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the truth about your resume

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legal warning: The information here should not be understood legally as financial advice. If you believe anything on this site is in error, please contact me. I am always open to corrections, new ideas, and new opinions...

The toughest thing I did in Israel ever was to find a stable job.  Much of my time, effort, money and sanity was spent on finding a job.  I wasted countless hours with headhunters, recruiters, and job search groups with simulations and resume writing tips.  And the reason that the headhunters and HR people didn’t help significantly was quite simple in hindsight.  The assumption of these people is that you are not attractive enough for the job market, or else that you need to change something to suit it.  For them it was a simple equation: me + a bit of designing by them  = job.

What frustrated me most was their stressing my resume.  My resume looked nice and was designed with the help of an HR “expert” from day one.  Every time I met another HR “expert” he or she would always began with “oh no this is horrible, you need to do this this, this, this, and that.”  Each one was just saying that the HR person before him or her was an idiot and THIS new way will make it all better.  But the truth is that your resume is not that important.  It should be clear, simple, and even in Hebrew, but really, no one cares about your resume.  Unless it looked like a monkey smeared it on a wall not harm you, but it certainly won’t help you.

There are only two things that can make you more stand out significantly for a job during a recession:  protexia and willingness to work for less.

Protexia:  This means that you know someone in the place you are applying to work at and have some sort of “in.”  According to one HR “expert” I met, 85% of job in Israel are found through some sort of protexia.  While the number seems a bit exaggerated, it does have a strong feeling of truth.  When I researched my thesis in business school (it was on Israeli management), one theme that came up over and over again was how influential protexia is.  Talk to people at shul, meet people online, walk door to door and introduce yourself to businesses (I actually did this in Petah Tikvah.)  The point is meet people and talk with them.  Just looking online will not be enough.  If you’re looking for some ideas, here is an article I wrote for another blog about how I expanded my network during my job search and ended up finding a job.

Work for less:  It is the employers’ market and they are choosing the cheapest option in order to keep costs down.  Most employers don’t give a hoot if you can offer more than what the job needs; paying for an *extra* is nice, but unnecessary.  Do not keep a high standard of pay.  The time that you will be wasting by looking (if you can indeed get a job at all) is more than offset by the extra time you’re working at the lower paying job.  Try to get a stable job, even if is in a lower paying environment.

Consider various types of payments your job can offer you.  Sometimes a job cannot pay more, but will be flexible with time and vacations.  There is no company car, but maybe it will be in walking distance.  Remember to package the entire job and look at how much it is worth to you.

I know the job search in tough.  It took me months and no quick fix could make it happen.  But by sticking in there and following some practical advice you could save yourself some wasted time and sanity.


  1. Yonatan Maisel says:

    Amen brother!
    You hit the nail right on the head. There is an old expression, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Nowhere have I found this more to be true than here in Israel. In one sense, it helps good candidates when looking for a job; in another sense, it allows inexperienced, incapable, unqualified people to get jobs which they should in no way be considered for, much to the detriment of the government and businesses.
    I am glad to hear that you have found a stable job, a huge challenge here. I wish you all of the best and success in all of your endeavors!

  2. nonprofitbanker says:

    Jonny, you hit on some great points. I remember my first job hunt very well, and it very much resembled your experiences (unfortunately). This is why many people recommend making aliyah when a couple is still young with fewer expenses. The most important thing is getting that first job. And this could mean working for less than what was originally thought. Many companies will start new olim at the bottom of the food chain, unless the oleh is an expert in his or her field. The good news is that once an oleh gets that first job, the challenge of finding the next job does become easier.
    – Shuey

  3. […] An interesting posting on someone else’s blog about finding a job. […]

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