Case Studies

The Careers and Employability Service's Graduate Recruitment Consultancy supports students and graduates from all faculties, for up to five years after graduation. 

Here we celebrate their success, hear about their personal journeys and see what advice they have for you!

If you would like to speak with one of our Graduate Recruitment Consultants, please register your details here.


GRC Codie 2017 GRC Hildah 2017‌ GRC Kyle

GRC Rasel 2017‌ GRC Rob 2017‌ GRC Sebastian 2017

GRC Dan 2017 GRC georgina 2017 GRC Ieva 2017

GRC nick 2017 GRC sarah 2017 ‌GRC Trayana 2017

Codie Summerell

Codie studied LLB Law with Business and graduated in 2016.

She now works as an Operations Administrator at Oxford Innovation Services

Case Study Body Image Codie

What are your career aspirations?

Having studied law at university, I wish to eventually further this through the route of CILEX. Although my current position is not in this arena, I am exploiting the opportunity for some experience in a medium sized corporation in order to gain skills and understanding that I will be able to further.

I also hope this will give me the experience I need in order to expand the opportunities I am presented with when applying for jobs in the future.

How and when did you start your graduate job search?

I began looking for graduate jobs in the January of my last year of university. However, this was slow to begin with and I did not begin submitting applications until around March.

I found it is good to give time to look at the industry sector you are interested in in order to understand what types of jobs are out there and rates of pay as this will have a big impact on where you are able to accept a job.

What were the benefits of using the Consultancy?

The consultancy team were helpful from start to finish during the process.

Firstly, helping me adapt my CV to the specific jobs I wished to apply for. They then kept me up to date with all the relevant job vacancies in the area I specified interest in and even sent out my CV to the companies I wished.

They also offered me help with interview prep and research about the company to give me confidence in my preparation.

What would you say if you were recommending the Consultancy to a fellow student?

I would definitely recommend the Consultancy to any student, whether the Graduate Recruitment Consultancy or just the Careers and Employability Service in general.

They give guidance in a friendly and approachable manner that allows you to see what employers really want with regards to CVs, interview skills and general work place requirements.

They definitely helped boost the confidence I had in myself before interviewing, as I gained a clear understanding of what interviewers look for.

The Graduate Recruitment Consultancy reduced the stress of applying for roles and made the process much easier, allowing me to continue putting maximum effort into my studies.

What do you think the advantages are working for an SME (Small-Medium Enterprise)?

As my first job in this industry and my first full time role I have been able to gain understanding of general business etiquette and to see operationally how a company runs, putting theory learned at university into practice.

Working in an SME has allowed me to learn the people skills I need in order to communicate with people throughout the whole hierarchy of a business. This has come through working directly with managers, directors and the Managing Director.

Oxford Innovation has also given me an insight into larger business as although we fit into the SME category, we run over 20 centres throughout England and Ireland.

What advice would you give to current students who are starting to think about their first graduate role?

I would advise to start looking at jobs from now – you don't have to be applying for jobs but it is good to see what you are working towards to give motivation in achieving highly.

It is also useful to understand the grades that you will need to achieve at uni to open the pathways in the area of work you wish to enter.

I would also advise not to panic - although general consensus seems to suggest that job opportunities are few, that is not the case as there are so many options and vacancies out there.

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Hildah Mapeta

Codie studied Childhood and Youth Studies and graduated in 2014.

She now works as a Services Coordinator at Apuldram Centre

Case Study Body Image Hildah

What are your career aspirations?

I moved to Portsmouth as an asylum seeker in 2004 with my two children and I got my refugee status  in 2007.

I found work with British Red Cross as a project administrator and after 5 months working for them I found a job with Portsmouth City Council as a Connexions Administrator. I progressed to work as the Project Administrator for the Dof E award scheme which is where my interest in furthering my career beyond administration came.

I started my degree studies at Portsmouth university in 2011 after working 16 years as an administrator both in Zimbabwe and in the UK, applying for senior roles within the sector I was working in.

I applied for a degree in Childhood and Youth studies, as my passion was to work with young people and make a difference in their life.

I wanted to be in a position that offered me more contact and say in how things could change for the better for a young person.

I worked full time throughout my full time studying, because as a single parent I could not afford to not work, as I had other responsibilities apart from my studies. 

How and when did you start your graduate job search?

