How to Leverage Your Fraternity or Sorority Network in the Job Search
By Dan Klamm
Connecting with an alum from your fraternity or sorority is a
great way to gain insight into a particular career track or
company, get insider tips on how to succeed in the job search,
and potentially receive job leads. During this harsh economic
climate, networking is more important than ever.
When you rush a Greek organization, members lure you in with
promises of strong alumni connections and lucrative
job/internship hook-ups (among other things). It?s true; one of
the benefits of being in a Greek organization is access to the
group?s national alumni network. Depending on the strength of
your fraternity/sorority and the involvement level of alumni,
this may be a minor boost or a major boon in your job search.
Take a look at the Famous Alumni section of your Greek
organization?s website. You?ll probably see at least one alum
in your career field. Keep in mind that for each big-name alum
(think Dick Clark or Kate Spade), there are probably hundreds
of lesser known alumni currently working in high-level
positions within the organizations where you want to intern or
work. An alum from your Greek organization is more likely to
help you in your career endeavors than some random person that
you reach out to. Connecting with an alum is a great way to
gain insight into a particular career track or company, get
insider tips on how to succeed in the job search, and
potentially receive job leads. During this harsh economic
climate, networking is more important than ever.
Here are some ways that you, as a college student or recent
alum, can connect with older alumni for career networking
Join your fraternity/sorority's LinkedIn
Most national Greek organizations have private groups on
LinkedIn. Your organization?s LinkedIn group is a place to
share news, start discussions, and meet other members. Some
fraternities and sororities have 7,000+ members in their
LinkedIn groups. With LinkedIn?s demographics skewing
toward the 35+ crowd, joining a group like this will put
you in contact with a number of well-established,
mid-career professionals with many connections of their
own. But it?s not enough for you to sit passively in the
group; you need to be assertive and proactive! Post in the
For instance, you can introduce yourself as a college
student and ask about breaking into a particular industry.
Additionally, you can send private messages to any group
members who interest you; maybe one of your fraternity
brothers or sorority sisters is working at your dream
company. This could be a chance to reach out, forge a
connection, and gain some valuable information.
Look into formal career networking offerings developed
by your national organization:
Many Greek organizations have their own online communities
specifically meant for networking. Others host leadership
development programs for active and alumni members to
attend. I?ve also heard of Greek organizations setting up
regional gatherings for members in similar career fields to
connect. Call up your national office and ask them exactly
what you should be doing to tap into alumni networking
opportunities with your organization.
Attend alumni programming at your chapter, and actually
talk to the alumni:
When I was in college, I had a hard time approaching older
alumni at Homecoming and other such events, partly because
I felt that I had little in common with them and partly
because I did not know what to say. My best advice is to
get over this as fast as possible; you never know what kind
of opportunities might spring up from a chance conversation
Alumni really enjoy talking to collegiate members, and you
probably have more in common than you may think. On a
related note, if your chapter is planning a larger, more
formal alumni event, you may even want to do research
beforehand and find out who will be in attendance. If you
can identify a few alums (based on career field) with whom
you?d like to speak, come up with some talking points to
get you through the introduction phase of the conversation.
While I am a huge proponent of online tools like LinkedIn,
being comfortable with face-to-face interaction is so much
Tell the other active members of your fraternity or
sorority about your career ambitions:
You never know who may have a parent or cousin or
neighbor or friend working at the company where you want to
work! Networking is ultimately about relationship building.
Above all, remember to be genuine and respectful in the way
that you connect with people from your Greek organization. If
you are considerate of others? needs and you aim to create
mutually helpful relationships, networking with members of your
fraternity or sorority can be a very rewarding and beneficial
Dan Klamm is the Outreach & Marketing Coordinator for
Syracuse University Career Services. Connect with him on
Twitter @DanKlamm and read his Career Blog for College
The Student Branding Blog, part of the Personal Branding Network, is the #1 resource for career and personal branding advice for high school, college and graduate students.
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