Best practices for writing a killer resume for the Israeli job market
Hebrew: איך לכתוב קורות חיים
An up-to-date, well planned resume, is the first step towards getting that all important first interview. Today, social networks play a huge role in your job seek. Professional networks like LinkedIn, About Me or your own website, allow you to outline and detail your work history but these resources do not replace the need for a written resume. Israel has its own resume rules and it is a good idea to implement them wherever possible.
Sometimes it is better to be brief and filter information. Tailoring your CV or resume for a specific position, might be necessary.
First thing to bear in mind is that the person in the HR company, receiving and reading your resume is likely to be a native Hebrew speaker with limited English. Keep your information short and to the point. It would be a pity to have your resume rejected just because the person receiving it, struggled to read or understand the content.
If you are applying directly to a company for a managerial position, a position in hi-tech or with an international company or educational institution, your CV and bio are submitted in English.
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1. Your Name on Top of the Page
- Your name and current address in the Header section of your resume.
- Your telephone number in the Israeli format: 052-xxx-xxxx and your email address
2. Personal Details
One of the largest HR companies in Israel told us that small and seemingly insignificant details, can reveal things about you and they suggest keeping personal details to a minimum.
- Identity number – not relevant at the initial application stage. If you do choose to include it, list it as “Teudat Zehut” and not Identity Number. When you use Hebrew terms, it shows that you are familiar with local Hebrew jargon which, in turn, means you have better Hebrew skills.
- If you are a foreign resident, with a work permit, mention that.
- Marital status + number of dependent children – this is another topic that can be left off and discussed at the interview.
- If you are applying for a job as a truck driver, delivery person, a tractor driver or the job posting specifically requires it, then mention details of the driver’s licenses you hold. If not, keep it off your resume.
- Details of army service – again, mention it if it is a specific requirement or if there is some unique and prestigious reason for doing so.
3. Revealing your age
If you are an older job-seeker you need to manipulate dates so that your age is not immediately revealed.
- Keep your birth date off your CV.
- Group past jobs, more than 15 years ago, into a category called ‘Previous Experience’
- Year of Aliyah – the date of your Aliyah could also be a clue to your age. So, no need to specifically mention it if you are an older job seeker.
- Date of birth keep this off your CV
3. Your work experience in Israel
- Most recent – Company name
- Dates of employment (year – year)
- Role within the company (2 line description is sufficient – keep it short and to the point)
- Previous positions in Israel in descending date order
When describing your experience in Israel, for example, it is sufficient to say:-
(Year – year), (Company name), (Company type), (Location), (Position), (Main duties)
Example: 2019 -2021, Moneymakers Inc., Investment Brokerage, P.A to CEO. Duties including; correspondence, appointment management, travel arrangements, conference planning [or other as specifically outlined in the job listing]
4. Work experience abroad
If you have been working in Israel for around 15 years it is not necessary to go into too much detail about your past work experience unless it is specifically relevant to the job you are applying for now.
When describing your experience abroad, it is sufficient to group and list your experience like this:
- Cyber Security Team Leader for the largest internet provider in Australia
- Software Engineer – entry level position for a Melbourne based start-up in the bio-tech industry
- Freelance WordPress website developer specializing in eCommerce sites
Unless your experience abroad is with an internationally renowned company or organization like Price Waterhouse, Goldman Saks, Deutsche Bank or similar, keep the company’s name off your CV. It is meaningless to write that you were employed by ‘Jack Cohen & Sons’.
Your highest degree first, university and year of graduation followed by other degrees and diplomas
Only professional or academic awards or accolades should be included.
7. Language skills
One line on your resume, is sufficient:
- Mother tongue language first
- Second language and level; like mother tongue, advanced (spoken, reading, written), intermediate or beginner
- Third language; advanced (spoken, reading, written), intermediate or beginner
Example: English – Mother tongue, Hebrew – Advanced, Mandarin – Beginner
No need to mention a third language if it is an obscure one and not a specific requirement of the job. Telling a potential employer that you speak Gujerati or Xhosa, is not relevant.
Of course, if you are applying for a job that requires you to communicate with companies abroad, then it is important to mention those.
If you are applying for a position where your language skills are of prime importance, move this section to 3 or 4.
8. Computer skills
- Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite is a basic requirement for most jobs. Some job listings specifically want experienced Excel or PowerPoint users.
- Customer service platforms
- Bookkeeping or accounting programs
- Programming or website skills in detail, if relevant
Again, if you are applying for a position where your computer skills are of prime importance, move this section to 3 or 4.
9. Hobbies, voluntary or community work
Everyone has a hobby of some sort but even the most unusual of hobbies does not give you an edge.
If your voluntary or community work is NOT relevant to the position you are applying for, keep it off your resume.
10. Publications and directorships
Where applicable, on a separate page
- Suggested length of resume – 1 page is preferable, 2 is the maximum
- Font: Arial 12 or 11 (no smaller)
- Hebrew resume are appropriate for certain jobs but in some specific fields it is not necessary.
- Assume that your prospective employee will ‘Google’ you. Build a LinkedIn profile. Use websites like about.me or build your own website (www.joecohen.com) to build a professional online presence.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile backs up your resume.
- Filter your images and postings on Facebook if they could affect your application.
- Customize your resume for each job application and make sure you proofread it. Submit your resume in PDF format.
- An ‘Equal opportunity employment law does exist in Israel however, your age could be against you. Leave your birthdate off your CV.
- Pay attention to the name and date of your resume document – it must be current; don’t just call it ‘resume – April 2015’. It is better to call it: (My full name) – Resume – Current Date (month and year) – (English/Hebrew)
Do NOT include:
- Stay away from fancy resume templates, formatting and colored text
- Photographs of yourself – this is common in some countries but it has no value on your Israel resume.
- Original diplomas and documentation
- Salary expectations (unless specifically requested)
- Abbreviations – be careful with this as they may not be clearly understood, for example – M.D. may mean Managing Director to some and to others it could be understood as Doctor of Medicine.
- References – make mention that you have them but do not attach them, they can be provided at a later stage.
- Goals and objectives; your only goal and objective is to find a job, we know this otherwise you would not be submitting a CV. Avoid blowing your own trumpet or trying to impress with fancy language and confusing ideas.