume.

    • What Ruby said. I was in a sorority in undergrad and was minimally involved. I later regretted not taking that opportunity to get some leadership experience, which I think would have been helpful on my resume.

  6. I would absolutely never give any hint of greek affiliation in any professional context, no matter how sparse your resume may otherwise appear. The bias against the stereotypical ditzy, Ugg-wearing sorority girl is so prevalent, and I know many people who proudly admit to using this excuse to eliminate job candidates. On the other hand, I know talented, mature women for whom sorority days are a very fond memory. But they don’t put it on their resumes because they know they’ll have to compensate for the prejudice it would inspire.

    • The vehemence of this comment gives me pause. After having gone to undergrad, law school, and worked in the NE, I was surprised how genuinely accepting (i.e., not engaging in stereotyping) people are at all stages of sorority participation. Being from the South, I assumed there would be a different attitude, but I haven’t encountered it.

      From a normative point of view, it is very sad to me that prospective employers would use membership in a women’s organization to weed out job candidates. I wouldn’t expect someone to hire someone because they were in a sorority (grades, experience, accomplishments should matter), just as I wouldn’t expect someone NOT to hire someone for the same reason (grades, experience, accomplishments should matter).

      • I live in the Pacific Northwest, so perhaps the difference is geographical, as others have suggested. The problem, as I see it, is the stereotype – in my community at least, that sororities are not really seen as supportive of women, but instead are thought of as anti-intellectual and cliquey, with a heavy emphasis on drinking. It may not be true, but a lot of people around here have that association, and with it, your resume goes in the recycle bin.

        • R in Boston :

          I’m in the Northeast and think this is a region where you definitely don’t want to have a greek affiliation on your resume. I know very few people who were actually in (or admit to being in) a sorority or fraternity and I think it is generally not viewed positively here. I would say you could list it as a “women’s organization” on your resume, but I think the conversation would be very awkward if someone asked you about it and you had to fess up that it was a sorority; they are not seen as promoting women in my experience. My guess is that Emma has encountered the anti-greek org attitude, just in people who were decent enough not to be rude to her.

          *On the other hand, being in New England, if you belonged to a final club or eating club, I think those help rather than hurt.

          • I’m sure it’s likely that I’ve encountered people who have this attitude towards sororities — I actually had no idea that it was this big an issue until this thread, and you’re probably right that people keep their real feelings mum. I should point out, though, that I don’t wear my sorority membership on my sleeve, never talk about it, and 90% of acquaintances don’t know I was in one. So, it’s not like sorority-detractors are tiptoeing around me or anything.

            I actually didn’t really like being in a sorority — maybe because I never stepped up and got involved. My mind is just blown that people think it’s okay to stereotype job applicants on this basis — and I still resist that conclusion, to some extent. Because the vast majority of women in my sorority were involved in a number of laudable on-campus organizations, were serious students, and have met with extraordinary success post graduation, and it would be ridiculous for employers to conclude these women weren’t qualified based on the affiliation.

          • *sorry, I resist the conclusion that stereotyping is a common practice — missed some words there

          • R in Boston :

            @Emma
            I agree – it is as silly a basis as anything else on which to stereotype, but I think it does happen. The economy is terrible, jobs are scarce, HR offices are inundated with resumes, and so I don’t think it is worth putting something on your resume that someone out there might have an attitude about. I feel the same way about any number of “know your audience” resume lines (religious activities, as discussed in a thread a few weeks ago, certain political activities, etc.).

            Your experience, though, shows more of the picture, I think. While people may stereotype when they have little else to go on (i.e. at the resume stage), they often don’t lean on the stereotype when they actually know the person. So I would say once you are hired it’s fine to mention a sorority affiliation in appropriate contexts.

          • I grew up in NYC, went to undergrad at Wellesley (in Massachusetts), then worked in banking in NYC, then law school in DC (which I suppose is borderline South … but not really … ) and I’m now at a big firm in NYC. I’ve interviewed lots of people and it’s never occurred to me to come to any conclusions about a candidate simply because he or she was in a fraternity or sorority. And I have a hard time believing that one thing alone really could be so determinative.

            Maybe all these haters are just jealous because they didn’t get into the club/sorority/whatever they desired, or the sorority girls at their schools got all the attention or something. For the record, there were no sororities at my undergrad.

          • As someone who grew up & went to college in New England, I don’t even know what a final club or eating club is.!

          • @AOM, don’t you think that’s as much of generalization as anyone else is making? Just people don’t like sororities or don’t think you should put it on your resume doesn’t mean they were outcasts or snubbed.

          • Beware of Greeks :

            @ Emma:

            When I have a bias, I usually go out of my way to be fair. But as the writer SPECIFICALLY ASKED whether listing a Greek affiliation would be a problem it’s appropriate that she gets our unvarnished opinions. Actually, I didn’t think there would be such a negative reaction. Good to know.

            @Anna D:

            Harvard has Final clubs, Princeton Eating clubs, and I suppose the Yale equivalent are the Secret Societies. For whatever it’s worth, in “The Social Network,” the character of Mark Zuckerberg is motivated in large part by revenge at being turned down by the Final Clubs at Harvard. He has to make due with the “Jewish fraternity,” which he thinks is a social come-down. Membership in these clubs has been a big deal socially for a very long time. Joseph P. Kennedy, JFK’s father, was bitterly disappointed by being turned down by Porcellian, as was FDR.

            I agree with the commenter who said that in the NE membership in one of those clubs is probably a plus.

            The fact that I know this crap doesn’t mean I approve. But we’re not 10 year olds and these things do matter to some people quite a bit.

          • Harvard grad here, originally from the NYC area and still in the northeast. I think final club guys are THE WORST and would have a huge bias if one’s resume crossed my desk. Is every last person from one a pretentious sleaze ball? No. Are many of them successful professionally? Yes, of course. But ick!! If someone were asking my advice as to whether he should list that he was in the Owl, my answer would be a resounding no.

  7. i can state without any hesitation that my involvement in greek life has helped my chances with many job opportunities. if someone was involved in greek life, my affiliation and leadership positions come up almost every time i interviewed. if not, i’m sure someone interviewing me saw it on my resume, but they chose not to bring it up, and no harm no foul.

    while i’m sure some professors love to hold on to antiquated view of the greek system that comes from watching animal house too many times, i would be shocked if “all” feel that way – as any professor i counseled about my resume in college felt that including greek life involvement was an added bonus.

    it all goes back to this – one of the reasons i joined a sorority was because it made it easier to make friends and find mentors through college. in my post-grad life, it still makes it easier to have a commonality, but not all of my friends are greek. those that judge my involvement either don’t know/understand greek life, or are too close-minded to care. do you want a boss who is too close-minded to recognize your leadership role in an organization of ~300 women (such were numbers at my school)?

    • I went to Northwestern (Kat’s alma mater). I held leadership positions in my sorority and put them on my resume when applying for jobs. I networked heavily and went to bat for younger sorority sisters of mine to be hired by the company I worked for. Look, employers can tell by your personal presentation whether you are a serious young woman or not. They can tell by your school what kinds of academic chops you have. If it’s a leadership position, put it. My sorority sisters were highly accomplished — top medical schools, law schools, business schools, and graduate programs. Yes, there are ditzy sorority girls at other schools, but that’s irrelevant to smart girls going to good schools.

  8. Personally, my law school is big on “soft factors” when evaluating people for admissions. They would be impressed by any substantial leadership position and likely wouldn’t have much against Greek affiliations if sold in that fashion. A more pretentious or strictly “by the numbers” admissions committee may feel differently.

    • I really feel like it all comes down to how you sell it. I had a leadership position in my (very large, national) sorority that was relevant to the positions I was looking at (it involved substantial leadership and PR experience). Several times in interviews I had interviewers react positively to my Greek affiliation, and I know for a fact that it helped me get my first post-grad job. So I would absolutely include it on the resume, with the Greek letters. Writing “sorority president” just seems silly to me, and not as legitimate as “Alpha Beta Delta International Sorority – President of Alpha Chapter” (don’t know if that’s a real organization, just chose them randomly). If the interviewer brings it up, don’t say you “led a group of girls” say you were the “vice president of a committee of 20 women.” Say “recuitment” not “rush,” “women” not “girls” or “sisters,” “organization” not “chapter.” Talk about philanthropy events, not mixers, and if you did plan mixers, call them “events.” Act proud of your position and of your time spent with the organization. Most people understand that there some sororities are very serious and professional and some are all about partying, just make it clear that yours was the former. Be proud of your experience, you worked hard for it!

      • This. Tweak that resume until it twists right into place! It’s all in the framing.

        • Agreed! Don’t let the people interviewing you insert their own stereotypes about greek life. Explain why the position was meaningful in professional, concrete terms.

      • Agreed. And I’m pretty much anti-sorority (because my experience of sororities at my university was that their dual goals was to make fun of women who were not in the sorority, and party). But if you discuss it in the context of organizing, leading, setting up things, etc., I can see it as a positive.

      • Agreed. I’ll add that, although I was in a sorority myself, I wouldn’t list it on my resume if I hadn’t held a leadership position that I was prepared to speak about in interviews and connect to my career.

  9. Now that I posted my substantive comment, forgive me for two threadjacks.

    1.) I have a blue leather Brooks Brother’s bag. It has suede lining inside. Little particles are coming off the lining that look like the junk leftover after using an eraser. It is getting all over my stuff. I think I am going to try vacuuming it out. Other ideas?

