The Vital Role of Career Services at UMO
MOUNT OLIVE – For many institutions, gone are the days where the mission of the career service office is "placement." Instead, colleges and universities are focusing on "career development" which teaches students how to manage and take responsibility for their career paths.
The University of Mount Olive Office of Career Services is a dynamic, lively space that informs students, inspires them, and facilitates some of the essential connections they need to land a rewarding career after graduation. UMO Director of Career Services Laurica Yancey and Assistant Director Denise Crocker provide experiences that foster student self-discovery and deliver programs that help students develop the personal, academic, and professional skills and relationships needed for successful transition into diverse and meaningful job opportunities.
“We are a link to success for our students and alumni,” Yancey said. “We want to prepare them so they are clearly in the driver's seat in navigating their futures.”
Yancey and Crocker help students with traditional services like building resumes and cover letters, holding mock interviews, and hosting career and job fairs. They have also implemented several online tools that assist students and alumni with finding their strengths and matching those strengths with employer needs.
An assessment program called StrengthsFinder allows students to find their top five professional strengths. “We live in a time in which we often focus on what is not right about us instead of focusing on what is right about us,” Yancey said. “By using StrengthsFinder, students can develop an understanding of their individual strengths and get coaching on how to market themselves on their resumes and in interviews.”
Another online tool used by the UMO Career Services Office is College Central Network, which gives students access to openings for on-campus employment, local employment, internships, and jobs nationwide.
“Students are aware that related work experience is no longer a luxury,” Yancey said. “Experience represents an important component of a successful candidacy for a permanent position.”
Yancey notes that educating students on the strategy and process behind the internship search is an excellent way to prepare them for the higher stakes job search which comes later. All the teaching ingredients are present: the importance of search strategy, industry research, networking, resume writing, interviewing and following up are all essential.
Ai Theen Wee, a rising senior at UMO’s Mount Olive location, is a perfect example of how life-changing a visit to Career Services can be. She recently pursued an internship at Workplace Options in Raleigh. During a visit to Career Services, she was given the opportunity to do a mock interview and to have her resume reviewed. She appreciated the patience and expertise of the Career Services staff, and she felt the mock interview greatly helped to prepare her for her phone interview with Workplace Options. “It’s always good to have a second opinion. I was offered feedback during the mock interview which made me more aware of myself and better prepared for the actual process,” she said. With the help of Career Services, Wee received the internship.
“The overall purpose of obtaining a college degree is to secure a career. Choosing a job can be very daunting. Career Services is a crucial part of UMO because it guides students into becoming marketable job candidates by helping them realize their potentials,” Wee said. “It makes the transition into the ‘real world’ a little less intimidating,” she added.
The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.