Approximately 800,000 U.S. undergraduate students are members of sororities or fraternities. And since Greek life membership is trending upwards, we can expect that number to increase dramatically over time.
If you're currently one of those 800,000 members, you're no doubt beefing up your resume for college internships or landing your first job after graduation. Being a part of a sorority or fraternity is one of those things that looks good on a resume (see our post on How to List Your Sorority on Your Resume ). However, your sorority or fraternity membership likely isn’t enough to land you the job. You want to showcase other skills and experience to make a great impression on an employer.
So what else can you include on your resume to set yourself apart from other entry-level applicants? The following resume additions from the college life experts at Greek Gear can help you become a more competitive applicant.
1. Volunteer Experience
Volunteer experience can tell a potential employer a lot about a candidate. It can help gauge candidates' interests outside of the workplace, assess their values and discover what they're passionate about.
And if it does none of those things, it at least shows the hiring manager that you're invested in serving your community. Sometimes that's enough to make a good impression. But beware: Don't just volunteer anywhere for the sake of looking charitable. Be selective about where you volunteer.
If possible, your volunteer experience should complement your major. For example, volunteering at an animal shelter is a good option for someone who is studying to become a veterinarian. But it's not necessarily a great idea for someone who wants to become an architect.
However, if you're passionate about animals and happen to be an engineer, there's nothing wrong with volunteering for a shelter and showcasing that. Just keep in mind that the organization should be reputable, that you should be able to explain the organization's mission and that it should either apply to your passions or your major.
2. Student Government
For the busy college student, student government can be a huge commitment. The frequent meetings and planning require time and diligence. And that's exactly why your future boss might view your participation in student government as a benefit.
Members of student government must take on leadership roles and engage with their campus communities. Their positions sometimes require them to make hard decisions or compromises. Those tough calls more than prepare students to tackle tasks on the job. What's more, student government roles indicate experience with leadership, and that's always a plus when applying for a job.
3. Study Abroad Programs
We'll preface this suggestion by saying that not every student can afford to study abroad. That's OK, because there are plenty of other ways to make your resume stand out to potential employers. But if you can afford to study abroad, consider doing so.
Living and learning in a foreign country will force you to engage with people who are different from you. Hopefully you'll come to understand them and learn from them. Developing the ability to communicate and empathize with people from different walks of life is so important in the professional world because you're often going to be working with people who are nothing like you.
If you've studied abroad, you also likely picked up some foreign language skills. That's a plus for many employers, so make sure you highlight it on your resume. Many study abroad programs also have a volunteer component to them. That means you can check two boxes as far as the hiring manager is concerned.
4. The School Newspaper
We can't say for sure that all your peers read the school newspaper on campus. That said, your future employer won't care because your experience working for your campus paper will show that you have the skills to adopt a style guide and use it. Your experience might also reveal that you're good at determining what kinds of stories people want to read (read: marketing).
Do you plan on going into a field such as journalism or copywriting? Then this experience will be even more relevant.
5. Artistic Endeavors
You could be studying law, medicine or engineering and still benefit from showing off your artistic interests. But it's not enough to tell the hiring manager you like playing the drums. How about showing the hiring manager you like doing so by listing any relevant clubs you joined? If you joined the choir or some sort of band, list your involvement on your resume.
And don't think that you have to stop there. Not all of your artistic endeavors have to be officially sanctioned by your college. Did you play in a band that did professional shows in the area? Did you record music in the studio with local artists? Assuming you can prove you did so, that experience counts as well.
There's also another benefit to participating in the arts: Studies show that participating in art education or creating art develops analytical thinking skills while fostering creativity.
6. Clubs That Are Relevant to Your Major
There are arguably no better extracurricular activities for your resume than those that are relevant to your major. It's one thing to be in a club. But it's a completely different thing to be in a club that teaches you skills you can use in your field.
Remember our example about the school newspaper and journalism? Well, look for the equivalent of the school newspaper in your field of study. Are you studying engineering? Perhaps the robotics club is a good fit. The culinary arts? Maybe your university has a cooking club.
Just remember that you don't have to find a perfect match. If, for instance, you're studying nutrition, the cooking club might still be a good fit for you. And on that note, a professional sorority or fraternity can have a similar effect on your resume. Professional organizations cater to individuals who want to develop skills in certain fields.
7. Experience as a Resident Advisor
Being a resident advisor isn't a cakewalk. If you've ever lived in a residence hall, you know that managing hundreds of residents isn't easy. There are people of different religions, ethnicities and financial backgrounds living under one roof. There will be conflict and misunderstandings.
That said, becoming an RA just to impress a potential employer is not the greatest idea. But what if you're interested in developing managerial and leadership skills? Becoming an RA is one of the best ways to do so in college. That fact won't be lost on any hiring manager.
Other Things That Look Good on a Resume
In truth, there are tons of other things that also look good on a resume. There are too many hobbies, groups and good skills to have to list them all right here. But we can sum up what we've been trying to say here in one sentence: The thing that looks most impressive on your resume is passion. Employers want to see that you've taken an interest in something and committed to it because that's what working for any company is all about.
Now go forth. Join new clubs, and pick up new hobbies. But whatever you do, just know that you're going to be representing your Greek organization while doing it.