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  • Another soon-to-be graduate.

    Hi everybody.

    Beware, this is a long post (being serious here).
    So I'm another graduate who is looking to go to Japan (Tokyo, to be precise) after my university ends. I have done some research already but I'm wondering if there's anything that I have missed out that you guys might know of.
    I'm doing a BA Management and Japanese at a decent UK university and I spent last year in Tokyo as my year abroad program. I'd say that my current level of Japanese is nearing JLPT 2 (haven't taken the test though, but our course is one of the strongest in the UK). During my studies, I've acquired quite a bit of work experience, namely: Assistant Manager/Team leader in a massive high street pub (in 2nd year and now in 4th year, nearly 2 years altogether; been working full-time (40h per week) the whole time); Research specialist type intern for an international company dealing with alternative energy (1 month); Teaching Japanese to beginners + organizing all the classes, finding students, a bit of marketing etc (a 10 week course); Right after high school I was a subtitler, English to my native language (nothing major + I've looked into it, no company in Japan really cares about my country haha). And I'm actually also part-owner of a company so I've done some work for that, but whether or not it will work out in a longer term is yet unknown so this isn't as important for now (we just started). I'm fairly good with computers and IT (not the engineering part, more like on the creative side), if that helps..

    I have CVs up on careerscross and dai job and some others and I've received altogether 3 scout e-mails. 2 of them didn't work out for various reasons and waiting to hear back from the 3rd one.
    I also intend to go to the London Careerforum in June.

    Even though I've done teaching before, I don't think that's really what I would like to do in Japan. A) I'd like to utilize my degree in the end and B) I'm not a native speaker, so all the really good places wouldn't even look at me (even though I consider my English to be native-level). I know that some people go to Japan first as teachers and then look for other lines of work and that is my plan B, but if possible, I still wouldn't go that way.

    I think I have more experience compared to other graduates, but I know it might be a negative point, seeing as Japanese companies tend to want "fresh" people so they could mold them the way they want to..

    The industry I'd want to work in.. I'm not 100% sure. As in, I don't have any specific dreams.. I've always liked finance and maths, I have more than enough experience in a customer-facing role (for a graduate) and as said, I'm quite into the creative side of the Internets (Photoshop and all that). Basically, right now I'm just looking around to see what's on offer and then decide whether it'd work for me or not. But well, I can't be too picky, can I?

    Another option would be to go to Tokyo, do networking etc and find a job that way but because there's no guarantee I will land a job that way, I cannot afford it. I know people will tell me to work in my home country or somewhere else for a little while and then go but.. I'd rather go while I'm still young and I know I want to go. Besides, if I wait another 5 years, I'll be 27 then, possibly with some family prospects etc... Basically, if I go at all, I'd want to go now. (Though let's be fair, I'd probably still go a bit later as well, if I really can't find anything now..).

    So tl;dr - Anything else anyone recommends me to do? Other websites? Other careerforum-style things (preferably somewhere in the UK or Europe in general)? Companies to check out? Any other ideas?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    You will probably find it quite difficult to find a job in Tokyo when you are looking for something that just isn't teaching English. You will be competing with all the other people doing the same thing, as well as with most English teachers. The best way to get a job not teaching in Japan is to get certified and get a few years experience in the field you want, then for to Japan and look for a job in that field. This way, you will have the certification, as well as the experience, which will put you in a stronger position than those people who are just looking for anything.

    Actually that's true of the world in general, but particularly in Tokyo where you are not a native speaker and will also be competing with the natives who are native speakers.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply.
      I'm quite aware of that but well - there are other graduates who have managed to get to Japan without any experience (basically AE type stuff, but I've obviously missed that + I wouldn't be in Japan for the group interviews anyway (although I did sign myself up to Rikunabi ages ago and got lots of invitations, but I couldn't have attended any of those seminars).
      So I was just wondering if anyone here maybe got straight to Japan after graduation and wanted to share their knowledge.

      Seeing as I've had 3 scout mails as well, it's not like no one wants a foreign graduate - the interest is there (although I admit, maybe getting 3 within a month isn't a massive number), it's just a matter of.. well, finding the right options I guess.

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't really know how that changes what I said, but anyways, here is a thread by a guy who was successful in finding a job - maybe you can contact him: http://forum.gaijinpot.com/showthrea...light=graduate

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by user_L View Post
          Seeing as I've had 3 scout mails as well, it's not like no one wants a foreign graduate - the interest is there (although I admit, maybe getting 3 within a month isn't a massive number), it's just a matter of.. well, finding the right options I guess.
          Just looking at your resume it seems to be all over the place with no clear indication of what you actually want to do for a company once you get here. Its more like you are more in love with the idea of working in Japan than on what you will actually be able to do.

