Internships for International Students in Japan
You want to do an internship in Japan? You speak some Japanese? Then maximize your opportunities and search internships like the Japanese. This article shows you how.
Do it like the Japanese
Being in Japan you have the best chances to find an internship in the country. That is if you know how to maximize your chances. Let’s take a look at the pro’s of getting internships in Japan, Japanese students, to find out about the best timing, resources and more.
READ ON Guide to Internships in Japan
Timing is key
Internships can be set by companies and on an individual basis. While it’s possible to find internships around the year, there are certainly seasons where getting one will be easier.
Most companies are recruiting soon to be graduates in the summer to start work from April the following year. Internships are often done parallel to this recruiting process and provide an opportunity to check whether a company and a candidate are a good fit.
1. Summer Internships
The number of students starting internships peaks in August every year.
So, if you want to maximize your chances, follow the example of Japanese students and focus your internship application efforts on June and July. During these months the odds are in your favor.
There are a lot of recruiting events, the summer break is around the corner, and many companies entered the selection process.
2. Winter Internships
Whether you are late to the game or starting early, around January is the minor season for internship applications. If successful internships are held over the winter break from February.
How to look for an internship
1. Company pages
If you know where you want to intern, the shortest way is to check the company’s homepage for opportunities. Most Japanese companies have a recruiting (採用, さいよう) page with information on job and internship opportunities.
If you cannot find what you are looking for, it is also possible to contact the companies HR department directly and inquire about opportunities.
This is a great way if you know where you want to go, but for those among us who consider a variety of companies or even industries, checking out every single company, isn’t very efficient.
2. Your university or other services
Japanese universities usually have career centers. Aside from organizing job events, career counseling, offering resume checks, they can also provide information on internship opportunities.
Universities often collaborate with companies for many years and may have internship placements that aren’t available elsewhere. Additionally, they can also support you throughout the application process.
Especially, for long-term internships, they are worth a visit. Aside from universities, employment services may also provide internship offers.
3. Online Job Portals
The classic way and most common way is to search and apply online. Don’t limit yourself to only English sites but learn from how your Japanese friends are searching.
Many websites offer to narrow down postings with categories, tags, and keyword search. Look for 外国人歓迎, 留学生, 新卒, インターンシップ, インターン to get to the relevant results.
3.1. Job Portals
If you want to do an internship as part of your job search than job portal sites are a great way to start. Sites like リクナビ and マイナビ are used across Japan and have large databases. There are also many specialized or local sites like Wantedly so keep your eyes open.
What you will find here are two things:
1. Internship offers
2. Job offers, where an internship is part of the selection process
Most internship offers on these large portal sites will have a clear end goal: recruitment. So, expect to find a lot of short-term internships. If you want to get some insights into how Japanese companies run or are looking for internships with a higher likelihood of turning into a job offer you came to the right place.
3.2. Internship Portals
If your time is limited or you want long-term internships specialized internship portals are an efficient way. Since, other than many short-term internships, long-term internships are generally paid, don’t be surprised to find some part-time positions in the mix.
4. Job fairs
Job fairs might not be the most obvious choice, but they aren’t just for full-time jobs, one can find internships, too.
So even if you don’t look for a job for next year yet, attending these job fairs you can get:
1. a better idea of your options
2. crash courses and insights in many companies
3. answers to questions and concerns
4. information on internships
Even if a company doesn’t advertise internships, it never hurts to ask and show your interest. The pro-activeness is sure to be taken positively, and if the recruiter things you could be a fit, they might be able to arrange something.
The standard process from initial application to internship looks something like this. While this is a useful reference, it’s important to check the requirements for the specific company, to avoid any issues afterward.
1. Submit your application
In most cases, you can submit an application through an online form. Only sometimes, applicants are required to apply by email.
2. Fill out the entry sheet
In an entry sheet companies ask for your motivation for the internship (志望動機, しぼうどうき) and an explanation of why you are a suitable candidate (自己PR, jiko PR). They are like your cover letter, it’s a good idea to prepare both in advance.
In some cases, you might be required to also submit a resume.
3. Additional tests
Many companies decide internships placements after seeing the above documents. But depending on the internship it’s possible there will be an aptitude test, tasks to complete at home, a short interview, or another additional step in the selection process.