Because I was still in employment, I did not immediately look for work, as I felt my organisation had supported me throughout  my studies. Unfortunately, due to government cuts, the whole department was made redundant. 

I immediately found a temporary job within a few weeks but there was no sustainability in that role as it ended in three months.

I then registered myself on LinkedIn, and as an alumni of the University of Portsmouth I had access to the Careers and Employability Service. 

I made an enquiry and was given an appointment to meet one of the Graduate Recruitment Consultancy, communicated with them on email before meeting, discussing my CV, my experience and where I would want to take my career. 

What were the benefits of using the Consultancy?

It gave a variety of choices of what would suit me and didn’t limit me to just one particular job.

They were able to outline, based on my experience, that I had three routes I could take my career. As such, I created three CVs that suited these roles and that gave me confidence in applying for roles I had not applied for before.

What would you say if you were recommending the Consultancy to a fellow student?

Follow their advice - they have your best interests at heart and they want you to succeed.

Their job satisfaction is in knowing that at the end of the day a graduate has acquired a job suited for them, so follow their direction. 

What do you think the advantages are working for an SME (Small-Medium Enterprise)?

Having worked for eight years in a big organisation like Portsmouth City Council, it is quite refreshing to work in a small business as there is more continuing professional development opportunities.

The number of staff members is minimal and in most cases you will only have one person that works within your role. As a result, when you request resources to make your work experience better, its manageable as there is only minimum costs involved.

Currently I have enrolled onto an ILM Level 5 course (Leadership and Management) which the organisation is assisting me to pay for. This comes from showing commitment to be part of an organisation and setting my future with them, so I can grow career wise. 

What advice would you give to current students who are starting to think about their first graduate role?

My advice is look for what you are passionate about as a job is meant to be about what you love doing as you spent most of your time in that place.

If you seek for a job that pays you a lot of money, that comes with a lot of stress and pressure but if you gradually work your up to getting a good salary whilst doing a job you enjoy there is more personal satisfaction in doing that.

When you do apply for jobs, make sure you familiarise yourself with the company details so when you go for an interview you are aware of things like their mission statements, their values and their missions.

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Kyle Mattison

Kyle studied Marketing and graduated in 2014.

He now works as a Marketing and Communications Assistant at the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

Case Study Body Image Kyle

What are your career aspirations?

Since studying at University of Portsmouth the plan was always to build a career in Marketing and buy my first house, preferably as soon as possible!

After graduating, I spent a couple of years in sales roles in order to save the commission earnt to buy my first home.

In summer 2016 I managed to buy a property in Portsmouth and my focus turned back to building a career in Marketing. With my long term aspirations being to become a Marketing Director/Manager, finding a role in an established and reputable organisation was key but I wanted somewhere where there was potential to progress. 

How and when did you start your graduate job search?

I started my search by using national job search-engines, applying to roles on LinkedIn, applying directly to some companies and approaching the Careers and Employability Service.

Within two weeks I was fortunate enough to be offered interviews for Marketing roles with a range of companies, including an aerospace company, a mobile-telecoms provider and an IT and cloud-software company.

With job-offers on the table I still felt there was value in speaking with the Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to see what they were able to offer. 

What were the benefits of using the Consultancy?

I have had experience of using recruitment consultants in the past, and more often than not the service they offer and calibre of interviews/companies that were presented were poor, so I was dubious about using the Careers and Employability Service's Recruitment Consultancy at first.

However, the team were quick to find out exactly what I was looking for in my next role, from location, to salary, to career progression etc.

The second interview that they managed to secure for me was with The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity - an organisation that wouldn’t normally use recruitment agents, but as the Graduate Recruitment Consultancy are affiliated with the University of Portsmouth, they were able to recruit on the charities behalf.

The role was within ten minutes of my new home, matched salary expectations and offered great progression potential. They organised the interview within a week prepped me for the interview, informed me what type of questions to expect, where to go and made sure that I was happy with the role itself.

As a result, I received incredible feedback from my now manager and was offered the role on the same day. 

What would you say if you were recommending the Consultancy to a fellow student?

Unlike so many recruitment consultancies, theydon’t treat you as their next commission slip - they make sure that the roles they put you in for match what you are looking for.

My experience has been hugely positive and the role was exactly what I was looking for, which was all down to their work.

