Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Job Consultation
December 26, 2009, 4:13 pm
Filed under: Infrastructure, Work | Tags:

As you’ll see in another post, I have an excited feeling that things are really “bubbling under” for me right now.  Various professional projects that I’m doing for no pay are gaining momentum, and my job searching efforts are targeted and smart and also getting some traction.

But when I got an email from Nefesh b’Nefesh, the nonprofit organization that handles all the Aliyahs from North America and helped bring me here, saying they would be doing individual job consultations in Tel Aviv (they are based in Jerusalem), I signed up for one.

I’m glad I did.  I worked with a very friendly and helpful man named Eric.  First of all, my inner “best little boy in the whole word” loved it when he told me the 1 page version of my Israeli resume was “perfect.”  He literally told me he would use mine as an example for other Olim.  My ego thinks this was reason enough to bike all the way over to the Azrieli Center for the 9:30 a.m. appointment.  (BTW, I’ve been in Israel for ten months now, and this was my first ever visit inside the complex, which has offices, shopping, a multiplex movie theater, sports club and more.)  Very cool inside.  I actually have to go back there on Monday for something related to that “bubbling under” I was talking about.  🙂

So, Eric had some great points I want to share with any Olim or potential Olim concerned with finding quality employment in Israel:

1) Have your resume translated by someone into Hebrew.  Even if you’re applying for an all or mostly English-speaking job, the resume will first pass through an HR person.  If you were an Israeli HR person with 100 resumes on your desk to look through, would you do the extra work to concentrate harder on an English resume, or just skip that one and read the Hebrew ones, which is easier for you to do?

2) “It’s who ya know.” This rule is more true here than anywhere else.  Israel is a small country, and it is all about networking.  I’m living proof.  This is how I got my current job (and apartment), and how I got my three biggest prospects for new jobs.  Online resources are great; you should make use of them.  But be wary that a generic email address attached to a job listing could be a “black hole.”  If you really want to get the job, make sure call to follow up afterwards and try and speak to (or research beforehand) the staffer in charge of the listing you are chasing.

3) Conventional wisdom in Israel says you have to include your age and address (and marital status!) on your resume.  Eric disagreed.  He said while it might peeve an HR person who doesn’t see that info on your CV because he wants to know those answers, it won’t peeve him enough to not contact you if your skills are right for the position.  However, if he is looking for someone under 30, or someone in Raanana, and your CV says you’re 45 and living in Tel Aviv, he will totally not give you a shot and you’ll never hear from him.

4) Contact all the headhunters on Nefesh B’ Nefesh’s list.

5) We’re locals now; get your Hebrew up to speed, at least conversationally.

Besides hoping to learn a few good points (which I certainly did), the whole reason I went to this meeting was for point # 2.  Now that Eric met me and put a face to my CV, maybe a great job opp will come across his desk, and your’s truly will pop into his head.

Good luck, everybody.