Tuesday, 28 September 2010

What a boss is looking for when hiring – according to guest speaker

Yesterday was the first day back at uni, and I had a module called Work Placement. We had a guest speaker for our first lecture, Terry Smith, who has been working for the BBC for 25 years and is now at a Post Production House. He talked to us about how to get work placement during our third year, and also gave us quite a few tips on what to write in a covering letter, as well as how to perform when we actually get a job. I found his tips very interesting, and thought I’d share them here.

What he talked about first was the five key qualities a boss is looking for when hiring someone. And those are:

  • Initiative
  • Determination
  • Low maintenance
  • Punctuality
  • Communication

He told us to show initiative, to prove that we want to be there and learn, that we turn up on time or even 20 minutes early, and to communicate with your co workers. First impression means everything, and you never get a second chance to make it. We have to be the best version of ourselves and prove to them that they made the right decision in hiring you.

Another tip that Smith gave us was to rehearse how to get to your new job. On your first day you have to know where the company is so that you won’t be late. If you are then you might have been fired before you’ve even started. Keep extra change in case the tube or the bus isn’t working, so that you can take a taxi. Have a plan B and C, then you know for sure that you won’t be late.

I found it very interesting what he said about the covering letter that we have to write. During our second year at uni we had to write one such letter for our Career Preparation module, so yesterday we knew what he was talking about. It is one thing to write it to a teacher, but something else to write it to a future employer. What Smith told us was to make sure to write what position you are applying for, and to refer to your CV (as my CV shows..).

If you are lucky to get an interview, then it is important to sell yourself. Again, it is important to be there on time, look smart, and to show that you have knowledge about the company. You then need to prove that what you are saying is true. Don’t say that you can handle working under pressure if you can’t, they will eventually find out. And Smith told us that they are very likely to ask you; can you tell me about a time when you worked under pressure and how you handled it? You should then have prepared an answer to such a question before the interview so that you can tell the interviewee the perfect answer. Smith told us that this type of question can be divided into three sections:

  • 20% - the scenario
  • 60% - what did you do
  • 20% - what made it a success, what did you do, how did you handle it

 At the end of an interview, we were told to say to the interviewee that we would love this job! And also to send a thank you note or email. You are then showing them you are interested and hopefully you’re making an even better impression.

Another tip that I liked was that whenever we meet someone in our industry, like in my case it would be in the journalism industry, to make sure that we get their business card. This is called networking, and it can help us later to get an interview for another job, or help us with a story. They might know someone you need to talk to, and if they know your name and know how you work then they might be very helpful to you.

I actually liked the lecture very much. I found it very helpful, but obviously I don’t know how helpful it is when actually applying for work placement. But at this point the tips are making me feel comfortable in knowing how to approach and how to apply, and I guess I just have to remember that the opportunities are there, we all just need to find them.

Monday, 27 September 2010

What to see in London; Kingston Upon Thames

As I promised, I would write about London and what is worth seeing here. I then thought I’d start writing about Kingston. It is not exactly in central London, but it is adorable and perhaps very interesting for students, especially people who are thinking about studying in London, to see what hidden pearls are to be found here.

Kjell Steinar and I went yesterday, and it turned out to be the perfect day to explore Kingston. The sun was shining, but fall is definitely coming to London so it was kind of chilly. But we had our clothes, and I had my camera, and we were both ready to see what Kingston has to offer.
One of the first things I should mention is Oceana, one of London’s most exciting clubs. With several different rooms to party in where they play a wide range of music, this is a club where especially students like to party. On student nights it is not expensive, but you will not get in if you forget your student ID. Compared to Norway the prices are cheap, and in British standards it is not so bad either. I would recommend going to Oceana either you are a student or not, particularly if you’re a party person. It is located in Clarence Street, you can’t miss it.
Right next to Oceana you have Odeon, the cinema. In the same building you also have bowling, where students can play as much as they want and only pay for one round every week from Monday to Thursday.
It is easy to go to Kingston from Central. The easiest way I can think of is taking the District Line to Putney Bridge and bus number 85 directly to Kingston. One of the first things that you see when you get to Kingston is some stacked domino like red telephone boxes. I would almost say that they are a landmark for Kingston, as so many people seem to be fascinated about them.

