Category Archives: professional development

Employers facing shortage of workers with strong social and analytical skills

“As our cities grow larger,” writes Richard Florida, “the synapses that connect them—people with exceptional social skills—are becoming ever more essential to economic growth.”

These “exceptional social skills,” many of which are practiced in the LEAD Program, can have tangible benefits in the form of higher compensation.

Analytic and social skills add greatly to wages and salaries: after ranking every occupation by the type of skill required to perform it, we observed that on average, occupations in the top quarter as measured by required analytic skill pay $25,600 more than those in the lowest quarter […]

Fraternities enhance social skills for many – nothing we didn’t know already. But what about the analytical skills? How does your chapter’s culture foster strong critical thinking skills (i.e. sound decision making and good judgement)?

“We’ve always done it this way,” “It’s tradition” and other common defenses of the status quo do just the opposite. Where does your chapter fall?

You’ve probably heard many times before how Sigma Nu and the LEAD Program prepare collegians for life after school. But how exactly? What skills? Florida outlines a few here:

Highly developed social skills are different from mere sociability. They include persuasion, social perceptiveness, the capacity to bring the right people together on a project, the ability to help develop other people, and a keen sense of empathy. These are quintessential leadership skills needed to innovate, mobilize resources, build effective organizations, and launch new firms. They are highly complementary to analytic skills—and indeed, the very highest-paying jobs (and the most robust economies) usually require exceptional skill in both realms.

“Bring the right people together” = Recruit the people who will push the chapter to new heights while maintaining the discipline to avoid those who join for the wrong reasons.

“Develop other people” = Build people up through a legitimate new member process free of hazing and other arbitrary time wasters. This also means using all phases of LEAD to develop members through graduation and beyond.

A growing chorus has noted the failure of U.S. schools to adequately teach math, science, and technology, but social intelligence is equally important, and we need to cultivate it more systematically.

Today’s students need a stronger focus on teamwork, persuasion, and entrepreneurship; a better integration of liberal arts with technological literacy; and an emphasis on the social intelligence that makes for creative collaboration and leadership.

Fraternity, when done the right way, builds this teamwork, collaboration, leadership and entrepreneurship that is apparently missing from so many job seekers.

Will you take advantage?

Read the full story here.

-Nathaniel Clarkson

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6 Tips For High School Seniors

Washington Post has a few tips this morning for high school seniors planning to attend college. We’ve added one more:

6. Join a fraternity.

One of the least talked about reasons to “go Greek” is the fraternity system’s unique ability to ease the transition from high school to college. Do some basic research to make sure you join the best chapter on campus (e.g. search for chapters that have recently won awards from their national office; stay away from the chapters with a history of risk reduction problems). The right chapter will:

What are some other reasons college freshman should consider joining a fraternity to ease the transition from high school to college? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

I Never Thought…

I never thought I would work for the Fraternity.  Sure, I served in multiple officer positions for my chapter and the IFC as an undergraduate. I was involved in other associations and leadership programs on campus; but I didn’t initially consider employment with Sigma Nu as a viable option post-graduation. Maybe graduate school or some kind of a sales job, but not working for my fraternity.Shekhar and Zach_66th GC

You probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear that this is a very common sentiment; one that is common to many current andformer staff members. And why is that? Is the concept of continuing your involvement with the Fraternity in an official capacity; continuing to work side-by-side with brothers on a daily basis to improve the Legion of Honor; traveling around the country and seeing the best that Sigma Nu and the U.S. has to offer; being a part of a high-performing team; cultivating a national network; and taking on a high level of responsibility really a bad idea for a soon-to-be or recent college graduate?

I’ve been asking this question of our current and incoming staff members for the past few years to try to get to the bottom of the misconceptions and missed opportunities of those who think working for Sigma Nu isn’t an option for them or simply never considered it altogether. This is what I’ve found….

  • There is no single or ideal track to becoming a consultant for the Fraternity. Some were top officers of great or even struggling chapters. Others served only on committees or in appointed chair positions. Others served their fraternity/sorority community in leadership positions more than their local chapter.
  • Great staff members have come from all types of chapters and campuses – small, large, private, public, residential, commuter – and from every region of the country.
  • All were looking to be part of a high-performing team, interested in making a difference (in whatever work they would be doing after college), and had a strong desire to give back to the organization they felt had given them so much.
  • Most had heard about and first considered the opportunity from a varied source – a memo posted at their chapter home or read at a meeting by their Commander, a personal suggestion from a Greek or Chapter Advisor, a conversation with a current staff member, an interest session at Grand Chapter or College of Chapters, or just by browsing the employment section of www.sigmanu.org. Others just happened to “find” Sigma Nu the employer on their own.

Maybe it’s a misconception that employment with Sigma Nu won’t be able to compete with the other opportunities awaiting you once you walk across the graduation stage. With a competitive salary and full benefits package (including health care) that begins on the first day of employment, a high level of responsibility, and opportunities for self-management, it is hard to imagine another entry-level position that could match those offered by the Fraternity.

Every one of the current and former staff members I’ve talked to have been able to rattle off their own list of “I Never Thoughts.” Some did so from an advanced position on the staff while others reflected back after having moved on to the next stage of their life.

I Never Thought…

  • I could grow and learn this much as a person in one short year.
  • That working for the Fraternity would prepare me as much for the future as it has.
  • My coworkers would become as close as many of my chapter brothers.
    • Chris Healy, Director of Expansion for Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
  • That I would be interested in [and prepared for] a career in student affairs until I joined the Fraternity’s staff.
  • Facilitating meetings, workshops, and LEAD sessions would make me a more polished public speaker.
    • James Ehrmann, Greek life graduate assistant and masters student in the Higher Education Administration and Policy program at Northwestern University
  • I could have a job that I didn’t see as a “job.”
  • I could enjoy being on the road for two and a half months at a time.
    • W. Brett Holt, MBA candidate at Miami University
  • That such an awesome work environment existed.
  • I would have the ability to make an impact on someone else’s fraternity experience and even change their life.
  • That my own life would change from working for the Fraternity.
    • Tim Braddick, Director of Fraternal Operations for Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.

Perhaps it’s time you started thinking about the opportunities available with Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. I’m confident that you, like those who came before you, will be glad that you did.

The Fraternity is always looking for a few good men to join its ranks. Entry-level consultant positions working with both established chapters and our newest colonies start each January and June.

Several resources are available to learn more about becoming a consultant (responsibilities, professional development opportunities, additional testimonials, and more) and the Fraternity’s current openings. Additional questions should be directed to Scott Smith, Director of Leadership Development, at extension 350.