          You are not a lot of use to people unless you can actually quantify your skills and have a clear idea of what kind of job you are aiming for. Japanese companies will train you in their business but they need to have a clear idea of what you bring to the table and how you will add value to their business.

          I guess its also about learning how to package yourself better rather than throwing mud at walls and hoping some sticks.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah, I've seen that one (I've been lurking around on this forum for a while now). He went to a Careerforum as well, only that he went to the Boston one which is a lot bigger than the London one.

            And I do understand your point about gaining experience outside first (I wasn't trying to argue back, just explaining my point), but well.. as said, there's others who have managed to get there as fresh graduates so I won't give up without trying. (Of course I'm not a blind idiot - if I won't find anything by the end of summer, I'll try and get a job in home country for now).

            Comment


            • #7
              KansaiBen,

              "Looking at your resume"? By that you mean, looking at my original post? Or you've actually found my resume?

              And as much as I love the idea of working in Japan, it's not that I go there only to do that - if that was the case, I'd take teaching English as my plan A, as that one would probably be the "easiest". I'd want to have a career and be good at what I do. The only problem I'm facing is that when Japanese companies recruit graduates, it doesn't really matter what exactly they studied in university (as long as it's not something like engineering or medicine etc). Most adverts say they're looking for graduates from any discipline. Basically what I want to say is - I do have my own hopes and dreams of doing something specific (finance), but knowing the Japanese recruitment process + the fact that I'm a foreign graduate, I don't want to be too picky.

              Comment


              • #8
                You will be fine if you aren't picky, but count on teaching English at some crummy eikaiwa as a likely outcome. Japanese hiring managers are quite skeptical to invest in someone without experience in country, it's a dangerous gamble for them. Will you have a visa when you come here? Are you fully conversational in Japanese? Do you have actual work experience in a particular industry?

                I will say now that I came here a few months back, and I speak absolutely no Japanese and work in IT here. But I am the exception rather than a rule of people I know.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by user_L View Post
                  And I do understand your point about gaining experience outside first (I wasn't trying to argue back, just explaining my point), but well.. as said, there's others who have managed to get there as fresh graduates so I won't give up without trying. (Of course I'm not a blind idiot - if I won't find anything by the end of summer, I'll try and get a job in home country for now).
                  Can I ask what these fresh graduates did when they got here? Did any of them teach English initially? They have the advantage also of being native speakers of English. You mentioned above you are not a native speaker of English and were an international student. Im not sure working full time in a pub for 2 years counts for very much when looking for jobs here. You may also have visa issues depending on your nationality.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Firstly no, I won't have a visa, I'd need visa sponsoring. But I shouldn't have any issues with it, once I get a company willing to sponsor one for me, EU country and all that.

                    I'd say working in a pub (I know it doesn't sound too good..) is my "experience" though. If I was just bar staff, I wouldn't mention it so much, but seeing as I've been part of the marketing and management issues, it's better than nothing?
                    Am I fully conversational? I'm not native level, no. I can hold a conversation with friends, if I have to write a 10minute presentation for university work, then I can do it with the help of a dictionary of course. I do need to practice keigo. I can understand the gist of articles in Japanese, my main problem being kanji.

                    I have no other work experience - I'm a graduate, so technically it's not to be expected..

                    And coolgaijin, did you have work experience before you went to Japan? Or were you a graduate? And if so, did you study IT?

                    Kansaiben - I do know graduates who got the JET program or who went to teach English etc, but I was talking about people who went there to work in a regular Japanese company. There isn't a lot of them, but they do exist. And mainly they got there through Careerforums, which is where I'm going as well (getting a job through it isn't guaranteed obviously).



