Immigrating to Israel or making aliya? Here's what you'll need to prepare your resume for the Israeli job market.
This is a guest post by Leah Aharoni.
As you are embarking on your job search in Israel, the first order of business should be putting together a well-built CV.
CV (in Hebrew korot chaim, sometimes abbreviated as קו”ח) stands for Curriculum Vitae and it is the Israeli equivalent of the familiar resume.
While your existing resume already contains much of the information that Israeli hiring managers will want to see, you'll need to make certain changes to reflect the cultural differences between the countries.
Unless a (Hebrew) wanted ad specifically calls for a CV in English, you absolutely have to translate it into Hebrew (it's a rare HR staffer that will take the time to plow through two pages of English, when she has a dozen of applications in her native Hebrew).
Before we delve into the unique characteristics of an Israeli CV, let's review some basics that should be included in any job applicant's marketing document.
Format – while both chronological and functional CVs are used in Israel, if you have a solid career development path with no significant gaps, stick to the chronological format. On the other hand, if you are new to the market or have prolonged stretches of unemployment, the functional format may be the right one for you.
Length – Keep it short. The ideal length for a CV is one page (two pages if you have very extensive experience). Still, don't be tempted to squeeze in as many details as possible. Pick and choose to display only the most compelling information that will present you in the best light (without sacrificing integrity).
Content – one bill does not fit all. Be sure to customize your CV for each job application. For example, if your academic training is more relevant to the vacancy than your work experience, put that first. On the other hand, if your degree is in an unrelated field, list it after professional experience.
Coordinates – Make it easy to reach you. List all communication methods by which you can be reached, including your cell phone number and email.
What makes an Israeli CV different
Now let's look at some peculiarities of an Israeli CV:
Personal information – personal information, including date of birth, place of birth, and date of aliya should appear right after complete contact information. Contrary to a popular belief, you do not have to provide all your personal details (marital status, number of children, etc). However, if you think this to be to your advantage for a particular position, by all means do so. (By the way, personal issues that may affect your work are very likely to come up during the interview, so prepare satisfactory answers ahead of time).
Profile and objective – these sections are not necessary on a CV. To the contrary, Israelis have little patience for applicants tooting their own horns. If you have something to showcase, do that in your experience and skills sections.
Voice – while in the US, a resume is always written in third person singular, in Israel it is fine to write in first person.
Army service – if you have served in the IDF, make sure to provide this information, including corps and rank, after the education section.
Languages -as you have probably noticed, Israel is a multi-cultural society, and employers prize multilingual workers. Make sure to provide details regarding your Hebrew level to alleviate any concerns about your communication abilities. Also, if you still remember some high-school Spanish or French, put that on the CV as well (be sure to provide accurate information about your fluency level).
Driver's license – many vacancies list a driver's license among the requirements. Note this information, if relevant.
Basic Israeli CV template
Here is a basic template for writing a chronological CV:
Contact information (name, address, landline and cell phone numbers, email address)
Personal information (date of birth, place of birth, date of aliya)
Army service (if any)
Driver's license (if relevant)
View samples of Israeli CVs.
Common errors when translating your resume into Hebrew
If you decide to translate your CV by yourself, here are some pitfalls to avoid.
Do not translate literally – translation is about relating ideas, not words. Be sure to find the appropriate Hebrew expression for the idea you are trying to express. For example, if you worked as a C-level executive assistant do not write ozer menahel beramat si (as ridiculous as that sounds, I am writing from experience).
Find the right counterpart – in the same vein, your job responsibilities must resonate with Israeli employers. Often, same positions involve different procedures in various countries, so it might be worthwhile checking with an Israeli colleague whether your position in Israel involves the same tasks as it did abroad, and if not, what are the closest counterparts.
College and company names – the question of whether to list school and company names in English or in Hebrew is a tricky one. While you don't want to discourage the reader with too much English, if you went to a well-known school or worked for a household name brand, you want to achieve brand recognition, which may not necessarily happen if you transcribe the company name into Hebrew.
Put things into context – chances are the hiring manager will not appreciate the significance of certain information on your CV. If, for example, your former employer led the pack in its field in your native country, note that somewhere in your document. Try to look at things from an Israeli perspective (or consult an Israeli friend) to make sure everything is crystal clear.
Get a proofreader – Finally, even if your Hebrew is fabulous, ask a native speaker to proofread your CV to prevent embarrassing mistakes or culturally-inappropriate usage.
About the author
Leah Aharoni is the owner of AQText Translation Services. For years, she has combined her HR experience with in-depth understanding of cultural and linguistic differences to help dozens of new olim get their job search off to a good start. If you have any questions, follow Leah on Twitter @leah_aharoni.
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