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Another soon-to-be graduate.

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  • #16
    Originally posted by coolgaijin View Post
    Yeah that's kind of the ropes, most people start at eikaiwa. 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.
    Thanks for some encouragement, ha!
    Well, the economy is in a bad spot everywhere to be honest..

    Right, well, I'll keep it all in mind anyways, thanks! I've just received an offer for an interview but they'd want me to go down to Tokyo for it possibly.. So we'll see.

    At least I'm not an alcoholic! I do like my bourbon though.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by user_L View Post

      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?
      If I was to ask you "Why do you want to work in Japan?" what would your answer be? You need to consider that foreigners bring a host of other skills that they can not get from Japanese nationals (English ability among them, knowledge of other cultures and countries). It is possible to train Japanese employees to speak English, a bit harder to make them internationally minded or bi-cultural. We get hired here to teach English as its something the Japanese can not do, but for other jobs you need to bring that something extra they can not get from a local employee.

      You need to think about why the employer should hire you and what he gets out of it, not just based on your own personal desire to live and work in Japan (which to be honest the employer couldnt care less about.) You need to explain also the WHY and not just the WHAT.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
        If I was to ask you "Why do you want to work in Japan?" what would your answer be? You need to consider that foreigners bring a host of other skills that they can not get from Japanese nationals (English ability among them, knowledge of other cultures and countries). It is possible to train Japanese employees to speak English, a bit harder to make them internationally minded or bi-cultural. We get hired here to teach English as its something the Japanese can not do, but for other jobs you need to bring that something extra they can not get from a local employee.
        Well, why -I- want to work in Japan, is for personal reasons. As a more "superficial" side of things, I just like the country, I like the people and the politeness and and cleanliness. I like the culture and I like to see the clash of the modern and the old. I'm from a small country, so just living in Tokyo is exciting, as it's a metropolitan. etcetc. As for anyone thinking that I'm a "weaboo" or "otaku" of some sort, then no. I love my own country and I would never change my heritage. Back to the point though..

        Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
        You need to think about why the employer should hire you and what he gets out of it, not just based on your own personal desire to live and work in Japan (which to be honest the employer couldnt care less about.) You need to explain also the WHY and not just the WHAT.
        Well, a) I am quite international in that sense - I've seen very many different cultures and I could probably help the company in understanding the cultural differences, especially if they were to think that erm.. all European countries are the same. (Which they're not). b) Not just the mindset, but I do have a working knowledge of how a western business works (both theoretical and practical). Etc.

        In general though (especially in case of graduates), it's not what I -really- have or don't have, it's about how I present it to the employer (thankfully Gaijinpot forums isn't my employer).

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        • #19
          Also bear in mind that AEŠˆ“® involves applying to a company as a whole. You cannot apply for a specific position. That's why Japanese graduates go on pilgrimage to seminars up and down the place. Eventually they even stop applying to companies in their field because large conglomerates are the ones more likely to pick up a number of people at once for their numerous departments. But the activities of large conglomerates tend to be limited to certain sectors.

          From what I've gathered having held several friends' hands as they suffered through 2 recruiting seasons, the graduates with the best 'strike range' are those with a financial, business/administrative or IT background. If you have relevant work experience, that's even better! Attending interviews for large companies (if they can secure an interview in the first place) presents them with better odds than a smaller company who is only looking for 3 new staff.

          Also, be advised of the multiple interview stages that are like some crass reality TV show in that you could be dropped at any moment. The time gap between interview stages can also amount to several weeks. It seems that getting hired into a graduate position in a Japanese company is not simply a matter of sending off your resume and cover letter and being called in for a little chat at a time of mutual convenience (like it is in the UK ).
          Last edited by sideways_gun; 2012-04-27, 12:02 PM.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by sideways_gun View Post
            Also bear in mind that AEŠˆ“® involves applying to a company as a whole. You cannot apply for a specific position. That's why Japanese graduates go on pilgrimage to seminars up and down the place. Eventually they even stop applying to companies in their field because large conglomerates are the ones more likely to pick up a number of people at once for their numerous departments. But the activities of large conglomerates tend to be limited to certain sectors.