What would London be without shopping? That is also a question you could ask about Kingston, and the answer would be the Bentall Centre. They have many different stores, such as New Look, La Senza, Aldo, Levis, Zara, HMV and so much more. Over the summer they opened one of my favourite stores there; Guess. It is not a big shopping centre, but you will without a doubt be able to find the perfect outfit or gift.
Kingston reminds me of a beautiful old European small town. They have cute little buildings that fit perfectly with the shops that are there, and what makes it even better is that it is a walking street. At the end of one such street we came across a fruit and vegetable market where you can buy yourself a healthy dinner.

A walk by the river was actually quite romantic. The restaurant Yuong’s looked very popular with lots of people having their lunch there. We didn’t go inside, but that is definitely a place I would like to eat in the future. As we were walking we came across several restaurants and bars where they sold cheap drinks, and also they were very full with people. I think that is a good sign.

After walking past all of these restaurants Kjell Steinar and I decided it was about time to actually try to eat something somewhere. At this point we came to find this lovely little patisserie, called Patisserie Valerie. Of course we could not see a free table, so we ordered a cream doughnut from their take away menu. It was so good, and very cheap. Next time I am going to Kingston I am having my lunch here.
It turned out that Kingston had more to offer than what I first thought, and we found some hidden pearls today that I did not know existed here. It is the perfect place to spend your day with many different choices of restaurants that you can find in one of the cute little alleys, but also some traditional London shopping.

Saturday, 25 September 2010


Siden jeg er en liten bokorm tenkte jeg at det var på tide å skrive om en bok som jeg totalt forelsker meg i. Denne sommeren leste jeg en bok som rørte meg og som fikk en helt spesiell plass i mitt lese hjerte. Denne boken heter Shantaram og er skrevet av australske Gregory David Roberts.
Jeg fikk høre denne boken av kjæresten min Kjell Steinar, som igjen hadde fått anbefalingen fra sin stefar. Jeg nølte ikke med å kjøpe den da jeg så den i butikken, og jeg bestemte meg for at jeg ville ha god tid til å lese og ta inn de 900 sidene basert på forfatteren sitt liv. Et valg jeg er glad jeg tok, for dette er en bok du ikke klarer å legge fra deg. Jeg ble glad, sint, forundret og trist i løpet av disse sidene, og jeg kan fortsatt ikke begripe at en person har opplevd alt som er skrevet.
Gregory David Roberts ble dømt til 20 års fengsel i 1978, men to år senere klarte han å rømme fra fengselet, midt på lyse dagen, og ble da Australias mest ettersøkte mann. Han rømmer så til New Zealand der han videre med falske papirer kommer til India, der den meste av historien utspiller seg. Noe som fascinerte meg med en gang er hvordan en rømt fange kan utgi en bok der han åpenlig beskriver hvordan han brøt seg ut av et fengsel og skriver om alt det gale han har gjort, men han har sonet ferdig straffen i senere tid. Dette forklarer da utgivelsen av boken.

I Bombay i India skjer det mye i løpet av den tiden han er der. Han bor blant annet i slummen, noe han beskriver som om er den mest fantastiske plassen å bo. Med tanke på at hans fortid inneholder å miste det viktigste i livet sitt til å begynne med bankran, heroinmisbruk og andre ulovligheter, er det kanskje ikke rart at slummen var paradiset for han. Han skaffet seg venner og bekjente som brydde seg om personen han er, og ikke den han var. Men han la heller ikke skjul på at hans lille idyll er både farlig og en prøvelse om liv og død for de fleste.
Roberts befinner seg i Bombay i flere år, og i boken beskriver han hvordan han opplevde kjærlighet, hat, berømmelse, svik og takknemmelighet i løpet av denne tiden. Han forteller leseren hvor viktig et menneskets valg er og hvor mye makt vi har, og hvor viktig det er å bruke den.
Etter å ha lest ferdig boken satt jeg igjen med et sterkt inntrykk av denne gripende fortellingen. Roberts bruker et vakkert språk for å formidle sin historie til lesere verden over, og denne kampen om det gode mot det onde er helt ulikt noe vi har lest før. Det er nesten som om du er i India selv, og du kan kjenne og lukte slummen rundt deg mens du leser.

