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  • Snagging that Osaka job before coming over

    I had posted on another board regarding corporate teaching jobs in Osaka and got a lot of helpful links. Now for the next step.

    I am thinking of applying directly to those companies that farm teachers out to corporate sites. It's given that if I see a job ad from one of them, I will apply through the ad. But my first line of thinking is 'what kinds of questions should I ask them before I send them a cover letter and resume?' I'd like to get more dirt on the industry from them before I apply to them. Know before you go.

    First, a little about me. 34 yo American with an MA in English, a year to go in an MA in Education, RSA CTEFL cert, FTBE (Internatl House Biz English cert), three years teaching experience at eikawa in Japan, speaks some Japanese but will be taking courses once back in Japan. (Not something I will share to future employers, though. they will expect me to be available for them, which I will be.) Coming under my own steam, will not need gaurantor for apartment, will need a visa sponsor.

    Second, a little about what I am looking for. Corporate English training position, stable hours (such as they are in this economy), better than eikawa pay (as much as I can expect, see last comment), visa sponsor. Located in Osaka and immediate environs.

    See? I've been reading the forum. I've learned! (thanks Paulh and Glenski for setting the format.)

    Below is some idea of what I could say to one of the dispatch companies (ie, ALC or Phoenix, et al) but I don't really like any of them if truth be told. What would be more appropriate questions to ask them? Should I even include a resume until I am ready to send them a cover letter? That sort of stuff has me scratching my head:


    "In the past, you have advertised for single company assignments or part time teaching with an option to sponsor the instructor (Kansai Time Out/GaijinPot.com). Now that you have a bit of an idea of my background (also, I have incl a copy of my resume for your convenience), could you answer a few questions for me. I don't know what volume of clients you see coming into your office and how much work you provide for your instructors; having voiced that:
    1. Do you try to send the instructors to one regular assignment, or
    2. Do you piece together part time assignments to create a full time load for the instructor?
    3. Do you still offer the option to sponsor a visa?
    4. What would be a typical schedule and employment arrangement for a full time instructor (I am speaking of mornings, evenings, split shifts, and also salaries or hourly wages, benefits, bonuses, etc.)?
    5. On the understanding that you will not be responsible for my airfare or my housing (I will be taking care of these expenses), what other assistance does your company provide for your foreign instructors?
    6. Is there an _____ instructor I may email for a reference? One is enough and the contact will only happen once."

    Also, if anyone is willing to take a look at my resume, please let me know. Any help you can give is already appreciated in advance.

    Domo.

    Otakufreak

  • #2
    If that type of questioning is what you intend to put in your initial letter of inquiry, I wouldn't be surprised if you NEVER heard from anyone. Far too inquisitive and pushy for an initial contact. Get your foot in the door first.

    Comment


    • #3
      Glenski, clarification

      Originally posted by Glenski
      If that type of questioning is what you intend to put in your initial letter of inquiry, I wouldn't be surprised if you NEVER heard from anyone. Far too inquisitive and pushy for an initial contact. Get your foot in the door first.
      By 'get your foot in the door', what do you mean? Send a resume and cover letter first? Get hired first? Pls clarify.

      Yes, the questions are weird to me. How about, since I would like to inquire from some of the companies, what would be appropriate questions to ask?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by otakufreak
        By 'get your foot in the door', what do you mean? Send a resume and cover letter first? Get hired first? Pls clarify.

        Yes, the questions are weird to me. How about, since I would like to inquire from some of the companies, what would be appropriate questions to ask?
        I was going to respond earlier bit I thought I would collect my thoughts.

        I agree with Glenski.

        You are asking them to take a chance on you, offer you sponsorship, accomodation, the whole nine yards, MY guess is a majority will not hire you from outside the country without meeting you first. A few do over-the-phone interviews but i would be very wary of those. You will have to give an employer a guaranteed date for being in the country and being able to start work. There are literally thousands of people working here already with degrees, with experience and valid visas, who dont need to fly here first and arent so demanding. Why should they wait 6 weeks for you to get your visa, get on a plane and hopefully turn up to start teaching? What happens if the job is not to your satisfaction? Will you just quit on them? salaries are actually going down here and many companies are trimming the fat, especially in Osaka.


