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.