                    On another note - a lot of people say they will go to Japan first as an English teacher and then do some networking etc and then get a "real" job. Is it actually reality that going there that way will be a better guarantee to get a job? Wouldn't I be in a similar position as I am right now (except I'd be in Japan already...)? I mean, graduate - eikawa job - ?? I'd still be applying for a completely different industry so my experience as a teacher still wouldn't count, would it? Or is it really just a matter of having a working visa? Or the matter of having experience in the country?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by user_L View Post
                      On another note - a lot of people say they will go to Japan first as an English teacher and then do some networking etc and then get a "real" job. Is it actually reality that going there that way will be a better guarantee to get a job? Wouldn't I be in a similar position as I am right now (except I'd be in Japan already...)? I mean, graduate - eikawa job - ?? I'd still be applying for a completely different industry so my experience as a teacher still wouldn't count, would it? Or is it really just a matter of having a working visa? Or the matter of having experience in the country?
                      User, I take exceptional offence to your notion that teaching English as a job or a career is not a real job. Teaching is as real as it gets, and in fact pays more than many entry level positions working in a Japanese company. Call it what you want, but I call it elitist snobbery. Your sum total experience is managing a bar and hiring and firing staff, despite the spin you want to put on it. Bar managers are a dime a dozen here and its unlikely you would want to be doing that for a career anyway. Maybe managing people will be useful but you really need to get your teeth into something here and be prepared to start from the ground up- Japanese companies indoctrinate their employees upon hire and mostly they will see you as a blank slate to be molded and shaped like play-dough. If you already see yourself as half-formed it could even make it difficult for you to find work here.

                      There is also this idea that that you somehow feel because you have a fancy management degree that you feel entitled to some kind of high paying job, some career track position that doesnt involve teaching English for a living, as though its something you do as a filler until you find out what you really want to do with your life. It is your choice to go into what ever you want to do with your life but do NOT rubbish or downplay the other choices people make.

                      I will add that my "non-job" of teaching English has kept me employed 25 years, supported a wife and two kids and also paid for my house. A job is a job is a job, its something you do between 9 and 5 and working as a working stiff in a Japanese company is no less a job that teaching as a living.


                      You should also read through the various threads on the ins and outs of working for a Japanese employer. You will find soon enough that its not all that its cracked up to be and you will soon tire of being the perpetual outsider.

                      As a non-native speaker of English you will be on the bottom of many peoples shortlists, unless you have 12 years of your education taught in English, you somehow have a UK passport from long term residency, or you have some other skills that an employer may be interested in. People on JET are hired because they are native speakers- you are not, and that makes all the difference here.
                      Last edited by KansaiBen; 2012-04-27, 11:17 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Kansaiben,
                        I'm sorry if you've misunderstood what I was trying to say. Teaching English (or anything else for that matter) is a job. And it can be a good one.
                        BUT it isn't my career choice. Teaching English in Japan for me would only be a step in between, just as it seems to be for so many others.
                        By writing "and then get a "real" job" - that's exactly what I meant. I didn't mean that the job itself isn't real, I meant that for me, it's not MY final choice as a career.
                        If I were to do teaching, I'd want to do it right - get a certificate, a degree... I don't want to do it just because it would get me to Japan. What would be the point?
                        I don't downplay teaching English as a job, when people take it seriously. I'd downplay the people who do it "just for the fun of it". Just as I'd downplay any other.
                        It's sad that a good career like that has such a stereotype in Japan. I owe a lot to my own English teachers.

                        And I'm not a snob, thank you. I've never said that I have a "fancy management degree" (to be honest, I don't think much of the degree - If I were an employer, I wouldn't really look at what degree somebody has, I think it's one of the worst measures). I know English teaching pays more than entry level jobs, but as said, I do intend to utilize my degree, I didn't pay 10k to use it as a doorway to Japan.

                        And I know you've done it for a long time, I've read the forum enough. Also, there was somebody on this forum who said that he was offered a 12m yen corporate English teaching job - but it's for people who actually know what they are doing.

                        If I was to go to teach in Japan right now, I highly doubt I would make a good teacher - I have barely any skills for it, no certificate, nothing. Why would I rob money from my students and do something that I'm not suitable for?

                        If you still think I'm a snob, then well.. I have nothing else to add unfortunately.


                        EDIT: I'm aware of the positives and the negatives of working for a Japanese employer (also through the eyes of Japanese people themselves). That being said, I haven't worked for one myself, so I can never be 100% sure. And it's not really cracked up to be anything. As you said it yourself, a job is a job. And I think it doesn't matter what country I'd be in.

                        And I know I'll have problems one way or another with English. Even though I could easily pretend I'm from an English speaking country and nobody would realize.. (English people themselves hearing me speak think I'm a native speaker). But there's nothing I can do about. I can't help it that I was born in another country.
                        Last edited by user_L; 2012-04-27, 11:23 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by user_L View Post
                          Kansaiben,
                          I'm sorry if you've misunderstood what I was trying to say. Teaching English (or anything else for that matter) is a job. And it can be a good one.
                          BUT it isn't my career choice. Teaching English in Japan for me would only be a step in between, just as it seems to be for so many others.
                          By writing "and then get a "real" job" - that's exactly what I meant. I didn't mean that the job itself isn't real, I meant that for me, it's not MY final choice as a career.
                          If I were to do teaching, I'd want to do it right - get a certificate, a degree... I don't want to do it just because it would get me to Japan. What would be the point?
                          I don't downplay teaching English as a job, when people take it seriously. I'd downplay the people who do it "just for the fun of it". Just as I'd downplay any other.
                          It's sad that a good career like that has such a stereotype in Japan. I owe a lot to my own English teachers.

