The Hidden Benefits of Greek Life

By: Amanda

When I came to campus in the fall of 2017, I knew I wanted to join Greek life. The benefits of joining are endless: service and philanthropic events, social events with other organizations, a sisterhood that lasts a lifetime and a home away from home. Although I gained all of these through joining Phi Sigma Sigma, I found that the professional development opportunities nearly outweigh the social ones.

It is believed that there are currently over 9 million Greek members across the nation (source). On top of this, the first female senator and first female astronaut were Greek. And additionally, 85% of Fortune 500 executives belonged to Greek life. It goes without saying that Greek members are making an impact well past their collegiate years. When considering this impact, there are three main hidden benefits of Greek life: professional network development, resume crafting, and a job interview.

Image: desk top with pot with writing utensils, yellow coffee mug, back of computer monitor
Text: Hidden Benefits of Greek Life: professional network development; resume building; examples for job interviews.

Networking naturally occurs through Greek life in college, as all Greek organizations often have social events. Furthermore, individual chapters typically hold alumni events multiple times each year where active members are able to meet with previous ones. Although these are all great starting points, it is important to go beyond this. Consider checking out the LinkedIn profiles of alumni from your org. This is an incredible asset to find alumni who are working in your industry all over the world. A personalized LinkedIn invitation to connect can go a long way and show a lot about your character. One might consider conducting an informational interview with an alum. Oftentimes, Greek members from the same organization share similar values and traditions. This can be something to go off of when sparking up conversation. A few informational interview questions tailored to Greek life include:

  • How did your collegiate Greek life years help you get to where you are today?
  • What would you recommend I do in my time before graduation to expand my network and prepare my resume?
  • Are there any alumni or any other Greek members who you recommend I reach out to?

Resume building is the next advantage of Greek life. Think about starting an ongoing list of accomplishments you have had through your organization, both individually and as a group. Whether it be philanthropy, volunteer work, leadership, teamwork, or event planning, there are skills being developed every day that go unrecognized. An example for a leadership position on your resume could be as follows:

Public Relations Chair, Phi Sigma Sigma, Duluth, MN, Jan 2018 – Jan 2019

  • Wrote blog posts regarding informational and promotional events
  • Take photographs and post on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
  • Managed chapter website on the platform, Weebly, and ensured content was up to date
  • Designed graphics to be posted on social media and in print for events and fundraisers

The final way Greek life can aid in professional expansion is through a job interview. Answers to questions can often be pulled from leadership and learning experiences in Greek life. Here are a few examples of questions that could be applied to Greek experiences:

  • Tell me about a time that you had to work on a team
  • Tell me about a time you have had to use your time management skills
  • Tell me about the type of leader you are

Clearly, the benefits of being a Greek life member, go far beyond service and socials. Professional development can be found in all aspects of Greek life and it is time to start taking advantage of it today!

Of Possible Interest:
Building Your Resume – all our blog posts on the topic
Obtaining a Leadership Position as an Introvert
Boost Your Career in College – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Georgie Cobbs

FAQs: Resumes

By: Paying

As a peer educator, we ask many questions to help students brainstorm ideas and descriptions to add onto their resumes but we also get a lot of questions asked too. Here are a few of the most common questions along with some tips & tricks:

What’s an objective statement?
An objective statement helps the employer quickly understand what the resume is for. It’s a short statement that can be very simple. Here’s an example: “An internship in the Chemical Engineering field.” It gets to the point and clearly explains what you are looking for from them. The content on your resume should relate back to your objective.

Do I keep my high school information on there? What if it shows some of my involvement and skills?
If you are a Junior or older, high school information should be removed (unless highly relevant to the position). Try to focus on what you have done while in college as it is more recent and more relevant. If you have space then feel free to add the information you want from high school, but if you’re going over one page, it’s okay to take it out.

