Making a Career Change in Israel
Hebrew: שינוי קריירה
51.2 percent of Olim have made career changes since moving to Israel
Changing career in 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 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 poll we conducted in September 2015, 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 it may not work out in the end. You will not have the all solutions when you start out. Careers today are fast-changing and ever-evolving especially in Israel - the start-up nation - and 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 building you career back home, and then suddenly, after making Aliyah, you realize that you may not be able to find work in your field in Israel. 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 - new immigrant - your may need to spend some time trying different things until you find a perfect fit. But chances are you will gain valuable skills in the process and improve your Hebrew both of which will help you immensely 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!"
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.
What are my employment options?
Small business owners sometimes discover when they arrive in Israel that their skill or field is difficult to break into or not as lucrative as it was back home. English teachers may not be able to secure a job in a public school initially, 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. This goes for secretaries too. The import export field is a good starting point for you but there are numerous admin or secretarial jobs you can find as a freelancer . Israel's Forex industry is always looking for English speakers. You will probably work in the sales department. Many new Anglo olim of all professions have worked in Forex as a stepping stone. The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption offers courses at substantially reduced rates for new olim. Take advantage of these courses. The skills you learn here will stand you in good stead.
Here is a comparison
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 have 6 months to prepare yourself and your family".
It slowly sinks in. You need a plan. How are you going to communicate with your co-workers and colleagues? You don't speak Italian, you can't read Italian and you cannot write Italian. To put it mildly 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.
Hard as this may sound, you are probably Hebrew illiterate and learning Hebrew must be a priority. Go to Ulpan, learn Hebrew, don't drop-out. The fact you are a native English speaker is not always an advantage in the job market. You need to put serious effort into learning Hebrew. A prospective employer needs to know before he hires you that you can communicate with your co-workers and clients effectively otherwise he is likely to hire someone else who can. This may mean you need to take a lesser job for a couple of years where you can gain some experience and learn the language. When you have done that, a prospective employer will interpret the situation like 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? If you'd like to share your experience send an email to: anglolist at gmail dot com and we'll consider it for publication.