Karen Stringfield works with SFSC student Kevin Price to get him registered in CareerSource Heartland’s job seeker system.

With the start of March, students at South Florida State College have access to additional campus-based career services that aim to boost their chances of landing a job.

Students seeking employment assistance from the college’s Career Development Center on the SFSC Highlands Campus can now tap into the expertise of career specialists from CareerSource Heartland, the region’s workforce development provider.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, a career specialist from CareerSource Heartland works out of the SFSC Career Development Center where they meet one-on-one with students offering them resume writing assistance, tips for job interviewing, and referrals to jobs listed with their expansive database.

The new service came about thanks to a partnership created by SFSC Career Development Center director Colleen Rafatti and CareerSource Heartland’s chief executive officer Donna Doubleday.

“CareerSource’s career specialists are well-equipped to offer the right mix of services our students need to get employed,” Rafatti said. “Having them on campus two days each week is a great convenience for SFSC’s students who can access their expertise without having to leave campus.”

A recent Wednesday saw CareerSource’s Karen Stringfield at the SFSC Career Development Center meeting with Kevin Price, a first-year student. Stringfield, who has 17 years of experience working with Heartland job seekers, immediately ushered Price to a computer to register him in CareerSource’s job seekers database.

Stringfield will work with Price on formatting his resume, with the employment-related content, to best suit his career objective.

“One of the key services we offer is helping students get their resume in good shape and have them upload the document into our Web-based system,” Stringfield said. “Employers can then do keyword searches when they’re on the hunt for the qualified applicant.”

Stringfield said one of the toughest obstacles students are likely to experience in their job searches is lack of experience. But she noted, while many students may not have the precise experience an employer requests, they have transferrable skills or similar experience their resumes may not show.

“Since resumes are so critical to a job search, we offer a resume writing workshop in addition to our one-on-one resume reviews with students,” Stringfield said. “In today’s job market, students may need to tailor their resumes to different scenarios, so the workshop covers the full range of resume preparation.”

SFSC’s Rafatti said she wants to see more students make use of the Career Development Center. “Some of our graduates think picking up their degrees is an instant ticket to a job,” she said. “Often they embark on a job search lacking some key skills, like how to best handle a job interview, that’s holding them back from scoring the job they want.”

Stringfield said SFSC students often have one advantage when entering the job market: They have the training employers want.

“Many employers want applicants who are already trained and job ready,” Stringfield said. SFSC graduates students from a number of programs with occupational certificates or who have professional certifications employers seek in applicants, she said.

Students without an occupational certificate or certification shouldn’t feel discouraged, Stringfield said.

“I tell folks we do have lots of job seekers,” Stringfield said. “But I also say there are lots of job posted with us too.”