How to work at a startup: 3. Cover letter and social media

by Guest Blogger

By Federico Prandi.

Ever wondered why cover letters are called cover letters?

That’s because they’re a cover-up, a fraud, a final attempt to reinforce all the lies you’ve shamelessly written on your resume and spice them up with some hardcore lip service. A good cover letter is something you can’t have your wife and children read without them thinking you’re willing to trade your family for a part-time customer service job at an internet startup.

Now, in order to write a convincing cover letter you have to be able to write a regular one. I know that nobody writes proper letters anymore, but in our childhood we’ve all done it in (at least) two specific circumstances.

#1 Love Letters

I remember middle school as the place where my first literary attempts took place. All the guys were pouring their hormonal intensity into odes to girls who either wouldn’t let them touch their breasts or didn’t have breasts at all. One of my letters was so successful that a 12-year-old girl in my class pulled me aside and kissed me, making death poems suddenly look like a better idea.

#2 Letters to Santa

Growing up in a catholic family, I could either write my Christmas wishes to Santa or to baby Jesus. I always picked the former, assuming that the old man wouldn’t be up to date with my sins. In hindsight I feel like I was never really filled in on the magic of Christmas and as a result all my letters to Santa sounded like financial scam against a vulnerable senior, as if I had to convince him to spend all his pension on my presents. Also, I probably looked down on Jesus, thinking that a baby born in a shed wouldn’t be able to discern between the real Little Mermaid merchandise and those cheap rip-offs.

Anyway, the perfect cover letter takes something from both examples; it combines the pained longing of the teenage love letter and the manipulative hidden agenda of the Santa letter; it makes big promises but also claims big rewards; it tells a company that you’ll be their dream, you’ll be their wish, you’ll be their fantasy. You’ll be their hope, you’ll be their love, be everything that they need. You’ll love them more with every breath (truly, madly, deeply do), you will be strong, you will be faithful ’cause you’re counting on a new beginning, a reason for living, a deeper meaning, yeah.



My name is Federico Prandi Barry LaVaughn [PRO TIP: use a name that oozes out awesomeness: fake IDs aren’t as expensive as you think!] and I’m applying for the position of Online Marketing Manager after applying to three others and being rejected finding the job posting on some random Reddit thread the company website.

I’ve spent the past year watching every season of Survivor on my couch traveling around the world, but now I need money feel like it’s time for a new professional challenge. I’ve been keeping an eye on NAME_OF_COMPANY for the past seven minutes, while simultaneously shopping on Amazon years and I was always impressed by your constant achievements in terms of growth and marketing efforts.

Before traveling, I worked for two months years at a marketing agency whose main focus are on-site and off-site SEO. When the company started offering a wider range of services, the fact that I have a Twitter account with more than 6 followers my holistic approach to online marketing came especially handy and I was given new responsibilities. My professional path gave me practical experience in stalking people online conducting detailed on-site audits, developing actionable inbound marketing strategies and researching keywords in a clever way. My team left the boat before it sank swayed between “very small” and a “one-man-show”, which made me cry in the shower at night called for crazy organizational skills, high versatility and alcoholism a talent for setting priorities.

In my private time I tend to read and write Harry Potter erotic fanfic in a lot of online places (forums, blogs, e-zines, online newspapers, social media…you name it!); this gave me a very sharp sensitivity when it comes to anything futile in life contemporary online trends and the language of the web.

Having read the profile you’re looking for, I am going to ignore all the requirements I don’t have and apply anyway think I might be a valuable asset to your team and at the same time have a chance to grow as a marketer.

I look forward to hearing back from you and dive deeper into the selection process.



Ta-da! You’re all set!

You have the perfect CV, the perfect cover letter and you’re now ready to pack everything together and send your application via email.

Bonus Track: Clean up your social media



There is one more little thing that needs to be done in order to make your application really really perfect.

Hire a private investigator (or me if I’m bored) and ask him to turn the internet upside down in search of some dirt about you. As much as you consider yourself an amazing human being, that time you made fun of coat-hanger abortions on Twitter may not be well perceived by everybody.

Delete the tweet and, since you’re at it, replace it with a photoshopped picture of you hugging a koala bear (which, in my opinion, is exactly what restored Luke Perry’s public image after 90210).

Bingo – you’re all set!

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, read the rest of the series here. And check out our observations on the Berlin startup scene, and get more practical advice about landing a startup job (with more GIFs!).

