Saturday, 13 June 2015

Landing the Job Interview

Those of you who know me, know that I have an unusual hobby. That hobby is reading and rewriting CVs and personal letters.  The process usually goes like this:
Friend: Hey, do you think you could take a look at my CV?
Natalie (internally): OMG OMG I get to read another CV. OMG OMG THIS IS SO AWESOME!
Natalie (to friend): Yeah, sure! Send it over and I'll have a look at it tonight. 
Later that evening.
Natalie (to friend after scrupulously looking at every detail) :  Yeah, so I had a quick look and just have a couple of questions - sends a long list of questions.
Friend(internally): Oh God, what have I gotten myself into?
Some background to my hobby. When we moved back to Sweden we were pretty much starting fresh. We had few people that we knew and we knew little about integrating to the Swedish way of life. This meant that when I was 15-16 my classmates were getting summer and part-time jobs through their friends and family while I didn't even know where to start. Then one day during my usual boring English lessons we got to write CVs. I remember what the English teacher said if it was yesterday:
"If you want to find a job outside Sweden you have to have an English CV. You have to be able to present yourself professionally to a culture you don't know."
Suddenly it was clear that this is what I needed to reach the Swedish working world. A tool that I didn't know existed was suddenly handed to me and I went nuts. I sent my CV to every job at Arbetsförmedlingen that I thought I had the slightest chance for.  I would go to companies asking to see the manager so I could hand over my CV to them. The result of all my hard work? Nothing. Zilch.  Nada. I was never contacted by any of the companies that I sent my CV to.

I had been handed a hammer but forgotten the nail. My personal letter used to be a standard short note just specifying the skills that I was good at. I realised that I needed help from a professional Swede. Half a year of my dad reading and criticising my personal letters to pieces finally paid off. I got a part-time job as a tele-marketeer, selling audiobooks. I hated it and held on for 3 months - enough to save up for my first laptop.

Even though I hated this first job it gave me an understanding of the importance of presentation. We had a script that we were allowed to rewrite and change to optimise for the best selling tactic. I used what I learnt and tried to apply it to my application process. I started reading articles of how to write the best applications and asking people to read my CV. More importantly I asked them to send me their CV so that I could actually see their presentation.

The best understanding I got of writing CV's was by looking back at the applications that had gotten to an interview. By comparing the job ad, the personal letter and CV I started see patterns of how they work together. This realisation was so cool that I want to understand more.

So that is why I get this super-excited feeling when I get another CV on my table. I get to apply my years of job application experience at it while at the same time better see the patterns that evolve from the process. But the best feeling ever is actually hearing the results (Thanks T! 12 hours - that must be the quickest turnaround of an job application to job that I've been part of!)

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Lab Escape - Behind the Scenes

Lab Escape is finally out on Google Play and you can get it here. So now I'm going to take you behind the scenes, to the actual making of this  puzzle game.

Matte has been working hard on Lab Escape and I've given up hope on ever getting back my dining room table.

But it hasn't all been about Red Bull drinking and drawing on post-its. For those who don't know about app development, one of the most important things to get is user testers. And not just one tester, you need loads. The Beta Testers in the Beta Tester Group have been awesome with giving step-by-step game-play data and feedback about bugs and features. But Matte is greedy and has wanted more. This means that in every social gathering I've been to with him for the past two months, sooner or later he will have handed over his phone to someone.

People react differently at this point. Some will greedily take the phone and start playing. Others will look sceptically and take it out of politeness not sure what they should expect. Now comes the interesting part. Whether polite or excited, each person gets a more and more focused as they start trying to solve each level of the game. The little sound of a completed level makes them lift the corner of their mouths and after they've played as long as they want, they hand back the phone with a smile.

These moments are what spurs Matte onwards. Being able to see that what he's created intrigues people makes him add that extra effort. It's why he carefully watches each person's play and listen to their thoughts and feedback. He's got a notebook filled with scribbles like "switch places between a and b" and "make sure to teach the player ...". He spends his time watching tutorials. He doesn't want to just make a game. He wants to learn how to make a good game!

Lab Escape - Mattias Selin
Lab Escape is available on Google Play 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Morning Maths - or - Finding the nerdy side of Covet Fashion

My friend D spent the week-end with me and we had a wonderful time having the most girliest week-end ever with baking Nutella-bread, watching "Gift vid första ögon kastet" (Married at first sight) and playing Mortal Kombat X

During the week-end D had also introduced me to a game called Covet Fashion and on Monday morning she came to the breakfast table with a thoughtful look on her face and asked the question

"How many votes on average does my look get per event?"

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Search All of Facebook!

Yes! It's finally happened! So, a year and half ago I wrote a post about Facebook's then recently released "Graph Search" where it was possible to do searches like
  • Language spoken by my friends
  • People who are not my friends and are relatives of my relatives
  • Friends of my friends that are male and single
They had complemented this with the search engine Bing to cover for any searches that resulted in no results.

But this has now had a major overhaul! Bing results has finally been removed (unfortunately not the terrible translations done by them) and - best of all - they have added the possibility to search Facebook posts!

facebook bing translation

At the moment it is unclear in what type of order they come as it's mixed both post by friends and posts that are public and not in any chronological order. Most probably it's doing some internal ranking but it will be interesting to know what it is based on. The search is straight up looking for whatever.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Mac - Likes and Dislikes

I am slowly trying to get used to Apple. The new work computer is a Macbook so for the past week I've been trying to get the hang of how things work and all the shortcuts. My approach has been to use the computer as much as possible in the most usual everyday activities, like writing, surfing and coding.

So far these are my major likes and dislikes with the Mac.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Balloons from Outer Space!

It's been a while since a week-end has been so focused on gaming. Apart from playing Minecraft, Civilization IV and V, I've been busy helping Matte with getting his latest game ready for release. Matte is back to working full-time at Adtoox, but it does not mean that he has stopped with his game development. The latest game in the pipeline has been "Balloons from Outer Space" and our (mainly his) hard work has paid off! The game is now available at Google Play. For all you who are lucky enough to own an Android device you can download the free mobile game here.

For all of you others, it's possible to play the web-based version of the game below:

Monday, 10 November 2014

Information is Power

In June I was elected as workplace representative for the office and have loved every minute of it.
It is one of the things, apart from my colleagues and projects, that I'm going to miss the most. 

My current workplace is covered by a collective agreement and one of the benefits because of that is that the employees have the right to elect a representative and they chose me. As a representative I got to present to the employer what the employees want and I also have had the right to recieve all information concerning changes to the organisation, changes to the workplace and how the company is going. Shortly, it's meant that I could ask questions and expect answers to most of them which is awesome! I get to be 5 again and ask "why?" "why?" until I annoy everyone. But jokes aside, it does come with an amazing right to actually know what is happening. In a world where a lot of companies make money from selling knowledge it is a rare treat to be able to experience knowledge freely.

For those who do not know the Swedish employment system, the workers union is a very strong force in the politics of workers rights. There is very few laws in Sweden that governs employment rights and instead a lot more power is giver to the unions and their collective agreements. In most cases this has been for the better as the common collective agreements in Sweden are much better for the workers than most law regulation in the rest of Europe.

Of course there is also downside to this set up. Not all companies in Sweden have a collective agreement in place. The latest numbers I could find was 88% of the Swedish workforce is covered by the agreements. This means that 12% risk getting contracts which do not cover rights such as minimum wage, wage development and pensions.