        Dont write or act like the world owes you a living, be more flexible and find out what they are willing to offer you. 'Get your foot in the door, means fly here first, get some experience in an eikaiwa or a teaching job if need be, get your feet wet and start network. A couple of years in an eikaiwa doesnt really mean a hill of beans and there are people with Masters degrees working at NOVA. You have to know people to get into decent jobs a lot of the time, and be in the right place at the right time.

        People wont hire you because they like you but also becuase they found out about you from a friend or an inside contact. Connections MATTER. Pay your dues, get your foot in the door even part time and push it wide open when you have a contact or you have built up your resume here. You will have a much better chance of being hired if you are here already, you meet people or you have someone who can maybe slip you an introduction, even if only a couple of days a week. Dont expect a full time cushy job just to fall into your lap.

        Glenski and I can help you with re-writing your resume if you need it.

        As for learning Japanese thats great, but my experience as with most teaching and corporate jobs is that you wont need it, as schools are paying you to teach English. You wont use Japanese much with your students anyway when teaching though it will help in your daily life. Keep the Japanese study as a hobby as it wont impact your professional life that much.

        Can't really help you with your questions Im afraid as I dont work for a dispatch company but my gut feeling is most of the better known dispatch companies in Osaka I wouldn't trust as far as I could throw them as they take a huge chunk of your salary in commissions and are cheap when it comes to paying vacations and bonus. Stay away from Ziac and Zenken at all costs.
        Last edited by paulh; 2004-12-25, 03:04 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          my first line of thinking is 'what kinds of questions should I ask them before I send them a cover letter and resume?'
          None. If they are not advertising for work, save your time, energy and postage.

          Getting your foot in the door (to use MY definition) means responding to an ad and getting a favorable response instead of "sorry, we can't use you right now" or "sorry, you are not what we are looking for". Favorable means they want to know more about you and/or schedule an interview. THEN, you should ask most of those questions.

          Meanwhile, I'd suggest doing your homework on the various agencies that you wish to work with. Read their web sites, make comparisons, and ask people on these discussion groups about their specific experiences with such places. Then, you will be prepared going into an interview.

          Despite what Paul wrote that "A couple of years in an eikaiwa doesnt really mean a hill of beans", I would have to say that since you already have such experience, plus an MA in Education, you have a lot going for you.

          Comment


          • #6
            revised ?s until later

            Thanks, Glenski, for reading my first post all the way through.

            Given what you and Paulh wrote, I think I understand the approach to this job search. Having already read 'favorable' reviews of two dispatch companies (and another review from an outside contact), I'm just going to keep my eyes peeled for job postings. I've seen one or two.

            Thanks for offering to look at my resume. Should I PM you, Paulh?

            Last thought: say a posting reads 'part time, must have valid visa'. In the States, I would have written a letter or an email applying for a full tiime job even though it tacitly dictates otherwise. I've been so brash yet have actually received work this way. Intrax Institute in SF is one job I got this way. Is this doable in Japan? How should I approach this? Wordage used, etc. Thanks!

            This thread is still open, everyone, please feel free to contribute!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by otakufreak
              Thanks, Glenski, for reading my first post all the way through.

              Given what you and Paulh wrote, I think I understand the approach to this job search. Having already read 'favorable' reviews of two dispatch companies (and another review from an outside contact), I'm just going to keep my eyes peeled for job postings. I've seen one or two.

              Thanks for offering to look at my resume. Should I PM you, Paulh?

              Last thought: say a posting reads 'part time, must have valid visa'. In the States, I would have written a letter or an email applying for a full tiime job even though it tacitly dictates otherwise. I've been so brash yet have actually received work this way. Intrax Institute in SF is one job I got this way. Is this doable in Japan? How should I approach this? Wordage used, etc. Thanks!

              This thread is still open, everyone, please feel free to contribute!

              Employers here will not sponsor part time workers. that means you have to be employed full time somewhere, taking on extra work, or have left your job and freelancing until your visa expires. that usually means you have to be in Japan already, rather than try and apply from the US.

              If they are not advertising for full time its unlikely you will get a full time job straight off but no harm in asking. Anyway you will still need the visa and its possible they may not sponsor you if you are part time. Like Glenski says, get your foot in the door, work at a school part time and they may upgrade you if a position opens up. Unlikely they will offer you a full slate of classes teaching company classes with no sponsorship while you are still overseas. How do you plan to attend an interview?

