When I graduated from college I had the best internship ever to keep me afloat for my first grown up summer. They were flexible with hours and paid just enough for me to have beer and Vegas money, which was pretty much perfect since my parents were still paying my rent. Then the sun started to set a little earlier, the air got chillier, and my parents started to complain. I needed to get a real job, but I had never had a real job. The place I was interning at was awesome but they didn’t have a steady position open and I needed something real—full-time, benefited, all that adult jazz.
So I started looking. Actually, my mom started looking on my behalf and I waited for her to text me and tell me which ones to apply for. I started accepting offers to come in for interviews and that was when I realized I had no clue what I was doing. I had had jobs in college, and this internship, but those were within the realm of school. I wasn’t in school anymore. I was terrified, and I had no idea whether or not I’d be prepared to go out job hunting in the real world or if I’d fall flat.
Considering I’m not currently living in my mom’s laundry room or my car, I figured it out. But it wasn’t easy, and everything that I was supposed to have learned to help me ended up being less helpful than the one thing that really set me apart.
Being a sorority girl was literally the best weapon I had in my arsenal when I started looking for a real job. People always say that it can be a detriment when you tell your potential employer that you were a glitter-loving sorority girl, but ex-sorority girls are better equipped than anyone to find a job. Here’s why.
To begin, one word: recruitment. Former sorority girls have already made it through the most rigorously intense selection process known to man, and once you make it through as a potential new member, you go through it over and over on the other side. You learn to have a conversation with someone you barely know, how to make them feel comfortable, how to make the best first impression possible. My small talk skills were developed while I walked the floor of recruitment chatting with girls who would become a part of my sorority. Before that, I was learning to make a first impression that no one would forget so I would stand out in a crowd of thousands. You can’t learn that in a book. And nothing will be a better teach for pure interview skills than recruitment. It’s brutal and it’s fucking valuable, so bitch all you want, but soak up what you learn, because you’ll need it later in life.
In that vein is this tidbit: you know how to make people like you. Use that skill as much as you possibly can without being obnoxious. Everyone wants to act like likability is a useless and shallow quality until they’re in the real world and realize a huge chunk of why people get hired is because their employers liked them as a person. No one wants to hire the girl who’s a computer genius but was rude during the interview and came dressed in a see-through tank top. They want to hire the one who comes in and looks professional and capable, and that 100% includes likability.
Sorority girls also know how to deal with rejection when it happens—it might be rare, but sometimes another girl gets slated into that spot on exec you had your eye on, or you don’t get the job you thought you nailed the interview for, and it stings. Everyone hates rejection, and not everyone handles it with grace. Most people don’t, actually. Most people fall apart, or get defensive, or worse, whiny. Sorority girls know that getting rejected is all part of the process of getting to where you want to be. It’s unavoidable, and most of the time there’s no use in being upset by it. It’s far more useful to go forward than waste your time crying about the past. Breakup 101.
Last but not least, sorority girls are absolutely bomb at acting cool under pressure. People get nervous in interviews, and bosses notice the ones who stay composed. I’ve been in the room when my bosses will ask a question a potential employee doesn’t know how to answer, and there is no awkwardness like that silence. I never see that happen when a sorority girl comes in. When you know what it’s like to go through recruitment and be on your sixth round of girls in a hundred degree weather and you can still keep a smile on your face, job interviews are cake.
So if you’ve just graduated or are graduating soon and are in the same spot I was, AKA totally panicking over your future, don’t worry. You have everything you need to get you wherever you want to go. In the words of Elle Woods: you must always have faith in yourself. So go out there, and put on your favorite shade of classy pink lipstick and your work heels, and kill it..
Image via Mary Ashlynn Photography