Where are the jobs?

Opportunities await new graduates

June 13, 2016

It’s the question every student gets: What are you going to do after graduation?

Some plan to enter the workforce, others will go on to graduate school, a few will create their own companies—there are as many different answers as there are students.

Students planning to begin their careers will find a welcoming landscape, especially in Colorado. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Colorado in March 2016 was listed at 2.9 percent—2.1 percent below the national unemployment rate for that same month.

In addition, there are other signs that employers are looking for new talent. Sarah Trzeciak, director of the CU Denver Career Center, has put employers on waitlists for space at the sold-out fall and spring career fairs. The past year showed a record number of employers coming to campus—up to over 200 compared to 130-140 in previous years. Trzeciak believes that this spike can be attributed to a booming economy, expanding companies and CU Denver’s growing reputation.

“I firmly believe that the Learn with Purpose campaign has done a lot to raise awareness of CU Denver graduates in the Denver community,” Trzeciak said. “We have a good economy and a university that is consistently working to define and show what it means to be a CU Denver student and what it means to hire a CU Denver student.“

Despite growing employment opportunities and increasing value of a CU Denver degree, students should be prepared to show employers that they are the right fit.

“It is crucial that students be able to identify their skills, experience, strengths and be able to articulate that to employers in a way that they know what you’re bringing to the table,” Trzeciak said.

Several CU Denver students are already finding themselves poised to find success with new jobs and other opportunities lined up months before graduation. They offered advice on how their peers can find success and make the most of their time on campus.

Riley Rousseau

Bachelor’s in sociology

Riley Rousseau
Riley Rousseau

What’s next?

I’ll be working full time as a personal banker at Wells Fargo. I started with them in November 2014 as a teller, was promoted eight months later to lead teller and then to personal banker in January. It’s a great company to work for since they set up a promotion path and train you really well. A sociology major might seem like a strange fit for a company like Wells Fargo, but the skills they are looking for are data analytics, understanding people, sales, communication—all things we learn in sociology courses.

How CU Denver helped shape my future

Every semester I’ve been at CU Denver, I’ve had at least one class with Associate Professor of Sociology Jennifer Reich. She ignited my passion for sociology and has helped me to see all of the different applications for the major. It is to the point where I sign up for classes just because I know she will be teaching them. One class that has been especially influential is one she is teaching with Sarah Trzeciak. The class has allowed me to really define my career goals and taught me how to talk about the skills I have been learning and how they can be applied at companies like Wells Fargo. It has provided a roadmap I’ll use as I’m planning my future.

Advice for success

Anytime I jump into something I am scared of is when I succeed. Originally, I didn’t want to transfer to CU Denver, but now I am graduating early. I didn’t think I was qualified to work at Wells Fargo, and now I’m one of the top-ranked employees in my area. If you commit to doing a good job, you’ll be successful because you’re doing your best.

Sarah Sarwana

Bachelor’s degree in information systems, master’s in health information technology

Sarah Sarwana
Sarah Sarwana

What’s next?

Once I finish the 4+1 program this fall, which will let me graduate with my bachelor’s and a master’s in health information technology in less than five years, I will be working for University of Colorado Hospital (UCH). I connected with UCH after I began interning with their IT group during my senior year. I really liked the internship, and was thrilled when they wanted me to continue full time, which I will do as soon as I finish my master’s this fall.

How CU Denver shaped my future

I originally signed up for a health economics class because it sounded cool to me, but ultimately it sparked my interest in the health care field. I found it fascinating because the course took an interdisciplinary approach and related health care through a different lens. It is why I’m on the path that I’m on today.

Advice for success

Anyone starting their college career should get involved. You don’t want to regret not participating in something. Take on the opportunities that come your way, and create a few of your own. CU Denver empowers you to do that.

Adam Gerken

Bachelor’s in political science

Adam Gerken
Adam Gerken

What’s next?

This fall I will begin law school at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Going into college I didn’t plan on law school. However, when we would discuss legal implications or laws in my political science courses I was always very interested, so I started thinking about law school my sophomore year. During my junior year I began a law studies minor to make sure the area was really interesting to me, and I enjoyed all of those classes.

How CU Denver shaped my future

I’ve served as president of the Prelaw Society, co-president of Pi Sigma Alpha—the political science honors society and was student assistant for the Department of Economics. However, the University Honors and Leadership Program has been most effective in shaping my thinking. One of the big things stressed in UHL is multidisciplinary learning. That’s something I’ll be taking with me to law school. Many law students think they will just focus on law, but you can apply other fields of study to the legal field to be able to explore topics in new ways.

Advice for success

Anyone looking at CU Denver should consider the University Honors and leadership Program. I think it is the best thing about CU Denver. You get to make friends outside of your major, get a ton of networking opportunities and the honors and leadership classes are fantastic. The senior project also lets you apply your learning and research to real-world problems alongside your peers to make a real change before you even graduate.