What can I add onto my resume?
Any type of experiences you would want to showcase: work, volunteer, travel, organizations, etc. Many believe your resume should only be work and volunteering but that is not the case at all. Yes, it is important to have those two experiences but to show what you do outside of ‘work’ allows employers to have a better understanding of you outside the workplace. If you’ve studied abroad it shows how you are willing to go and study another culture which portrays your communication skills with a different group of people in a new setting. You can add almost anything on your resume as long as you feel that it’s relevant and will help you stand out.

How do I fit everything on one page without deleting anything?
First, check the formatting: Is it single spaced? Can you make the font size smaller? Have you changed the margin sizes?

Next, check the content: Can you merge descriptions together? Are there repeating descriptions for multiple experiences? Do you have something that isn’t too relevant and would not harm your resume if it was taken off?

One thing we recommend is to have a master resume where you keep EVERYTHING. Every experience, every line you would want to write about an experience, and so on. You can pull your content from your master resume onto a “polished” resume that is actually used for a job fair or applying for positions.

How will I get a job in the ________ field if I haven’t had any experience related to it yet?
My #1 tip for this is to use the verbiage the field would use. What does that mean exactly? Well, here’s an example for someone looking for a full-time position in the medical field to help you better visualize it:

Original Version:
Kitchen Staff, Olive Garden, Duluth, MN
March 2018 – Present
• Cleaned floors and tables
• Trained to be safe and help others
• Prepped ingredients for chef

Updated Version:
Kitchen Staff, Olive Garden, Duluth, MN
March 2018 – Present
• Provided a clean, safe environment to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers by sanitizing equipment and checking food temperatures
• Practiced first-aid and emergency skills in case of an accident
• Learned food safety regulations in order to safely prepare ingredients

As you can see, the descriptions are the same but in the updated version it includes words that could be applied to the medical field even if the position does not relate as well.

Why can’t we have line breaks going across the page?
Many, not all, employers are using scanners to help sort and organize resumes electronically. If there is a line break it could be read as a page break, causing your resume to be separated. To be safe, we recommend not to have lines even if they may look nice. White space also acts as a “line” separating sections.

How do I separate my experiences and know what and what not to keep?
This is ultimately up to you! By having an objective section, you are able to have a “Related Experience” section as well as an “Additional Experience” section in case it may not relate but would show your skills. I’d recommend adding as much as you can and if you run out of space, slowly start removing the less relevant information.

There are still many questions that can’t be answered all in one blog post so if you still have remaining questions, stop by our office (SCC 22) anytime from 8 – 4:30PM, Mondays – Fridays. Our Career Handbook also has helpful directions, examples, and advice on how to write a resume. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I go more in-depth with the tips & tricks I mentioned here!

Of Possible Interest:
Resume & Cover Letter – all our blog posts on the topic
Internships; Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest boards filled with articles & resources

Read Paying’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Lukas Blazek

How to Make the Most of Winter Break as a Senior

By: Heidi

As we’re approaching the end of finals week and the deadlines are slowly but surely wrapping up, the only thing on our minds is heading home and catching up on some much-needed sleep.

While time to relax and taking a step back is important, this month-long break can be used to get a head start on preparing for the job search and get some things done that you usually don’t have time for.  

Snowing street scene; text: How to make the most of winter break as a senior - connect with alumni on LinkedIn, fine-tune your resume, donate or recycle old textbooks, schedule informational interviews, spring clean your professional wardrobe, read a book

Connect with Alumni on LinkedIn
As a university student, you have the ability to connect and join a variety of Alumni groups on LinkedIn. Whether it’s a group with the school you’re apart of such as the “Labovitz School of Business and Economics at UMD” or joining the official UMD Alumni Relations page, it will allow you access to job postings and Alumni. 

Guy in a suit cartoon; Text: it's not stalking...it's expanding my network

Fine-tune your resume
Since you’re further along in your academic career, you’ve likely had projects and more experiences to highlight that are related to your future career. Touch up your resume to show these new experiences off.

