Job Hunting in JapanFri, Feb 14, 2020
Why do people pursue post secondary education? To gain competencies, experiences, attain higher status, find purpose, and a myriad of reasons from mundane to sublime. And one of the best routes to gain much from that pursuit is becoming an international exchange student. For many students, study abroad is a wonderful opportunity to try living in a different country and experiencing a foreign culture. Then something amazing happens to some. They become enamored with the host country that they stay on and work there. How amazing is that!
Daniel went to Tokyo for a year of engineering. After he graduated, he returned to do post graduate work in Japan. Right after getting his degree, he stayed on and found a job in his chosen career. He’s more than ecstatic. He’s living his dream. Mara is American but she’s also part Japanese. She went to Japan as an exchange student to get a bearing on her roots and not miss out on the possibilities of her unique heritage. She plans to complete her degree requirements in the country. She, too, welcomes the idea of a career in Japan.
Last school year, 12,539 undergraduate students graduated from Waseda. Of these students, 10% were international students. Of those, 30% decided to work in Japan. Job hunting, even within the context of one’s own culture can be extremely challenging. When searching for work in another country, the stresses of cultural differences and language barriers are added on to an already difficult situation. For students who find themselves in this predicament, Waseda has offered a helping hand.
At the end of last year, Waseda’s Nihongo Support hosted an International Student Career Support Seminar. The presentation was done in Japanese, but handouts had both English and Japanese translations. The seminar included a section covering career options for international students, a sample test, employable skills, and a list of resources Waseda provides for job seekers.
In Japan, the recruitment of university graduates annually begins in March, with employment beginning in April. Most September graduates wait until April to start working. Preparation for the job-hunting season begins the year before shortly after students begin their senior year. Here is an example schedule for someone graduating in September: students start their preparation in November, with applications and online tests starting in March, individual/group interviews and discussions take place in June, and an unofficial offer is made. Students graduate in September with an official job offer in October. They then wait until April to begin work.
Tips on making a good impression were also mentioned during the seminar. Tips included punctuality, maintaining a respectful manner even after leaving the building, and appropriate dress for interviews and group discussions. A one sheet sample test was also given to students. For those preparing for the online tests, review material was recommended. All the attendees were given a job-hunting handbook and a guidebook called, “Design Your Future.”
The job-hunting handbook is broken down into seven sections: Career Center Services, Before You Begin Your Job-hunting, Job-hunting Schedule, Work To Be Done, Determining Your Career Choice, My Job-Hunting Experience in Japan, and finally, Data And Information. The guidebook includes topics concerning diversity and growth and how diversity can help you understand yourself and the world around you better.
Waseda offers students a wide variety of services and resources. For example, the Career Center offers individual consultations, events, job hunting experience and advice from alumni, and recruitment information to name a few. So, if you are interested in working in Japan after graduation but don’t know where to start, the Waseda Career Center is here to assist you. For more information, you can email them at [email protected]
These resources only indicate welcoming opportunities to continue living in this wonderful country. International students enjoy their time here and now may choose to continue doing so. They may but no longer as students but as part of the workforce in a thriving economy and technology. And what is there not to love?
*This article was written and contributed by the following student.
Gabriella de Asis
Exchange Student from California State University, Northridge
(Currently studying at Waseda’s School of International Liberal Studies)