            From what I've gathered having held several friends' hands as they suffered through 2 recruiting seasons, the graduates with the best 'strike range' are those with a financial, business/administrative or IT background. If you have relevant work experience, that's even better! Attending interviews for large companies (if they can secure an interview in the first place) presents them with better odds than a smaller company who is only looking for 3 new staff.

            Also, be advised of the multiple interview stages that are like some crass reality TV show in that you could be dropped at any moment. The time gap between interview stages can also amount to several weeks. It seems that getting hired into a graduate position in a Japanese company is not simply a matter of sending off your resume and cover letter and being called in for a little chat at a time of mutual convenience (like it is in the UK ).
            Yea, I'm aware of that as well.. They rotate the graduates between jobs to see which one would suit the person best and then leave them there etc.

            Well, basically, right now I'll still keep my CVs where they are and keep my hopes up, go to the Careerforum fully armored and if that fails, I'll think of something else.. (Perhaps going to Japan on a tourist visa to find work like that).

            Either way, this has been an insightful thread but seeing as it's 4am and I need to wake up in 4 hours, I'm off for today.
            Thank you all!

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by user_L View Post
              Well, why -I- want to work in Japan, is for personal reasons. As a more "superficial" side of things, I just like the country, I like the people and the politeness and and cleanliness. I like the culture and I like to see the clash of the modern and the old. I'm from a small country, so just living in Tokyo is exciting, as it's a metropolitan. etcetc. As for anyone thinking that I'm a "weaboo" or "otaku" of some sort, then no. I love my own country and I would never change my heritage. Back to the point though..
              Japanese companies in general dont really care about what you think of the food or culture or cleanliness. they are hiring you to do a particular job. Everyman and his dog wants to live in Tokyo, its considered a kind of Mecca but it shouldn't factor into your reasons for wanting to live here. They may send you to Kyushu or Hokkaido as part of your orientation or training.



              Well, a) I am quite international in that sense - I've seen very many different cultures and I could probably help the company in understanding the cultural differences, especially if they were to think that erm.. all European countries are the same. (Which they're not). b) Not just the mindset, but I do have a working knowledge of how a western business works (both theoretical and practical). Etc.
              Your biggest asset is an ability to speak another language other than English, and an ability to help them navigate doing business in those countries. they can always train a person to speak English and it narrows the differences between you and them, all things being equal. You have to emphasise the things they can NOT get from hiring a local Japanese person. You will also need marketable skills over and above your native ability or allow yourself to be trained in their business, as was pointed out they may put you in many different positions in the company, not just the one you think you might like doing or be specifically trained for.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by user_L View Post
                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.
                Welcome to the reality check in this forum. Companies will hire you mainly BASED ON YOUR BACKGROUND, not what you want to do. You're naive if you think that any bank will even look twice at your resumee if it reads 'two years of full-time work as a pub manager' instead of 'Summer intern at Goldman Sachs London'. J-companies indeed hire fresh graduates that they can form, but they hire Japanese native speakers from the local universities.
                Having spent a year in Japan is a definite advantage for you, but you should have also used it to already built up some connections in the business world. Experience with alternative energies and the food/drink sector are also a plus, so I'd try and send applications to international companies in that area. If you're from a 'smaller' country, there should also be a reasonably close and connected community in Tokyo which should also help you to find a job. Check the chamber of commerce's membership list and start applying. There, your native language in connection with E and J would be quite rare and welcome.
                Also consider an internship (www.kopra.org) if neccessary.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                  Japanese companies in general dont really care about what you think of the food or culture or cleanliness. they are hiring you to do a particular job. Everyman and his dog wants to live in Tokyo, its considered a kind of Mecca but it shouldn't factor into your reasons for wanting to live here. They may send you to Kyushu or Hokkaido as part of your orientation or training.
                  Well, obviously I wouldn't sit in front of an employer all doe-eyed and go "You guys are clean!" As to what I would really say to the employer, I'll keep that to myself because I don't want to risk anonymity.