Donate or recycle old textbooks
That math book from your freshman year or the philosophy book you only ever skimmed? Donate it with your extra time over the winter break so it can be recycled or donated to someone else.

graphic of box to donate books in

Schedule Informational Interviews
If you have the opportunity to meet someone in person, now is the prime time. Scheduling a phone call works too and can give you more insight than a google search to a company’s culture and opportunities to look out for.

Spring Clean
Out with the old, and in with the new. Donate your old intern wardrobe to someone who may be in need right here on campus. Champ’s Closet at UMD located in the Office of Student Life, Kirby Plaza 245 allows you to drop off clothes right there. Not only will it feel good to help someone else out, but you can free up some closet space to have room to update your wardrobe for your professional career.

Read a Book
Whether it’s professional development or just for fun, it can be nice to shift gears and escape the usual textbook. Reading something new can offer a new perspective or can serve as entertainment. Reading can help you stay fresh during your time off and also help you further develop your interests.

More Ideas for Your Winter Break:
How to Have a Productive Winter Break
Making Progress During Winter Break

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Filip Bunkens

5 Things I Learned “Off the Beaten Path”

By: Whitney

“Know that you can start late, look different, be uncertain and still succeed”
Misty Copeland

“What’s your major?” “What do you want to do with that?” “What year in school are you?” The age-old college questions asked by everyone. And if you are not tired of them yet, you might be by the end of your college career. Then there is the typical college advice about getting involved and resume builders. Even with all that, it can still be tough deciding what to do for majors/careers. During my senior year of high school I decided to scrap my life plan, which was to be an elementary school teacher. This threw me into serious uncertainty about seemingly everything. What was I going to do now, and how did I know it was a good decision? After I ran out of generals to take I still wasn’t sure. I ended up taking time off before transferring to UMD, as a psychology/communication double major. Recently, I read a 2014 post from Business Insider titled, “The Best Advice College Students Never Hear”, written by Maggie Zhang and it got me thinking about some of the more “obscure” things I’ve learned so far during college and the unconventional path I took.

Path in Forest

FOLLOW WHAT YOU’RE INTERESTED IN
If you are interested in a gazillion things like me this may be a tougher one. But if you are interested in something you do not need to put off learning about it. One of my roommates is a chemistry major with a theater minor. That may seem like a ‘weird’ combination to the outside observer, but they are both things she enjoys.

This idea also applies to decisions outside of choosing a major to choosing jobs and activities; in her post, Zhang also talks about building you, not your resume. I look at it like this, it’s important to build your resume (and get help constructing it), but a resume is also a document about you as a person. Are YOU excited to talk about what is on your resume? Gaining experience JUST because it looks good on a resume may not pay off in the end. Employers can tell when you are enthusiastic about what you have done and that speaks volumes in an interview.

MAKE THE MOST OF WHERE YOU ARE AT
Making the most of where you are at does not mean having to “do it all”. Like all seasons of life, college is a unique experience. By taking time off, I realized that college may be one of the last times traditional undergrads may be around people their age frequently. Zhang’s advice was to spend more time on your relationships than on your studies. While I do not know if I agree with that, I do agree that studies are equally as important as having quality relationships and experiences with friends. While this is a continual process, now is a great time to start figuring out a work-life balance that you can be satisfied with.

USE YOUR RESOURCES
This is one of the most important ones. Ask questions. Ask for help. If you don’t know something, say you don’t. There are so many resources available to us on a college campus to meet many diverse needs, why not use them. Don’t know what you want to major in? Talk to a career counselor, take a career and major exploration class. Unsure about entering the workforce? Get help writing your resume and/or practice interviewing. Advocating for yourself is a great skill to have at any part of life, and it’s a skill that can be built now. My best friend’s mom told me to ask myself “who has the information I need?” and go talk to them. If you are not sure, start with the best place you know to start.