    2.) I was recently asked ot join a very prestigous board in my community. I just went to the first meeting. Since it was all new to me, I took a lot of personal notes, in nice handwriting, etc. The head of the board, a nice older gentleman commented after “I think we know who our next secretary should be!” (Meaning Secretary of the Board, minute taker, etc.) I am a big fan of NGDGTCO. It stresses that women should avoid note taking roles. Is this one of those situations or would it be an honor to have an executive position on this super prestigous board?

    • Lana Lang :

      1) No idea I’m afraid. Double sided tape maybe?

      2) How are the psitions decided? I.e. will there be an opportunity for you to put yourself forward to be e.g. treasurer, or ask someone to propose you for a role? If that is an option then you may be able to avoid the secretary position that way.

      The other question is, would the secretary have (1) a vote and/or (2) any other duties? Will a ‘no’ to both make you not want to do it? Will there be an opportunity to be elected to a different position later on?

      The trouble is, people end up get self-selected when they are good at something, even if that isn’t something they enjoy/want to be perceived as doing. If it is a choice of not being on the board at all or being secretary, I would pick being secretary, but if you have an option, then it’s a different ball game.

      I don’t know what the answer is, but just some food for thought…

    • Secretary Today, Chair Tomorrow? :

      If your board has a clear ladder to becoming Chair (Secretary, then Treasurer, then Vice Chair, then Chair), I’d do it. Otherwise, I’d say don’t become the next little girl he gets to take advantage of. He can take his own *#)*!&# notes.

      • Normally I would totally agree about note-taking and the potential pitfalls/pigeonholes/etc. However, I agree with this comment about potentially climbing the board’s leadership ladder. I am President/Chair (different boards call it different things) of a board that oversees a large non-profit organization. The Executive Committee is comprised of the officers of the board (Pres, VP, Secretary and Treasurer) and that’s the group that handles all personnel issues and other “sensitive” issues that do not fall to the entire board. It’s very valuable experience and leadership development. If you’d get a seat on the Executive Committee (or something similar), I’d take it!

    • It seems that the gentleman suggested you for the position because you have demonstrated the necessary skills, and not because he’s pigeonholing you based on gender. The reason NGDGTCO says to avoid notetaking roles is because you don’t want to be pigeonholed based on gender. In this case, and especially since it’s an executive, leadership position, I think even Lois Frankel herself would tell you to take it.

      The only caveat I’d add is to make sure you know what the job entails. Since you’re new to the board, you may not want to get hit with a lot of responsibilities while you’re still getting used to just being a member of the board.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I think Lois Frankel would say to suggest a rotation. It’s not life-and-death how accurate the notes are, so it would not be a huge problem if Charlie takes notes next week and they aren’t as nice as yours. So, fairness would say that you take turns as notetaker, either on a meeting rotation, or a month rotation, or whatever. Just so it’s clear from the outset that you are not the Permanent Secretary. And be sure to avoid other “secretarial” responsibilities. You are not ordering the food, you are not booking the conference rooms. Just like notetaking, it should all rotate. I’d also suggest that the notetaker not be the food-orderer, just to keep the admin responsibilities distributed.

        Are there any senior women on this board? Have there ever been any? I would try to get in touch with them for a cup of coffee to see how this board works.

        • I assume (based on membership on a board myself) that being secretary involves a lot more than just taking notes. It’s an executive board position! Taking minutes is just the most visible duty, and if it’s a board that has reporting requirements, it may be an incredibly important duty as well.

        • Beware of Greeks :

          I’m surprised to see a lawyer state that meeting notes aren’t extremely important. (I assume that this is an organization of some importance.)

          But yes, if it’s a dog job, the OP should try to rotate the task.

    • Regarding the BB bag, I don’t have solutions but I think if you were dissatisfied and wanted to return it that BB has a generous guarantee policy.

      On the BOD question, a board Secretary is different from someone taking notes at a firm’s meeting or event. Being made to take notes at a company meeting can be (but is not always) demeaning.

      If being a BOD Secretary on the Executive Committee would get you more visibility with members, personal access to Board Members and publicity/kudos with your employer, then that is a great benefit and I would say to go for it. Some BODs pay for secretarial services such as newsletters, filing of board meeting minutes etc., and those would be tasks that would be more drudge work.

    • 1) Try emptying the bag, flipping it inside out, and lightly brushing the suede lining with a soft brush. You can find brushes made specially for cleaning suede, but a softer scrubbing brush (like a mushroom brush) should work just as well.

    • Congratulations on being selected to the board! And as someone in the nonprofit world, thank you for taking your job seriously — too many people do not.

      Find out what exactly the roles of secretary are. On our board, the secretary is part of the executive committee and is therefore more involved with decisions about the organization. I would think that is only a good thing for you.

  10. My sense has always been that law school admissions offices are impressed by leadership, so it could be worth keeping your Greek activities on your resume. Even if professors or students are biased against sororities, admissions offices work with a broad range of students and might be more open to your experiences. (You have to figure that they’ve met smart sorority girls before.)

    Different but related: if you apply to Teach for America, definitely put all of your Greek activities on your resume! TFA loves leadership experience in any context, and a lot of TFA corps members were in Greek organizations as undergrads.

  11. I included my sorority affiliation and offices on my resume when applying to law school and summer internships. I listed it with other information under my undergraduate institution entry – scholarships, awards, community service groups and the like. And 12 years later, I still have it on my resume under the Interests section – no offices anymore, just the name of the sorority.
    I have reviewed dozens of resumes for summer associate candidates and nearly all of them list their Greek affiliations and any offices they held.

  12. Business, not Law :

    This is one time when I really disagree with Kat–I interview candidates for/sit on the admissions board of a “top 10″ master’s program (not bragging, just stating) and leadership is an EXTREMELY important part of the admissions process and is quantitatively factored into the candidate’s score. Perhaps this is different for law school admissions? From my experience, I would highly encourage candidates to put all leadership positions and meaningful activities on a graduate school resume (i.e. volunteer work, Greek life activities)

    I live in the south and was a member of the Greek system in college so take this for what it’s worth, but I am not offended or put off in the least by seeing Greek life activities on a student’s resume. It has actually HELPED candidates because there were often very concrete examples of leadership and ethics that were demonstrated and have given prompts of things for me to talk about. I’ve noticed a trend in the past year or so for students to just list “Social Sorority” instead of the actual affiliation and I don’t like that as much because knowing the actual affiliation can help with connections and ice-breaking…”Oh I know such and such advisor” or “My sister in law was an XYZ at your school as well”.

  13. Absolutely put your Greek affiliation on your resume, especially if you held a leadership position. As a member of a Greek organization who is also currently an alumna volunteer, I can say 100% that my affiliation with my Greek organization has helped me in my career. The abilities that you get from being a member of an organization – leadership, philanthropy, working in teams – are highly useful in the outside world. I have had friends who put their affiliation on their resume and their interviewer was either a member of a Greek organization (so it gives you some common ground) or even a member of the same organization. Be proud of the organization that you voluntarily chose to be a part of.

  14. Diana Barry :

    I absolutely wouldn’t list it, but I bet that this is regional. I am in the northeast and many people here would look on a sorority girl as fluffy, and a greek guy as a tool.

    • Completely, completely, 100% agree. I would never put a Greek affiliation on a resume and if I saw one, I would think that the individual was just scraping to find things to put on a resume. (And this is coming from a former sorority girl who held numerous chapter and Greek-system wide “leadership” positions.) If you’re in the Greek system and are truly interested in leadership, you’re going to be doing things that are far more impressive (like honor societies, elected student government offices, etc.) that would be worthwhile to put on a resume. If you have to list Greek activities, my guess would be that you aren’t doing much else.

      • At my school, student government and honor societies were WAY less impressive accomplishments, and much easier leadership opportunities, than Green organizations.

        • Huh, that’s interesting. Where I went to school, things like Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar Board actually meant something and being involved in student government was a lot of work. Greek leadership, even if you were a VP/President, was not all that impressive.

          • PBK was more prestigious at my college (and it’s still on my resume 8 years later, while my sorority is not), but it didn’t offer any leadership opportunities at all. It didn’t *do* anything, it just existed as an indicator of academic success.

        • former equestrian :

          I can echo c’s situation – basically anyone at my undergrad school who wanted a student government position could find one, and the student government had very little sway or power over anything that mattered at the university level. Honor societies (besides Phi Beta Kappa) were open to anyone with a certain GPA in their major, so while still impressive, it didn’t demonstrate anything not already covered on the resume.
          The Panhellenic Society, which was the umbrella organization for Greek groups, had a lot of funding from alumni and voice in the administration because of their abilities to generate alumni support. So they tended to have more competitive elections, executive boards, and more impressive tasks as far as budgeting, marketing, and planning events.
          And I say all this as an impartial observer who spent 90% of my time outside of class with the equestrian team.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I completely agree, mainly because my good friend was in charge of screening resumes for a well regarded consulting firm, and she definitely screened out everyone who put a “leadership” position from a Greek organization (although particularly frats, rather than sororities) because she knew the schools, and knew that most of the leadership positions meant “pledge-master” etc.

      Also, I think that social activities and leadership roles are extremely important, but something like a Greek organization is something you do for yourself. You go to college to excel at school, and if you happen to be amazing enough to be able to excel socially as well, this will come across in many more flattering ways than Greek membership. I would never put my eating club on my resume, for example.

    • This – I think it’s pretty clear at this point that this is a regional issue. I think part of the problem is that in the NE, schools that actually have sororities/fraternities are not as common, and the ones that do have them have sometimes had very difficult relationships with them (see the recent lawsuit at Yale www(dot)theblaze(dot)com/stories/yale-students-file-sexual-harassment-suit-against-the-university/ ).

