As a senior at the University of Vermont, I had a lot to consider as I made my way toward entering the so-called "real world." As a college student, I was reluctant to trade my one-class-per-day lifestyle for a typical 9-to-5 job. Looking back on why I applied to be an ELC, I was driven by three lessons my father taught me that have to do with career choices, life plans, and happiness. What is my passion in life? How can I pursue that passion and make it my profession without regard to its monetary reward? Finally, what area of the country will nourish my aspirations? I think these questions have gotten me to where I am today. I am fortunate to have found a job I love that helps me look back on my entrance into the "real world" with a smile on my face.
Here are a few things I learned while following my father's advice.
- Location is important. Consider what part of that country (or even the world!) that you would like to live in. Where will you be the most connected? Where do your family and friends live? Do you think you should be near the ones that you love? I am based in Santa Cruz, California, and have family that lives in Los Angeles. If I ever need anything, they are there. This makes me feel safe. But I also travel quite a bit as an educational leadership consultant, so I am able to meet family and friends in new parts of the country.
- Make sure you feel empowered in your workplace. The structure and management style of a company is important. Do you feel like you have creative liberties within your position? Are you fulfilled and happy with what you accomplish each day? As a Theta collegian, I felt very empowered in my officer positions. As chief recruiting officer and service & philanthropy director, I felt like the events I planned changed the chapter and created a positive environment. I was proud after recruitment and after learning of the contributions our event raised for CASA. That is why I decided to be an ELC. I knew that if I could feel that empowered as a collegian, I could really make a difference working at the international level.
- Don't settle for a job that doesn't absolutely fulfill you. This relates to the passion aspect of my father's guidance. Are you passionate about what you're doing? Does it make you happy? Would you continue working there if you did not have an annual salary? I love my job as an ELC. Every day brings new excitements and new challenges. Based at our newest chapter at UC Santa Cruz, I have had the privilege of meeting some incredible women. I am thankful for what I get to do when I wake up every morning and thankful that my lucky twin stars brought me to where I am today.
As a business and marketing major, I am always finding new ways that my Theta experience translates to the real world. Yes, I work for Kappa Alpha Theta so my undergraduate experience transferred very well to my post-college endeavors. You may be a freshman trying to pick a major or a sophomore searching for an internship. Or a junior or senior trying to decide what life will look life after college is finished. Taking advantage of your Theta experience helps to prepare you in more ways than you realize!
- Leading Women Tagline: Remember, you are a member of an organization whose tagline is Leading Women! Think about this tagline when you are trying to choose your major or before you go into your next job interview. We are leaders who continually strive to make an impact.
- Leadership Positions: As Theta's election process is winding down, chapters have a new slate of officers ready to take the lead. Whether or not you have a position, Theta provides a variety of ways to step up and be a leader. Serve on a committee, always attend optional events, or simply have a positive attitude and wear a smile. All leadership experiences are valuable and will prepare you for a variety of situations you could face in life.
- LinkedIn Connections: Do you have a LinkedIn account? If not, you should! Immediately upon registering, add all of the Thetas you know—whether alumnae or collegians—as connections. You never know when your Theta network could lead you to your dream job!
- Marketing Workshop: During marketing workshops, a chapter is able to reflect on how its members want their chapter to be marketed on campus. This puts all members in a business mindset as the chapter evaluates where it is now and where it wants to be in the future.
- Business Casual: Theta sets up all members for success by ensuring we know what constitutes appropriate business casual attire. Regardless of your future plans, it is important to know the appropriate dress for events requiring more than casual wear.
Know that you are supported by a network of women who want to help you succeed! How lucky are we to have an organization that gives us a network, resources, and experiences that last far past four years in college.
As members of a Greek organization, I can bet we have all been asked the question, "What is the true purpose of a sorority?" or "What do you do in your chapter?" Throughout my Theta membership experience, and especially now that I am serving as an educational leadership consultant for the Fraternity, I am often asked how sororities are still relevant today or what I do for my job. I take this as an opportunity to tell my Theta story. I share why Theta was such an integral part of my college experience and continues to impact me today as an alumna.
As you find yourself in various situations, whether it be a volunteer opportunity or a job interview, it is important to be prepared when asked about your Greek experience. Here are a few tips for how to best market your involvement in Kappa Alpha Theta and effectively communicate the unique skills you've gained from your membership.