                  Originally posted by ttokyo View Post
                  Welcome to the reality check in this forum. Companies will hire you mainly BASED ON YOUR BACKGROUND, not what you want to do.
                  I know all that. I've not once thought Nomura or anyone else would hire me just based on my resume right now. I would need to do one of their internships to even get a foot in the door and even getting an internship there is nearly impossible. That's why I said that a) I'm not picky and b) my hopes and dreams would be to do finance but that does not mean I'll just start knocking on every banks door in hopes of a chance.

                  I also know I should have made business connections while there, but at the time I was thinking of doing a masters degree and so I wasn't very focused on a career. However, doing a masters degree isn't financially possible at the moment (anywhere) so I changed my initial idea. To gain experience in an industry and then perhaps move on.

                  The community is there, but there's not much that they can help. The market is saturated.

                  Thanks for the link though, I'll have a look.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by user_L View Post
                    Well, why -I- want to work in Japan, is for personal reasons.
                    which they couldnt care less about. All they are thinking is "whats in it for us?"

                    I'm from a small country, so just living in Tokyo is exciting, as it's a metropolitan. etcetc. As for anyone thinking that I'm a "weaboo" or "otaku" of some sort, then no. I love my own country and I would never change my heritage. Back to the point though.
                    They wouldn't dream of expecting you to change your heritage, become "Japanese" or go local. You would just simply end up as a very strange and confused gaijin. Many people think they have to become more Japanese than the Japanese so they can fit in, All that happens is that they end up being marginalised by both their Japanese co-workers as they are not Japanese and other foreigners they work with (who simply think you drank too much of the Kool Aid). The secret is in finding a balance between fitting in, in Japan and retaining your own sense of identity in Japan as a foreign expat. You aren't Japanese, and you never will be. You can maintain your own identity, your personality but you simply add on another layer, that is to adapt to your surroundings and assimilate as best you can. Its not the same as a leopard trying to change its spots though.


                    (Which they're not). b) Not just the mindset, but I do have a working knowledge of how a western business works (both theoretical and practical).
                    If you are from Sweden or Lithuania you are perfectly placed to advise them on cultural differences, if they have offices in those countries or they need to do business there. If they need to do business with English speaking Europeans in general then it shouldnt be too much of a leap for them. Being international is such a fuzzy term, anyway. All it means is being able to do business with people outside your own little fish pool. Japan has been westernised as a country since the end of WWII so its not as though they really need educating on how western companies operate here.


                    I think on reading this thread you dont want to try and specialise so much so you can work in Japan that it doesn't become applicable to anywhere else, a kind of Japan-or-nothing kind of thing, some people get so bent out of shape trying to come here that they lose all sense of perspective.

                    The economy in general is in bad shape, lots of companies are cutting back on hiring, doing less of it, and cutting their overall costs. That does not stop people from overseas trying their luck at trying to come here though. I know thats not what you want to hear, but Japan has been through a rough time with its tsunamis and earthquakes, and nuclear catastrophes and its been a huge wake-up call for the country as a whole. Lots of foreigners left the country and many were not replaced. All these things coming together makes it a very troubling scenario indeed. People here are simply waiting for the other shoe to drop, at the moment.
                    Last edited by KansaiBen; 2012-04-27, 06:09 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                      which they couldnt care less about. All they are thinking is "whats in it for us?"@
                      Well, of course. But you did ask me what -my- reasons were .