      I went to school in the south, but work in the NE, and whereas I would have definitely put an affiliation (I’m not, but speaking hypothetically) down if I was interviewing in the south, I would not nowadays.

      • Well, MIT is in the northeast, and they have a Greek life. So does Dartmouth.

    • I’m going to disagree – slightly. I was in a sorority as an undergrad in the South, went to law school in NYC, and later worked at a big NY firm. I think it’s fine to list a leadership sorority position on a law school application to a school in the Northeast, unless it was social chair (or the equivalent). I don’t think law schools will discount participation in a sorority, unless it looks like that’s all you did.

      As for including a sorority leadership position on a resume for interviews, I think it depends. I wouldn’t absolutely rule it out in the Northeast, particularly for on-campus interviews where you have assigned interviews by lottery. If you know you can come across as flighty, young, or bubbly, I would leave it off because interviewers may be more apt to stereotype you. In my case, I did not fit the stereotypical “sorority girl” so I wasn’t worried about making that impression. I also think it matters what kind of leadership position you had. I was responsible for enforcing the standards and rules of my sorority, and I thought this was actually slightly relevant to a legal career. At the very least, it showed that I was perceived as a “rule follower.” That doesn’t hurt. I don’t remember very many people asking me about it during on-campus and subsequent interviews. If they did, I emphasized what I did (enforced standards and rules), downplayed the social aspects, and moved on to another topic. However, I definitely took this off my resume once I got my first job at a firm and had professional experience to describe (I now work in house).

      Finally, I’d like to point out one unanticipated benefit of being in a sorority. Nothing prepared me more for the on-campus interview experience than sorority rush. At my undergrad school, rush was very organized and programmed. At a particular time, you would show up at a sorority, and meet with a certain number of sorority members for a set amount of time. It was like speed dating. Or on-campus interviews. As a participant on both sides of the rush process, I graduated from school able to make small talk with anyone about anything in a short period of time. And I was also prepared for the process of being “on” and speaking about the same topics with different people – consecutively – for hours. It also helped keep the on-campus interview process in perspective. It’s just like rush – slightly ridiculous and random.

      • Your last paragraph — spot on. Rush and OCI are similarly exhausting. I made the connection too when I was doing OCI my 1L year. You also talk about similar things believe it or not — or at least, I found that to be true.

  15. Lana Lang :

    Quite interesting and my £0.02 is perhaps not as useful since we don’t have the Greek system in the UK, but I can’t help but recall the part in Legally Blonde 2 where Elle meets the Congresswoman who was in her sorority.

    I expect there are too many different sororities to count, but I expect at least some will provide you a great network and if, for example, you knew that a hiring partner had been a member of the same sorority as you, why not put it down on your CV?

  16. Leadership roles and grad school applications? I would definitely leave it on. There’s so much more that’s more important — grades, LSAT, letters of rec — that I can’t imagine this mattering much and you definitely don’t want to eliminate leadership.

    Now for law school internships, where your resume is front and center, I’d probably take it off or make it a one-liner at most.

  17. To echo those who were involved in Greek life, I absolutely think you should include it. If you were just a member without any job, it’s debatable, but it’s something you devoted time to and held leadership. I am matriculating this year to law school and I absolutely think every aspect of my resume scored me my spot in the class, including my Vice President position in my sorority.

    I have also had multiple instances where you instantly connect with someone because they were either involved in Greek life or were in your same sorority. The networking potential is great – so wear your Greek affiliation loud and proud (though don’t go overboard, as we all know there is more to life…)

    Good Luck, as someone who just went through the admissions process, it’s tenuous but it all pays off!!!

  18. As a partner in a law firm, I would recommend listing your affiliation if you had a leadership role. I have always been proud of my affiliation and leadership roles in my sorority, and I consider the leadership of over 100 other people – women! – to be a sign of the respect of your peers, the acceptance of responsibility at a young age, and the willingness to rise to a challenge you did not have to take on.

  19. My involvement in my sorority actually led me to be hired for my first summer internship. I held the position of Public Relations officer and, as someone going into advertising, many of my potential employers were impressed that I already had experience with advertising, media management, and other skills. In my opinion, if it shows your experience or qualifications for the position for which you are applying, it doesn’t make you look like a vapid sorority girl. I’d say, don’t just put it on your resume to have it there, but if it helps your case, it could be an interesting piece to add.

  20. I live in the South and my Sorority affiliation and leadership roles have been tremendously helpful in networking and job transition. Through my alum club, I was a board member for a holiday marketplace that generates close to $1M each year for charity. My budget was over $40K and my position involved a lot of contract negotiation. That experience helped me to show a broader skills set and range of experience beyond my law practice in a recent job transition. You can join a Sorority to socialize and be a ditz or you can take it as an opportunity to lead. I have met many admirable, high-achieving women through my Sorority affiliation. I ignore the others.

  21. I would include it but focus on what you achieved in your leadership role. For example, I was social chair of my sorority in college. When applying to graduate school, my resume indicated that I solely managed a budget of $X and planned X number of events per year and helped coordinate fundraisers for X charity. If you can make it look more like a job than a social club, then it will help.

    Now, 4 years out of school, there is no mention of my greek affiliation on my resume because my actual job experience is more impressive and applicable.

  22. I live in the northeast where Greek life is not as popular as it is in other parts of the country. Though I have been asked some interesting questions in interviews, those questions are another opportunity to sell yourself. Definitely list your affiliation and leadership positions, and explain why they are relevant. Focus on what you did in those roles, i.e.: managed other officers who reported to you, chaired committee (especially the judicial board, risk management and educational roles), planned philanthropic events attended by X number of people that raised Y dollars, and so on. Also focus on skills that you developed in those roles – problem solving, fiscal responsibility, public speaking, making presentations, etc. Consider talking to your chapter adviser, regional adviser or another local alumna who is also a professional – she can definitely help you express your experience in a positive, business-friendly way. Your campus Greek adviser or career center are great resources also. Good luck!!

  23. Honestly, I don’t think the resume is going to matter much for law school admissions. It’s going to be about GPA and her LSAT (though I suppose it might be more of an issue if you’re applying to the kind of school where all applicants have 4.0s and 180s!). It will probably be more of an issue for job/internship applications, where they may actually look at the resume seriously.

    This is a little Pollyanna-ish, but I guess I would say, if it’s important to you – if feel proud of what you did and that you accomplished stuff in those positions – I would put it on the resume. Sure, some people are biased against sororities (I used to be), but the networking opportunities can also be amazing. You’re not going to be able to predict which kind of reader you’re going to get. And do you want to have to hide a part of your life if it’s something that’s meaningful to you? (I know – naive – but I thought I’d throw it out there.)

    • I disagree. Most schools will aim for some diversity, and if you’re just going for people with the 4.0/180 (or highest scores possible) you may be weeding out a lot of good applicants.

      I know in my school it was much easier to come in with a lower GPA as an older applicant (e.g. 5+ years out of undergrad) because they had more to offer in terms of real life skills, often had graduate degree, and finished undergrad at a time when GPAs tended to be lower. I know from the time I graduated to the time I applied to law school, the median GPA at my undergrad went up by .3. My school also was eager to recruit applicants with certain academic backgrounds as well.

      • To MelD and R – I do think schools look for diversity. I just also don’t think those factors outweigh GPA/LSAT. Maybe to distinguish between students who have the same scores, sure – but if your scores aren’t competitive for a given school, a great resume won’t make up for that, and if your scores are great for a given school, they won’t care if you’re an axe murderer.

    • I totally disagree

  24. SF Bay Associate :

    I’m helping a friend with his/her resume and this just came up. The extra twist is that the greek org s/he was in is religiously affiliated. Does this mean s/he should leave it off? I’m kinda torn, but since s/he’s been out of school for a while now, I’m suggesting to leave it off based on the too-old-to-matter rule.

    • karenpadi :

      I’ve seen this come up a bit in the Silicon Valley. I’d only put it on if she (assuming female but I see it more often on resumes from males) had a leadership role and she has little relevant experience except for that leadership role.

      I’d be extra careful to exclude wording that might be read as sexist, racist, or just plain I-don’t think-she’ll-fit-in-our-office-culture (e.g., anything to do with evangelizing). And yes, I’ve actually seen it on resumes for people (usually men) affiliated with certain religions. They didn’t get interviews.

      If it’s on the resume, I’d be prepared for some detailed questions about what she did, her role in the organization, how she handled a situation in the course of her leadership role, etc.

      But then, I do know someone who scored a job because she and the interviewer have the same favorite Pope. Go figure.

  25. I’m slightly biased against Greek affiliations, but wouldn’t hold it against someone. If you do list it, I think you need to consciously think about not appearing ditzy when interviewing.

  26. I absolutely say leave it on your resume. I was an active member of Greek life as an undergraduate and actually recently became active with a graduate chapter of my organization. My sorority membership has not only proved invaluable for networking purposes, it’s provided many mentorship opportunities as well as provided opportunities to participate in service projects and events that indicate that I have interests and a “life” outside of work that doesn’t just involve happy hour or my significant other.

