überlin

How to work at a startup: 2. Your resume

by Guest Blogger

By Federico Prandi.

If you’ve read the previous chapter of this guide, you should have identified the startup job of your dreams and be ready to apply.

If you haven’t found your dream job, that probably means you’re being too picky and are doomed to homelessness while you wait around for that perfect job to pop up (“Hairstylist at a horse beauty contest”).

hairstyle

But let’s assume you are ready to go.

Applying for a job at an internet startup is a delicate process that you can’t afford to fuck up. Your whole career depends on this preliminary phase, so in this second chapter I’ll focus on how to put together a spotless Curriculum Vitae.

STEP 1 – LAYOUT

Once upon a time the world of CVs was ruled by an evil king called European Model. The European Model states that all the information inside a CV shall be divided into two columns and presented in the most readable (i.e. boring) way possible, as if to proudly proclaim to the world that we all have OCD.

Then the game changed. Recruiters were getting tired of their job life after hours of going through piles of excruciatingly boring and anonymous documents, while at the same time Internet startups started understanding the value of differentiation and personality.

I remember the day that Davide, a former boss of mine, decided that pink was the right colour with which to rebrand his career and had a professional graphic designer redesign his resume. Not only did the document suddenly look shiny and fresh, but a couple of weeks later Davide was offered a new, better job.

Clearly, I needed to follow his footsteps.

I went home and dusted off my self-taught Paint skills to give my CV that subtle touch of personality which makes it look like the Myspace page of a 13-year-old Luke Perry fan.

blur_CV

I only wish the PDF format allowed me to include a “My Heart Will Go On” midi file and an animated glitter effect on each page, but I guess you can’t have everything.

STEP 2 – THE PHOTO

Stop everything you’re doing now. You need to take care of your CV photo ASAP. There are three possible strategies to follow:

1) The Conference Photo

My personal favourite resume picture is the one in which the subject is giving a talk at a conference, looking irresistibly smart.

Of course, you can always fake this. You just need a shot taken from below (or by a very short person) while you’re holding a microphone. Karaoke will do, but be sure to take care to Photoshop out the lyrics of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” from that giant screen in the background.

2) The German Photo

Months ago I tricked my boyfriend into watching five hours of Vier Hochzeiten und eine Traumreise (the German version of the American reality show Four Weddings). It really seemed as if the future brides on the show hadn’t grown up idealising their wedding and I ended up applauding German society for that.

The truth is that in Germany your wedding day is not even as important as the day on which you have your LinkedIn picture taken. Little girls grow up dreaming of which pantsuit they’re going to wear and their prudent mothers make sure to have enough money saved up to pay for makeup artists.

A German CV photo basically portrays you at your fanciest. If the Financial Times and Men’s Health were ever to merge and I was asked to appear on the cover, that’s the kind of picture I would go for.

3) The Boy Next Door Photo

I hate to highlight this, but a lot of internet startups are owned by nerds who still giggle when they see a boob and have been wearing the same three hoodies for the past 13 years.

If you suspect option 1 and 2 may be too threatening for the company you’re approaching, just go for the boy-next-door photo. Smile at the camera, look natural, don’t overdo it. And if you can’t help thinking the picture could be better, send it to your friend who claims to know Photoshop and ask him or her to Vogue it up. That expensive nose job you’ve always desired is only a couple of clicks away.

noses

(Shout out to my co-worker Maria for noticing, after months of working together, that “there’s something different in your LinkedIn picture, but I couldn’t say what”).

STEP 3  CONTENT

Wait a second now. Nobody knows better than I that the sentence “I can easily operate an excavator” comes with a price, so I don’t mean to suggest you write things that aren’t true on your CV. You should definitely consider, though, writing things that are *almost* true.

Every single task you do at work can be blown up to unprecedented levels of greatness and graciously land on your resume. Last week, for example, I put together a scrapbook for a co-worker who’s leaving the company and even though the result looked pretty amateurish, I can’t wait for my next employer to read about my skills in “coordinating and executing internal design projects involving more than 20 team members”.

You know what I mean? In order to write a good CV you need to walk the fine line between truth and outright lie, and pray that nobody checks your criminal record.

