As promised here is part two of Recs and Resumes.  Before I talk about Recs I had a question regarding a resume for a sophomore.  I responded directly to the young woman who sent the email but thought I would also post my advice here.  She wanted to know what sophomores were supposed to do with their resumes…were they supposed to only put what they had done their freshman year in most cases making the resume a little sparse) or were they to put their high school activities ect as well?  Here’s my response.  I should share that I helped a handful of sophomores go through very successful recruitment experiences this past year (all received bids).  Since they all attended schools that were competitive in nature and required recommendations the following is the format we used for their resumes.

Under Education we added a second category for college info. I looked something like this:
XYZ High School, somewhere USA
Graduated (if you graduated with honors you can put that here) May 2011 or date of graduation
High School GPA (4.0 scale) 3.8 unweighted
ACT 32   SAT 1590

Currently attending XYZ University
Graduation expected May 2014
GPA 3.6

Then in PERSONAL INFORMATION you would put:
Date of Birth
College: Currently attending XYZ University
Class Status: Sophomore
Credit Hours Earned
Major and then the parent info.

Under ACHIEVEMENTS/AWARDS I would put any that relate to college FIRST along with the year dates and then list the high school ones along with the year dates.
I would do the same for ACTIVITIES and for VOLUNTEER/PHILANTHROPY and if you work then follow the same protocol there as well.
Make sure the pics you use are current and look like you now…do not use your senior pics. 

Hope this helps you sophomores out there :).  Please feel free to contact me with your questions. If I can’t answer them I know of several other sorority alums who most likely can.

Ok…on to Recommendations.  As I said yesterday all of the 26 NPC sororities have a standard rec form that they use.  They can be called Recommendation Forms, recommendation Information Forms (RIF), Membership Information Forms (MIS) just to name a few.  Sometimes you will hear these forms referred to as “Letters of Recommendation” (LOS).  These are not letters written by an alum but rather a set form that they fill out using your resume and/or conversations that they have had with you.  Any alum who is in good standing with her sorority can write a recommendation.

Although the forms differ from sorority to sorority some the information required is the same.  All rec forms will ask for a PNM’s name (hint if you are called something different from you God-given name make sure the alum notes this, especially if you are going to register for recruitment under that name).  There will be a space to write the PNM’s contact information such as home address (some forms will ask for campus address as well).  Forms will ask for parents and/or guardians names and in some cases their address as well.

Are you now beginning to see the purpose of a resume? There will be a spot for your high school, graduation date, class entering into college.  If you are a sophomore there is also a place for you to list the college you are attending currently.  You will need to list your GPA and some forms ask if a PNM has taken honors, AP or dual enrollment classes. There usually is a spot for test scores such as ACT, SAT as well as any academic honors or awards. In some cases you will need to provide a class rank.  I know some schools do not rank.  I have written “high school does not rank” but if at all possible, even a percentile such as top 5% out of xyz students is helpful. In some cases forms will ask for intended major.

There is a small space to provide involvement in high school related activities.  Often time I will write a few of the more notable ones and add “see attached resume”. The same is true for volunteer activities and honors and awards.  You will also be asked to list if you are a legacy to that particular sorority and through whom.  Remember you don’t have to list that you are a legacy.  You will also be asked to list any other Greek affiliations you may have.

There is usually a section that asks if the PNM can assume the financial responsibility of a sorority. The cost of belonging to a sorority can vary drastically from campus to campus.  Before you go through recruitment make sure you have a conversation with your parents about this topic.  Money conversations are not very fun but sometimes necessary. I know of several young women who pledged last year only to find the financial burden of a sorority too heavy to bear and they were forced to quit.

So I have covered the general questions on the forms.  There will be a set of questions that ask what a PNM would like to talk about during recruitment, what type of member she should be paired with, if she is shy or outgoing.  These are not on all forms but they definitely help the sorority in pairing a PNM with a member who she could potentially have a connection with.  Alums will also be asked to speak about the PNM’s character and how her character traits, leadership qualities and personality characteristics will mesh with those of this particular sorority and what type of contribution she will make.  Some use a check list, others will ask for the alum to write about the traits and still others will ask for the alum to address specific traits.  It is common to ask the alum if she would recommend this PNM for membership and how well the alum knows this young woman (x number of years, knows the family, or perhaps she is basing her endorsement on the information provided by the PNM). If an alum does not endorse a PNM there is a section to explain why.  Ladies….this has happened, where an alum tells a young woman she will write her a rec but does not endorse her for membership.  Now don’t panic!  I doesn’t happen often but for example I had a PNM who gave me a very incomplete resume, even after she and I had discussed it at length and I had made some suggestions for changes.  I really didn’t have enough information to fill out the rec form and after dealing with this girl I felt like she might be a questionable member.  I did what I said I would do and wrote the rec but I could not endorse her for membership!

The alum will also be asked to give her personal information, what chapter she was associated with, year she was initiated, maiden name and contact information. I will share that in some instances a chapter may reach out to an alum who has written a rec for a girl…doesn’t happen a lot but it has happened.

So that’s the form.  Most are printed from the sorority’s national website, filled out and mailed to the recruitment chair along with the PNM’s resumes, pictures and sometimes the alum will add a personal letter of support (LOS).  I have been known to do this for girls that I am especially impressed with.  I have also done LOS’s for girls who may have a lower GPA, explaining the reason.  More on this later.

In today’s world of technology some sororities are going to online recs.  The alum fills the form on the sorority’s website and submits it electronically.  My sorority does not have this capability yet.  I asked several women I knew how they handled the pics and resume.  Some said they scanned those items in as well and sent them as attachments while others said they mailed those separately to the chapter. Make sure you ask the alum writing your rec if it is electronically submitted and if so how she wants to handle the pics and resume.

One last thing, when you ask an alum to write you a recommendation realize that she is taking her time to do this.  Rec forms can be time-consuming!  We all lead busy lives.  I wold urge you to be patient and give the woman writing your rec plenty of time to get it done and sent in.  I would encourage you to send a handwritten “thank you ” note to the woman once she has finished and sent the rec.