CU graduate Anselma Lopez has spent the past year looking for work after being laid off for the second time.

University of Colorado graduate Anselma Lopez has applied for more than 375 jobs over the past year — and still nothing.

After earning a degree in marketing and management in 2007, Lopez lost her first two jobs because of layoffs, fallout from the poor economy. Since leaving her last job in May 2009, Lopez has exhausted all of her resources in the hunt for a full-time marketing gig.

If you go

What: Colorado Alumni Career Fair

When: 1 to 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Ramada Plaza Denver North, 10 E. 120th Ave., Northglenn

On Thursday, Lopez and 1,000 other alumni from Colorado’s state colleges and universities will head to Denver in hopes that the inaugural Colorado Alumni Career Fair will change their luck.

More than 70 companies will fill the Ramada Plaza Denver North in Northglenn from 1 to 6 p.m. seeking graduates that not only have an education, but a little experience under their belts as well.

“I feel like I’m in a good position,” Lopez said. “I’ve got a little experience, but I still have that new, fresh perspective employers are looking for.”

That young demographic with a few years’ worth of work experience was the inspiration for the first, and hopefully not last, alumni-specific career fair, said Lea Alvarado, alumni career counselor at CU.

“With all the career fairs we’ve done over the years, most have entry level positions and are targeted to students,” Alvarado said. “So we wanted to do one that was for alums who could use some help, given the current economy.”

Twelve colleges and universities across the state teamed up to organize the fair, including CU and the University of Denver.

After seeing the harsh effects of the economic downturn, Lopez said she has noticed significant improvement in job listings over the past year and has high hopes for getting full-time position this summer.

“With only three interviews in 12 months, it can definitely get discouraging,” Lopez said. “But I’m keeping busy and staying optimistic. You can’t let it get you down.”

Lopez is filling the hours between job hunting with volunteer activities and a part-time job at FlatIron Crossing mall.

Among her many activities, Lopez finds at least a couple hours every day to search for jobs, including taking advantage of resources at CU such as the school’s new Job Search Success Group.

“I’m hoping I can get some new resources and tools through the group,” Lopez said. “I’ve tried everything at this point so why not this?”

The sessions began in May and are open to CU alumni from 6:30 to 8 p.m. every second and fourth Thursday at the CU Career Services office. To sign up for the next session, e-mail Alvarado at

Alvarado said she began the class as a support group for unemployed students who can share their resources and experiences and expand their opportunities.

“I can already see the benefit of bringing them together,” Alvarado said. “They’re going through similar experiences and can bring in contacts and ideas I haven’t even thought of.”

Based on a spring 2010 survey conducted by Career Services, about 60 percent of seniors planned to find a full-time job after graduation.

Though there have been some tough summers in the past, the job outlook for new grads is looking up, Lisa Severy, CU’s director of Career Services, wrote in an e-mail.

“We are actually feeling pretty hopeful about the job market right now,” Severy wrote.

Lopez has some simple advice for fellow alumni on the hunt: “It’s getting better and you’ll find the perfect job eventually, so stay positive.”

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