überlin Does Croatia: Geeking Out on Analogue Photography

by Zoë Noble

Croatian flag

Just picked up the prints from our summer holiday in Vis, an island a few hours from Split, Croatia. The reason it’s taken so long to get the photos is that I STUPIDLY left the film back in our apartment!? Yup, I’m a massive idiot. Thankfully my guardian angel/Airbnb host Ratko found the film and posted it to me – but it took two months to get here. I’d almost given up hope and then it arrived in the mail last week ????

Usually I’d take my digital camera while travelling and I’d have all the photos on my laptop, backed up after each day – this was my first holiday ONLY shooting analogue. Why? Because, for a change, I decided to leave the bulky cameras and multiple lenses and just travel really light. When I’m not working, I want to have a complete break from carrying heavy equipment, changing lenses, charging batteries and the post-hols photo editing.

The beauty of film cameras is that they simplify your decisions, leaving you to simply enjoy the moment of taking the photo. You really have to slow down when you shoot analogue, and you truly consider every photo. You remember that you have a limited number of shots and concentrate on really nailing that exposure. So many times I’ve composed an image with my analogue camera, only to decide it just wasn’t worth wasting a shot.

This way of thinking really helps photographers. Taking hundreds of photos with a digital camera may be easier, but it doesn’t help you understand what makes a good photo. Anyone can blast out 1,000 shots and get one killer image. You know you’re a great photographer when EVERY shot is a killer image.

Anyway, enough photo geekery… we had such an amazing time in Croatia and would recommend the island of Vis (thank you Ed and Sarah for the amazing tip!) and our beautiful villa in a heartbeat. We want to be there right now!

All photos shot with Olympus OM-2, 35mm lens and Kodak Portra 400 film.

Croatia sea

Church and blue sky of Croatia

Green seas

James looking out to the sea

Peeling paint

Pink flowers

Vis beach view

Port with fishing boats in Vis

Narrow buildings in Vis

Fishing boats

Sea view in Croatia

Walkway in Vis old town

Vis old town

Fresh fish in Vis

Sun setting in Vis

Win 2 x 2 tickets to Between the Buried and Me!

by James Glazebrook

Between the Buried and Me Coma Ecliptic

[EDIT: this competition is now closed. Click here to see if we’re running any open competitions]

B-bands are smashing it in metal at the moment! We’ve just been raving about Bring Me The Horizon, but Between the Buried and Me may have pipped them for our album of the year so far. Like BMTH, BTBAM are pushing metalcore into new, exciting directions, albeit down the weirder progressive, concept-album path towards full-blown rock opera. Check out the video for “The Coma Machine” to find out what the frig that sounds like in 2015, and scroll down to win a pair of tickets to the band’s upcoming Berlin show!


Do you and a friend want to get your prog on at Musik & Frieden (formerly Magnet) next Tuesday? Just answer this question in the comments below:

What’s your pick for album of the year so far (in any genre)?

You have until 6pm on Friday 25th September. Good luck!

The Boring Bit (yawn, RULES):

1. You must be at least 18 years old to enter.
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.

Don’t Stay True: The Betrayal of Bring Me The Horizon

by James Glazebrook

I wouldn’t hold my breath if I was you
Cause I’ll forget but I’ll never forgive you
Don’t you know, don’t you know?
True friends stab you in the front

Listeners to Bring Me the Horizon’s controversial new album That’s The Spirit could be forgiven for empathising with the emotions expressed by “True Friends”. Knowingly or otherwise, these lyrics – intended by singer Oli Sykes as a typically hardcore response to fake friends’ betrayals – actually anticipated the reaction of many fans, and many more former fans, to the album’s stadium-friendly sound.

It’s funny how things work out
Such a bitter irony
Like a kick right to the teeth
It fell apart right from the start
But I couldn’t even see the forest for the trees
(I’m afraid you asked for this)

The irony is that Bring Me the Horizon were always headed in this direction. With That’s The Spirit, the band have made the large last leap towards becoming the post-metalcore Linkin Park, but they’ve been on this path for a long time.

Right from the start, they were rejected by the metal establishment as being too pretty and well put-together to be anything more than scene posers. Sykes, also the founder of alt brand Drop Dead Clothing, became the poster child for a kind of hardcore that Topshop designers could lift from. But BMTH proved they had substance as well as style, with a brutal deathcore sound and live shows that converted bottle throwers into lifelong fans.

Now those same fans are declaring the death of the Bring Me the Horizon they grew to love. The melody, the hooks, the EDM production, the glimpses of genuine optimism are, for many, too much to bear. And for a scene that rejects “selling out” absolutely, the commercial success that will no doubt follow is perceived as the ultimate betrayal.

