From Blood Tests to Blogging
How This Ex-Nurse is making it in the Startup Nation
Name: Shirley Pattison
Originally from: England
Made Aliyah: 2013
Lives in: Haifa
Job: Content Marketing and Digital Advertising at Imonomy
Shirley came on Aliyah for love- partially for Israel, and partially for her boyfriend, Daniel. This love affair daydream quickly came to a halt when Shirley was notified that her prestigious nursing degree from Edinburgh University was not valid in Israel.
Starting from scratch, Shirley had to think of new assets and skills, as well as an entirely new profession to pursue. She traded in her stethoscope and thermometer to develop blogging and content marketing skills. Utilizing her psychology background and English strengths, this tremendously motivated ex-nurse found her way into the startup nation of Israel! “The great thing about Israel is that small startups need people that speak English,” says Pattison, the now content writer at Imonomy, Israel.
Thankfully, Shirley was able, not only to renew her love affair with Israel as a successful player in the startup-marketing field, but do so with her boyfriend—now husband—Daniel! Despite the tough times, she could not be happier with the way things have played out in her Aliyah fairytale.
I spoke with Shirley to hear more about her dramatically shifting career path…
What did you do before moving to Israel?
I have a First Class Bachelors Degree in Psychiatric Nursing, and a Masters Degree in Psychology from Edinburgh University. I worked as a nurse for two years before making Aliyah.
What do you do now?
I work at a company called Inomy, which does in-image advertising. In simple terms, we put natural looking advertisements on pictures, which are related to both the picture and the content of the article. I work in the marketing department doing content writing, social media, PR, and a lot of the creative work.
How did you find your job?
Upon making Aliyah, it was a very difficult and frustrating time, as my nursing degree was not accepted. I did not have the patience or money to go back to school, and take exams to re-qualify in Israel. I decided to look for something completely different, using the one asset I had- my English.
I got help with improving my resume and started sending it out via All Jobs.
I decided that since English was my asset to sell, I would look into writing jobs.
Eventually, I found a minimum wage job as a community manager for a small startup in Netanya, which was willing to hire me with no experience. It was a very hard job, as well as a difficult commute (2-hours one way from Haifa), but I gained the experience I needed to move forward in the industry, to my eventual job at Imonomy.
What do you love most about your job?
I get to be creative everyday and I am learning so much about the marketing and advertising industry! The company is growing fast, but still has a very warm family feeling. The atmosphere is perfect for an Olah like me, as it is very international and diverse.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Working in a startup means that your job and responsibilities are constantly changing, depending on what the company needs. In corporate companies, you do the same job everyday, and go home. Here you have a million different things that you can be responsible for. This is challenging, but also one of the reasons I love the job.
How important is Hebrew to the field?
My entire work is in English, but there are a lot of Israelis in the company. Hebrew is important for communicating with my coworkers.
Is there good earning potential in the startup field?
The startup world does not pay the highest salaries out there, however, if you work hard, and give it your all, you can earn a nice salary to live in Tel Aviv. The great part of working in the start up nation is that there are so many options available to you. Salaries can vary from 8000NIS to 12,000NIS for entry level.
What qualifications do you recommend for someone interested in your field?
More important than formal education, you should be motivated and outgoing. Israeli employers want to see motivated people who understand the culture. Even if your background and qualifications aren’t in this specific field, show them how your other skills apply and make you a relevant candidate. My psychology background and my English were the assets that I sold!
What advice would you give to somebody looking for a job in your field?
Join Facebook groups such as Nefesh B’Nefesh and Secret Tel Aviv! I wish I would have knows about these amazing resources during my job search! There are daily job postings for positions in start ups.
In Israel it can sometimes be about “who you know,” but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a good job on your own. Attend networking events in Tel Aviv, get your name, and keep an eye out on Facebook groups.
How do you feel about living in Israel?
I’m really happy here. The first year was very challenging and lonely, but once I started building a social network, I felt much better. I’m really glad that my career changed, and the path that my life has taken. I feel strongly that Israel gives you a lot of opportunities that would have never been possible in your home country!