              Comment


              • #8
                Getting that job in Osaka

                Originally posted by paulh
                Unlikely they will offer you a full slate of classes teaching company classes with no sponsorship while you are still overseas. How do you plan to attend an interview?
                Hypothetically, I would let them know when I would be in Japan so they could schedule an interview if they desired. But I've had overseas telephone interviews before (once for a job in Korea and another in Taiwan).

                Okay, so scratch off questions having to do with fulltime/parttime status. Any other questions I could ask companies?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by otakufreak
                  Hypothetically, I would let them know when I would be in Japan so they could schedule an interview if they desired. But I've had overseas telephone interviews before (once for a job in Korea and another in Taiwan).

                  Okay, so scratch off questions having to do with fulltime/parttime status. Any other questions I could ask companies?
                  Otaku, this may sound like Im flogging a dead horse here, but there is such a thing as asking too many questions, and being 'pushy' as Glenski mentioned and rather than giving them the third degree inquisition (as though you are thinking of employing them) by "crossing your i's and dotting your "t's", the onus is really on you to do your homework on a particular company rather than assault them with questions. There is nothing at all mysterious about teaching at companies and its unlikely you will get everything that you ask for from one company. If they are serious about you they will show you a copy of the contract of what they offer and then see whether its something you can live with. They may let you contact teachers who are working for them and they may be accomodating if you show you have dont your homework on the company and show an interest in working for them, rather than interrogating them to see if you want to work for them.

                  They will have their own corporate culture, their own way of doing things (though working conditions may vary and not always to your advantage) and they will not change for you so its up to you to find out what their reputation is like, ask around and go on faith a little bit. Their relationship with their clients will by necessity be more important than keep their teachers happy (who after all can be replaced, whereas corporate clients can't with ease)

                  You will still need to come here, get set up and contact some of these companies, but there is still no guarantee you will get hired even if you do have an interview. You can show them what you have, your experience and Masters etc, and if they like you they will consider you. If they dont consider you a good fit they wont hire you. There are definitely no guarantees in life , so Im just giving you a reality check.

                  They will answer your questions if you have them but more often than not they will give you the glossy corporate sales spiel. You only need to look at NOVA and GEOS websites for that.. I think you have covered most of the bases with what you need to know, and its unlikely they will guarantee you a spot even if you fly here for interviews. You will really just have to take your chances like everyone else. I think by now you have a fairly good idea of what to expect, and really the rest is up to you.


                  From what I read the job search generally is extremely tight in Osaka now, alot of competition) though I dont know how hard it is to find company classes and my guess is many corporate companies have cut back on English classes for their workers because of the recession. The corporate dispatch companies cut back on classes for teachers and perhaps are cutting back on working conditions as well. I know that for many dispatch companies that send teachers t high schools for example its not much better than slave labor in places and they have many union problems as well.


                  My guess is that teaching companies is a pretty closed shop these days (and thats only a guess here) , and there are only a few big companies that send out teachers to work in companies and many of those teachers are working part time or combine it with other jobs. I somehow doubt there are that many who make a full time living just out of teaching companies and those that are are extremely lucky and not likely to give them up.

                  I did a quick search and came up with Sumikin They seem to be the biggest employer of corporate trainers. You may want to try them for interviews. Sumikin are in Osaka.

                  http://www.sumikin-intercom.com/e/recruitment.aspx

                  PS Just a word of advice. Knowing how to teach TOEIC may go a long way as many organisations train their employees to take the test and any skills you have in testing will be useful in the future and in landing jobs.
                  Last edited by paulh; 2004-12-27, 11:07 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    pretty much on the same page

                    1. I am clear on the news that the job market is tight in Osaka (thanks for the link to sumikin).
                    2. Even if I don't have questions at the initial stage, I will have questions during the interview stage...so, again, I'm gunning for what is considered appropriate here.
                    3. I'd rather not do the eikaiwa thing and then quit after two months just for the work visa.

                    There seems to be a minor point being missed here. I am asking for assistance precisely so I DON'T seem pushy. You see, when I worked in Japan I worked at an eikaiwa. There wasn't a real interview process, truth be told. However, I had questions when I scouted schools in the States. I also had questions when I had my interviews. When I was hired, I knew exactly what I was getting into. Except for the part about getting laid off.