Some more random tips include:

  • Never specify you can work with Microsoft Word and are an accustomed Internet user unless you’re planning on sending your CV back in time to 1997.
  • If you’ve ever played team sports be sure to mention it, even if you were forced by your parents who eventually changed their minds after you went on a two-week long hunger strike.
  • Mention somewhere that you’re very good with pivot tables, then head to the nearest church to ask the Lord for forgiveness.
  • Ask a trusted friend to check for grammar mistakes, typos and the inadvertent inclusion of terms like “semi-reformed arsonist”, which could lower your chances of getting the job.

In the next episode I’ll teach you how to write a proper cover letter and manage your online persona before submitting the application.

Federico is an Italian in Berlin. He blogs, tweets, infiltrates the German language, and is currently employed at a cool internet company based in Berlin with a million open positions.

If you liked this, check out our observations on the Berlin startup scene, and get more practical advice about landing a startup job (with more GIFs!).

Berlin Moments: July 20th – 26th

by Zoë Noble

Berlin Moments is a weekly collection of our favourite photos from our favourite city! Unless otherwise stated, all photos are by Zoë Noble. To be featured, just tag your photos with #uberlinmoments on Twitter and Instagram, and we’ll include our favourites in our weekly roundup.

tempelhof sunset berlin lens flare

kottbusser tor architecture berlin sky clouds

berlin sunset maybachufer canal silhouette

berlin grunewaldsee reflection lake

berlin tempelhof airport silhouette

tv tower black and white photographer berlin tram travel

berlin church sky kreuzberg

Win a pair of tickets to The Dillinger Escape Plan \m/

by James Glazebrook

@benweinman on instagram

@benweinman on instagram

WTF. The Dillinger Escape Plan have to be the maddest band on the planet. Have a look at their craziest moments, and scroll down to find how to win 2 tickets to see them test Postbahnhof’s fire codes next Sunday, August 16th.

HOW TO WIN 2 X TICKETS FOR THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN AT POSTBAHNHOF ON 16TH AUGUST:

Want to headwalk your way to Postbahnof next Sunday? Just answer this question in the comments below:

What’s the craziest concert you’ve ever been to?

You have until 6pm on Friday 7th August. Good luck!

The Boring Bit (yawn, RULES):

1. You must be at least 18 years old to enter.
2. ONE ENTRY PER PERSON!
3. We will keep a record of each comment in a database and then a random number generator picks the winner.
4. Remember to include your full (real) name and email address or we won’t be able to put you on the guestlist!
5. We will notify the winners via email.

Doggystyle: Jacob and Blixen

by Zoë Noble

berlin doggystyle streetstyle great dane

“Blixen is stubborn – she’s very much her own dog. To me, she seems very independent; she likes to do her own thing.

I think to some degree, that’s just because of her breed. I’ve always been fascinated with Great Danes, how big they are, and just how gentle they are. Blixen is always the one to walk away when there’s trouble with other dogs or anything – she’s very chill, very calm. She’s a sweetheart.

I take Blixen with me everywhere I can, to work, to parties… The best thing about having a dog is always having your best friend with you.”

berlin doggystyle portrait streetstyle great dane

berlin doggystyle streetstyle great dane

Portrait: Eva Langhorst, Mr. Whippy’s Frozen Yogurt Truck

by Guest Blogger

Eva Langhorst, Mr. Whippy's Frozen Yogurt Truck

by Emma Robertson

You’ve probably seen Eva Langhorst driving around Berlin. After all, her pink and white sixties-style Mr. Whippy ice cream truck is hard to miss. “Freshly made just for you,” it declares in bright blue lettering, and it’s true. Every morning, Eva gathers fresh ingredients – milk, yogurt, fruit – from the local markets in Berlin, and spends the day driving around in her truck, a realisation of a childhood fantasy and an enduring love of ice cream. Her dedication to her craft is made all the more impressive, I find out, because right now Eva is pregnant with a baby girl. When I ask if she’s going to continue running the truck when the baby comes, she smiles. “My parents want to build a custom baby seat for the truck,” she laughs, “So, I can take her with me! We’ll be fine!”

Eva started her business in 2012, and since then, she and her Mr. Whippy truck have travelled all over Germany, selling homemade frozen yogurt. “There’s a lot of risk that you take with a job like this. It’s hard,” she continues, “And when you have a baby, it’s harder. But I don’t really see it as a job. It’s just fun.” It’s no wonder, then, that the end result is so sweet.

iPhone shot Eva Langhorst

In his book The Feast of Love, Charles Baxter wrote, “Forget art. Put your trust in ice cream.”

