I have been so busy lately helping young women with resumes and recommendations my head is spinning! Life has definitely gotten crazy :). This is going to be a random post of bits and pieces ……kind of tidying up so to speak. As I have been jogging down the recruitment path these past few days a few questions and concerns have come up so I thought I’d address them (sorry if some of this is repetitive but the same question just keeps coming up ).
RECOMMENDATION PICTURES: For most recruitments you will need TWO. ONE head shot and ONE full body shot (there are a few colleges that require 3..usually a second head shot…many will also require you to scan in a pic when you are registering for recruitment on their website). PLEASE choose the pictures that you think are the most flattering. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the sororities are “looking” at what you look like…superficial..yep but it’s a fact. Same with the full body shot. It is just the way it is. I don’t necessarily like it either but please don’t shoot the messenger! It is okay to send senior pictures or to have CVS photo lab pics but they need to be in focus. Clothing should be appropriate (no Daisy Dukes….seriously I had a girl send me pics to look at where she was wearing shorts that were ..well…really short!
HAIR: Ladies….as much as you want to dye, cut, color and highlight your hair because you’re a senior and friends are urging you to do this PLEASE…..make sure that when you show up at your university for the first day of recruitment you LOOK like the pics you had sent in with your recs. That’s the young woman who the sororities are looking to meet at their door. Remember I stated before that many sororities pick specific PNM’s to pick up at the door due to a fantastic resume. If you don’t LOOK like your pics then even though you are lined up in ABC order…confusion will prevail….so NO DRASTIC HAIR CHANGES!!!
RECOMMENDATIONS: My mantra has been all the way along that this is a sorority’s first introduction to many PNMS…think of it as a first impression of sorts. I have been asked if sororities score recommendations….YES they do. Each sorority has their own system for dealing with recs and of course if you are going to a non-competitive recruitment school then you don’t even have to worry about recs (although they won’t hurt you and I would go onto say if there is a particular sorority you are REALLY interested in I would have one or two sent). Your rec score is the beginning of your recruitment road. A rec can make a sorority wake up and take notice, get your “on their radar” or eliminate you from the beginning (usually this is pertaining to GPA).
SO…….make that rec the most flattering portal of who “YOU” are!
Most recs are written after an alum receives and resume and has had some sort of “interview” with the PNM. If the rec writer personally “knows” the PNM or her family then the latter may not occur. However, most women I know usually pick up the phone for a quick “chat” with the PNM they are writing the rec for. And that brings me to RESUMES>
RESUMES: Think of the resume as the “road map” to your recommendation. It should “paint a picture of who “YOU” are and “WHAT” you have been “DOING” for the past 4 years of high school. In most cases the resume is sent in along with the recommendation. SO…yup…the sorority will look at your resume as well. I am going to say this one time…IF YOU NEED HELP WRITING A SORORITY RESUME THEN GET IT! Comment here that you need help…give me contact info and I will help you. I have a group of women who are also more than willing to help with resumes and recommendations…but you have to ask!
A SORORITY RESUME is not the same as a resume that you would write for a job interview. It has very specific information on it that the alum who is writing a recommendation for you will need. Even though I have helped and spoken with literally HUNDREDS of girls I still get resumes that are incomplete. One young woman who I have been working with sent me such a resume. I had to contact her 6 separate times to fill out the recommendation form. I finally just quit! It was so frustrating! A recommendation that has blanks and incomplete answers will not help you in the recruitment process at a competitive school.
Make sure you spell check the resume. Spacing and placement is a big deal. It should be easy to read and appealing to the eye. When I was sitting at a Panhellenic Preview they were telling the girls to just put them on plain paper..nothing fancy. I am telling you from someone who has read hundreds of resumes….put it on VERY NICE, HIGH QUALITY resume paper. Can you put it on cutesy paper that is patterned. Yes you can as long as it still easy to read. I have actually called and commented to others on resumes that come in that are printed on really nice paper and yep…some of that was really cute designed paper.
Do you need to have a resume professionally printed? No…you don’t. But….don’t print it on a computer printer that is running out of ink or make copies on a copier that leaves that black ink line on the side. Just as you will carefully dress for recruitment success your resume should also represent a “put together”, successful YOU.
One last thing about resumes. LOOK at your resume…I mean really “LOOK” at it. When sororities look at a resume they are looking for a couple of things. They look at your GPA…is it in the “acceptable” range for their local and national guidelines (usually a 3.0 although ADPi has a guideline of a 3.2). They then look at what you were involved in and more importantly the longevity of the involvement. Some girls will “try” lots of different activities for one year, quit, and then move onto another. This send a real message to sororities that you may “try” them as well, tire of sorority life and move on to something else. It is actually better to have several good solid, 4 year committed activities (even better if you are a team captain or hold a leadership position) than a smattering of “try it” involvements.
Philanthropy……it’s important. I know that many young women don’t “know” that they are going to join a sorority at the beginning of their freshmen year. So many of the resumes I look at seem to be weak in the Philanthropy area. Sororities are looking to see where you have volunteered. Is it something that was just tied to a club you were a part of in school and so you “had” to do that philanthropy project or did you ACTIVELY go out and commit to different volunteer opportunities. Also if you made the commitment to volunteer was there longevity and regularity to the commitment. They also look to see that you have a varied volunteer experience. Big kudos points to girls who form their own philanthropies!!
So……if you need to beef up your philanthropy section of your resume go ahead and write a few more volunteer opportunities. Just make sure you do them before recruitment starts!
My goodness I am ranting today…sorry , it’s just that much of this has come up in the past few days and even though many of you…my faithful readers know the above…for the neebies..it bears repeating.
FINALLY……where to find recommendations. THIS IS A PROCESS…and not one to start a month before recruitment. For a few girls this process will be easy. These young ladies have many sorority connections and finding 2 recommendations for each house on campus will be quick and painless. For girls who have Panhellenic that help navigate them through this process, usually finding them 1 rec per house and several letters of support (LOS) this process will not be time intensive.
BUT…for MOST GIRLS this is a time consuming process. They have to navigate through the process of making a resume (GET HELP!!!) and then “FIND” women to write them recs. Most girls will have a “few” connections that will yield some recs. For those of you who do not have the connections ..you will need to reach out to your local Panhellenic organizations for help.
So tomorrow I am going to post the entire process….complete with sample letters. IF you are just starting on recruitment rec letters you need to read this…….