    Having attended a small college where only about 10% of students participated in Greek life and being from the North, I am fully aware of and have dealt with the bias against sororities and dismissive attitudes towards “sorority girls”, but not for nothing **this is where the chapter president in me comes raging out** stay true to your letters! Clearly, YOU believed there was some benefit to sorority membership and given the fact that you stepped up and took leadership roles, you clearly weren’t just using it as a social opportunity. Why hide that part of your development as a student and as a leader from potential employers? Acting ashamed of having Greek affiliation only makes it seem as though there is something to be ashamed of, when the truth of the matter is that student leaders within the Greek system were often among the hardest working students on campus- we had academic requirements to meet, mandatory events to attend, service projects as well as our own separate meetings, conferences, etc. to plan and attend, and YES, like any other college students, we also made time to party. Sitting on the interviewer’s side of the desk now, I actually appreciate seeing Greek life on a resume because it indicates to me that the person I’m speaking to wasn’t afraid to take the initiative and commit their time and money to membership in a lifetime organization (most Greek orgs are supported SOLELY by membership dues so it’s a real commitment, especially for a student) and it also tells me that they probably have some experience balancing their obligations to an organization with internal conflicts (a houseful of fighting sorority sisters will STILL pull it together to spend all night assembling a winning homecoming float- can we say TEAMWORK?).

    If somebody’s not willing to hire you because you were in a sorority or the “wrong” sorority, then they’re not somebody you want to work for anyway (what, you’re gonna hide your “past” forever?). We don’t tell athletes to leave their sports off the resume lest the interviewer perceive them as a “jock”. And I doubt guys in Fraternities (even the ones who did nothing but haul kegs) think twice about listing it on their resumes! Womens’ social and service organizations are rarely respected and I’m calling BS on it! My attitude: “Yes I’m a “sorority girl” but dammit, I’m a sorority girl with the qualifications and experience to make a dayum good addition to your institution so if you sleep on me- trust and believe it will be YOUR loss.” **steps off sorority colored soap box, picks up her sorority tote, and stalks off to have dinner with her Fortune 500, BigLaw, changing the world one-letter-at-a-time sorority sisters**

    • I agree with all of this. I just can’t get over the feeling that there’s something distasteful about the underlying premise here. It is certainly wrong that all sorority girls are homogenous. There are all types of sororities, all types of undergraduate institutions, all types of women who go into sororities for all types of reasons.

      Why would we ever want to perpetuate stereotyping of women as “ditzy” simply because they were involved in a sorority? Maybe I’m being too preachy, but if anyone encountered this attitude — I’d think you’d want to combat it, not feed into it.

    • scientist :

      I like you!

    • I couldn’t agree more. Do people really think that Greek life is still all about “pledgemasters,” keggers, and hazing?

      I went to school in the south, am now in the midwest, and have always had my sorority affiliation on my resume. I think it’s opened lots of doors for me, and shows that I am a social person who will be more likely to talk to people and develop business. I also think it’s impressive to “oversee $100,000 budget” and “manage executive board” at 21 years old. So, my advice is to include the affiliation, especially if you were in a leadership role. If you were an officer, then list specifically what your roles were. There are a lot of deadlines and paperwork for any national organization, and you can describe these things as though it was work experience that many recent grads may be lacking.

      • “Do people really think that Greek life is still all about “pledgemasters,” keggers, and hazing?”

        Yep. Many of us do.

        • Then open your ears to what intelligent and serious women are saying on this thread — that that’s not the case.

          • Thank you.

          • I went to a college that tends to be very polarizing when people hear the name and I do not fit the stereotype of the traditional alum of that school at all. I am conscious that many people will think I’m like X when I’m really anti-X. Sometimes my school opens doors, other times I have to find ways to not have them slammed in my face. In many ways, Greek life is like that. If you know what people might be thinking about you, you can manage that. If you don’t know, you can’t.

          • Exactly. I might give you a stereotype of ditzy, liking to go to costume parties, and being overly into clothes and makeup — and I will acknowledge it if needed, and continue to work to change the stereotype.

            But pledgemasters and keggers — really? Welcome to the 21st century were “pledge” and “rush” are dirty words, and every social event is approved by at least 5 professional women who volunteer their time as advisors, and then attend the events.

          • As an intelligent and serious woman, I have personally observed an entire dorm floor of girls endlessly discuss their efforts to dress like clones for rush, and was personally involved in disciplining an entire sorority for sexist hazing that occurred at a “kegger.” This was at a very highly regarded university in the south, not just some party school, and less than ten years ago. Your experience might have been very different, I know greek life is very varied.

            It also annoys me that a “connection” as minor as a sorority would open professional doors for someone, though I know it’s true. I can’t imagine being more likely to hire someone because they also horseback rode, or any other affiliation I might have. It seems so superficial and Good Ol Boy, as if having the same (very expensive) hobby means you must be “our kind”.

            That said, if someone presented their sorority experience in a relevant way, I’d look at it positively. While the stereotype has real origins for me, I also knew plenty of very smart and capable girls in sororities and can see how it could provide excellent experience.

          • Anon 10:53, I think that you summarized why I don’t care for the idea of sororities and wouldn’t be impressed with the role. The whole idea that you have some sort of connection (not even a connection, but a “sister”-ship) to someone just because you were involved in the same organization (which, by the way, you paid a hefty sum of money to join) bugs me. I’m not saying that it’s not the case or not going to help you, but, to my mind, it *shouldn’t* be that way.

    • I’m typically one of those people that rolls her eyes when she sees sorority membership on a resume, but I have to say, you make a very convincing argument! Well put.

    • “If somebody’s not willing to hire you because you were in a sorority or the “wrong” sorority, then they’re not somebody you want to work for anyway (what, you’re gonna hide your “past” forever?).”

      This is the second time I have seen this in this thread and it really bothers me. The last thing new grads need to believe is that they have the ability to pick and choose, in this economy, who they will or won’t work for based on who does and does not appreciate their Greek affiliation. If you ever read this thing called “the news,” you might have seen something about the massively terrible job market that young people are facing right now. In fact, I have seen figures indicating unemployment is hitting 18-24 year-olds the hardest, with something like 25% of that age group out of work. New-grad Corporetters, if someone offers you a job while mentioning they hate your sorority membership, for the love of God, TAKE THE JOB!! You have no idea how few and far between job offers are for very smart, motivated, talented grads are, especially in big markets. It’s not about “hiding your past,” it’s about understanding how to be judicious about talking about it (and despite what some ex-sorority girls on the thread want to believe, sorority membership is not really either that stupendous or salacious – it’s just another thing people do in college, for the most part).

      The days when a 22-year-old could be really selective and say “well, I wouldn’t want to work for those people anyway” are WAAAAAYYYY over. You don’t want to work for “those people,” huh? Well, do you want to work at Denny’s? For, like, the next five years? Then suck it up, cover up your Greek letters tattoo, and take the job.

    • THANK YOU! So tired of being judged by non-sorority women for being in one. We don’t judge you for not joining one!

      • That is really not the case, overall. You may not, but others most certainly do.

    • I disagree. Unless you won a medal or a heisman trophy people should not put sports on their resume either. It just shows that you have nothing but fluff. I’m sorry, but that’s not a realistic analogy at all.

      Oh, and NE here, do NOT put a sorority on a resume.

      • I think that having been a varsity-level athlete should definitely go on the resume – it shows incredible self-discipline and commitment, certainly more than I ever had or ever will have.

        • I absolutely agree! I was the captain of my college’s varsity cheerleading team and it was probably the most influential experience of my life. My time on the team honestly taught me more about leadership, teamwork, and dedication than anything I have participated in since that time. I am a lawyer and when I was interviewing for jobs I wondered about the stereotypes associated with cheerleaders. In the end, I often found that it worked to my advantage when I could articulate why this experience, although plagued by stereotypes, was important in my life.

          Certainly you want to maximize your chances when applying to grad school/jobs, but I often think being honest about who you are actually helps you become a more attractive candidate. If being in a sorority or sport or whatever activity enhanced who you are as a person and as a professional, don’t be afraid to put it on your resume because you are afraid of judgmental people.

  27. Divaliscious11 :

    This decision is going to be both regional, and in some circumstances cultural, because historically Black fraternities and sororities have different experiences in this regard. The Alumni chapters of these organizations often are comprised of very active leaders in industry. For example, one of our past national presidents is a sitting member of Congress etc… So I caution looking at all organizations through the same lens….

    • and maybe religious/cultural orgs, too? :

      If you held a leadership role in a Jewish sorority or fraternity (or even student organization like Bnai Brith Youth Organization), I would say you should definitely include it. It could really open doors for you.

      (This might not be true in the South? Can’t say, only ever lived on the coasts. Or I might just be succombing to stereotypes about the South. Who knows.)

  28. Another Sarah :

    Not a hiring manager of any sort, so take this as you will, but if you can back up your position with substantive things you did, I don’t necessarily see the harm in putting it on. Maybe not at the tippy-top, but more in the “interests” section. I wasn’t in a sorority in college, as I went to an all-girls high school and was kind of estrogened-out by the time I went to college (now that I think about it, very few women from my high school joined sororities at all). I also have kind of the same bias against them as others. But running a large organization on campus is a challenge, regardless if it’s the chess club or a huge sorority chapter. Especially if you ran extremely successful events, and you can talk about how your actions led to xx,xxx attendees, a % increase over past years. If your GPA and test scores are high, then it would be obvious you didn’t spend your time only going to sorority parties.

  29. I’ve had my sorority affiliation on my resume for 5+ years, (just the name now, and I believe a colon and titles of chief leadership roles directly after graduation). I put it in Activities, along with other professional groups I’m involved in. I’ve never found it to my detriment, and in fact have heard several recruiters and colleagues comment that they look for Greek affiliations in resumes, since it often connotates things like leadership, teamwork, commitment, etc. I agree with other commenters that if you expand, focus on results of what you accomplished there, budget you handled, like any other job. Also, tying Greek activities to community and involvement and charity might be a way to get broader appeal, it’s harder to begrudge anyone’s efforts to save the whales!