                    But I have NEVER been through this process in Japan. And the forums only provide a glimpse into what I should expect in the very specific market I have in mind. So, thanks for the comments; more suggestions are appreciated, by which I mean 'otaku...do THIS/write it like THIS/look HERE.' The 'don'ts' also work just as well. (Paulh, your PM had a lot of this and it really helps.) Let's move away from 'here's the situation' and get back to 'here's an idea or two of what to do.'

                    It is possible that I won't ask any questions. I may only answer questions from potential employers. I may try to figure it out as I go along. Wouldn't it be nice if I could apply for a job with a company already knowing something about their/my realistic expectations, instead of going on forum rumor/company spiel?
                    ____________
                    This is what I have so far:
                    1. No questions re: FT or PT status,
                    2. Come over blind,
                    3. Apply through ads (as opposed to canvassing all the dispatch co.s in the area).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Even if I don't have questions at the initial stage, I will have questions during the interview stage
                      That's what I wanted to hear you say. Up until now, I thought you were simply going to cold call people with all of those questions.

                      1. Do you try to send the instructors to one regular assignment, or
                      2. Do you piece together part time assignments to create a full time load for the instructor?
                      3. Do you still offer the option to sponsor a visa?
                      4. What would be a typical schedule and employment arrangement for a full time instructor (I am speaking of mornings, evenings, split shifts, and also salaries or hourly wages, benefits, bonuses, etc.)?
                      5. On the understanding that you will not be responsible for my airfare or my housing (I will be taking care of these expenses), what other assistance does your company provide for your foreign instructors?
                      6. Is there an _____ instructor I may email for a reference? One is enough and the contact will only happen once."
                      For what it's worth, I think these are all valid questions at the interview stage. Not before. Of course, your point 4 should be separated into schedule related concerns and the benefit related concerns.

                      Additional questions?
                      Overtime
                      Paid local transportation
                      Textbook title and teaching format
                      Size of classes
                      Level of students (particularly, level within one class; I predict a mixed bag)
                      Attendance rate of students (considering work schedules, I predict a varied response)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks, Glenski

                        I now have, from both you and Paulh, a lot of material I can work with. And, I hope, I still have a lot of runway since I'm not planning to go over until March.

                        Once I'm there, and I see an ad but it's for part time, is it audacious of me to call the contact person if the contact person is a Westerner (English ability) and simply ask the flexibility of the job status and for their input before applying?

                        The obvious answer: no. Precedent: yes. I taught one class for one semester but only after having asked "hey, it's only one class, what are the odds that--should you like what I do--this could be a full time gig?" The response was sure, okay, whatever. But I went full time after one term. True, I lost the job after the second semester but so did my contact person. Blame the economy, an angry god, whatever you like. However, I'm a rookie in a big playing field. Would this fly in Japan? Before you chastize me, I am really hesitant to ask anyway. But if it works, it ups the chances, don't it.
                        Update: my contact who once worked with Phoenix says I may ask but w/o pressure. I'm still hesitant.

                        Off topic: I'm watching footage of the tsunami in SW Asia. This is absolutely awful! I'm watching waves of mud that are freakish. I just saw an entire beach resort wiped clean, no buildings, some I'm sure had people in them. This is so terribly, terribly sad.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you are responding to an ad for PT work, there is very little chance that you would get visa sponsorship, but if you got several PT jobs, you might be able to use them for self-sponsorship. Prove that you can make enough money (a figure that's flexible from immigration agent to agent), and you are in.

                          Otherwise, if a foreigner answers the phone (and you KNOW it's a fellow foreigner, not just some highly fluent Japanese person, mind you), I see no harm in testing the waters as you suggested.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by otakufreak
                            IOff topic: I'm watching footage of the tsunami in SW Asia. This is absolutely awful! I'm watching waves of mud that are freakish. I just saw an entire beach resort wiped clean, no buildings, some I'm sure had people in them. This is so terribly, terribly sad.
                            Just read the headlines and something like 4,000 people got washed away on the beaches and coastline or killed, and its likely it will be double that number in the coming days. Phi-Phi Resort in Thailand where Leonard di Caprios "Beach" movie was filmed and Phuket were totally obliterated. 20 foot waves just took away the chalets and bungalows and bodies were found perched in trees.

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