1. Prepare specific stories: It's important to have specific examples of "a time when..." In an interview, for example, you will most likely be asked to share a time when you overcame a difficult obstacle, worked together as a team to accomplish a common goal or stepped up to lead in an effort. Through your Theta experiences, I would imagine it's possible to find a story to fit each of these prompts.
2. Talk in numbers: Employers are very impressed by the sheer numbers of many of our chapters, including the number of members, the leadership opportunities we offer and the philanthropic impact we make. Do not be afraid to include specific numbers on your resume and in interviews, such as: "Served on a committee of 12 women to plan, coordinate and execute a philanthropy event that raised $12,800 for our international philanthropy, Court Appointed Special Advocates."
3. Use Theta's tagline of Leading Women: Lots of situations (group project work, volunteer coordination, etc.) require leadership ability. Whether or not you held a leadership position in your chapter, you should reference Kappa Alpha Theta's tagline of Leading Women as a talking point of your character. Through Theta's values that we hold so dearly and the standard to which each chapter member is held, Kappa Alpha Theta helps you develop leadership, integrity and ethics.
These are just a few examples of the many ways you can utilize your Theta experiences as you share with others why Greek life - and Kappa Alpha Theta - are important to you. It is my hope that you can always feel confident and proud discussing your Greek affiliation in any type of setting.
As the winter and spring terms begin, many chapter members are beginning to apply for summer internships and post-graduation jobs. As a chapter member and/or officer, you have gained valuable skills that should be marketed in job applications. The following are examples of transferable skills that you can use in your resume:
Time management: Upon joining Theta, you are asked to attend several meetings and complete certain requirements, all while succeeding in the classroom. As an officer, several additional requirements are expected, and proper time management must be utilized in order to complete these tasks. Officers often run meetings and must organize the agenda so as to discuss all topics in a timely manner.
Accountability: Being in a sorority provides additional expectations than for a non-Greek college student. You are expected to attend meetings, complete tasks, and uphold ideals of the Fraternity. When applying for internships and jobs, employers want to see that applicants can show up on time and complete the work that is expected of them. The accountability gained from Theta membership provides this skill and should be highlighted.
Delegation: If you have served in an officer role, you realize there is more work to be done than what one person can complete. Whether you have served as an executive or cabinet officer, dozens of tasks are completed each week—and proper delegation must be utilized. Several officers have shared this as a skill they have developed throughout their term, and knowing how to delegate has made them more effective in their role.
Collaboration: Along with delegation, you must learn how to work with others as a team. With several opinions and ideas, you learn how to collaborate with those holding diverse world views. In any professional field, coworkers are likely to be from a variety of backgrounds, making teamwork and collaboration integral to success.
These skills, and many more, can and should be highlighted in member resumes. As you update your resume and reflect on your Theta experience, what other skills have you gained from Theta membership? Share them in the comments below!
Two of the most important things Leslie developed during her time as an ELC were organization and professionalism. Given the large amount of responsibility placed on ELCs, being organized was imperative to fulfilling the job responsibilities. The experience also allowed her to develop professionalism in the workplace by understanding how to communicate effectively and present oneself appropriately in the workplace. Leslie notes, "I am incredibly grateful for the professional development that I received from my experience, and aim to teach the young professionals who work for me similar current life skills."
Recently, Leslie spent six months working with a team on the logistics of a statewide conference, hosted by IU, on sexual assault for college professionals and community partners. When planning events, Leslie is taken back to the new chapter installations and Grand Conventions she was a part of coordinating as an ELC. As much of Leslie's work focuses on sexual violence prevention and creating safer environments for students, her hope is to be able to continue to integrate her work into Kappa Alpha Theta to positively influence the lives of Thetas everywhere.
Much of what April learned as an ELC can be applied to her current profession as a flight attendant for Delta. For work, April takes trips across the country, sometimes internationally, and works with different teams of individuals. When working with different crews, April finds it is important to quickly communicate personal strengths and divide tasks accordingly so they can work as a seamless unit for the next few days. This was a skill April gained as a consultant visiting chapters for short periods of time and supporting them in their operations.
When looking back at her ELC experience, April feels that the ELC interview process helped her prepare significantly for her future professional life. During the interview process, ELCs are given chapter scenarios to respond to, participate in group settings, and have interviews with Theta's executive director and director of chapter services. From this April says, "I felt more than prepared walking into Delta's flight attendant face-to-face interview. By participating in the ELC interview and all of the skills I fine-tuned as an ELC, I felt more than prepared in my interview, and thus made me a strong candidate to be considered and ultimately hired as a flight attendant."
<< View Older Entries