  30. We women are part of the problem if we view membership in any organization of women as something shameful we don’t want to acknowledge or an indication of being “ditzy” stereotypes

    • Wholeheartedly agree. I made a similar comment in response to someone else above.

    • I’m sorry, but this simply isn’t true. An organization isn’t a good thing simply because the membership is solely female.

      • And… it’s not a bad thing, either. Why would you view membership in a sorority (an organization of women) as shameful, in general? Putting aside real information about a specific sorority, of course.

        • Because it’s a social organization that you have to pay money to join? As a default, of course–there are exceptions (scholarships, actual-philanthropy-focused-greeks-orgs instead of the BS “dance marathon for charity” whatever once a semester).

    • Some of us non-Greeks think males and females who were Greeks are vapid. Its not a gender thing.

      • Exactly. It tells me something about your priorities. (For a clue as to what that something is, please see the comment above claiming membership in Greek life demonstrates the important ability to balance work and social activities.)

        • It makes me very frustrated that many of you seem to think all sororities are the same. Open up your mind just a tiny bit – the stereotype you have in mind just is not applicable to every sorority chapter out there. In college, one of my priorities was my sorority – where I led 150 women in weekly meetings, planned and and executed an elaborate public relations plan, 2-day retreat and 4-day recruitment, headed several committees where I had to manage conflicting personalities, raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity and had a damn good time doing it, while maintaining a high GPA and pursuing several other extra-curriculars. I’d say my priorities were well-placed.

        • Anonymous :

          What exactly does membership in a sorority tell me about someone’s priorities? Does that mean any sorority-girl-applicant must have a 4.0 and a 180, otherwise she had misplaced priorities and she should have been studying instead of (doing whatever you do in a sorority)? Please. We all have “free time” in college and I don’t care how you spent yours. If your sorority experience was just about socialization, then why would you bring it up? But if you planned a $50,000 fundraiser for charity, then by all means, tell me about it – and I don’t really care if you did it through your greek affiliation, your volunteer work with the Red Cross, your religious affiliation, etc…leadership is leadership.

        • anon for this :

          My priorities were securing my 4.0 double-major GPA, my Rhodes scholarship finalist status, my admission to a top-5 law school, and my presidency of a major campus community service organization. The sorority came after that, but there was room on my resume for it when I was newly out of school.

          Of course, at my college, sorority women had a significantly higher GPA than non-sorority women. Gosh, what a bunch of empty-headed girls we were!

    • JJ (the original) :

      1) Great name choice!

      2) Wholeheartedly agree. There was an earlier commenter that said to include it but to make sure and not act “ditzy” during the interview. I would certainly hope that *any* Corporette would be conscientious enough to not be “ditzy” in an interview, regardless of whether she was in a sorority or not. The underlying premise that just because some of us chose to spend time in a Greek organization during college, ipso facto we need to try harder to not be “ditzy” is very regressive.

      • I thought the above comment about interview “ditzy-ness” was practical advice — NOT necessarily saying that sorority members need to try harder not to be ditzy — telling the OP to include the Greek info after considering how she generally comes off in an interview. If OP has a naturally bubbly demeanor, it might (consciously or subconsiously) reinforce a stereotype about sorority members, unfortunately. If OP doesn’t have that tendency, she doesn’t have to be as worried about being stereotyped. similarly, I am hyper-aware of not being taken seriously because I have a high voice and look young, so I try to do things to prevent potential stereotyping.

    • With respect, I don’t really think the question here has to do with membership in an all-women organization per se. I think it is more to do with the stereotypes (whether correct or incorrect) associated specifically with frats/sororities. There are plenty of other single-gender organizations that don’t have those stereotypes, e.g. Girl Scouting/Girl Guiding, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, etc.

      • Well stated. I have a friend who refused to screen a make graduate from Duke because he was on a sport there (NOT lacrosse). I thought it was ridiculous, but it was her call (I don’t work with her). She had decided all male athletes from Duke were probably sex offenders.

        • I mean “male graduate”

        • Wow. I mean….*wow*. That’s just odd.

        • Yea I went to Duke during the lacrosse thing, and our grads keep doing stupid things (the girl with the powerpoint slide ranking all the guys she’d had sex with, eg). Dealing with those stereotypes are so much fun. .

      • This. I have the same reaction to guys in fraternities. It’s not the gender. It’s the organization.

    • I don’t think this is a gender thing, it’s a Greek thing. The (very few) Greek organizations in my area are mostly co-ed, and I still have an automatic negative reaction to them. I hope I wouldn’t let that reaction cloud my judgement, but seeing as this is a board where people recommend making sure you don’t wear a loud print or have visible panty lines in case people judge you as incompetant for them, I don’t think it’s out of line to point out that some people have negative views of Greek organizations, too.

      • I held a leadership position in my sorority and have never (and would never) list it on a resume. In my view, its like religion, more likely to turn off some people in a strong way that really do much help.

  31. Anonymous :

    I was Greek at a Southern university, and something like 60-65% of the women on campus were as well. I was also an engineer, and listed my affiliation on my resume. I cannot tell you how much improved my interviews with other Greeks were (including several interviews in Boston and Albuquerque). I’m of the opinion it can’t hurt to list. Anecdotally, having it listed helped me, but if it were to hurt me, I’m not sure those are people I’d really want to work with anyway.

    • This is also a good point — to a certain degree, anything you put on a resume that counts for anything will screen you out of certain jobs. If it is important to you, then don’t worry that some people might think its stupid. You don’t want to work with people who think your priorities are stupid. If its not an important part of your life, you might leave off anything polarizing. Example, if you are trying to decide whether to list something that shows a religious affiliation, it is probably worth it to list it if you really are deeply religious, you are vocal about it, and you might have certain days of the weeks or holidays in the year that are off limits from work. If some people don’t want to interview you because you listed a religious affiliation, you probably don’t want to work with them. But if you go to church twice a year, your religious affiliation isn’t something you identify with, etc…but you have some religious affiliation you could list on your resume, its probably not worth doing so because it might be polarizing and its not something you care enough about to give up on potential job leads.

    • Based on the comments of some of the people above, I am positive those people are not people I’d like to work with or for.

      • And if you can hold onto that high-minded ideal in this day and age and still pay your rent and student loans without having to rely on Mommy and Daddy to pay them, more power to you.

        • Ha! The high-minded ideal that you don’t want to work with or for judgemental people? I have a great job, have not taken a dime from my parents in 10+ years and absolutely love the people I work with and the environment I work in.

  32. Anonymous :

    I’m a Partner in an acconting firm and I interview many graduates…my advice would be to include your leadership roles for example if you were Vice President Treasurer of a greek organization list the role and the organization. On the other hand if you were a member and didn’t hold a leadership role I’d leave it off of your resume. The intent is to show your leadership skills and experience. You don’t need to show us your social/relationship building skills we can get a pretty good feel for that via the interview. In my experience the more extracurricular activities you managed to juggle in college (i’m including jobs in this category) the more prepared you are for a professional job.

  33. Research, not Law :

    I was not affiliated with a sorority and don’t regret it. I live in a region where it’s not taken in the highest regard. Just so you know where I’m coming from.

    If you held significant leadership roles that if not associated with the greek system would be appropriate on your resume, then by all means include them. You shouldn’t scratch them simply for being greek. I can’t speak to law school, but the graduate programs I’m familiar with (academic and professional) are definitely interested in leadership experience. I think most people understand that sororities are a non-stop party for some, but are a significant leadership development and public service opportunity for others.

    However, I would definitely not condone listing an association to fill out an empty resume or in a hope of eliciting generosity from a fellow member. I have reviewed applications, and trying to convince me to accept you over other equally qualified applicants simply because you were a member of an organization (even if it was one in which I was also a member) is not going to work in your favor.

    • scientist :

      I think you hit the nail on the head with:
      “If you held significant leadership roles that if not associated with the greek system would be appropriate on your resume, then by all means include them.”

      For the record, I was not involved in Greek life at a small midwestern school – I think we had 2-3 sororities, and one was at least loosely affiliated with the drama department – but I have no strong feelings against Greek life, just as I have no strong feelings against people my current age involved in ‘philanthropic’ groups that exist mostly to plan and attend elaborate parties.

  34. Anonymous :

    I was in a sorority and it personally has not hurt me (I put my leadership role on my CV until I had more out of school experience). Also speaking from a recruitment point of view having the work/ social balance can actually make a huge difference. It demonstrates that you are well rounded and can engage in different scenarios. I know of people who are very weary of taking the kid who only focused on academics because they feel like they may lack the personal skills that those who went out and joined organizations (greek or not) gained.

  35. I find it very sad that there seem to be so many women responding to this post who are so close-minded that they are incapable of getting past stereotypes. The ability to balance work with life and to lead people of diverse backgrounds are increasingly important in today’s professional world so I think it would be a mistake to exclude college leadership experience and extracurricular activities from a resume . Intelligent and experienced recruiters are are capable of considering the skill set of an applicant without being intolerant based on stereotypes – and I suspect the executives and owners of the best companies to work for expect this from their recruiters.

    • Because Greek life is known for being super tolerant. That’s my problem with including it–it gives the impression that you’re into drinking, hazing, and treating people who aren’t in your inner circle like crap. That may be an unfair stereotype of Greek life, but it’s hardly a ridiculous impression to have of it.

      • Agreed. One of the things that hasn’t been made explicit in this thread is that sororities are inherently based on exclusion. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the membership is built by looking for people who fit a particular mold and who very much want to conform to that mold. One aspect of sorority life is sorting people by type. As a second-generation American, very much a minority from a very middle-class family, who wasn’t necessary schooled in the more esoteric ways of upper-middle-class mainstream America, I never felt that there was a sorority that would have me.

