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Tips & Insights About the Israeli job market - from Olim to Olim -

“When I first showed up in a full suit everyone laughed because they were all in jeans and a t-shirt, including the CEO.”

“ It was my first week in the office, we were all eating lunch and someone asked, “who are you voting for?” I was so thrown off but I learnt it is not uncommon to be vocal about political views.”

“ The things that happen in the offices are like nowhere else, we have nerf guns and end up in full-blown nerf wars, it’s crazy!”

Have any of these things ever happened to you?

Moving to Israel, or even beginning to think about the process is daunting. There is so much to do to prepare to live in a different country, and one of the most important things you have to do is find a job. That’s where we come to the picture! We conducted numerous interviews with Olim who nailed their job hunt and want to provide insight to incoming Olim. Let’s answer some of the most common questions:

What is the funniest or weirdest thing in Israel's professional circle?

“ The things that happen in the offices are like nowhere else, we have nerf guns and end up in full-blown nerf wars, it’s crazy!”

“The office is very personal, you become very close to your coworkers. It's really fun, you’ll most likely know their whole dating life before the end of your first week, it keeps things interesting.”

“Working Sunday’s takes a lot of getting used to, it’s weird. I don’t know if i'll ever fully adjust.”

Israeli offices are much more casual than most people are used to, people take scooters to business meetings, everyone has their dogs in the office and are wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

What was the job-hunting process like?

“Gaining exposure by joining numerous Facebook groups geared towards Olim really helped me, there are so many opportunities posted there.”

“Once a company has your CV the process moves quickly, I got a call from a hiring manager out of the blue one day and she just started interviewing me.”

I was sitting next to the CEO at a conference and he told me to send my CV, that’s how I landed my first job here.”

Networking in Israel is super important, you should apply to as many opportunities as possible and even send in your CV if there are no openings at the time because you never know. It is also important to note that the first call with hiring managers are usually unscheduled, which is different than most people are used to. So make sure to answer your phone even if you don’t recognize the number!

Recommended tools to use when searching for a job:

“FACEBOOK!!! Join as many groups as you can like Secret Tel Aviv- this is what helped me.”

“Build your connections, use as many platforms as you can to do this, it will help you in the long run.”

All of our participants noted that making as many connections as possible is key, they talked about using Facebook, LinkedIn, Nefesh B'nefesh, and recruiting agencies like UpStart HR who specialize in placing Olim.

What is the biggest asset you brought with you to your job?

Language was my biggest asset, that’s why I was hired because I speak dutch.”

“I already worked in sales and tech so I picked up where I left off, I was at an advantage, they were selling to the states so there was no cultural barrier.”

“Having companies on your CV that Israeli’s recognize is definitely helpful, it shows you have a global presence.”

Unanimously amongst our participants, they mentioned English language abilities, speaking and writing was their biggest asset, this is also true for other languages. Similarly having international experience and knowledge of other work cultures and ethics helps because most of the time Israel is dealing with global markets.

What helps Olim be successful in the office:

“Being adaptable is the most important, you are starting in a new environment with a new culture, things will be different then you are used to, so be flexible and keep a positive attitude.”

“You need to be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses and notify your manager of your limitations, they will help you.”

“Keep a positive attitude, startups can be difficult to work for, but the reward is amazing.”

Being successful in the office really comes down to being able to adapt and having strong interpersonal skills. You will need to be able to speak up for yourself to ensure that your needs are being met. Lastly startups can be demanding so having a positive attitude will help you succeed.

What is the biggest change between the US and Israeli work culture?

“When I first showed up in a full suit everyone laughed because they were all in jeans and a t-shirt, including the CEO.”

“ It was my first week in the office, we were all eating lunch and someone asked, “who are you voting for?” I was so thrown off but I learnt it is not uncommon to be vocal about political views.”

“Overall, the work atmosphere is much more relaxed than anything I've ever been exposed to but that being said people are much blunter and don’t really have a filter.”

The office in Israel tends to be very laid back so make sure you come dressed appropriately and ready to discuss your political views! Here’s a bonus, the CEO will most likely know your name within a couple of months.

What are some of the challenges Olim face:

“Even if your Hebrew is top-notch you might still feel like you’re at a disadvantage, because you didn't grow up with the culture.”

“Even in an office where most of your co-workers are Olim, you will need to adapt culturally because everyone is from all over the world.”

“Adapting to the long work hours was definitely a challenge, many of our customers were from all over the world meaning we were working in multiple time zones, it's tiring.”

Many of our participants mentioned that one of the biggest challenges they faced was due to the cultural differences and language barriers. They noted that even if you know Hebrew pretty well you will most likely still feel like you are at a disadvantage because it is not what you grew up speaking. You shouldn’t let this discourage you, most of your co-workers will be willing to help until you learn and speaking other languages is seen as an advantage!

What do you wish your Israeli coworkers knew?

“ It gets lonely here, my family and friends are back home, having my Israeli coworkers reach out can be really comforting especially when they show a little extra sensitivity.”

“Sometimes when I’m speaking Hebrew people forget it's not my first language, don’t get me wrong I’m pretty good but sometimes they need to take a step back and remember that it’s not my native language.”

“Moving to a new country is hard, it would be nice if they understood how taxing even the little things can be.”

Olim come from all different backgrounds and each brings a unique skill set, having their coworkers be open-minded really helps. Just remembering that this is not their natural habitat will really help Olim.

What is the best part of an Israeli office?

“ I have gotten more opportunities here than anywhere else, I have been able to push myself, learn, and grow. Everyone in my office wants to help and see me succeed, it’s really amazing!”

“I love the casual atmosphere, we have team activities and happy hours, some of my coworkers have become my best friends.”

“It's really the best of both worlds, I get to work in Tel Aviv while using the language that I’m comfortable with.”

The sense of community and family aspect in the office was undoubtedly the best part. Our participants also mentioned the balance between family and work life is a huge plus even though there are long hours, your boss will be understanding and compassionate about family life.

Advice from Olim to Olim:

“Patience are going to be your best friend, do not just take the first job you find and make sure you like what you are doing.”

“You need to push for what you want during negotiations, be aggressive and persistent because I can guarantee everyone here will be doing the same.”

“Learn Hebrew! Start before you arrive, this will make a huge difference, the more you know the more comfortable you will be.”

“Keep pushing forward and give new opportunities a chance, something will come.”

“Find your community here, having people you connect with will help you settle in and make this place feel like home!”

It is imperative that you are patient, persistent, and positive throughout the entire process. Also, learning as much Hebrew as possible before coming will help make the transition that much easier. Lastly finding people here that you get along and connect with helps make Israel feel like home.

As Olim in Israel you are in a very unique position and have many unique qualities to offer to the Israeli workforce. Olim are at an advantage because of their ability to speak different languages and their international experience. Joining a new workforce will take some adjustments, so make sure you keep your spirits high and are patient. Overall all of our participants have had a positive experience working in Israel!

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