Jeg anbefaler denne boken på det sterkeste. Det er en bok som bør stå i alles bokhyller i alles hjem. Den er stor og krevende, men inntrykket du sitter igjen med når du har lest siste siden er enorm. Enhver bok du leser etterpå blir liten i forhold til denne. Jeg vil uten tvil si at det er den beste boken jeg har lest i år. 
Shantaram skal også filmatiseres med Johnny Depp i hovedrollen. 

Thursday, 23 September 2010

London Baby

London, one of the most exciting cities in the world, and also one of my favourites. No wonder I decided to move here, and it is so beautiful now in the fall. The sun is shining, people are smiling and the start of my third year at university is just around the corner. It really could not be any better.
London has so much to offer. Musicals, cafes, shopping, sightseeing and so much more.  When the weather is nice it is perfect to take a walk around central with a caramel frappuccino from Starbucks in your hand with your friends and perhaps even find a nice spot to sit in the grass in Hyde Park. Hyde Park is the perfect place to relax in the city as you feel like you’re in the country. You can’t hear the noise from the traffic and you then have time to sit there with your thoughts and actually feel calm. You don’t have to travel that far to feel like you’re not in London anymore.

A few months ago my boyfriend and I went around London taking pictures and basically just trying to see more of the city. This year we are both living and studying in here, and we have decided to really experience London and unlock all its secrets.
When we were walking around a few months ago we were basically trying to teach me how to use my Nikon camera, as I was going on a rather big holiday later on. We then came to find that there is so much we haven’t seen that we have to see before we eventually move back to Norway. So during my last year at uni we will be going to typical tourist spots to see what is worth seeing, where it is worth eating, what musicals we find the best, where to go on a rainy day and any hidden places that people should not miss when they come. I will then do my best to inform about this here in my blog, make it easy for people to plan a great holiday in London. Even though I don’t like to admit it, there is more to London than just shopping.

As I am sitting here now the rain is hammering on my window, and being outside does not seem like an option. I mentioned shopping earlier, and I might as well continue. Westfield is a fairly new shopping centre located in White City/Shepherds Bush. You can either take the Central line, Hammersmith and city line or Circle line to get there. They have everything, from HMV, Guess, Foyles, Adidas and so much more. The Village is the luxury section, where you have shops such as Prada, Burberry and Tiffany. In theory you can spend the entire day here, as they have several restaurants and cafes where you can relax with all of your bags. And if you’re not ready to go back to your hotel/flat, then there’s the cinema. Westfield has a lot to offer to everyone in all ages, when you go home you can say that you went shopping somewhere else than the good old Oxford Street.

Monday, 20 September 2010

A woman's right to shoes

The most difficult part of writing is the start. How you start determine if the reader is interested to continue or not, and this is all that is going through my mind now. This is my first blog and my first contribution. I have all these ideas about what I want to write about, but the start is torturing me. All I can think about is shoes. This takes me back to when I was trying to figure out a name for this blog, and that was no easy task for me. I wanted a name that represented my character and the person that I have become, but my mind was working against me. And after days, weeks, perhaps even a couple of months, the phrase “a woman’s right to shoes” would not leave. I assume I am not the only girl out there who loves shoes, but for some reason it gave me a deeper meaning as I was sitting here. It is about my right to express myself in this world, as a girl, a student and a journalist. And this is what I am trying to do with this blog, to say my meaning about issues that are bothering me, making me happy or plain angry. This is a right we all have, as human beings. It is easy enough to walk in your own shoes, but sometimes we all should try to walk in someone else’s.
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