GET TO KNOW YOURSELF
This applies to so many areas of life. The first time I remember realizing I didn’t know myself very well, was when I took an art class my senior year of high school. I was like a fish out of water and only would have considered myself an artist if drawing stick figures counted. By the end of the semester I discovered I was good at drawing and watercolor painting! So try new things even if you are not sure how it will go. One of the things I wish I would have done more is taken a range of diverse classes when completing my generals instead of sticking just to what I felt comfortable with.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT TO MOVE FORWARD
At the outset, I had never planned on studying psychology or communication. I hadn’t planned on interning for Career and Internship Services. I thought I wanted to work with kids all day every day. But I knew I enjoyed psychology and communication, and then I got the opportunity to peer mentor for transfer students, where I found I really liked helping students figure college out—now I’m the C&IS intern. In college and out, life unfolds from a series of smaller decisions. You don’t have to know everything to make a good decision. You know enough and it’s probably more than you think.

Above all:
know that you can start late, look different, be uncertain and still succeed
– Misty Copeland

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Whitney’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Paul Jarvis

Summer Job Searching, Had Me a Blast

By: Cassie

Okay, so I know it’s only March, but if you take a minute to think about it you realize that we only have April and then the first week of May and then BOOM summer is going to be here before you know it! When I think of summer I think of lying on a sandy beach and being able to relax. WELL, I am here to remind you (and myself) that you should probably start looking for a summer job. I know, it sounds like the last thing you actually want to do, BUT you have to realize that if you don’t start looking now, your options may be very limited! But not to worry, I am here to tell you all the great options for finding something to do this summer!

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Internships

If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you know about my recent struggle in the world of internships. If you would like an internship I would recommend looking now! The summer is a great time to do an internship! A great way to find internships is through networking and personal connections. If you can’t find an internship this way there are resources on the C&IS website like Glassdoor or GoldPASS and there is even a list of resources specifically for interning! Some of these include the best places to intern or summer research opportunities for graduates!

Volunteering

If you are looking for experience in your field, but aren’t quite ready or don’t fully want to commit to an internship, then volunteering is a great option for you! Volunteering allows you to gain experience and it also gives you the flexibility to figure out what you really want from an internship experience. It also can be really eye opening in terms of deciding whether your field is the right field for you. There are so many places you can volunteer. For example, I have volunteered at a hospital and you wouldn’t believe how many different areas you can volunteer in. If you look on our website there are links to multiple volunteer sites. Even if you aren’t interested at volunteering with any of those organizations, it might spark some ideas about where you can really start looking for a volunteering position. Another resource to help in your search for volunteering is VolunteerMatch. The great thing about volunteering is that you can volunteer as much or as little as you want with as many organizations as you want, even if you have another job or commitments.

Summer Jobs

If you aren’t ready to commit to an internship or if you don’t really think you want to volunteer, then a regular summer job is a great too! There are so many seasonal, part-time, and even full-time jobs you can get during the summer. You can find a job where you can work outside; examples of these are working at a golf course or being a nanny. You can also take the route of working in a nice air-conditioned place, like an office as a secretary or in a retail store at the mall. There are a lot of options out there, but I recommend you start looking now! Most places are willing to be flexible with interviews with college students if you want to live at home during the summer. Another option is staying in the campus area and finding a job around here for this summer. There are so many options out there and you just need to find out what the best fit is for you!

Good luck on finding something to do for this summer, and if you need help, or aren’t exactly sure what you want to do, you are always welcome in C&IS and we can help you find the best option for you! Also remember that it is never too early to start looking! So maybe before buying that swimsuit you desperately want off of your favorite store’s website, tune up your resume first so you can get that summer dream job!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Cassie’s other posts

The Dark Side of Leadership

By: Katie

There are many positive things about being in a leadership role, and it’s something I would encourage anyone to do. While being a leader is a great experience, there are also negative things a person has to deal with as a leader. This side of leadership – the dark side – is one we don’t often discuss. However, I think it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into when you sign on to be a leader. Therefore, here are a few things I have noticed about the dark side of leadership.

Dark Side of Leadership

Other people telling you how to lead.