        • I think it depends on the sorority and the school environment generally. That was definitely the case at my school. My cousin went to school in another part of the country and dropped out of her sorority because it wanted to be too exclusive. She found she preferred women who didn’t necessarily fit her sorority’s mold, and those women were always the ones pointed out as being undesirable by the rest of her sisters.

    • Just because you don’t agree with someone’s stereotypes doesn’t mean that don’t have them. As I mentioned earlier, I held a leadership position in my sorority and don’t consider it resume material. This whole thread demonstrates why that’s the right decisions, a lot of educated professionals have negative impressions of sororities — that’s what matters, not whether they are right to have those views. You will never know that you didn’t get the interview or offer because you listed your sorority on your resume, nor will you get the chance to explain it, to maximize your job opportunities, you are better leaving it off.

  36. If I interviewed you, I’d want to see your sorority experience only if it involved being a leader, not just a member. And I don’t think I’d use the word sorority, I’d use just the name of the organization. Example, Social Chair, Alpha Chi Omega, 2010-present.
    (other than the years above, that’s what would have been on MY resume!)

    I know there is some anti-greek bias, but you might also run into someone like me who realizes how valuable the greek experience can be. 20+ years later I can look back on my own and see how it shaped me as an individual and a leader in very positive ways. I would have some bias toward assuming it did the same for you.

    Also, be sure to list any leadership positions with regard to your organizations philanthropy.

    • Runnin' for it :

      I agree with this.

      FWIW- I was not in a sorority and thought over a decade ago at age 19 they were for the girls and guys who needed to make a big school feel smaller. Now, I regret that I didn’t do it, because I see it was an opportunity to network and collaterate with others on philanthropic endeavors, and aspire for leadership positions at a young age.

    • Jane Fairfax :

      Hello sister!

  37. Anonymous :

    I was in a sorority in college and included my leadership role on my resume when I applied to law school. I believe I even kept it on there when I applied to law firms. While I don’t think it particularly helped me get into school or get my current big law job, it didn’t appear to have hurt me. I think the skills I gained having to develop and manage an annual budget and handle the sorority’s finances was an excellent experience and helped me develop a lot of skills (social, leadership, financial and otherwise) and wanted to reflect that on my resume.

  38. The only Greek letters I’m impressed by are Phi Beta Kappa.

    • Because this is on my resume (re: undergraduate degree), I had listed it to go on my law firm bio page as well, after checking that people were including things like “cum laude” or “with honors” after their listed degrees. The (2nd or 3rd year) associate responsible for editing and formatting the bios for the web site wrote me an email saying that he had dropped this from my bio because the firm’s practice was to leave out sorority affiliations. I was speechless.

      • Seattle Lawyer Mom :

        To Amy H. — what a story! Wow. I hope PBK is on your firm bio now.

      • Holy wow. That’s sort of stunning. PBK was a huge deal at my undergrad, you had to be roughly top 2% to get into it (although that varied by major). Everybody who had the type of background that would eventually lead to becoming a lawyer knew what it was and aspired to it.

        • It’s a big deal everywhere. Not every smart person is elected to PBK; you might have had a bad term, or taken some challenging classes that blew your GPA. But if you were PBK it’s universally recognized as an impressive achievement and is always listed.

      • That’s hysterical. Good Lord.

  39. Oh, and although I know that people do use “finalize,” “to put into final form” is better.

  40. I wasn’t very active in my sorority in college. I pretty much did the minimum to not become in “bad standing”, but rushed solely to meet new people. I would never put my sorority on my resume. It was my stress reliever- not a responsibility! That being said, many of my sisters who did hold leadership positions did have a lot of responsibility and demonstrated a lot of skills that employers value. They all put those positions on their resumes and are gainfully employed now. Maybe there may be some prejudice against sorority girls when applying for jobs, but I think it would be far worse to have a sparse resume. You don’t want it to seem like you coasted through undergrad. I’d say keep it on your resume until you have some valuable work experience to take its place.

  41. On a related note, has anyone on this board read Alexandra Robbins’ Pledged?

    http://www.amazon.com/Pledged-Secret-Sororities-Alexandra-Robbins/dp/B000FDFWP0/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312494705&sr=1-6

    I was fascinated by it. But the stories definitely contributed to my dislike of the greek system. Although, as someone above posted, black sororities seem to be really impressive and nurturing.

    • Haven’t read it. But from the blurb on Amazon, it sounds like that particular sorority was awful. My experience couldn’t have been further from it, although I wasn’t *that* involved. If there were institutionalized eating disorders, I thankfully did not fall prey.

      The Panhellenic Council at my school was actually pretty organized and powerful, and devoted itself to lobbying the administration for such things as better women’s healthcare, more women in tenure-track positions, and better free mental health resources for everyone.

      • Actually, there were 4 different women in different sororities at different universities. And if you look at the comments, many of the commenters said they were in sororities and felt the book was very true-to-life.

        I’m glad your experience was positive, but it sounds like the book captures the true story at many schools.

        • Ah, sorry. Reading skills. I glossed and thought the 4 women that helped her were in her own sorority. Makes much more sense the actual way.

        • I read the book and found it to be interesting. It did highlight some key differences between sororities and I found out my school required the women to live in the sorority house for three years. There was a really large division between the Greeks and the GDIs on my campus and I think that really played a big role. Living in a sorority house can be cost prohibitive and I really saw a pretty big difference between the Greeks on my campus and those women I met who went to schools that couldn’t have sorority houses at all or made them voluntary.

    • Hypothetically Speaking :

      As a black woman who did not belong to a sorority (my school did not have them), black sororities and fraternities seem the most idiotic of all.

      Lack of power, money, influence AND snobbery. Great combination!

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Um, how on earth would you know? You’ve indicated that you weren’t a member, didn’t have them on your campus to make any real determination with regard to their money, power, affluence or snobbery? As a member of one of the large Black sororities, I can assure your there is plenty of all four of the above! Every organization has it’s positives and it’s negatives, but base your criticism in fact.
        I get that people are entitled to their own opinions about organizations, but I’d put my chapter Sorors and both their achievements and community service up against any notion of what it means to be in a sorority. 90% of them fall soundly in the definition of a “Corporette” regardless of their chosen fields of medicine, law, business, education or the arts. And we are in amazing company, – Dr Dorothy Height, Mary McCleod Bethune, Nikki Giovani, Sadie Alexander, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, etc..

        • Hypothetically Speaking :

          I’ve met some of your less illustrious members. And yes, as you noted, I am entitled to my opinion. I’m posting a comment, not writing an article.

  42. For people just out of college, who did hold leadership positions in the sorority (if all you did was go to parties and wear the t-shirts, no one cares), I think it’s fine. I absolutely do not give those women more consideration or think they are better than other applicants for being the Vice President of Kappa Kappa Gamma or whatever, but it’s totally OK with me that they have it on their resume. It is something that they did in college, and with a new grad, I am interested in what they did in college. Do not think for one second, however, that lots of extracurriculars or sorority leadership will distract me from a distinctive lack of academic rigor in your courses or poor grade performance, because it won’t. If it’s obvious from your resume and transcripts that you skated through college because you were more interested in partying than learning something, no “leadership positions” you put on your resume – whether it’s for a sorority or the astronomy club – will matter.
    BUT. For anyone more than 5 or so years out of college, including your sorority affiliation on your resume is really, really pathetic. Five years out of college, no one cares. You should not still care. College is over. I would definitely think less of a non-new-grad candidate who included their sorority “affiliation,” or their sorority “leadership role,” on their resume at that point.

    For the record: I pledged (Chi Omega), got a bid, turned it down. Best decision I ever made, next to who I picked to marry.

    • Anon Canadian :

      I agree that if you’re 5 of so years out of college and your only involvement with your sorority was in college than including your sorority affiliation on your resume is pathetic. But a lot of international sororities have strong alumnae members who volunteer their time organizing leadership conferences, fundraising events, and providing mentorship for collegiate members just like members of a Lion’s club or a Rotary club. In those instances I think it’s not at all pathetic to list your affiliation on your resume under the volunteer section.

      I’m an alumnae member of Alpha Phi and I thoroughly enjoy volunteering my time both as an advisor to a collegiate chapter and as an executive member of my alum chapter. I don’t have my sorority affiliation listed on my resume because Greek Life is quite under the radar here in Canada and all most people know is negative portrayals from the media. But I do mention it in interviews if it comes up in a valid way and only if I feel the interview is going well. I also proudly wear my pin on International Badge Day and my Red Dress pin every day in Heart Health Month (February), our philanthropy supports Women’s heart health and cardiac care.

      • Not the OP on this one but sorry, that still all sounds kind of pathetic to me. If you brought up how involved you still are in your college sorority and your alumni chapter in an interview, I would seriously think you did not have any kind of a real life, or alternatively, that you were choosing not to grow up and move past college. And I especially don’t get the “I still wear my pin on Badge Day” thing. You do understand that like Ann said, no one cares? Right?

  43. Hypothetically Speaking :

    Assume two candidates with identical academic credentials. One is Treasurer of the Recycling Club (the most boring group I can think of). The other is Treasurer of Alpha Beta Gamma Delta.

    I’d be more interested in interviewing Recycling Club Person.

    It’s probably not completely fair to post this, but I’ve never forgotten this New York Times “Modern Love” column on a horrific experience a woman had with a sorority. It’s not all unfair stereotypes. Some of it is reality.