You got a lot of nerve but not a lot of spine
You made your bed when you worried about mine
This ends now

Somehow, no one saw this coming. But less short-sighted fans shouldn’t be too shocked, as That’s The Spirit only marks the latest end point of the band’s evolution. Their breakthrough album, 2008’s Suicide Season, saw them polishing their sound, embracing a more accessible metalcore aesthetic, and augmenting it with electronic flourishes. The re-released Cut Up edition even included a disc of remixes from producers like Toxic Avenger, Utah Saints and a then-unknown Skrillex.

For 2013’s Sempiternal, Bring Me the Horizon replaced their rhythm guitarist with a keyboardist, and pushed the electronics front and centre. From opener “Can You Feel My Heart” through to the haunting “Deathbeds”, performed for growing crowds at venues like Wembley Stadium, it’s hard not to hear That’s The Spirit coming. If this ends now, it started a long time ago.

It’s kind of sad cause what we had
Well it could have been something
I guess it wasn’t meant to be
So how dare you try and steal my flame
Just cause yours faded
Well hate is gasoline
A fire fuelling all my dreams
(I’m afraid you asked for this)

The originators of metal were no purists; they used whatever instruments were at hand to create their unholy sound. Listen to Hawkwind, likely responsible for the very name of “heavy metal”, and you’ll hear Lemmy’s growl and distorted guitars swimming in a cosmic bath of trippy analogue electronics.

But then disco came, and the rockers’ reaction to it, which pushed everyone into one of two camps, forcing them into a digital zero-one either-or choice between guitars and drum machines. Even fans of freaks like Faith No More, art punks with a gay keyboard player somehow mistaken for a metal band, kicked back when the group’s experiments reached full fruition. That’s why fans of The Real Thing hated Angel Dust; and that’s why people who tolerated Sempiternal can’t forgive That’s the Spirit.

The good news for those people is that Sempiternal still exists; for the die-hards, Count Your Blessings is still available to listen to. As for the new album, a band making what can be seen as a wrong turn can’t be blamed for daring to find out what was waiting down that fork in the road.

Bring Me the Horizon barely listen to metal any more, and they’ve admitted to respecting bands like Linkin Park, who fill stadiums with big, bold, and sometimes heavy, sounds. True artists make the art they want to see or hear, and brave bands will risk existing fans over the chance to realise their vision, and present it to people who truly appreciate it.

Oli Sykes has come out of struggles like a Ketamine addiction with an appreciation of life in all its shades of grey, all its complicated beauty and bitter irony. And he wants to make music that reflects that. He’s not even 30 and he’s through fucking about. He hasn’t said as much, but you can sense that he’s not going to lose any sleep over so-called fans who are willing to walk away over the expansion of his ambition. For a band that always wanted to be more than metalcore, that’s the real betrayal.

I wouldn’t hold my breath if I was you
You broke my heart and there’s nothing you can do
And now you know, now you know
True friends stab you in the front

Bring Me The Horizon Drowned video shoot

Bring Me The Horizon play Huxleys Neue Welt on 10th November 2015 (tickets).

Help make Berlin’s first alternative comedy stage a thing!

by James Glazebrook

Comedy Café Berlin - before

This is exciting! One of the brothers behind the hilarious piffle! podcast is currently turning this old Kneipe into Berlin’s first alternative comedy stage, the unimaginatively-titled Comedy Café Berlin (way to improv, guys). It’s going to be located in the heart of hipster central, on Neukölln’s Weserstraße, and will feature a café and bar alongside a theatre to showcase the stars of Berlin’s up-and-coming international comedy scene. As well as live standup, sketch and improv, this new institution for comedy will host workshops and courses for anyone who wants to polish up their funning skills.

With construction already under way, the team are raising money to pay for important stuff like soundproofing. To help secure the future of this promising project, check out the Comedy Café Berlin Kickstarter, where rewards include the chance to get your name on the Wall of Fame, one of the theatre’s 60 seats, a menu item, or even its toilets (“Name of Thrones”!). When you’re giggling it up in Berlin’s most awesome new nightspot, you can thank your past self for being so generous and, let’s face it, smart. DO IT.

Berlin Moments: September 7th – September 15th

by Zoë Noble

Recently, I was lucky enough to try out the camera on Sony’s new Xperia Z5. They asked me to test out its low light capabilities, so I thought I’d take a midnight bike ride from Kottbusser Tor up to Warschauer Strasse. Here is a selection of the images I shot and you can see the full photo essay on the Sony blog!