(Laughs) I definitely agree. I eat ice cream every day! No lie, I can’t get enough of it! I spend all winter actually looking forward to putting on the ice cream machine again! Even if I work all day, my boyfriend and I come home very late at night, we park the car, and we walk to the kiosk to buy an ice cream! (Laughs)

Have you always been this passionate about ice cream?

I was actually quite into ice cream even from childhood! (Laughs) I’ve loved frozen yogurt since I was a girl – that’s where it all started. My mom told me that when I was growing up, I wanted to become an ice cream seller! So there must be something about it! (Laughs)

Do you think that kind of nostalgia plays a certain role in making Mr. Whippy so popular here in Berlin?

Yeah, I think it definitely plays a role! For me, I’ve searched for it for frozen yogurt for years because when I was ten, I tasted it for the first time and I just loved it. With Mr. Whippy, it’s not only the product, it’s also the van that attracts people. Everyone recognises it, it’s like a giant toy! Everyone remembers these kinds of trucks from their childhood, so of course it generates those lovely nostalgic feelings in some way.

Mr Whippy Frozen Yoghurt truck Berlin Tempelhof

Can food, ice cream especially, ever really be as good as the memories or feelings associated with it?

In our case… Yes! My mother makes the best elderflower sauce. It’s one of the syrups that we stock in the truck. Even though, like you said, the associations are a strong influence… I think it really is that good!

Has Mr. Whippy always been a part of your life? Do you have a special connection to the brand?

I actually didn’t know the Mr Whippy trucks because we didn’t have them in Germany. I first wanted to start selling frozen yogurt and only later came the idea of the truck. In 2012, we found the Mr. Whippy truck and imported it from England. It was already a Mr Whippy truck, but I thought, “I can’t change the name!” (Laughs) There was no copyright in Germany, so I just kept it. Then I started to restore the car basically from the inside…

I read that your father helped you re-design the truck.

Right! My dad is really good with cars, luckily. He used to be a racecar driver when he was young! So he’s my helping hand. Without him, it would have been difficult, with all these technical tasks and mechanical problems. It took us four months to restore the truck, and get it decorated. On the side, I work as an illustrator, so that came in handy when we were designing the inside and the signs. I like to work really creatively… I kept all these elements from the sixties and added my own twist, so that was a great project!

Mr Whippy Frozen Yoghurt truck Berlin Tempelhof

It sounds like a family affair. You said your mom makes the sauces, right?

Yes! She’s really sweet. She lives in the countryside and she has this whole garden with all the berries and the elderflowers. So, she does the bases for the sauces for me, and then we have fresh fruits by season as well. I wouldn’t know what to do without my family’s help. My mom helps a lot. And she even comes sometimes to help me with the selling! My dad and I have gone on some trips together with Mr. Whippy. (Laughs) He drives the truck! My cousin helps me as well – she lives in Berlin, too.

Is that homegrown aspect of Mr. Whippy very important to you?

Very important. It makes it so that you can put a lot of love in it. Everyone helps. That’s another reason why I want to keep the company small. It’s important that I’m always present with the truck, I want to keep it close to my heart. We also try to keep the business local… Like I said, we use seasonal fruits from local vendors, and everything is fresh.

That’s what makes Mr. Whippy so different to the kind of ice cream trucks I know from my childhood in Canada, which seemed like a franchise. Everything was mass-produced.

Yeah, actually that happened also a little bit with the Mr. Whippy company itself. It goes back to what we were talking about before with the childhood memories. Sometimes I actually have problems with the name for people who know it from England and associate it with that kind of food franchise. But different people, different connections.

What has the reaction been like from Berliners when they see you driving around?

There’s the English crowd that really knows Mr. Whippy! We used to have ice cream trucks driving around here in Germany when I was a kid, but more in the countryside, so I don’t think Berliners know it that much. They didn’t have that this ice cream culture of the van driving around. For the most part, it’s not the brand that’s the attraction, it’s the look of the big pink truck!

Let’s talk about the product, which is so delicious. What can you tell me about the recipe, or is that top secret?