Despite having done charity work in the past, I had never considered working for a charity, so thanks to the Graduate Recruitment Consultancy they managed to find me a role that matched my requirements and offered something more. 

What do you think the advantages are working for an SME (Small-Medium Enterprise)?

I have worked for SMEs in the past and in truth my experiences have been mixed. I have friends who love working for SMEs in the city and I definitely understand the appeal.

For me, my issues lie with the corporate mentality that is shared many companies. The self-promotion and ostentatious feel that some companies promote can make working for them hugely appealing to graduates, but it’s not for me.

This is where my new roles differs; whilst I’m still working for an SME/charity, I actually feel proud to work for the organisation. Their served purpose, in my eyes, is more commendable than other companies that I have worked for, because they serve some of the most vulnerable people in the UK.

The way I look at it, I’m not working to pay for the Directors next holiday, I work to help real people!

What advice would you give to current students who are starting to think about their first graduate role?

Speak to the Careers and Employability Service first - I spent time looking for roles using other channels and while I had a few offers on the table none of the roles matched the job opportunity that was presented to me by the Careers and Employability Service.

I have now been in the role that the Graduate Recruitment Consultancy secured for me for only a short while and I’ve already been kayaking, taken part in a charity run round a military base and offered the chance to run on an assault-course next to Henry Cavill (Superman)!

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Rasel Miah

Rasel studied Biochemistry and graduated in 2015.

He now works as Quality Control Chemist at Peptide Protein Research Ltd.

Case Study Body Image Rasel

What are your career aspirations?

I have lived in Portsmouth my entire life so was grateful for the opportunity to study there for three years.

I originally wanted to become a doctor but soon decided to take a different route in science. I had always dreamed of making a contribution in the science field but was not sure in what way as the field of Biochemistry was so broad. 

How and when did you start your graduate job search?

I started my graduate job search in May 2015 which was before my last exam.

I knew the process was long and difficult which was why I started before graduation. The process involved typing in particular key words into the common job searching websites.

I applied for any job which fulfilled my requirements (i.e. location, job role, pay) using a job specific CV and covering letter. 

What were the benefits of using the Consultancy?

The consultancy was a massive help - I’m sure I would not have got this job without their assistance.

They helped contact the employer and were able to express my concerns straight to them.

The problem with most job opportunities is that they are advertised by recruitment agencies which led to getting no replies or updates regarding an application.

All of the people I spoke to were extremely helpful and always kept me informed about the whole process. I knew I was in a safe pair of hands and did not have to worry about anything other than preparing for the interview. 

What would you say if you were recommending the Consultancy to a fellow student?

I would say to join the consultancy as soon as you can. They can help you find jobs that you didn’t know existed at the time.

A face-to-face meeting is not necessary, so getting the help of the Graduate Recruitment Consultancy can still be a huge benefit even if you have gone back home after graduation.

I would recommend all students to keep an open mind and be willing to work in a large variety of job roles within their chosen field. 

What do you think the advantages are working for an SME (Small-Medium Enterprise)?

I have learnt a large amount both about the outside world and myself and it has been fun applying the knowledge learnt from my course.

One of the great things about working for a small company is that everyone plays an important role which is something you can see for yourself. You can be satisfied knowing that you made a big difference. 

What advice would you give to current students who are starting to think about their first graduate role?

Start looking as early as you can as the process can be long.

Make sure the quality of your CV and covering letter is up to scratch (the consultancy can help here).

Be open to a large number of opportunities and don’t focus on just one field. Don’t lose hope since there will be many opportunities which will present themselves.

Contact as many employers as possible and try to take part in some voluntary work experience.

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Rob Farthing

Rob studied Computer Games Technology and graduated in 2016.

He now works as 3D Visualisation Artist and Animator at ICE Creative.

Case Study Body Image Rob

What are your career aspirations?

From a young age, I always aspired to be involved with creative development in digital media and when I finished secondary school at 16, I was already working as a part-time Graphic Designer for the school I attended.

While developing my skills in graphic arts, I wanted to branch out into 3d art, which led me to applying to the Computer Games Technology course at Portsmouth University.

During my time at University, I learnt all the skills I needed to create 3d art for real time and animations. I also became very focused on team-led projects from the first year onwards.

I teamed up with some friends on the course to start an independent studio for a year during my placement, and used that time to refine my workflows and test out a large team-driven game development.

