Making a career change in Israel. Will I have to?
Hebrew: שינוי קריירה
Results of our poll: 51.2 percent of Olim have made career changes since moving to Israel
Changing career after Aliyah to Israel is a huge step but it is sometimes unavoidable. Fear on the unknown can paralyze us. We feel stupid, useless and lose confidence when we are unable to find a job in our field. We need an income to support our family and our Hebrew skills are limited.
"There are lots of things I know I can do, but is making a change the right thing to do? Should I just try to make the most of my current situation? What if I don't like my new career?"
Sound familiar? From a recent poll we conducted, we discovered that 51.2 percent of Olim have made career changes since moving to Israel, and only 48.2 percent are working in their original field.
Finding a job to suit our experience and language skills can be frustrating and exhausting.
Planning a Career Change
Careful planning of a career change is important but you need to acknowledge and accept that your decision to do so, may not work out in the end. Bare in mind that you won't have the all solutions when you start out. Careers today are fast-changing and ever-evolving. The use of AI - artificial intelligence is increasing and could possibly be influencing job opportunities. In Israel you might find yourself swapping jobs more than you prefer. Approach you career change with an open mind, be prepared to be flexible and adjust your expectations especially where seniority and salary are concerned.
You've probably invested years (and lots of hard earned cash) building you career, and suddenly, after making Aliyah, you realize that opportunities in your field are limited. It's frustrating, demoralizing and disheartening to have your career options curtailed by Aliyah. Work hard and be positive until you find a job that fits your needs. As an oleh (Heb: עולה - new immigrant) your may need to spend some time trying different things until you find a perfect career fit. Chances are you will gain valuable skills in the process and improve your Hebrew both of which will help you in the future.
By making a career change you will discover who you really are and what is actually important to you. This is true for many other aspects of your Aliyah and integration.
Job Networking in Israel
"I am new in Israel and I hardly know anyone so stop telling me to network!". True! It's hard but persevere.
Create connections! Join networking groups - there are many social and professional groups on Facebook and LinkedIn for English speakers in Israel. Use these forums to create connections. Tell as many people as possible that you are looking for a new job. In Israel you have to be pro-active - don't be shy or embarrassed to share your crisis with relative strangers. As olim or we've all been there and we are willing to help or give advice wherever possible. You are not alone! It's hard, but stay positive and focused and you never know when a door will open in your direction.
Local conferences and summits like OurCrowd (a global summit) are good places to meet new people. Startups presenting themselves at these summits are often looking for workers. Take copies of your resume with you and hand them out whenever you strike up a new conversation. The website 10times.com has a very comprehensive list of seminars, conferences and summits in Israel for the coming year.
What are my employment options?
Small business owners might discover that their skill or field is difficult to break into in Israel and is not as lucrative as it was back home. English teachers may not initially be able to secure a job in a public, but they may be able to join private education institutions like Berlitz or Wall Street. You might be able to use your grammar skills by writing and editing articles. Think outside the box. Re-invent yourself. There are many online freelancing sites where you can register and find jobs. There are numerous admin jobs you can find as a freelancer. The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption offers courses at substantially reduced rates for new olim. Take advantage of them. The skills you learn here will stand you in good stead.
Learn the language
Congratulations! Your boss just called you in and told you that you've been promoted. You're excited. Then he drops a bomb: "Moishe, in your new job you will be required to relocate to Italy. You are leaving in 6 months".
At first you are over the moon and then It slowly begins to sink in. You need a plan. How are you going to communicate with your co-workers and colleagues in Italy? You don't speak Italian, you can't read Italian and you cannot write Italian. To put it plainly you are Italian illiterate. You realize that knowing Italian is key to your success. The first thing you do is enroll in a course in Italian, you study for at least 6 months and you do all your homework and put it all the effort required.
What's different about Israel?
Hard as this may sound, you are probably Hebrew illiterate and learning Hebrew must be your priority. Go to Ulpan, persevere and learn Hebrew, don't drop-out. The fact you are a native English speaker no longer ensures you a job and these days, perfect English is not always a necessity. You need to put serious and dedicated effort into learning Hebrew.
Prospective employers need to know before hiring you that you can communicate with your co-workers and clients effectively otherwise he is likely to hire someone else who can. If you don't have this skill, it may mean you might need to take a lesser job for a time, while you gain some experience and learn the language. When you have done all that, the prospective employer might think this: Moishe is committed and dedicated to his profession. He is a hard worker and is prepared to do whatever it takes or whatever we need him to do to fulfill the job requirements. Let's hire him now!
Slowly, slowly - Le'at, Le'at - everything is bound to come right. If you find that you have lost direction, get professional help. Anglo-list works with counselors and psychologists who are experienced in Aliyah related issues. They can help you. Whatever you choose or job you may have to take, remember it is the first step towards a successful Aliyah.
Have you made a career change? Would you like to share your experience with others? Send us an email - anglolist at gmail dot com and we'll consider your story for publication.