(Laughs) The secret is actually to keep it simple. It’s important to find a good quality for the base. There are some bases that are just mixes that you stir in with water, and that’s… Well, not so nice. I use fresh yogurt and milk and a bit of lemon, blended with a sugar mix made by another Berliner. He has a frozen yogurt shop and he works as a food developer, studying some kind of gastronomic chemistry. We buy the milk from a local farm as well. So the produce is all from Berlin, and we all work together. We just try to keep it simple and use fresh products.

Close up frozen yoghurt

As for keeping it simple, I imagine it’s been quite a task getting a food truck business up and running in Berlin, the capital of making things complicated.

(Laughs) There’s a lot of rules in Berlin! There are infinite rules about where you can park and sell. When I first started, I thought I could park anywhere in the street, but it turns out it’s very difficult. Of course, the city makes it kind of impossible to park and stay and sell just anywhere. You are bound to the festival places and food markets. It’s also an electricity problem – the machine needs electricity to run, so it’s hard to be self-sufficient. There’s also the problem that because you’re on the road, things can break down! Luckily this has only happened once, but I got towed to the Bread and Butter trade show because I just had to make it there! (Laughs) It’s the same with any job though – you can never foresee what’s going to happen.

Running a truck does have its perks, though, I’m sure.

Of course. This gives me freedom! I can park the car when I don’t want to work anymore. And it waits! I can drive around if I’m not selling well. We’ve driven to Hamburg, Munich, all over Germany on these little adventures in the truck. I don’t think we’d have the same experience if we were rooted in Berlin with a shop or a cafe.

Food trucks are becoming more and more of a trend these days, especially here in Berlin.

Yeah! Definitely. It’s getting really bad for that! When we started, I was one of the first trucks driving around. I got lucky – I was there before the big competition really started. Currently, there’s not really any other frozen yogurt trucks though, so there’s no direct competition for me. There are a lot of people who do ice cream, but the ones that I’ve met, I’ve become friends with. We give each other jobs. It’s a very friendly environment.

I was going to ask… Are you guys out there racing around in your trucks to beat the other vendors to the best spots?

(Laughs) Fortunately, this doesn’t happen, no. We support each other! Sometimes we even park next to each other! You have to live with it.

Do you ever worry that the food truck trend is going to go out of style?

I’m not so scared! I know that actually a lot of frozen yogurt and ice cream shops around Berlin already had to close, and maybe that’s a little bit of a pressure but I don’t think it will ever really go out of style. I think if you have the right product, it doesn’t really matter so much what’s trendy. You create the whole environment. And people will always eat ice cream!

It’s my number one weakness.

I read an article that Germans are the number two highest consumers of ice cream in the world. So why should I worry?! (Laughs) You can have ten burgers but there’s always room for ice cream.

Eva Langhorst Mr Whippy Berlin

Frozen yoghurt flags

Frozen yoghurt homemade sauces

Frozen yoghurt toppings sign

Frozen yoghurt toppings

Wr Whippy Freshly made just for you

Eva Langhorst Mr Whippy's frozen yoghurt truck service with a smile

Doggystyle: Thomas, Butch and Bully

by Zoë Noble

berlin doggystyle streetstyle american bulldog boston terrier graffiti tattoos

“Bully (the Boston Terrier) will be ten in December. He’s a veteran – if he was able to write a book, he would. He’s been dognapped, hit by a car, lost an eye, and he’s been travelling with me through Europe, fighting with the street dogs. He’s a cool guy.

He’s also proof that dogs can be autistic. He’s clever, and lives in his own world. He’s not interested in other dogs, he just wants to be with his toys – and he knows them all by name. He’s like Rainman!

Butch (a 5 year old American Bulldog) is more strong than clever, but they have a very special relationship. He always backs up his buddy in a fight, which just means that Bully is always like, “nyah, this guy’s got my back.” So we have some issues to work on, but luckily I’ve just started studying caninology and I’m also a dog trainer!”

berlin doggystyle streetstyle boston terrier with one eye

berlin doggystyle streetstyle american bulldog

berlin doggystyle streetstyle american bulldog

Is Berlin over?

by Guest Blogger

Media Spree, Berlin Friedrichshain

by Paola Moretti.