My aspiration is to create stunning 3D art for digital media. I always look up to other artists in magazine articles so I’d like to inspire others like they inspired me! 

How and when did you start your graduate job search?

After my placement year, I felt that I had succeeded at developing my own skills and portfolio yet I had failed to show any real 3D industry work up until this point.

I compared my online presence to that of other artists in the industry, attended all local industry events and messaged a few linkedin contacts to ask for advice.

After reaching a point where I was happy with my CV/online presence, I emailed almost every games developer and animation company in the south of England. 

What were the benefits of using the Consultancy?

I was having no luck getting responses from busy recruiters, developer emails and online applications.

The day after I got in touch with the Graduate Recruitment Consultancy, they already had a local company ready for an interview with me the next morning.

What would you say if you were recommending the Consultancy to a fellow student?

Don’t listen to other students who will choose to blame their course or the university recruitment for not helping them find a job.

If you are willing to have a look around for yourself and put some effort in, the Consultancy will help you possibly find a few job positions you otherwise would not have seen. 

What do you think the advantages are working for an SME (Small-Medium Enterprise)?

Having already had a job offer from a larger company, I was glad I chose the smaller, more local job role because the rest of the team were closer to my age and I felt more valued as an individual within a small team.

I have also learned that when you start work, you don’t stop learning. I am constantly finding new ways to improve my work.

You also learn a lot from other people you get to work with - I was very fortunate to have my employer bring in some other industry contacts to assist me with their own workflow advice, to speed up my career development.

What advice would you give to current students who are starting to think about their first graduate role?

Look at other people online who already have your dream job role (but don’t stalk them), see how they got started and what their portfolio looks like, then use that as a starting point to focus how you look to employers.

Have a lot of faith in your abilities – but don’t look too overconfident, interviewers won’t want to hire someone who doesn’t have the right attitude for the job.

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Sebastian Hall

Sebastian studied Entertainment Technology and graduated in 2016.

He now works as a Digital Designer/Developer at Intermedia Solutions.

Case Study Body Image Sebastian

What are your career aspirations?

After working at various sales jobs decided to change direction and pursuit a creative career.

After college I wasn’t too sure of what to do with my life and at the time didn’t want to continue studying, so I started working in a small store. After about a year I started with door to door sales until I started to work at a cinema.

Eventually the idea of getting into creative industries started to grow in my head. I wanted a broad course and I got convinced to do Entertainment Technologues on an open day when I visited the University of Portsmouth – I haven’t looked back since. 

How and when did you start your graduate job search?

Realising that I didn’t have much left of university I started by crafting together a portfolio with my best work.

After Christmas, I started to sign up for job databases and look at company’s websites.

Later I got a tip about the services offered from the Graduate Recruitment Consultancy and signed up for their services. Their database had a wide range of jobs and it frequently got updated as well. 

What were the benefits of using the Consultancy?

When signing up for the Graduate Recruitment Consultancy, I quickly got assigned to one of the consultants.

They were incredibly helpful as they provided tips and tricks on building my CV and how to tweak my portfolio.

It felt very personal and I could always contact them when needed. They would also contact me when they had specific roles that suited me they contacted me directly and helped me with the application and details.

What would you say if you were recommending the Consultancy to a fellow student?

I would say to sign up sooner than later. Don’t be afraid to ask for help as they are there for you.

Whether I wanted to pop in for a few minutes to have a quick chat or book a longer meeting (like I did when worrying about starting my new job) I always felt welcome and important to them.

Also knowing they have contacts in various industries and work only with students made it easier to talk to them. It’s a huge helping hand in your job hunt.

What do you think the advantages are working for an SME (Small-Medium Enterprise)?

One of the advantages of working in a smaller enterprise are that you quickly become a key player. You get to work on real projects and get your hands dirty.

I quickly got to know everyone and become part of the team spirit. I have learned so much in the whole process of developing software for and to clients.

I feel like I got a push to work in a professional environment and could learn from my mistakes. Working in a small company also allowed quick and honest feedback on my work and I felt more like a key player rather than just a cog in a huge wheel. 

What advice would you give to current students who are starting to think about their first graduate role?

Be confident, even if it feels big and scary remember that you survived university and employers understand that you are just starting your career.

Keep your CV/portfolio up to date and keep applying to jobs, even if you don’t have all the criteria’s that are in the application form. – I could do it, so can you.

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