It certainly wouldn’t behoove a job candidate to focus strictly on the crafts she made for her pledge daughter and the formals she can’t quite remember. But that, of course, doesn’t mean sorority affiliation should be axed from each and every resume. For one, its inclusion can be used as a networking tool, said Vicki Salemi, a career expert for Monster. Whether two people were actually in the same chapter is moot—what matters is the connection that any Greek affiliation could create with a future hiring manager or boss. If sorority involvement is left off a resume, there’s no chance to find and leverage a potential commonality. Additionally, Salemi, who has worked in corporate recruiting and human resources, said seeing Greek life on a resume is an indication that a candidate was well-rounded and able to balance multiple responsibilities.
Once on the job, however, casual references to a woman’s sorority days could lead others to undermine her ideas, Salemi said. “You need to get really specific and granular to demonstrate it in a positive light so people just don’t shut down or already think, ‘Oh yeah, whatever, she’s a sorority girl,’” she said.
Carolyn Saund, who works as a software developer at a technology start-up, doesn’t hide the fact that she was involved with her sorority in college while at work. The 2015 Tufts University graduate was both an officer in the Alpha Omicron Pi chapter and the president of the Women in Computer Science club.
However, though some of the men in her office—who may have graduated from college more than a decade ago—have mugs or shirts with their fraternity letters, she hasn’t been so quick to physically identify her Greek affiliation. “I can’t say for sure whether or not I would be comfortable or anyone would treat me differently. I just know that, as of now, I would not want to advertise that quite so overtly,” Saund said.
While at school, Saund said some of the men in the computer-science department were surprised to learn she was also an active participant in Greek life. Her interests in both computer science and sorority life lead her to perceive some cognitive dissonance in her scientific peers. “Being in a sorority still holds this very heavily feminine air to it whereas being technical still kind of has this neckbeard connotation,” Saund said. “Even though everyone can consciously separate those and understand … it’s not ingrained that those things can coexist peacefully.”
Although there is still a wide gap between the percentage of men and women who study and work in the STEM fields, the nationwide push to encourage women to pursue science carries on. But as the number of women who join National Panhellenic chapters continues to swell, it’s safe to assume that more women involved in Greek life will someday enter science and engineering fields. The notion that these women—because of the negative stigmas attached to sorority life—cannot also be technically minded is being challenged in traditionally male-dominated workplaces.
“I really like reminding guys, or just people, that, no, people can be very varied and still be very technical,” Saund said. “You can be any number of things, you can belong to any number of clubs and still be in this technical area.”