My father is one of those men who are terrible at choosing presents for women. I’m not sure whether his insistence on giving me perfume, dresses and cute necklaces is a hint that I should be a little more feminine, or if he simply has no clue about what I actually like. This year, he gave me a glittery nail polish which I liked only because I have a taste for tacky stuff. Two years ago, he bought me a style guide written by Angelika Taschen, The Berliner, where one can find such observations as, “ For the Berliner the quest for the perfect purse is more important than the quest for the right man. The metropolitan animal needs to bring its stuff always with it, so the bag needs to be a proper one.” Let’s just say that my father has a peculiar sense of humour as well.

When I read the book’s subtitle, “The guide to the alternative chic”, I thought: this is the end. If Berlin was about to become a Mecca for style, when just a while ago I could walk around completely unnoticed in neon-yellow leggings, matching rubber kitchen gloves and a bright blue dress, it meant that something was changing. Indeed, the running joke about Prenzlauer Berg’s Latte Macchiato mums was over. At that moment, the press focused on the hatred of tourists which, expressed through stickers and graffiti, telling them that they were no longer welcome. It had become a local pastime to pick on the new representatives of categories such as the “Club Mate generation”, “New York artist”, “South European student”, or anyone else suspected of feeding the ravenous beast of gentrification by paying above-average rents, occupying hitherto-neglected neighbourhoods, or opening upmarket bars.

Berlin became the place to be. Old-school Berliners were bewildered and, I must admit, I didn’t join in the raging aggressiveness towards every single change, I was a bit worried. The city, at least to me, had been a stargate to a utopian dimension. You could feel that history had had taken another course here. Its environment and inhabitants hadn’t been infected by the fever of globalisation and consumeristic craving. The German capital was a small loophole in the West’s capitalist system. Things I had only heard about from my older friends, such as underground movements – which in Italy were long-time dead, or had been absorbed by a fashion industry which repackaged them and tossed them to the masses – here were still thiriving in their original forms. Berlin was cool because “she” was the anti-cool. Then, she became glamorous and lost some of her charm. Gradually, she became less unique, less radical. She was slowly letting herself be undermined by imported trends, swayed by a progress which didn’t always mean improvement.

Just like when in junior high you fall in love with your desk mate: a bony girl with no breasts and protruding shoulder blades, but nice and sweet. Everybody laughs at you because you like her, but you don’t care. In high school, she becomes a hottie, a real heartbreaker who forgets what kindness means. And then you feel that mix of bitterness and pride: you’re proud because you foresaw her potential back when no one else could, but you feel sad because she is no longer who she used to be. She stops using her cousin’s hand-me-down sweaters, in which she looked like a potato sack, and starts wearing tight tops. She learned how to use tweezers on her eyebrows, and now she has highlights in her hair, the original copper-like colour of which was naturally beautiful.

So it is with Berlin: she is young, a 25 year-old girl who not so long ago was disfigured by a wall. She has just found herself sexy and wants to party, to take advantage of any situation. Thus, Kneipes close and cocktail bars open; currywurst booths disappear while burger joints pop up everywhere. Sandals with socks remain, but just because they seem to be fashionable now.

But it’s just when you get used to the tables full of Macbooks in cafes; when you are no longer surprised by salespeople not understanding German in your local vintage shop; when you basically take for granted the availability of various pieces of the world patch-worked together in one city; when you finally understand that you can find whatever you like, even those things which are not cool anymore and never again will be – well, then, the media announces: “Berlin is over”. In 2014, the Tagespiegel said that “Berlin isn’t the coolest city in the world anymore”, just after Rolling Stone called Berghain “a club full of tourists” . Each time I hear these utterances, I imagine Manzoni’s characters with their bells, ruefully wandering through the village picking up the dead bodies left by the plague. What I never understand is whether the pandemic is Berlin being cool or not cool anymore.

Many local newspapers greeted the news happily; club owners worried right away about their future incomes; some sighed with relief, others felt mocked: they had just found a WG! Most readers probably simply shrugged. I insist, like the devoted classmate who tenderly looks at the sharp bones coming out of his childhood love’s back, or like my father, who next year will give me a bracelet with pendants for my birthday, that I will keep looking for those things which make Berlin my city. Because love is resistance and the first love is never outmoded.

Originally published in Italian on Il Mitte