Getting hired post-graduation

Companies such as Hewlett Packard, Wells Fargo, Lockheed Martin and Otterbox are among the top employers of CSU graduates and alumni.

After graduation, an average of about 34 percent of graduates stay in Fort Collins for work and roughly 64 percent of them find jobs within Colorado.


“It makes sense to recruit and hire CSU students,” said Ryan Zender, store manager at Wells Fargo. “In general, Fort Collins is a great place to live and work, so I think students like to stay and work here.”

For the past three years, more than 60 percent of graduates have been able to secure what CSU’s Career Center calls their first destination job, with average salaries ranging from $35,000 to $45,000 per year and higher.

Last year, the percentage of students who secured first destination employment went from the national average of 63 percent to 70 percent.

According to CSU’s alumni information on LinkedIn, a majority of graduates stay at the university to work in education and research.

“There really are no cons,” said Sarah Pooler, a public relations professor. “I love my job, especially by being able to give back to the department that prepared me for the real world so well in television news.”

After graduating from CSU in 1986 with a degree in journalism and technical communications, Pooler left Fort Collins to pursue a career in television news reporting. A few years later, she was back at CSU to teach public relations courses in the same department in which she graduated.

“The best part of the job is getting to share real world experience with the students,” Pooler said.

While preparing to graduate and lining up that first job as a college graduate, about 40 percent of students used CSU’s career services to help guide them to the right place.

Networking through friends and family plays a big role in employment as well for recent graduates. Last year, 34 percent of the graduating class found jobs through networking and another 18 percent found them through internships and previous work experience.

“Experience matters whether it’s an internship, career-related part-time job, research experience, or significant volunteer experience,” said Barbara Richardson, associate director of assessment and strategic initiatives at CSU’s Career Center. “Each year our graduation survey indicates that those who have had internships have a higher rate of securing plans — especially full-time permanent employment after graduation — than those that do not have an internship.”


Collegian Reporter Rick Cookson can be reached at