    “My Sorority Pledge? I Swore Off Sisterhood”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/fashion/02love.html

    • Accountress :

      That is a horrible story. My little college was non-Greek (one of the things I was looking for in a school and very hard to find in the South), but we did have a “women’s service organization” that had a pledge-week, held fundraisers, cost a whole lot of money to get into, and supplied alcohol to underage students on our dry campus.

      Meanwhile, the rest of us made friends on our own, volunteered on our own, had fun on our own- and all for free!

      My cousin was involved in her sorority during college, and they all loved her- until they started getting mad at her for missing meetings (scheduled while she was in class) and not pulling her weight in planning things (while she was suffering repeated debilitating days-long migraines). Her “sisters” all knew what she was going through, and instead of supporting her in trying to figure out what was going on with her health and get better, they asked her to leave.

      In comparison, my roommate broke her leg, and six of our friends with cars got together with me and we put together a schedule of who was going to drive her to classes, doctor, grocery store, and anywhere else she might have desired to go.

      My cousin spent three and a half years in that sorority, and she doesn’t talk to any of the women she knew from it. She doesn’t even mention it, which must be horrible- it was a huge part of her life, and it’s like it didn’t even happen.

      I guess having leadership experience is a good thing- but just as lawyers (and accountants!) can have bad reps because of something very few have done, the same can go for Greeks.

      • Hypothetically Speaking :

        Yes, lawyers get a bad rep, which sometimes is deserved. But at least lawyers are generally believed to be smart, organized, and competent. Sororities, by contrast, are generally known for being snobbish and excluding and nasty, and that is not infrequently the reality, as you have pointed out.

        Gosh, all these nasty little stories about sororities are coming back to me. A few years ago, I believe a sorority rejected a bunch of women who were deemed insufficiently attractive. (That’s really woman-empowering.) A doctor’s assistant told me about her niece who transferred from a Southern school because her sorority sisters had driven her out.

        ***
        Everyone to some extent has to deal with the generalizations made by strangers about their background. For example, if you went to a top Ivy, some people assume you’re a clueless egghead, or a rich legacy, or an entitled jerk, or a person who thinks s/he’s smarter than s/he really is ….

        I think there’s value to C in reading how some people might respond to her having been part of a sorority. Now that I’ve thought about it, I’m not sure any law school would care. Law firms might be different. Time enough to worry about that.

  44. I was in a sorority. And I’m really ambivalent about the experience.

    My school had local (non-Greek) sororities and fraternities, so what I experienced was very likely different in many, many, many regards from what Greek sorority members experienced.

    Without a doubt, belonging to a sorority has had a hugely positive impact on my life. I really met the friends of my life through my sorority; I gained tons of leadership experience; I got to work with charities throughout undergrad; I met and developed relationships with professional women well before I embarked on my job search; I continue to network with this small group of alumnae. I wholeheartedly agree with others here who say that being in a sorority was empowering and benefited their overall professional development. That was certainly my *individual* experience.

    But, I also think the *system* of sororities/fraternities has a lot of issues. While I found my sisters to be almost uniformly impressive — and mostly feminist — young women, I found the traditions of our sororities and fraternities often rooted in sexism, misogyny and super weird about special rights and privileges. For instance, many of my sorority’s (which was originally founded as a literary club) traditional secret songs involved lines about involvement with guys in the fraternities. Yeah, it was silly fun, but it’s also just plain weird for a bunch of awesome women to be memorizing songs detailing men’s attributes based upon their fraternity affiliations. I know men had similar (and frankly debasing) songs about sororities. Add to this the traditions of stags with fraternities only (though we did have a stag with one other sorority once), private parties where only members are invited (only contributing to divisions among classmates — I had many friends outside of my sorority and always felt weird that I couldn’t integrate them into this part of my life), and some other very strange pledging traditions (we did not haze, though I know other organizations at my school did): and overall I have to conclude that as a whole, this system of exclusive organizations — as presently constructed — are not good for undergraduate culture as a whole. Despite my mostly wonderful individual experience.

    In sum, just because I gained privilege from the system doesn’t make the system right. or just.

    FWIW, I put my leadership experience in my sorority on my resume right out of undergrad, but I put it under other activities, next to my academic honor society memberships — as opposed to being the editor-in-chief of the college paper, which I placed under job experience. I’m five years out of school now, and don’t list the sorority at all.

  45. i’d leave it off a resume (if you have other things to put on there), but if you have connections from your affiliation, work em. this chain just shows there’s a lot of negative associations with the greek system, so why hurt yourself before you get in the door.

  46. Remember this is just grad school the OP is applying to. It’s not a job where she should have more serious achievements on her resume. Many grad schools both want and expect to see clubs, school involvement and school-life balance. I’ve served on admissions committees (admittedly not at the Ivy League) and an applicant without clubs (or a story) reads like that really unfortunate kid with no social skills who you don’t want claiming your school as her alma mater.

    • Hypothetically Speaking :

      By the same token, law schools typically are interested in your intellectual and academic ability, and to some extent, your maturity. Now of course, an applicant with a great LSAT score and GPA from a good school is going to do fine, even when disclosing fraternity or sorority membership. It’s the borderline case in which this might matter.

      For very good reason, fraternities and sororities are not associated in the popular mind with the brightest, most diligent and meritocratic of students, the kinds of students that law schools supposedly like. How many movies have I seen in which the fraternity bros get together to cheat on an exam after finishing a three-day bender? How many real accounts have I read about women being attacked or sexually used by fraternity guys, or about sorority women exhibiting vicious “mean girl” snobbery?

      It was a frat at Yale, DKE, that marched its pledges past the women’s center at night, screaming “No means Yes. Yes means anal.” Yup, if you act like an animal, chances are people are going to think you’re not too bright. Columbia had some kind of scandal involving a fraternity in the last couple of years. Those are just the ones I’ve heard of.

      I’m confused. Since when do law schools require resumes?

      • Not to defend the fraternities, but to clarify the situation… only 10% of students at Columbia are in fraternities. And the scandal was over drug-dealing.

        • Hypothetically Speaking :

          Thanks for the info. I didn’t suggest that most students at Columbia were in fraternities. I’m sure very few Yalies are in frats as well. A scandal is a scandal. I think drug dealing serious. These student-run housing situations are far more often the seat of problems than the regular student residences.

      • I don’t understand why, according to many opinions stated on thread, all sorority members are guilty by association simply because other members of Greek houses, at other schools and in other parts of the country, have committed criminal behavior or displayed extremely poor judgment.

        I was a division 1 athlete. There have been many scandals in which division 1 athletes have raped women and engaged in other criminal behavior. One or two of these scandals even took place at my own school. Does that mean I’m a rapist and a criminal?

        Replace “division 1 athlete” with “Greek house member” and there you go. It makes no sense and reflects poorly on the commenters, not the sorority members.

        • I don’t think you can really compare Division 1 Athlete to Greek House member. Division 1 Athletes qualify for that status based on merit and ability. Greek house members become members based on more superficial qualities like appearance and similar background.

  47. Another Anonymous :

    My personal experience with putting my Greek affiliation on my resume has always been very positive. I was the president of my sorority at Harvard, which might help balance out the “ditz” impression that seems to be a common fear. In any event, I’ve discussed the experience (which was extremely valuable and formative for me) in almost all of my interviews, including the interviews for the law firm at which I’m now an associate. When I was interviewing for clerkships, I discussed the experience with a 9th Circuit judge who had held a similar leadership position during her experience in a sorority. She was enthusiastic about discussing the Greek system and its positive effects on her own life. Now that I am in the position of interviewing candidates at my firm, I enjoy talking about the Greek system as a point of commonality with candidates who list their own affiliation.

    I wouldn’t necessarily just list membership in a Greek organization on your resume, but I think that the leadership experience is valuable and the affiliation generally can at times be a good talking point. Just my own two cents.

  48. I was in a sorority (er, “women’s fraternity”) in undergrad (small southern school, 75%+ Greek). The time commitment is pretty large, even for regular members. Triple the amount of meetings for women in the top leadership positions. I would never, ever have thought to put involvement in a Greek organization on my resume. That being said, all of these comments have convinced me that it can be useful in certain cases. It certainly demonstrates reliability and leadership skills – especially if she make a good case for how those skills will serve her in the workplace. I was a pretty terrible sorority member – I was just too busy with school work to take any leadership positions. Mostly I learned to try to stay engaged in seemingly interminable meetings, while unsuccessfully keeping my mind off of the 1 million other things that I had to get done. Hey, great practice for the working world!

    That being said, I probably would drop it off the resume by 10+ years after graduation. By then, you have relevant professional experience. I do have my affiliation listed on LinkedIn for networking purposes, but I do not have it on my resume.

  49. Seattle Lawyer Mom :

    Didn’t OP say she was applying to law SCHOOL? Not a job. I remember putting like every significant extracurricular etc. down in my law school applications. I don’t think admissions people at law school are going to hold any particular affiliation against anyone, even if it’s not one they would choose themselves.

    When it comes to a resume for a job, I just don’t think it’s that big a deal. Sure some people hate sororities. I’m one. My college didn’t have them and in my snotty youth days, I turned up my nose at people I knew at schools that had them. (I’m not from the south.) Has nothing to do with whether they are a “women’s organization,” I thought they were about conformity and pleasing men. But good grief, I would never be so small minded as to reject a job applicant out of hand because I saw a sorority mentioned in context of leadership skills on her resume. Everyone is a complete package, and no job applicant is exactly like me in all respects.

  50. Don’t put it on. I was in one for a bit. Am 34 now. Would think it weird to put it on grad school app. NEver occurred to me to list it for a professional setting situation. It’s social. Consider taking on a non-greek leadership role or activity soon.

