New Olim in the Israeli Reality

Graduation event for TripleTen students, new repatriates. Photo by Liya Geldman

April 18th marks Aliyah Day, which reminds me of my own journey to Israel that started six years ago. Today, I feel like sharing my story and offer some advice to those who have just embarked on their own journey.

I made the move to Israel from Moscow with my life packed into three suitcases, CV with over five years of professional experience in Human Resource Management, fluent English, and a decent speaking Hebrew. I was confident that I would easily find a job on par with my previous roles in Russia (my last position was an HR Business Partner in an international pharmaceutical company). However, as you may have guessed, it didn’t quite happen that way. But that’s where I learned my first lesson:

When adapting to a new reality and environment, it’s okay to take a step back to adjust and absorb.

This is a vital rule to understand and to follow, particularly for newcomers in a foreign country. I never underestimate the previous experience of new repatriates; I simply emphasize that sometimes, to move forward, you need to take a step back:

  • To understand and feel the mentality
  • To learn the language better
  • To explore market needs, rules, regulations, and laws
  • To make connections and create opportunities
  • To absorb the culture, traditions, and social norms.

Once I realized the importance of understanding all these aspects for my HR profession, I changed my strategy, including my job search approach. Now, after six years, while consulting job seekers, I always share my rule number two:

No one will know about you if you do not tell them about yourself.

It’s easy to say but hard to execute. My plan was as follows:

  • I reviewed my CV entirely, focusing on specific points to highlight my strengths, professional capabilities and achievements.
  • I began actively networking on LinkedIn, connecting with professionals in roles I was interested in, recruiters, and HR heads. I also compiled a list of companies I was wishing to work in and connected with people there (which has proven invaluable over time).
  • I reached out to everyone I knew in Israel at the time (which wasn’t many six years ago) and shared with them that I was seeking a job as a recruiter (a step back, as it were).
  • I searched for and attended as many networking events as I could find. This approach paid off, as I found my first job at a fair for new repatriates.

Over the past six years, I’ve changed jobs four times, and I’m grateful for every workplace where I’ve had the opportunity to work. I always kep in mind the rule number three:

Wherever you work, you bring value and uniqueness to the company.

This brings me to an important point: I’ve worked with repatriates for many years and always stress how local employers consider them. So according to the majority of local employers and hiring companies, new Olim are:

  • Highly educated. The jokes about PhDs at age 25 are true!
  • Highly motivated. When you’re alone in a new country, you learn to rely on yourself.
  • Hard-working. Sad jokes about constant requests to slow down the performance are also true.
  • Responsible and punctual. The relaxed Mediterranean approach to business can be a shock for new Olim from European or former Soviet Union countries.
  • Bringing international experience and backgrounds. Your fresh perspective, ideas, and initiatives are highly valued in many businesses.
  • Brave. Deciding to change countries is challenging, frightening, and frustrating. It takes courage to make such a decision.

On this Aliyah Day, as I share my story, I’m delighted to see that the representatives of so-called modern Aliyah are already different: they know their worth, have a better understanding of the market, many come with a good Hebrew level, and are not afraid to seek advice and help. And that is wonderful!

I wish every new repatriate moving to Israel to embrace their uniqueness, remain open to their new environment, and always believe in themselves!/

About the Author
Hello, I'm Irina Lukovsky, Career Advisor, HR&TA, with a valid professional background in HR&Recruitment abroad and in Israel. I’m a very people-oriented person passionate about helping others to build and follow their career path. I moved to Israel from Russia in 2018 and now I’m thrilled to share my experiences, challenges, ups, and downs with those who are on a similar path to assure them that anything is possible. As Herzl once said, 'When there is a will, it is no longer a dream.'"
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