                      Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                      hey wouldn't dream of expecting you to change your heritage, become "Japanese" or go local. You would just simply end up as a very strange and confused gaijin. Many people think they have to become more Japanese than the Japanese so they can fit in, All that happens is that they end up being marginalised by both their Japanese co-workers as they are not Japanese and other foreigners they work with (who simply think you drank too much of the Kool Aid). The secret is in finding a balance between fitting in, in Japan and retaining your own sense of identity in Japan as a foreign expat. You aren't Japanese, and you never will be. You can maintain your own identity, your personality but you simply add on another layer, that is to adapt to your surroundings and assimilate as best you can. Its not the same as a leopard trying to change its spots though.
                      I came across gaijins like these while I was in Japan. They think that where they are from plays no role and all they can think about is "how can I pretend I'm Japanese, because that is so much cooler!" I'm me, I'm just living in another country. There's a lot of talk about how it's hard to integrate in the society. And though yes, in trains people stare or especially in the inaka, but I gained non-English speaking friends very quickly and they all accepted me for what I was - a human being. They didn't see me as a "gaijin", they didn't think I'm a wannabe Japanese, they just saw me as a friend. In Rome do as the Romans do, right? Well, Rome, Japan, same difference. I won't go running around demanding special service just because I'm a foreigner, why would I? But I will never pretend I understand every cultural aspect of Japan and how it affects the natives.



                      Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                      If you are from Sweden or Lithuania you are perfectly placed to advise them on cultural differences, if they have offices in those countries or they need to do business there. If they need to do business with English speaking Europeans in general then it shouldnt be too much of a leap for them. Being international is such a fuzzy term, anyway. All it means is being able to do business with people outside your own little fish pool. Japan has been westernised as a country since the end of WWII so its not as though they really need educating on how western companies operate here.
                      Well, the problem with European countries is that most of the businesses here can easily get along with English, so the language barrier is not that much of a different. Places like Lithuania are small and Japan has little connection with them (Sweden is different though).

                      Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                      I think on reading this thread you dont want to try and specialise so much so you can work in Japan that it doesn't become applicable to anywhere else, a kind of Japan-or-nothing kind of thing, some people get so bent out of shape trying to come here that they lose all sense of perspective.
                      Exactly. Teaching isn't for me and I don't see myself doing it for a longer period of time, I would rather sit in an office behind the computer (I'm rather impatient with students and I tend to give them hints rather than properly teaching them). So I don't really want to spend a year doing that -just- so it would be my doorway to Japan. No matter where (what country) I get a job from, I'd like to have something I'd do until my final days. Of course just living in my parents house and paying no rent until I'm 35 might sound tempting as well..

                      Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                      The economy in general is in bad shape, lots of companies are cutting back on hiring, doing less of it, and cutting their overall costs. That does not stop people from overseas trying their luck at trying to come here though. I know thats not what you want to hear, but Japan has been through a rough time with its tsunamis and earthquakes, and nuclear catastrophes and its been a huge wake-up call for the country as a whole. Lots of foreigners left the country and many were not replaced. All these things coming together makes it a very troubling scenario indeed. People here are simply waiting for the other shoe to drop, at the moment.
                      I know, I've read about it as well. It's a risk for a Japanese employer to now employ a foreigner, especially considering that there's warnings for a Tokyo-based major earthquake, meaning they could lose employees again. A lot of the expats and international students I was aware of either moved countries or just went down to Osaka after the earthquake. I was one of the few who stuck around. It's not about what I want to hear - it's the truth and I (and everybody else) has to accept it. As said though, economy is bad everywhere - If I wasn't looking for a job in Japan, I'd have to do it somewhere else. If I was to do it in my home country, then that could wait until I get back there anyway. So I might as well try my luck while I still can. If it fails for sure, I'll try something else.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Lots of negativity in this thread, some of it realistic some if it maybe bitterness. Anyway I was hired as a new grad straight out of college at Boston Careerforum in 2007 so I can probably help.

