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Date functions, frat boys and fun might have been the first things that came to mind when you decided to rush a sorority. But if you’re like me, you were also looking for a group of lifelong friends, a home away from home on campus and a chance to network with women all over the country. During your four years in college in a sorority, you’ll grow as a person, have the time of your life and you may even get a job out of it. In fact, joining a sorority could be one of the best things you ever did to further your career. Jill Werner knew her time in her sorority was coming to a close. As graduation approached, it was time for her to take down all her photos from mixers, cocktails and sisterhood events. She had to pack up her letter shirts and say goodbye to her sorority house and sisters. But Werner, a Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Kentucky, also knew that graduation didn’t really mark the end of sorority life; she had a job with her sorority lined up for after graduation. During her final two years, she held leadership positions in her sorority and had close contact with the Educational Leadership Consultants (ELC) that advised her chapter. Now she is working for a year as an ELC herself. One of the main components of Werner’s job is traveling across the country and spending time with one of Theta’s 125 college chapters. Werner says her travels and training have led to countless networking opportunities. “As ELCs we also meet countless people from other sorority and fraternity organizations during workshops and conferences,” Werner says. “All of these people that I come in contact with on a daily basis could potentially help me in the future.”
College members also have the opportunity to make connections with other members of their sorority at regional and national meetings and conferences. Kelly Merrick, Vice President of Standards at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter, spent three days with women from around the country at Leadership Academy. “I loved meeting the alumnae because they were able to offer real life examples of life after college,” Merrick says. “One alumna I talked to told me how she was involved in a Kappa alumnae chapter and how it helped her gain skills that she uses in her career.” Merrick says that she can’t wait to take advantage of the benefits and connections when she becomes an alumna. Alumnae have countless other opportunities to hold a leadership position, says Kari Kittrell, executive director of Kappa Kappa Gamma. “Alumnae can serve as chapter advisers or members of House Boards, in addition to numerous other volunteer positions within the organizations,” Kittrell says. “Serving as a role model to a younger member has been a role of an alumna member from the beginning.” She says being involved allows you to stay connected with your sorority regardless of where you move after college. You don’t have to be an ELC or a member of a house board to mix and mingle with fellow sorority sisters. Sororities have alumnae groups across the county and around the world. “Women who are members of a National Panhellenic Conference group have the benefit of a tremendous network of alumnae when they graduate from college,” says Megan Houghton, assistant director of lifetime engagement for Alpha Chi Omega. “When a new graduate moves, she can connect with a local alumnae chapter to help her make connections in her new location.” Whether you want to contact your old chapter or find an alumnae group near you, there are plenty of sources. Kittrell says each sorority’s website is the best place to find general information. “And with social media, it’s even easier to stay connected and network with other Kappas,” Kittrell says. “In addition, The Key magazine, which is mailed to all members, is a wonderful way to learn more about amazing Kappas and how to stay involved.” She says that Kappa, along with other sororities, has Facebook accounts, a Twitter following, LinkedIn groups, and several chapter and alumnae association microsites. Sometimes you don’t even need a formal network for going Greek to help your career. Laura Lane, assistant director of career services at UNC-Chapel Hill says you don’t have to be president of your sorority to stand out at a job interview. “Even if the student has only been a member of the sorority, that membership could bring a powerful network along with it,” Lane says. “You never know when you might get an interviewer that was in the same sorority and immediately, rapport has been built over this common thread.” She says it is important that you speak positively about your sorority and focus on the service aspect of your chapter. If you are debating whether to list your sorority membership on your resume, Lane says you should research the employer. She says you can get a feel for the organization and the people that work there and whether listing it would be a positive or a negative. “It is not unlike listing your political party or your church affiliation,” Lane says. “It should not change how an employer views you, but the fact remains that it may.” But don’t hide your affiliation: Lane says “One could also think, well if they don’t want me because I belonged to a sorority, is that organization the best place for me to work?” Holding a leadership position in your sorority while in college can be great preparation for your career depending on what industry you want to go into, what position you held and if they’re related. “A president or vice-president would show leadership and organization, and a treasurer would show that you are good with money and budgets and have an interest in perhaps banking and finance,” Lane says. “A philanthropy chair might indicate you are interested in non-profits and event planning, while a historian could mean you are into archiving, history or multimedia.” Some of the skills you gain while working for your sorority may apply in any career. Colby Giulino, a former Leadership Consultant for Kappa Kappa Gamma, says she became a more confident and deliberate public speaker. “Constantly evolving as a professional, working on your own and in groups and giving polished presentations are things that will be a part of most any career,” Giulino says. These are skills Giulino says she can apply during the rest of her career. After her year working as an ELC is up, Werner says she will pursue her career in public relations or marketing. She says it is a great opportunity and urges women who are interested to speak with someone in their own organization. “Being a consultant is an amazing job with many rewards, but you must be passionate about your organization and your job in order to easily cope with the ups and downs of the job,” Werner says. For more information on alumnae opportunities or to find a alumnae group near you, check out your sorority’s website and look under alumnae. http://www.npcwomen.org/parents/member-organizations.aspx For more information on Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Leadership Academy, check out their website. http://www.kappakappagamma.org/Template.cfm?Section=Chapter_Forms1&CONTE… For more information about Kappa Alpha Theta’s ELC program, check out their website. http://www.kappaalphatheta.org/collegians/programs/ELC_Program.cfm Sources: Jill Werner, educational leadership consultant, Kappa Alpha Theta Kari Kittrell, executive director, Kappa Kappa Gamma Megan Houghton, assistant director of lifetime engagement, Alpha Chi Omega Laura Lane, assistant director of career services at UNC-Chapel Hill Kelly Merrick, vice president of organization, Kappa Kappa Gamma at UNC-Chapel Hill Colby Giulino, former leadership consultant, Kappa Kappa Gamma (Bucknell University)

Jessica Stringer is a senior journalism major at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is originally from Woodbridge, VA. At UNC, she is the editorial director for Rival Magazine, a joint publication between UNC and Duke. She has previously written for the Daily Tar Heel, interned at DC Magazine and CNBC, and is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Jessica fell in love with London during her semester abroad and dreams of moving across the pond. Some of her favorite things include coconut cupcakes, Carolina basketball, old Hollywood movies, and her Havanese puppy Max.
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