One of the most frustrating parts of being a leader (in my opinion) is when others disagree with how you lead or try to tell you to do something differently. There are many different ways to lead and different kinds of leaders, and none is more correct than another. Still, there will be those who will tell you you’re doing it wrong or who give you unsolicited advice. It’s best to ignore them and trust your abilities and instincts.

When something goes wrong, it’s your fault.

Whenever something doesn’t go quite as planned – and there is always something – the fault is yours. Or at least that’s how others view it. This is particularly the case when you are the primary leader in a situation. The frustration, confusion, and anger of everyone you’re working with will be directed at you, whether or not it’s deserved. But hey, at least your capacity for patience will improve!

Dealing with the little details.

You don’t realize how much planning and organization goes into events until you’ve been in the position to plan them. There are so many minor tasks to complete for everything, and while none of them are too difficult or time-consuming, they definitely add up. Keeping track of all the little things is a necessary evil as a leader. For this, lists are your friend.

Busy. SO. BUSY.

Being in a leadership role takes a ton of work, and often no one really realizes just how much you do. It will take up large amounts of time and energy, and the work will continue to pile up even when you’re already feeling swamped with that and everything else going on in your life. Here is when it’s helpful to learn the difficult ability of saying no or delegating tasks to others.

When you don’t have the answers.

One of the worst parts for me is when others turn to me for answers I don’t have. As a leader, sometimes you’ll really just have no idea what you’re doing. When that happens, you don’t have the luxury of stepping back and letting others handle it. No – you’re the one in charge, and you need to find a way to lead others even when you feel lost. In my experience, it’s best to act confident even when you may feel like running away and crying in a corner.

Being a leader isn’t always wonderful, and there are times when it certainly won’t be fun. However, the stress, frustration, and confusion are all far outweighed by the benefits of leadership experience.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Katie’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Craig Garner

How to Continue to Build Your Resume

By: Logan

There comes a time in your collegiate career where you may be unsure of what to do next. You may be in the awkward stage where you have your major declared, you are taking classes, and you are on your way to graduating. But you may wonder to yourself, is this enough? You may be in the time period where Internships are not available, and you are not sure of how to continue to build your resume. This is the place I am at right now in my college career. Once Junior year hits sometimes you may feel like you are not doing enough, but I am going to give you tips on how to continue your growth and development during this time period.

If you are like me, you may be in the time period where you are not yet ready for an internship. I am thinking on finding an internship for the summer or taking an internship prep class during my senior year. But what am I supposed to do now in the meantime? There are multiple options for someone trying to continue to build their resume. The most obvious would be to join any clubs or organizations at UMD or in the surrounding community. An example for me was when I joined the Student Life Change Team, which tries to increase diversity and inclusivity on our campus. Activities like this are great for building leadership skills and filling out your resume more. Other activities, such as clubs, are a great way to get involved as well. Most of the clubs at UMD are small enough that it is very possible to obtain a leadership role if you desire to. This would help you to build your resume by talking about the skills you gained from this experience.

If there are no clubs or organizations you are really interested in, there are other options. You could get involved in research, either Independent or with a professor. This is a great way to not only gain research skills and build your resume, but you will be making a strong connection with a professor at the university. This can be helpful when you need a letter of recommendation or references. If you are interested in research, try contacting a professor in the area of your choice and ask them for more information.

If you are not interested in research or there are not many research opportunities available, becoming a teacher’s assistant could be a great experience for you. TAs gain valuable skills in leadership and organization, as well as a strong connection with the professor they work with. Similar to research, this would give you the opportunity to become close with a professor and to have them as a reference in the future. It is also a great resume builder because you can talk about the different organization skills and other skills you used.

If you are at a standstill in your collegiate career, don’t panic! There are many other ways you can continue to build your resume, even if you don’t have a job or internship. The first step is getting out of your comfort zone and engaging yourself in activities you do not usually get involved in. all of these experiences will not only help you build your resume, but gain valuable skills for life.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Logan’s other posts