In college, I was very involved in my sorority. I loved all the social aspects of it, but I also really enjoyed being a leader and taking responsibility for various aspects of my chapter. While in the sorority, I was elected to serve as the Panhellenic Delegate, New Member Chair, and eventually, President. After I graduated, I always said that I wished I could turn my sorority leadership roles into actual jobs. I knew there had to be a job out there that allowed me to feel that same passion and drive. While I can’t exactly be “New Member Chair” of a company, I knew I could apply those same leadership skills to a real-life job.

You may not have been in a sorority, but it’s possible that you were a leader in another way in college, like on your sports team, or in a school club. Whatever your previous involvement was, I encourage you to look back and analyze your favorite aspects of that position. If those things got you working without an income, they will certainly motivate you now that they can be an actual career (with benefits and a paycheck)!

Spend some time analyzing which aspects of your previous experiences were the most enjoyable and rewarding to you. Once you isolate those factors, you have a great checklist of what you need in a job. For instance, when I looked back and analyzed my sorority positions, I realized that I liked interacting with others and being in a more “public” role (AKA, not hidden in a cubicle), working with a group of girls, options for mentoring and management, the ability to build close relationships with senior advisors, and networking within my community.

Once I had this checklist, I knew I could find ways to incorporate my sorority leadership strengths and interests into my actual, real-life job. After this realization, I made a point of searching for a job that fit a majority of those requirements. Sometimes the vague “What are you passionate about?” is hard to answer; however, I found that analyzing specific positions allowed me to find my true passions and interests in the working world.

College to Workplace

Here are some general checklist questions that can help narrow down your career interests:

  • Do you like working in a big or small company?

  • Do you like to work behind the scenes or be the face of a company?

  • Do you like to work on cross-functional teams or do more individual work?

  • How much does culture matter to you? Do you want a more friendly environment where people socialize after hours or a strictly professional culture?

  • Do you like to work with people around your age?

  • Do you want a job with a lot of room to grow?

  • Do you want a more casual office or a corporate office?

  • Is it important to you to interact with senior leadership at your work?

  • Do you want a job that is very in line with your values and interests?

Here are some questions to help you figure out how to apply your leadership strengths to the office:

  • Were you given responsibilities for newer members or teammates in your leadership role? Maybe you have a knack for making people feel more comfortable in a new environment and connecting them. You could talk to human resources and see if you can be a part of new employee orientation to continue strengthening that skill. On a smaller level, you could offer to take new employees out to lunch and build a connection with them from the beginning. You never know when contacts will come in handy!

  • Were you consistently selected to be captain, chair, or president? Do you naturally take charge and lead people? Talk to your boss about opportunities for management and leadership. Maybe you can take over a new project or be responsible for a group of interns.

  • Are you great at motivating and encouraging people? Maybe you were the one rallying people before a game or bringing people’s spirits up at two in the morning during recruitment. Find ways to incorporate this cheerleader spirit in the office. Everyone enjoys being around a positive and authentically happy person.

If you are struggling with finding fulfillment from your job or don’t even know where to start with your job hunt, I encourage you to throw on your old sorority sweatshirt, sports jersey, or oversized mathletes polo and get started on your checklist!

Have you ever had a leadership role in college that helped you in your job? Share your experiences in the comments!

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