Kreuzberg puddle reflection man standing among lights man standing in glowing light Berlin ubahn passing by at night Oberbaumbrucke Oberbaumbrucke at night Oberbaumbrucke view Kottbusser neon lights shot for Sony Experia Kottbusser Tor at night

Portrait: Recyclemented

by Guest Blogger

jacquie and clement standing against rusty backdrop

by Emma Robertson

For Clement Jeannesson and Jacquie Kappl, furniture construction is a labour of love. Their design company, Recyclemented, is less than a year old; although in many ways it’s still a hobby, the pair is working tirelessly to build it up into a fully-fledged career, one palette at a time. Using found wood, discarded materials and (especially) old EuroPalettes, Clement and Jacquie are giving new life to Berlin’s forsaken and forgotten: the result is strikingly unique furniture, each with its own twist on the traditional.

Clement and Jacquie, originally from France and Germany respectively, started Recyclemented in Melbourne, Australia. “We moved to the Gold Coast and we were pretty poor at the time,” Jacquie explains. “We had an apartment but we had no furniture, so we started building stuff out of bits and pieces we found on the side of the road. At some point, we had like seven tables in our place!”

It’s become something of a Cinderella story since they relocated to Berlin at the beginning of this year; although Clement has a history in mechanics and steelwork, both are self-taught woodworkers, picking up the tricks of the trade through YouTube videos, online tutorials, and good old trial-and-error. We caught up with Clement and Jacquie at their studio in Lichtenberg to talk upcycling, working in Berlin, and how passion drives creativity.

recyclemented banner

What is more important as a designer, form or function?

Clement Jeannesson: Function, for sure! Function is better because if you make a chair that looks beautiful but you can’t sit on it, what’s the point?

Jacquie Kappl: He always lectures me on that one! (Laughs) I have all these ideas, “We have to do this! We can make it like that!” but then Clement comes in, “Nope. It’s not sehr gut.” (Laughs)

CJ: Well, it has to be useful! What are you going to do with it? We’re selling furniture first. It’s an art piece in the end — it’s beautiful, sure, but it’s furniture. It has to serve its purpose. It can be a nice table but it has to work.

JK: I have a lot of ideas. I’m the dreamer of the two of us. For Clement, it’s more about actually putting the ideas to paper.

working on different elements

Where do you come up with your best ideas?

CJ: For me it’s non-stop! Everywhere I go! It’s 24/7 for me. When I’m at work, I get ideas and I can just take them and run with it. I’m a bit obsessed with being creative, trying to come up with more ideas, more and more and more, and then — the best part — actually turning them into something.

JK: Clement is teaching me to come up with my ideas before I come to work, to bring them to the shop and then work on them here instead of wasting time sitting around thinking. It actually really is helpful because at the start, I wasn’t doing that. I’d just come in, sit here, turn around the wood, thinking, looking at everything…

CJ: We don’t have a lot of materials so that affects us creatively. We’re never going to do 12 of the same table, for example, because I’m never going to be able to find 12 of the same kind of wood! So, every time it’s a bit of a challenge because you have to make it work with what you’ve got. But the more we do it, the easier it gets. It’s never boring.

closeup of ruler

Do you ever get tired of that challenge, though?

JK: I don’t know. It’s extra challenging and at the same time, it isn’t. It appeals to a customer that wants something unique. But at the end of the day, there’s a style they’re asking for so you can’t always give them exactly that because you’re tied to the types of wood you find…

CJ: It’s also difficult because you don’t want to do something too unique every time.

It’s a fine balance, I guess. If people wanted cookie-cutter furniture, they’d go to IKEA.

JK: Exactly. Plus, in terms of what we’re doing, we don’t have a lot of competition at the moment. If there’s anyone else doing recycled material furniture with our same style, we haven’t heard of it.

Is it necessary to push boundaries like that when you’re working in a field that is so traditional?

CJ: I have to say, this job has been here forever! Before steel, before everything, woodworking was always here. So, yes, if you don’t do something a little bit different, you don’t exist.

JK: Especially in Berlin where there are so many artists, it’s not just doing something different, but doing something good. You have to be amazing. More than exceptional. People have to recognise you, you have to have a signature where people can see, Oh, this is Recyclemented. It’s good because it challenges us. We like a challenge. It’s on, IKEA!

stacked wood

Where do you find the wood you use? This part of Lichtenberg seems like it would be a good place to find discarded wood. Do you go on missions to find material?

CJ: Not really. It’s just become a natural part of our day-to-day life. If we see something, we stop and pick it up.

JK: We’ve got a big truck! (Laughs) We do buy some materials though, the products that give the finishing touches and hardware that will make the furniture last longer. We want to provide a high quality piece. The idea is to sell products that are quality — that’s really important.

