What’s so great about Entry-Level Jobs in Japan?
For new graduates, Japan is the country of unlimited opportunities. Few other countries make it so easy to enter any profession you want, regardless of your background.
Entry-level jobs in Japan
No Experience Necessary
Why would you want to do this? Whether you dedicated your years at university to learning Japanese or something else, to get a job many of us would face underpaid internships or a dry stretch if we were to job-hunt in our home country. After all, you need to have practical experience to get a job.
Japan does things differently. They don’t ask for experience, they might not even ask for your grades. Instead, recruiters are looking for your potential and what you will be able to contribute in the future.
Freedom of Choice
Japanese companies also frequently don’t care too much about your major. Done with your Japanese degree and now you want to become a network engineer? In Japan this is possible.
Unless a position really requires highly-specific skills, for many jobs companies only check whether you are a science or humanities student and don’t inquire deeper into your degree. Science students have a small advantage here because for them it is easier to enter fields like marketing, sales, recruitment than it is to enter technical fields as a humanities major.
In recent years, especially technical companies are actively hiring people without the right background as long as they pass the recruitment tests, checking their mathematical and logical thinking skills.
On-the-job training makes all of this possible. In-house training systems are quite common in Japan. Basically, you are getting paid to learn a marketable skill.
As the name might suggests this is nothing like school. Instead of attending classes, one is learning from their senpai. First, one will be given small practice tasks to learn the basics and find out what one is good at. Then, one’s working while getting regular feedback from superiors until eventually, one can take charge of one’s own projects. Expect the training period to last between 1-2 years.
Western companies are usually quite rigid when it comes to internal transfers. You get hired for a certain position and typically stay there. Japanese companies have a much more relaxed approach on this issue and shuffling people between departments is not uncommon.
Why is this good for new graduates starting their first job? Even if you start in a position you later notice you don’t really like, you have opportunities to try out different areas within the same company. This can be a good opportunity to find something you are good at. The reason Human Resources changes assignments especially for employees with little experience is to find a position in which they can create good results.
So, what is the Catch?
So far so good, but why would a company take the risk to hire someone without experience and train them from scratch?
Hiring decisions for new graduates in Japan are often made based on how much growth potential a candidate shows. This is usually judged based on two factors. First, whether candidates can pass the recruitment tests, thus showing that they have the necessary basic skills. Second, whether candidates have the right mindset.
Put differently, companies ask for interest in the position and willingness to study and develop. There is a lot you can learn during work hours but companies might also expect you to study in your free time. Especially when you need to get certified in a certain area. This can be an intense process but together with the practical experience and support system at work, you will be able to gain new skills quickly.
The Japanese have a saying you will hear at many companies, expressing their belief that where there’s a will there’s a way.
You can do anything. You can become anything.
Don’t let being in a foreign environment or your current skill set hold you back from pursuing the career of your dreams.