Greeks’ network gives members upper hand on getting employed

By Jonathan Wroble

Being well-dressed and on time are just two of many checkpoints for anyone heading to an occupational interview. But for an out-of-college job applicant, there may be another item to add to that long list: being Greek.

“Greek students have the opportunity to interact with adults (who are) alumni through their fraternities or sororities,” said Ashley Dye, assistant dean of students for fraternity and sorority affairs. “What comes of that could be friendship, leads on jobs, or other things.”

Justin Martz, junior in ACES and president of Alpha Gamma Rho, explained thatcreating a network is crucial to his fraternity well before careers are considered.

“Even to recruit you have to network,” he said. “(It) is a huge tool we use to get people into the house.”

For Alpha Gamma Rho, it can also be a vital tool once out of the house.

Every month, the fraternity hosts visits from professionals in agriculture representing companies like Golden Harvest or GROWMARK, Inc. In most cases, either the company has had success with Alpha Gamma Rho alumni or the representative himself is an alumnus.

“The (representatives) who come in might interview you someday,” Martz said.

Alpha Gamma Rho is a social-professional fraternity, meaning that its members combine the traditional social activities of a Greek organization with a specific vocational focus, in this case agriculture. Martz stated that around half of the fraternity’s members had summer internships related to this field.

In addition, Alpha Gamma Rho takes an annual trip to a national leadership seminar, which isin Indianapolis this year. The fraternity is also starting a workshop called Moneymakers, which will promote the fraternity and help members with resumes and interview skills.

“Any edge you can get is important,” Martz said.

With a Web site called inCircle, Alpha Omicron Pi, a University sorority, is using technology to advance the career-oriented interests of its members. The program facilitates communication between current members and alumnae as part of an extensive “sisterhood network.”

“Anyone who used to be in (Alpha Omicron Pi) can make a profile (on inCircle),” said Lauren Simpson, chapter president of the sorority and junior in LAS. “It’s a networking type of thing.”

Only two years old, inCircle is slowly gaining popularity within the sorority. The Web site has a social aspect, allowing members to create online photo albums or contact lost classmates but also aprofessional aspect: members are allowed to browse jobs for Alpha Omicron Pi alumnae. Simpson explained members of other chapters have used inCircle to get jobs. Alpha Omicron Pi also maintains an extensive alumnae network that constantly updates information on former members.

Despite theopportunities available tothe Greek community, Dye explained that what you know is more important than who you know.

“Nobody gives people jobs just because they’re in the same fraternal organization,” she said. “You need to be qualified just like anybody else.”

Of all national Greek organizations:

  • Only 3 percent of the U.S. population belongs to a fraternity or sorority
  • 48 percent of U.S. Presidents have been Greek
  • 42 percent of U.S. Senators are Greek
  • 30 percent of U.S. Congressmen/women are Greek
  • 40 percent of all U.S. Supreme Court Justices have been Greek
  • 30 percent of Fortune 500 executives are Greek

Source: North-American Interfraternity Conference