CJ: Like you said, in this area near our studio space, there’s always a lot of scraps and pieces that would go to waste normally. There are a lot of businesses here, a lot of construction areas that produce a lot of waste.

Would your work have as much personality if you were using wood that was brand new?

JK: Well, it wouldn’t be the same fun, that’s for sure. It would definitely lose a lot of the personality if we bought the wood. It wouldn’t be Recyclemented.

CJ: We love this concept, using old to make new. Everything comes from everything, for us. It’s part of the adventure and an important part of the end product. We’ll name the piece after the street corner where we found the palette. (Laughs) You know exactly where it comes from that way. Better than going to IKEA and you have no idea where it comes from.

JK: This was a good initiative for us at the start because we didn’t have money to buy furniture. This was a great way for us to be able to have the things we need and create this new lifestyle for ourselves.

working together

Would you say that Berlin is the right city for this kind of design? Are people responsive to your style?

JK: This whole “upcycling” trend is going really well in Berlin, so yes, people are very responsive to what we make. People are becoming more and more conscious in a way, of living and of the environment. There’s definitely a market for it. You just need to find your spot there, and have a voice. That’s what we’re working on.

Was that eco-friendly nature of Recyclemented something that’s always been important to you?

JK: In the beginning, it was more important to me than to Clement. I’m the hippie in this relationship! (Laughs) But he’s the one who actually got into the knowledge behind it! Certain palettes for example, are treated with toxins. You know how eggs have a serial number to show which is free-range, which is factory farmed and stuff? It’s the same with palettes, they’re stamped in the same way for which ones are treated and which are not. We need to know this stuff because people put our furniture in their living spaces.

Wow, I didn’t know that.

JK: You have to be careful, and not everyone is. I don’t know if it’s a money issue here in Berlin that the eco-friendly thing hasn’t picked up as much, but in Australia, it’s huge already. I think it can only grow from here! We see more and more the effects of what’s happening if we don’t take care of the planet, you know? It sounds cheesy but we have to be behind that if we want to keep this planet together. Small things make a difference!

painting wood closeup

Do you worry that furniture from recycled material will go out of style?

JK: No. It’s still pretty new in Berlin, it’s only starting to become a big trend. I think we’re starting at the right moment. The downside is that because the palettes are becoming trendy… You’ve seen it in front of cafés, they make this simple bench out of bottle crates and a piece of wood, right? They call that recycled or upcycled furniture. And that makes it hard for us, because when people hear about our stuff, they have that pre-existing notion of it as this pile of junk on the sidewalk.

CJ: We do use the palette as the first material but, in the end, it doesn’t look like a palette! That’s the whole point!

closeup of clement

Even with your unique style, would you say there’s a lot of competition? I always see homeware and furniture out at the markets and stuff…

JK: It depends on what kind of markets you go to. There are the design markets, where the people are coming specifically to buy furniture and big pieces for the home… But then there’s Mauerpark where the tourists go, so they don’t buy furniture, obviously.

CJ: They just want to have a look and have a stroll on a Sunday, which is nice — we like to do that too. A lot of people at the markets want to go for a bargain, they want stuff really cheap because they can get it for those prices at Mauer. That’s not such a good location for us.

JK: Five euro for a handmade shelf? (Laughs) Get out!

CJ: They all want vintage! It’s big in Berlin, so everyone wants the vintage at flea markets like Mauerpark… We’re not fans of it at all! Sometimes it’s just old junk that’s labelled vintage, and because it’s so trendy, people really look for it at the flea markets. But at the design markets and some of the other pop-ups, people love to pass by our stall and look at the furniture, take photos and stuff.

soldering in workshop

I love going to the markets, but I never buy furniture there because I have no way of getting it home!

JK: Exactly, we get a lot of requests because of that. People who come by bike or on the Bahn, they have no way to transport a table back to their flat.

CJ: It’s been a good learning experience. The first markets we did, we brought all the big tables and the big shelves but eventually we started to build a few smaller pieces, accessories, and things like the triangle shelves that are easier to transport.

It seems like this has all been a good learning experience for you.

CJ: Of course. We start from scratch with the wood. No one has taught us these techniques, we learn everything from trying, from doing. There’s a lot of pieces and I’m getting prouder and prouder of what I’m doing. We can see ourselves improving, and that’s a good sign I think.

Follow Recyclemented on Facebook and Instagram, and check out their designs on their website.Use the offer code “Überlin” when you contact them to get 10% off! (offer good through to the end of 2015).

finished recyclemented piece of furniture