An internship in Israel means being thrown to the wolves, in the most beneficial way. You didn’t spend your internship grabbing Starbucks for a stuffy CEO sitting in a 20th-floor office; you spent your internship conducting market research to launch the latest biomedical device to save lives. You were treated more as an equal rather than an intern.
The question is now, how do you communicate your Israel experience to potential employers when you’re back stateside? They may have a slew of questions for you that range from:
“Why did you choose Israel?”
“Weren’t you scared of being in the Middle East?”
Be sure your internship in Israel lands you your dream job and excels your career above and beyond.
Follow our guidelines for portraying your Israeli internship effectively in interviews:
1. Be sure to communicate you were more than an intern. Explain to the interviewer that there is no such thing as interns in Israel and when you showed up for your first day of work (whether you’re at a non-profit, startup, or research company) you were treated like a real employee. In Israel, interns get in on the ground floor.
You were given projects that you were solely responsible for finding the solutions for.
You were part of the team and that your feedback on projects and strategies was valued.
If your mistake cost the company money or negativity in any way you owned it and also fixed it.
Your days were spent completing tasks that would determine the company’s future outcomes.
2. Describe, in the depth the Israeli work ethic, which you are now obsessed with. Show your boss that the new Sabra attitude you’ve acquired will be an asset to their team.
Explain to him that the Israeli mentality of working 10-12 hour days is your new normal, and you’re prepared to stay until the project is completed.
Touch on the fact the startup scene in Israel (and almost any company in Israel) has an organizational structure of chaos – but in some crazy way it works. From working in this environment of utter chaos, you know how to manage yourself and set personal goals in any atmosphere to be the most productive.
3. After spending a significant amount of time in Israel you’ve noticed Americans are almost too polite, and you’d rather stick with the “Israeliness” of being direct.
Explain to your potential employer that being in an environment where nothing is ever sugar-coated has heightened your self-confidence and you aren’t scared to share ideas, speak up and voice your opinion.
4. In Israel, the terms “impossible” and “it can’t be done” simply don’t exist.
A great aspect you’ve gained while being in Israel is that you’ve mastered the art of hacking. Going back to point number one, you were never treated as an intern, you were given real projects from day one and figured everything out on your own even if you had no idea what you were doing.
Describe the awesome projects and outcomes you had while interning in Israel – you’ll knock the socks off your interviewers.
Now let’s get into the trickier side of interview questions, like “why would you intern in Israel.”
First, start by explaining that it’s unbelievable for a country that is only 68-years-old to be as advanced in business, technology, healthcare and agriculture as they are. Not to mention that Israel has to be one of the most diverse countries since people from Africa, South America, Europe, Australia and even Asia call it home.
Next, you could point out that the cell phone which you’ve been emailing the potential boss on was invented in Israel, along with the 4G he’s so in love with and the voicemail service the company is currently using is also a product of Israel.
Besides all of this, there’s no better place to dive face first into innovation than the country who built the Startup Nation in a little less than 15 years. Plus, that cherry tomato this guy always gets on his salad, that’s an Israeli invention too.
As I said before, your internship in Israel should take your career above and beyond. Don’t let it go to waste and be sure to highlight the fact you spent time in the land that’s not only flowing with milk and honey but innovation too.
Looking for more specifics on how to portray your Israel experience? Check out our points below:
1. Scenario: You work at an organization that aids African refugees and helps newcomers to Israel find the support they need.
Resume Line: Coordinated projects for international NGO to aid absorption of refugees from Darfur, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.
2. Scenario: You volunteered in low-income immigrant neighborhoods and organized youth group activities.
Resume Line: Coordinate youth groups for 60 at-risk teens in Petach Tikqva to promote healthy relationships and community building.
3. Scenario: You spend four hours each day for the first month of your internship program in an intensive Hebrew course. Five months later, you’re a pro at ordering in restaurants, bargaining in the market, and chatting with the cab drivers.
Resume line: Developed near-fluency in spoken Hebrew within five months, proficient in reading and writing.
4. Scenario: You interned for a start-up and helped with their marketing efforts in launching their newest product.
Resume Line: Created and implemented a social media strategy across multiple platforms to launch XXX’s latest app. Through the product launch, the startup successfully secured venture capital.
5. Scenario: You spent five months interning at Google in the software engineering department
Resume Line: Researched, conceived and developed five software applications to extend and improve on Google’s product offering.
6. Scenario: You spent five months creating blogs and editing photos and videos for an Israeli news site.
Resume Line: One Line Content Associate who wrote daily blogs and edited photos and videos to deliver quality news content to English-speakers in Israel and throughout the world.
7. Scenario: You devoured the internet for information about your employer’s future sales processes.
Resume Line: Identified quality leads and prospects through the company database and conducted independent research and network analysis of competitors.
Written by Andria Kaplan-Aylyarov
Andria is a Masa Israel Alumna and content marketing specialist for Masa Israel Journey. She loves a good glass of white wine and wishes she was 85-years-old and living in Boca, but she currently resides in New York.