Foreigners, myself included, have a difficult time finding a job in Israel. The initial stages of the job search were hard, and it’s something I have learned to overcome. You see, Israel allows companies to hire as many foreign workers as they please, but companies have a sense of loyalty that’s not present in the United States.
Companies in the US are always trying to save money, and this often means opting for foreign labor over local labor.
But in Israel, when qualified Israelis are applying for a job, Israeli companies tend to hire the qualified Israelis first. I admire this commitment to Israel, but as a foreigner, especially in the beginning, it’s very difficult to overcome this obstacle.
The other issue?
You must have a work permit or visa if you enter the country for work, but to obtain a permit or visa, you also need to have a company that has already offered you a job. You’ll need to enter Israel on a tourist visa, go to job interviews and hope someone is willing to hire you.
And companies don’t want to wait forever for you move to Israel, so you have a 90- to 120-day window where you’ll need to apply for positions, go on interviews and hopefully land a job so that you can obtain a visa.
There are a lot of promising startups in Israel, and they offer great benefits, salaries and the ability to make a change in the field. It’s an amazing opportunity to work in Israel, but it’s that initial job that’s often the hardest to find. The best companies also have a lot of competition, so you need to have a resume that really shines.
I learned a lot along the way, and I even worked with professional writers to make sure my resume stood out. Consulting with a native also helped me refine my resume a lot, and I also edited my resume four or five times to make sure it caught the eye of the companies.
Present your resume professionally and attach a photo on the resume – it helps you stick in the interviewer’s mind. Concise yet thorough, your resume shouldn’t be over a page long unless 100% necessary.
Use your native language as a selling point. Many companies need English-speaking employees, and this will put you at an advantage in larger companies. Aliyah organizations will help, too. These organizations will provide you with access to job counseling and listings.
I recommend that when you’re visiting Israel, you network as much as you can. Internal hiring is very common in Israel, and over 60% of jobs are never listed publicly. If you know the right person, you’ll be able to find a job with greater ease.
Ask friends if they know of any job openings, and use social media to strengthen your networking efforts.
If you contact the right person, they may be able to help you find that initial job you need to obtain your visa. Some contacts may even allow you to use their address on your resume, making it more enticing for a company to hire you.
Foreign companies that have operations in Israel may be willing to transfer you to their Israeli office.