                          Then perhaps you should not say you will get a "real" job. Excuse me for being prickly but thats the way it sounds. My "un-real" job pays real salary, pays for real rent and buys me real food, and pays for real things. Its as real as it gets.



                          As for the rest, you say you want to get a job here but are not prepared to attend interviews or seminars in Japan. How exactly do you expect to get hired here? Based on the strength of your resume? Skype interview? Do you have what employers are wanting and what do you actually bring to the table? Sounds a bit cliched but its true. They have thousands of Japanese graduates to choose from, (about 30% currently do not find jobs after graduation) and most foreigners dont even get a look in.

                          Also what are the rules regarding hiring nationals from your country? How easy is it for an employer to sponsor your visa? How easy is it for people with your nationality to work here? (Im only saying that because I would love to work in the US or Canada, but cant due to stringent visa requirements and rules on immigration. You may have experienced the same problems in the UK even )
                          Last edited by KansaiBen; 2012-04-27, 11:31 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by user_L View Post
                            I have no other work experience - I'm a graduate, so technically it's not to be expected..

                            And coolgaijin, did you have work experience before you went to Japan? Or were you a graduate? And if so, did you study IT?

                            On another note - a lot of people say they will go to Japan first as an English teacher and then do some networking etc and then get a "real" job. Is it actually reality that going there that way will be a better guarantee to get a job? Wouldn't I be in a similar position as I am right now (except I'd be in Japan already...)? I mean, graduate - eikawa job - ?? I'd still be applying for a completely different industry so my experience as a teacher still wouldn't count, would it? Or is it really just a matter of having a working visa? Or the matter of having experience in the country?
                            Yeah I had 3 years of work experience, but I knew some guys at my old company that came here with no Japanese and no work experience. And in the case of one bloke, no degree. I went to w@ in America. Japanese hiring managers I have known value seniority, people skills and how "Japanified" a gaijin is. Of course education matters too, but they want to know you will work the long hours of c and not complain. In many cases people work 20-40 hours of overtime a month and are paid a measly 200-240,000 yen out of college just to earn their rank later on. Work is life in Japan heh, part of why I decided to go to a gaijin company here.

                            As they say "thems the ropes", most people start at eikaiwa simply because it's the easiest route to getting a visa. Japan needs English, despite how terrible most Japanese are at speaking English, they almost all can read and listen reasonably well. It's who you know in many cases, most jobs get filled by word of mouth. That said there are plenty of recruitment companies. Knowing Japanese is a huge asset for you, and if you have management and people skills you will probably find a job. I know plenty of guys with degrees in eikaiwa that can't seem to find better work. Why? Because their degrees were either worthless liberal arts degrees or they have massive personality defects like alcoholism. Having a working visa helps a great deal of course, it shows you are serious. Same with experience.

                            You will probably find something if you stick with it, but it might take a few months of serious job hunting. The economy here isn't exactly in a good spot at the moment.
                            Last edited by coolgaijin; 2012-04-27, 11:40 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yeah, sorry. I admit the wording was a bit off.
                              Well, still going back to the Careerforum - there I'd have the chance to meet with the employers face to face. So one of the questions I had initially was - are there any other similar events around the UK/Europe that I could attend?

                              Do I have what the employers want? I wouldn't know. Different employers want different things. Japanese companies want different graduates compared to western companies in Japan.
                              I can only say that I could find it out through interviews etc. Skype interview? Why not. Having an interview in a UK-based office? Sure! Going to Japan for an interview only..? I could maybe afford it, but for that I'd need more interviews lined up than just one.

                              And that's exactly why I wrote here as well, I haven't looked for a job in Japan before and despite me right now having done all I know could be done, there's still things I might have overlooked. If people with experience would tell me that "look, finding a job in your situation has a probability close to 0, you should really go there-and-there while in Japan" then I would take that into account and work towards that.

                              I know I'm a graduate and I know I'm fighting against Japanese graduates (well, graduates who speak English I guess), but I am still willing to fight. If I wasn't looking for a job in Japan, I'd have to look for a job elsewhere. Either way, it'd be a fight and I'd be fighting against people in a similar situation to me. I might as well fight for a place in Japan then?

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