(See what I did there? Being… being? XD)

You dread going to your organization meetings. That time comes and your stomach knots because it’s useless. Your organization is useless. Your role is useless. Or too much. You have too much weight on your back and no one to share the load with.

Or so you think.

Being an officer is more than attending boring meetings where nothing is decided, listening to guest speakers, and collecting dues. Being a good officer means more than working yourself to death and encouraging reluctant members to do their volunteer work.

Being a good officer requires more than being a star in your organization. It requires finding ways to reduce your workload, submit awesome work, and finding ways to contribute—even a little—outside your duties.

That’s how your organization withstands low enrollment, paltry teamwork, and disorganized members.

Here are 5 tips for stepping up your game and creating that great organization that you can be proud of having on your resume. 

1)   Set your own deadlines

This isn’t some arbitrary (crap) date that you must do things by. This deadline is like running a marathon. One step at a time.

I’m sure you hate cramming for anything, whether it’s an interview or a final exam. So you probably focus on one thing at a time. Chapter One through Three, cover letter, recommendations, etc. But getting a job and acing a final is all about the scope of the outcome. What I mean by scope is how large of an effort must be put into the outcome you desire. 

My Management professor gave a great example of this when he assigned a huge project late last month that’s due late next month.  (Thanks, Professor!)

  • Title  - half a week
  • Interviews – one week
  • Structure and outline – two weeks
  • Body – three weeks
  • Review and edits – one week
  • Abstract – half a week
  • Due Date – half a week

So those were the little steps, with the biggest chunk given to the body of the project. This gave those who were procrastinators a little insight into just how BIG this project was. There was no such thing as cramming for this in one night since you have to have interviews, research, APA Style, and reviews. All between the writing it included.

Set your deadlines in order to find out the scope of the project.

How this applies to an organization and to your officer duties in that organization means: publicity, donations, event planning, event execution, grant writing, finding speakers, going to conferences, etc. 

Planning or attending a conference is a heavy workload compared to publicity, but setting down deadlines can create opportunities for you to define your scope.

For publicity, we’d find things like:

Week One: research social media success stories and find out how to mimic them
Week Three: find local charities to team up with
Week Eight: Get 100 Likes on our event page

2)   Collaborate outside your duties

I know, you have enough on your plate without being asked to help other officers. Gah, Jess! Get over yourself. 

I’m going to say one thing: Collaboration breeds success.

Helping your fellow officers makes it more likely that not only will they step up their game, but you will as well. There’s nothing like having attention on you that makes you step up your A game!

Also, once you offer to help someone, you will receive help. Collaborating makes it easier for people to come to you with offers to help because they know you won’t turn it down. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking, “she’s fine, that’s her job!” But just like you’ve been elected into this job, likely being thrown into the deep end, so have the other officers in your organization.

You got this position because you put yourself below the organization. That means that if anyone on your team is struggling, then the whole team is struggling. 

How can you produce an outstanding essay if one piece of the body is totally not there

That’s a failing grade, sirs!

Totally went all simile on y’all.

Collaborating, as I'm sure you know, creates goodwill. People overwhelmed likely get resentful. You've probably felt this in group projects when you want an A but others are satisfied by a C. But this isn't a grade, it's your reputation. 

For me and some of you others, it's not just my reputation but funding $45,000 in cancer research. That's way more important than sticking to my own duties and not asking or offering help.

3) Throw out the substandard

So you got the position because it’s a resume filler?

I’ll tell you one thing: it doesn’t mean a damn thing that you’re president of a club that never meets, is not known on campus, and nationwide never sees you at conferences. The recruiter is going to ask you about your resume. You are going to have to give examples of teamwork. Class groups really aren’t anything compared to having an organization that functions well as a team and gets the results.

The way to increase your position’s space filler on your resume is to make it not a space filler. Make something of your organization, be committed, set grand goals, get publicized for being GREAT.

Getting publicized means an opportunity to whip that newspaper article out at an interview and say, “We did this. Look! I can do this for you.”

How do you get publicized for being GREAT? 

Do something frickin GREAT.

If you’re in an officer position but your organization is stagnant, do something. The options are limitless: strike, quit, campaign for reelections. Don’t just sit in the stagnancy and rot.

Make your position work to be on your resume and then it’s not a resume-filler anymore. It’s a resume maker.

4) Make it important

You feel like your organization is worthless. It’s not getting the donation it needs or recruiting enough members. You’re not at the goals you set out at the end of the year and it makes you feel terrible.

So you ignore it. You do classwork, join another organization, and do everything you can to pass by at meetings without falling asleep. You want this organization to work but you don’t feel like doing it will help you in the long run.

The key here is to make your organization important to you.

Think about it during downtime. Consider things that would make it work better. If the organization’s goal is insignificant and you spend all your time doing bake sales, think of ways you can branch out and not only meet your current goal but EXCEED it. 

If your organization is stagnant, think of ways either you or a team can create opportunities for small successes. A party that has full attendance. A really honored guest speaker so you need the whole auditorium, not just a little classroom in the basement. 

Think of ways to make your organization important not only to your school, but to yourself. That’s when your contributions will be stellar. That’s when you’ll shine. That’s when people notice and step up their game, because they want to be part of the spotlight, too.

Step it up and others will step up.

5) Chunk your time

In Give and Take, Adam Grant shows us the results of an experiment conducted by Sonja Lyubomirsky and a team of scientists about chunking good deeds. People participating were either told to do their good deeds for that week in one day or sprinkle it throughout the week. Grant wrote, “Which do you think would make you happier: chunking or sprinkling?”

The study showed chunking made people happier.

How will this help you and organization? 

Say you have a 1 hour/week meeting with your organization. Consider spending the hour before or after the meeting working on your organization’s demands.

You have a proposal for donations from a local business or you’re trying to craft a great night out for your team. Spend that hour doing that. 

This makes you more focused on the meeting, gung-ho to get things done, and considerably decreases your chances of being overwhelmed by all of your duties. This helps you contribute effectively, not producing substandard crap because you don’t have enough time.

And if you don’t have anything to do?

This goes back to collaboration. Read the minutes and find out who has a heavy workload. Then reread #2: Collaborate.

If you would like to read more about Give and Take, go read my short review or just go get the book! (Affiliate Link.)

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    October 2013


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