Megan Newstead – BSc (Hons) Business Management graduate

Current Employer: First Databank

Current Job Title: HR and Contracts Assistant

Current Location: Exeter

“I think studying at Plymouth helped me to realise that having a job and a career doesn’t have to be a chore. I met people that were incredibly passionate about their subject areas and it really inspired me to find something that I love.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I joined an Exeter-based company shortly after graduating, undertaking a role as a Resourcer/Account Manager. That role saw me entering the world of recruitment and recruitment advertising, working with clients such as BMW, Mazars, Vue Entertainment, and Unite Students – to name but a few. After 18 months, I pursued a role in more of a generalist HR area, and now work as an HR and Contracts Assistant at a company called First Databank. I absolutely love my job now and how varied it is on a daily basis. Working as part of a small HR team, I am confronted with so many different experiences- utilising my recruitment knowledge as well as learning about all the core areas of HR. 

Has your career path changed since graduation?

When I was conducting my degree, I had always planned to go into HR, and recruitment has worked out to be the perfect way in. HR as an industry is vastly more challenging than I assumed it would be, after looking at it from an academic point of view, but an open mind and good communication skills are all that is needed to succeed.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

I think the most difficult thing in my career so far has been entering a competitive industry where you really need to hit the ground running and constantly perform at your best. Although it was difficult, I wouldn’t change it. I do think that it has made me more motivated.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Throughout my time with Webrecruit, I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing clients from a plethora of sectors and industries. Now, with First Databank, I am working with people who come from all manner of backgrounds, as well as our parent company in the US.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

If I had the chance to do something differently, I definitely would have stayed at the University of Plymouth longer and completed a masters in Human Resource Management. 

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the same line of work?

Getting into recruitment isn’t something that is tricky in itself, but I think the most important thing to understand is that recruitment tends to be a highly competitive environment with a relatively high turnover, so finding the right company with the right values is so important. Similarly, with HR, it is challenging to find an employer who is willing to take you on as an Administrator or Assistant, without hands-on experience. Persevere in this area, find someone who is willing to coach and mentor you (as I have), and it is definitely worth it!

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

I think studying at Plymouth helped me to realise that having a job and a career doesn’t have to be a chore. I met people that were incredibly passionate about their subject areas and it really inspired me to find something that I love.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

I always loved the group work, especially in my final year. I loved the research and preparation that went into a presentation, doing the presentation with my friends, and the celebratory trip to the pub after.

Do you stay in touch with other University of Plymouth alumni or lecturers?

Yes, I am in regular contact with a couple of lecturers and a number of alumni. I met some of my closest friends, and my other half, during my time at university.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth, and why?

Yes, of course. The staff are amazing and so supportive. The business courses especially give you so much hands-on experience through the live projects; the variety of modules ensure that you can find a subject that you enjoy, without limiting your knowledge to one area.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

Just enjoy your time at university: the freedom and experiences you get there are well and truly some of the best days of your life. Working full-time now and not having the constant learning experiences, I truly wish that I could turn back time and do it all over again.

Management student