Be proactive! Job Search in Japan
This series introduces foreigners who managed to secure job offers in Japan, sharing their experiences and tips. This time Avazbek shared his experiences.
Read on to find out more about:
■ On-the-job training
■ Handwritten resumes
■ Why simple Japanese is best
■ The trick to getting a job
Japanese level: N2
Work status: New graduate
Job-hunt: 7 job fairs, 30 applications, 20 interviews, 1 job offer
The company Avazbek will start working at sells and exports pianos overseas. After a one-month initial training phase, he will be placed at a factory to learn the basics of piano production and gain a deeper understanding of the business. Such training phases are common in Japan, since companies want all employees to understand their products and to get everyone on the same level.
After this training (often called 研修, kenshuu) he will be transferred again, this time to the headquarter to start his position at the Overseas Development Department. There Avazbek will be responsible for exporting pianos to Vietnam, Malaysia, and other countries.
Avazbek will be working together with Japanese staff, so the company required business Japanese or above from applicants. Additionally, since as part of his job Avazbek will also be interacting a lot with foreign countries, English and Russian were also demanded. Luckily for Avazbek, that made him a perfect fit.
Proactive Job Search
Like most Japanese graduates Avazbek didn’t just apply to companies online, but attended 7 job fairs in Tokyo and applied for approximately 30 companies. While some companies didn’t reply to him, 13 companies were interested enough to invite him to an interview.
It is common to have 2-3 rounds of interviews throughout the selection process. So, by the time Avazbek received his job offer he had gone through 20 interviews total, and had gotten a lot more comfortable in them.
Simple Japanese is Key
When Avazbek first arrived in Japan he barely spoke Japanese struggled to communicate with Japanese people. At that time his teacher told him that:
“If you want to say something, use simple language and communicate what you want.”
These words Avazbek remember well and it helped him to feel more comfortable speaking in Japanese to Japanese people. This advice, he found, also applied for job interviews. Clearly stating your thoughts using language you are comfortable with will get you further, than worrying about keigo or the perfect answer.
For Avazbek writing resumes in Japanese was the biggest hurdle. On top of writing in Japanese, they sometimes have to be written by hand in Japan, which can make them extremely difficult. He often had to fix mistakes in his address and education history.
Regarding the content what figuring out what to write in the Self-PR section proved challenging. A section used to explain your strengths and what makes you a good fit for the company, it has to be adjusted for every company. To brush up his resume Avazbek received a lot of help from his Japanese teacher and wrote his resume over 100 times until it was ready.
Job-hunting support at school
Avazbek went to Linguage Japanese Language School where he took regular Japanese lessons, business Japanese, business emails in Japanese, and shadowing in Japanese for job-hunting and interview purposes.
Aside from learning how to write a resume, the instructors did mock interviews before he went to interviews with companies. The practice helped Avazbek to be more relaxed when he was talking to potential employers.
Arguably, the most unusual support Avazbek received was that his schools’ instructor accompanied him to a job fair, giving him advice throughout the day. While unusual the guidance helped him fight his nervousness and enabled him to approach multiple companies on that day.
“If you are looking for a job in Japan ‘practice makes perfect,’ so hang in there.” Avazbek
Avazbek’s Japanese Language School
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