Do you know how to tell your story? A job interview is essentially a test of your storytelling skills – you have to explain your career and your skills in a way that shows that you are a valuable asset for the employer. You don’t want to just say you are a team player or that you are diligent – you want to show it by telling a story about a time that you exhibited those traits (try the C-A-R-s or S-T-A-R-s method next time you have an interview!). You are telling a story every single time you explain your career. Your elevator pitch is a story. Networking is telling a story. Even CEO’s of companies use storytelling to pitch their company and motivate employees. Sorority recruitment taught me the storytelling skills I need to interview and network with confidence.
During recruitment you are telling a story – you are telling the story of your sorority experience in a way that conveys how special and unique your sisterhood is and what it has to offer the potential new member. You don’t want to just say that you love having a house on campus – you want to explain your experience. I read an article that explained that, “one way to do this is to use lots of ‘language of the senses,’ or LOTS. When telling a story, share with us what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. When you trigger a sense in someone, you bring them into the story with you.’ Stories convey emotions, make the listener more engaged, and cause the listener feel more connected to the storyteller.
I had another reminder of the impact of storytelling when someone tweeted at The Levo League saying that they had gone through sorority recruitment, and ultimately joined a chapter, because of my article series. The articles are comprised of sorority sister’s stories about their experiences and the benefits of being involved in Greek Life. Our collective stories made an impact.
I learned storytelling from sorority recruitment, but I wanted other sisters to share how recruitment had helped them with their career.
Here are their stories:
Melissa (Alpha Omicron Pi) explained that planning recruitment teaches sisters how to present themselves during interviews as well as topics to discuss. Sisters learn to ask questions to find out if someone is ambitious and will be able to lead your chapter. Sisters learn to get to know someone’s personality, what they want out of a chapter, and the qualities they can bring to make the chapter better in a short amount of time. Similarly, interviewers have a short amount of time to decide if a candidate will be a good fit, and provide value for the company.
Carrie Mae (Phi Sigma Sigma) learned the power of personality. She told me that she feels the most confident when she is being herself. As she explains, “confidence is infectious and can be felt from across the room.” She has brought this skill with her to interviews because, as she says, ”after all, everyone loves a girl with personality.”
Kaitlyn (Chi Omega) learned three skills from recruitment: efficient problem solving, management, and teamwork. Efficient problem solving which is crucial for career success. Kaitlyn wrote that, “when working in the real world, you may realize that certain dilemmas in work are fundamentally the same stressful issues. The important thing is to remember your recruitment training: keep calm, put on a smile and find a solution. And remember, always be prepared with a Plan B.” The ability to manage effectively is an essential aspect of a successful career, as Kaitlyn explained, “a full house of sisters and a monumental list of unchecked boxes on a recruitment list use to be daunting in college, but the fact that you survived proved that you learned to manage not only yourself, but others. Not only is this a highly marketable trait, but the fact that you effectively communicate and divide tasks is a highly applicable skill in any area of your life.” Recruitment also taught Kaitlyn teamwork skills, as she says, “working on sorority recruitment is a huge commitment and the only way to get through it is to build strong relationships with your sisters. This is directly relatable to putting time and effort into your co-workers so that you do a better job on that presentation or group project. You want to be on great terms with whoever you work with because it will be reflected in your work.”
Briana (Phi Sigma Sigma) told me that the most important skill she learned from recruitment is learning to listen. Listening and paying attention are two of the most important transferable skills for high achieving career performance. As Briana says, during recruitment, “your chapter becomes a well oiled machine where everyone works together toward one common goal.”
Whether you are reluctant about recruitment or it is your favorite time of year go into it knowing that you are building valuable business skills. No matter which side of recruitment you are on, remember that one of the most important components of successful storytelling is authenticity – be honest, be humble, be yourself.