Coming to Israel with tons of professional experience? Here are 5 ways to land a job!

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Rachel Berger NBN Director of Post Aliyah

Making Aliyah with years of experience in your field can be a great thing — you have tons of expertise to bring to the market, you’re coming with an international perspective in your industry, and you’ll be able to hit the ground running in a new company.  But, presenting this experience in the right way is crucial to landing a great job in Israel.

Keep in mind that while Israeli employers value experience, they also don’t want to feel threatened by it.  Others may need a clear understanding of how you’ll be able to adjust your professional skills to fit their companies’ needs.

Luckily, thousands of Olim have faced these exact challenges — and found great jobs in Israel.  But it hasn’t happened overnight.  If you’re an Oleh with an impressive resume, follow these tips for landing a job in Israel:

  1. Adjust your resume

In Israel, employers don’t really care about everything you accomplished before you made Aliyah — unless they understand how your experiences can benefit their company. They don’t care about the history of you; they only want to know about what you can do for them. Adjust your resume per job, highlighting only those aspects that are 100% relevant. Package your experience in a way that makes the employer interested in meeting you.

Also, make sure that your resume won’t scare the employer. Focus on marketing yourself and not simply sharing your experiences. If you have 30+ years of experience in your field, there’s no need to indicate that. If you graduated from college 40 years ago, remove your graduation year. Write about relevant skills. Make sure you appear completely qualified for the job you’re applying to, but not more qualified than your potential boss.

Remember, your resume is a marketing paper that helps you land an interview.

  1. Learn new skills

Many Olim decide that they want to transition to a new field in Israel.  This isn’t impossible, but it’s very important to make it clear that although you did A before, you’re interested in doing B now. Employers won’t care that this new position will help you develop your new professional path.  They just want to hire someone who has the skills to get the job done. So either make sure you show them how you already have the necessary skills or how you’ll gain them.

Be open to new experiences. Some Olim choose to enroll in a training course to develop the skills for their new career before applying for jobs.  I recommend networking with people in your chosen field first.  You’ll want to make sure that the training course will actually help you land the type of job you want. The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption runs a Voucher Program, which allows you to take a course with the government’s financial assistance

  1. Sometimes you need to take a step back in order to take a leap forward

Maybe you’re a very experienced candidate who had leadership positions before moving to Israel. Keep in mind that things in Israel may be a little different. Your industry may not be exactly the same as it was in your birth country. You also may not speak Hebrew perfectly. Sometimes you’ll need to take one step back before taking two steps forward.

For example, when Bruce Zivan made Aliyah in 2008 from Rochester, New York, he didn’t have any connections in Israel and he didn’t speak much Hebrew.  He’d been working in sales all of his life, both in a few large companies and in his own business.  If he’d wanted to stay in that field in Israel, he’d have to travel a lot outside of the country — which he didn’t want to do.
So, he found a job in sales development at a fast-growing company in Ra’anana.  It was a step down from what he had been doing, but it helped him grow his experience in Israel.  He left that job 2.5 years later, and today, he’s the director of sales development at WalkMe.  He launched their sales development department and now manages the sales development team.

  1. Don’t settle

Sometimes Olim decide that no matter what, they don’t want to fill a position that may be less advanced than what they’re used to. It may be challenging to find exactly what you’re looking for.  But it’s been done.

Before Moshe Tzvi Wieder made Aliyah from Cleveland, Ohio, he had been the vice president of product management at a software company, where he managed 20 people.  After searching for a similar senior position for a few months and not finding anything valuable, Wieder wasn’t sure what his next step should be. Our employment team introduced him to a career coach, who advised him not to compromise.  She told him that he had the skills necessary to land a similar position in Israel.

Soon Wieder received three job offers that were all at his level, and took a position at Leverate, where he does exactly what he did in his last position.

  1. Apply everywhere

The best way to find the type of job you’re looking for is to treat the job search like a job.  Apply to 20 jobs a day.  Check Israeli job boards on a daily basis. On Nefesh B’Nefesh’s job board, we post 150 jobs per week — that are specifically geared toward Olim. So there are definitely tons of jobs out there.  Set up meetings with people in your field.  Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a job.  Israel is all about who you know, so if you know someone who knows someone who wants to hire someone with your skill set, you just might be in luck.

Got questions?  Feel free to reach out to the NBN Employment team at employment@nbn.org.il

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