During recruitment, potential new members are inundated with the all of the promises and benefits of sorority life – lifelong friendships, sisterhood and a support system in college just to name a few. But how many times do sorority women tell potential new members how joining will benefit their career…you know, what they’re actually in college for?
During my experience in Alpha Xi, I have been blessed to experience not only sisterhood, leadership and service, but I have also learned valuable skills that are now an asset to my development as a young professional. And networking is hands down the number one skill that I have learned since joining Alpha Xi Delta.
Joining a sorority has helped me better prepare, and even sometimes survive, the most stressful of networking situations. Recruitment workshops, alumnae events and even socials have served as a launch pad to becoming an expert at navigating the professional networking world.
Here are the top 5 tips I’ve learned about networking since joining a sorority:
1. It’s all about the first impression.
During recruitment, the first impression is paramount. It can be the make or break factor in whether or not a PNM decides to come back to your house. The same applies in networking. Your first impression with a potential employer is crucial in landing a job or internship. Joining Alpha Xi Delta not only taught me how to make a good first impression, but gave me several environments to practice this skill. In addition, surrounded by upperclassman and alumnae, I was able to actively learn from others who helped me avoid their mistakes.
2. You learn how to talk to a wall.
While talking to a wall doesn’t sound too glamorous, you’ll be able to do it. Sorority life gave me the opportunity to experience a variety of social situations that required conversations with a variety of different personalities. After only a year in Alpha Xi, I felt more comfortable and confident talking to strangers I had never met before. Now, I’m not afraid to approach someone new and strike up a conversation whether it is for a job or just for fun.
3. Mind your manners.
Similar to making a first impression, maintaing manners and business etiquette at all times is often overlooked. One of the most important things I’ve learned since joining Alpha Xi is that regardless of where I’m at or what I’m doing, I am always wearing my letters. This means that even when I am not actively representing Alpha Xi Delta, my actions can still be tied back to the organization as a whole. It doesn’t matter if I discretely whip out your phone under the dinner table to send mom a quick “ok” text – if someone catches me, they might assume the worst. Maybe I’ve been texting this whole time? Maybe I’m rude and disrespectful or just plain uninterested? Manners help avoid maybes.
4. Don’t burn bridges.
Sure, we all have people we dislike. But you never know who you may meet up with again someday. Say that you are interested in applying for an academic honorary. But when you find out that Suzy Q is in charge you know you are never getting in. You snubbed her at a formal freshman year and she hasn’t forgotten it since. Burning bridges can result in lost opportunities later down the road.
5. Alumna have connections.
Alumnae have their own unique network so use it to your advantage. Networking doesn’t have to be all about wearing a suit, shaking hands and working a room. It can be as simple as sending a thank you card to an alumnae who donated flowers to the house or helping out an elderly lady from the class of ’71 down the street pick up her leaves. The best internship I got in college was because I stayed in contact with alumnae. Alumnae want to see their chapter members succeed so use them as a reference to propel yourself forward and set yourself apart.
What networking lessons has being a sorority taught you? What other professional skills did you learned by going greek?
MC Alpha Xi