Erica Olmos

“I match your skills and your personalities with what employers are looking for.”


Photo by Ammie Phan

Career Services Program Coordinator, Erica Olmos.

Ammie Phan, Staff Writer

Erica Olmos, Career Services program coordinator and a part of Career Technical Education and Workforce Development, came on board to the Career Center in early 2017.

Filling many different positions, from director for the Miss Mexican-American Pageant in her hometown in central California to where she is now, Olmos has learned at a very young age how to work with people from different backgrounds, ages or cultures.

“I’ve done a little bit of everything, but it’s always involving people. I absolutely love to help people,” Olmos said.

“I very much enjoy conducting workshops, being in front of a group. My greatest, most ultimate goal, or reward – I should say – is to see my students realizing their dreams and reaching their educational goals,” she continued.

When receiving student phone calls or emails telling her that they got the job, Olmos admitted that it is like a “validation” for her work. “That is just the most gratifying feeling ever,” she said. “It’s when I do get my students calling and telling me ‘Oh my God, thanks to your tips, I got that job interview,’ or, ‘Oh my God, I’m so happy that we conducted the mock interview.’”

At Grossmont College, Olmos conducts many workshops at the Career Center, and has been conducting about 90% of the 21st century skills workshops for fall 2019, focusing mainly on preparing students for interviews, building a resume and customer service.       

Pullquote Photo

I’m a matchmaker. I match your skills and your personalities with what employers are looking for.

— Erica Olmos

Since 2017, Olmos has conducted many mock interviews – an emulation of a job interview used for training purposes – for students, including international ones.

“Here in the Career Center, I’m the only one that conducts mock interviews,” she said, adding that resumes need to go through first-time review by career ambassadors.

“The second resume review comes to me,” Olmos continued, “those I could either conduct a meeting with them in person, over email or over the phone.”

Carolina Lazzarotto, a student working at the International Counseling Office, described her experience with Olmos before she was hired for her current job: “She made sure that I understood everything she said; also pointed out my strong and weak points.”

Nhi Nguyen, a student worker at Admissions and Records, said she was looking for someone who could help her with the mock interview after getting an interview notification from Admissions. “Because Vietnamese interview style is different than American style, so I wondered if there is any mock interview I can do. Then, when I went to a workshop, I heard about Erica,” she said.

Nguyen added that she still remembers one detail Olmos told her regarding preparing before the interview: “You have to even clean up your car in case somebody might see it and it will affect their impression about you.”

By meeting Olmos, students can have a chance to improve their resumes to meet American standards. Bryan Lam, international student specialist, has many student workers in the International Counseling Office. “International students might not fully understand what is required for them to get a job in the United States,” he said.

“Resumes are like fashion trends, so we have to stay up-to-date with what employers are currently working for,” Olmos said.

Eunjung Kim, a student worker from South Korea, said she learned how to write an effective resume in American style thanks to coming to Olmos’ workshop, pointing out, “It’s an important first step to prepare your work.”

Lam said, “I have sent numerous students to meet with Erica, and she has done an amazing job preparing those students for the world of work in the United States.

“Having personally been on interview committees to those that have gone through Erica’s mock interview, I know first-hand how well prepared those students are,” he continued, adding that the students who have done the mock interview usually provide thoughtful answers and are well-structured.

Pullquote Photo

She made sure that I understood everything she said; also pointed out my strong and weak points.

— Carolina Lazzarotto, Grossmont Student

“I’m a matchmaker,” Olmos said. “I match your skills and your personalities with what employers are looking for.”

She said she tells her employers that she “always sends quality, not quantity,” so that she has a list of repeating customers and employers for years.

“There’s no science behind it. You do your homework and do it well, that’s all you have to do,” she added.

She said she always tells students when they get the jobs that she is the one providing tools to them, and it’s up to them to make it happen to build their confidence in what they do.

“I had a local IT company that hired two of our Grossmont students in IT, and about three weeks ago they emailed me saying, ‘I’m ready for another one, give me a fantastic one like the first two,’ and I said, ‘I got the candidate for you’,” Olmos said, revealing that the student she recommended got an interview and was offered an internship a week later.

Since Olmos has been at Grossmont, she sees an average of three students a week, equivalently around 50 students per semester. For the Griffin Works Internship program, Olmos has placed 70% of the students in paid internships in the one year that she has chaired the program.

Olmos said her dream one day is that the workshops in the Career Center would be mandatory for every student who comes to Grossmont. She said she believes that would make students better qualified candidates and more prepared, and the students “will have better ideas about what their career path should look like.”

This semester is coming to an end, and many students are ready to graduate and start looking for a job, especially for international students.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is one of the options after graduation for them. “They are in a tough spot because they need it,” Olmos said.

Thus, for those who need to increase their chances to get an interview call from employers, it’s time to see Olmos and the Career Center team.

“The team at the Career Center and student employment services put out a large list of workshops that everyone can attend and gain the skills necessary to be successful in a work environment,” Lam said.

“I’ll be here; I’m not going anywhere,” Olmos added, so the students can find somebody they can count on.

So, are you ready to meet Erica Olmos?