  51. I was amused by a comment below that sorority girls are just soooo superficial, focusing on hair, makeup and clothing for rush or other events. Yes, I can see why such interests are problematic. Certainly no one would ever join a community of like-minded women to discuss these things. @@

    I’m also amazed how provincial some northeasterners are. Thinking that sororities are only ditzy MRS seekers reflects poorly on you and says that you have very little awareness, knowledge or openness to anything outside NYC. It’s not flattering.

    • You’re not doing yourself any favors with this post either, sweetie. :)

    • There’s more to the Northeast than NYC

      • Yes, I’m aware. I’m originally from the Northeast myself. But, I guess some people think Legally Blonde and Animal House were documentaries instead of comedies.

    • I went to school in the Midwest, my cousin went in the Southeast and both of us found sororities at our schools that had those traits. There were only one or two sororities that really seemed to attract the more intellectual women at my school, and that was well known.

  52. My mom was in a sorority and she still is delighted when she meets other ladies from the same group. It’s like a much smaller version of an alumni connection — if I interviewed two people and one went to my alma mater, I might be more likely to connect with that person. Doesn’t mean I’d automatically choose or disqualify on that though.

    On another note, interviewers who refuse to interview you based on a group you were in in college (as long as it wasn’t, like, the KKK) seem like they do a diservice to their organizations. I like diversity in my workplace, and sorority ladies can fit in as well as skiiers, bakers, bird-watchers, socialists, a cappella singers, or whatever other club you were in in college! (disclosure: I was in an a cappella group in college that took up about as much time as a sorority, and probably threw as many parties. I still have it on my resume because it’s a good conversation starter.)

  53. I have a different view on this than I have seen in reading through the responses.

    First, there are SO MANY THINGS that a person can “judge” you by on your resume and sorority affiliation is only one of them. Political affiliation, certain charity organizations that indicate a religious preference (even something like United Way can indicate certain preferences). The truth of the matter is, even in this economy, there comes a point when you have to let those things go. Of course that is not to say that you shouldn’t try to present yourself in the best light possible, but at a certain point, some things are going to be obvious.

    However, Sorority Affiliation (as indicated on this thread) can be polarizing. Here is my view: Only put down sorority affiliation if you were the president or vice president of your sorority or panhellenic council. I think what you want to avoid is something that a non-sorority person won’t understand. Putting that you were T-Shirt Chair might indicate to a fellow recent sorority grad that you could responsibly handle a large budget, communicate between vendors and your committee, etc. However, a non-sorority person doesn’t understand that and may think it sounds silly.

    As for sports teams — I say go for it. However, unless you are on the actual school team put it under hobbies. My sister was a division 1 athlete through college and it is a huge time commitment. It shows excellent time management skills.

  54. As a lawyer and a member of a sorority, I disagree. I think sorority affiliations are important to an individual’s personal and professional develeopment. I also held just about every leadership position in my sorority and I included on my resume when starting out. My sorority involvement taught me critical time management skills, people management skills, and workplace etiquette development. In fact, I’ve recently noted SIGNIFICANT disparaties between unprepared non-Greek applicants and Greek applicants and will almost always favor the Greek candidate (if it was not just a party group), because I know how sororities develop character.

    As with anything on a resume, I would only include those activities in which a person is involved and active, not just “present.”

    If you include on your resume, be prepared to tell the interviewer how Greek life prepared you for the working world-see above re: time management, deication to a project, learning to work well with others, developing leadership skills, etc.

    • Any number of non-Greek extracurricular activities will teach the skills you’ve mentioned, for example, working for the school newspaper, managing a school musical group, running the school radio or TV station, running a student business, performing work/study jobs. Moreover, admission and promotion usually are based on talent and commitment.

  55. I think there is a big difference between (1) using Greek affiliation to network and (2) putting Greek affiliation on your resume and thinking it will help you get into grad school or land a job. Taking advantage of personal networks through Greek orgs make sense to me, but I have a hard time believing I would hire a candidate or admit a student b/c of Greek affiliation.

    • Definitely. A lot of people here seem to be mixing them up. The question is not whether one should join sorority and if that could be a good career move down the road (I think it can be) – the question is whether one should put that experience on her resume. Different question.

  56. I think Reader C should absolutely put it on her resume. I was involved for 4 years in college in Greek Life and as a result was able to use it on my resume for leadership experience, community involvement, volunteer work, honor societies, and general campus participation. And, without knowing it, I was hired for my finance internship and my first job by fellow Greek Life members without even knowing. Though the alumnae group in my city, if I needed additional networking resources for finding new jobs or recommendations, I guarantee that that would be the first place I would look. Yes, there are always people that are going to sneer at someone’s list of involvements, whether you’re in a religious organization, the Sierra Club, or whatnot, but no one has the perfect resume coming out of college and entering the workforce/graduate community.

  57. don’t go to law school

  58. anon for this :

    I just read this entire comment thread, and frankly I am shocked at the judgment and lack of support being offered to other women who may have happened to be in a sorority at one time. This is certainly the most vitriol that I have ever seen on this site. On at least a weekly basis, there is clothing linked to by posters that I wouldn’t be caught dead in, but I’d never post a comment to that effect or use the fact that you want to purchase a god-awful purse to form a judgment on who you are (and more importantly, what kind of employee you are). Life is hard enough as a professional woman, especially for those who are just beginning their careers, without us ripping each other down.

    OP, just put it on your resume. If you are competent in other areas that are important for your field, you’ll be fine. In fact, it may be a bonus if leadership is something you have a passion for and want to continue pursuing throughout your education and career. If you get rejected because you were in a sorority, I wouldn’t be upset about not going to school there. And even though the economy in the toilet, I still think there is something to be said for being true to yourself.

  59. As someone from outside of the US, everything I know about sororities I learned from Legally Blonde & the Sweet Valley twins. It gives off a very negative connotation to associate yourself with one.

    ‘Greek’ means something other than someone from Greece? You learn something every day.

  60. I learned many amazing lessons being president of my sorority. It can be a leadership experience – no reason not to list it as such.

  61. MissJackson :

    I was president of my sorority chapter. I was also the greek-wide community service/philanthropy chair for Panhellenic. Both of these positions required a huge amount of work, and both were on my resume when I applied for law school and for summer associate positions. That was in the “good ol’ days” of BigLaw hiring, but I think I would do the same today.

    I interview now and leadership is important to me. In fact, by the time I’m interviewing during callbacks, the minimum academic requirement hurdles have already been met, so it’s actually all about “fit” — and leadership is a big piece of whether you’re going to “fit.”

    I went straight from undergrad to law school, so my undergrad “activities” were needed on my resume. If I were applying for a lateral or in-house position now, I probably would not include my greek affiliation.

  62. I think the type of experience as an officer in a greek organization can be relevant; such as Treasurer or VP Finance or some similar title, and responsible for a budget, A/P and A/R, contracts, insurance, payroll, etc. A large chapter (400 women) of a sorority with a physical house to live in can have a budget of over a million dollars.

    Additionally, during an interview process, a Greek affiliation can be the common point of interest that sparks conversation and creates a memory that helps you stand out from the other top tier, high GPA candidates.

  63. Completely disagree. If you held a position in your sorority and it is something you are proud of, put it on your resume.

    I am a current masters student and was president of my sorority. I have had plenty of internship interviews and they are always happy to see that I had a leadership role within my sorority. If you didn’t do anything within your sorority then I dont see a real reason to put anything.

  64. I got around this question by detailing what I did while holding an office in my sorority (coordinating major events, overseeing committees, writing newsletters, establishing a database of alumnae). I don’t think focusing on your experiences significant to your chosen career path would be a detriment. Also. . . I know several lovely and talented sorority girls who are now lovely, talented, and successful lawyers and businesswomen. Ultimately, include it or don’t. . . just don’t loose sleep over it.

  65. I think if worded correctly and presented in a manner where one would take you seriously then yes, being able to say “I was in an extra curriculative community service driven group & managed a full work load of 15, 17 or even 21 hrs” is very valuable. What alot of you non Panhellanic people do not understand is that the traditional judgmental outlook on greeks back in the day and what you see from Hollywood, is all wrong. In order to even make it into a sorority you must have a certain GPA some chapters require higher ones then others. You must be able to maintain your GPA in order to be able to stay in Greek life. Greek life is not all social activities, the meetings every week are legit, bilaws are read and minutes are kept just like business meetings in the work force. I’ve been in a few corporate meetings to tell you that is true. Being able to show that you can get along with people and that you work well as a team is a huge bonus when looking for a well rounded employee. No one wants to hire someone who puts out bad PR. To me, the leadership shown in Greek life such as, being over the financials for that schools chapter or being the president of that chapter is the same if not better then managing 5 – 10 people at a fast-food restaurant. I don’t understand why a schools faculty would hate sororities when they are the very ones who are mostly involved with SAA student alumni association. They are the ones who put the spirit into school spirit. They support their college by volunteering when the school needs help taking money at the table at a basketball game, or needs extra help in the concession stand at football games. A lot of the work they do is behind the scenes but they really try hard to keep what they fell in love with at the school, alive.

  66. OMG OMG OMG!!!You are also a wildcat!?!?! I’m gonna be a sophomore in a week :p
    I was searching for pumps for upcoming school events and probably future interviews, so I found your website…
    Then I couldn’t stop reading your articles. They are really helpful and insightful in many ways.
    Anyways, thanks for sharing! :D :D :D

    • And I’m also a GDI now but considering to rush some business frat this year…