                        Sounds like you're mostly on the right track and you'll probably be a decent candidate. My advice to be a stronger candidate, in no particular order:
                        a) Try to find something a bit more specific that you want to do. You mentioned finance: what about finance interests you? Portfolio Management? Equity Research? DCM? IT? Why? I can't speak for Japanese banks but at my company you need to choose a specific division to apply to. The first interview question we ask is "so what makes you interested in ____." If you don't know about finance, sites like vault.com and investopedia.com are full of good info. Feel free to shotgun it if you just want to work in Japan (I interviewed with retail banks, a mining equipment manufacturer, electronics maker, and an investment bank) but it's not easy. I'm really good at BSing my way through interviews even in Japanese so YMMV.
                        b) Continue with your Japanese. Sub-JLPT2 isn't enough for a lot of positions. You don't necessarily need JLPT1 but the more Japanese you understand, the better. Try studying the Nikkei, focusing on articles that are applicable to what you're interested in doing.
                        c) Have a backup plan and stick to it. I interviewed for jobs in Kentucky, New York, and Atlanta before going to BCF. My backup plan was to work in the US and do something applicable to my degree/experience, rather than work in a job in Japan that was not applicable (English teaching).
                        d) Fly to Boston, really. Even if you're in Tokyo. This is where all the jobs are. London/Tokyo Careerforums are nothing compared to the Boston one.

                        However, in regards to point a, I think some of the posters in this thread are discounting the value of being a candidate with good potential. That's mostly what we look for in new graduates because we don't expect them to have directly applicable experience. Especially in some areas, it's almost impossible to know exactly what the job entails (this is why internships are awesome). So if a new grad candidate walks up to us with a good academic background, demonstrated interest in the field, proven experience in a diverse environment, bilingual, good personality/cultural fit etc., we'll be interested in them regardless of where they're from in the world.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Thanks for the positive comment!
                          Erm, I'm not really shotgunning it either, I'm basically having a look out on what's on offer and then making my choice from there, while keeping in mind what would actually suit me and my interests as well. I don't see the point in applying somewhere just to work in Japan or just to find work at all. And yea, I'm keeping myself updated with finance things for personal interests anyways. If I did have an interview somewhere, I would obviously prepare in advance to make sure I could answer all of those questions (Why do you want to work in our company, in this industry, in this role? etc)
                          And yea, I'm aware of the problem with Japanese and I think that might be my biggest weak point. Having said that, 2 companies that recruited me (but it didn't work out) were looking for people with a JLPT 1 level Japanese even though on my profile it clearly said JLPT 2 - I'd assume they (or some at least) are willing to take a chance with it. But of course, I'll keep trying to improve my language, especially the business side of it.
                          And about backup plans - totally understand you on that applicability part, most probably I'll stick to somewhere in my home country or Europe if that's the case.

                          Uh, I know.. I didn't have the money at the time to go to Boston last autumn unfortunately. If summer brings no luck, I might just have a go this autumn. There's only about 6 companies registered with the London Careerforums at the moment, ha! But they keep updating it from time to time so I'm hoping some more will come..

                          And lastly, thanks - I was guessing that having potential must play a role in a graduate environment. If the Japanese companies didn't want to hire foreign graduates, they would not come here to hire us either. And I'm sure that once I get my application in, I could be great at an interview.

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                          • #28
                            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..
                            Teaching japanese to otaku, helped marketing for an anime convention, subbed anime episodes and fairly good with photoshop creating anime avatars and signatures.

                            The facts:

                            - You are not native english
                            - You can't speak fluent Japanese
                            - They have to sponsor your visa
                            - You don't have relevant experience

                            I didn't read all posts but the best bet would be to work for a japanese company in your homecountry while studying japanese in your free time and after 2 years request an intra company transfer to a branch in Japan.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Genkii View Post
                              Teaching japanese to otaku, helped marketing for an anime convention, subbed anime episodes and fairly good with photoshop creating anime avatars and signatures.
                              Haha, you have extremely good imagination if you think that's what I did and if you think that's what I do with Photoshop.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Hey, this is my personal experience. But, if you want a good non-teaching job in Japan, you need to get some technical skills that are in high demand. This can be done through through a technical certificate or some organization. Afterward, you have to be flexible in location and do your job well. Then, you can ask the company to pay for your master degree and guarantee you a job in Japan after graduation.

                                Being fluent at Japanese is nice, but it won't help with your job search in Japan, especially if you are looking for good jobs. Honestly, it is a waste of time because your Japanese will never be as good as the natives'. You need some specialty.

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