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Tricks to Make Job Hunting in Japan Go Smoothly: For International Students!

Job-hunting in Japan isn’t any easy task for anyone. In a process that’s trial-and-error for many Japanese students, what should international students do to get the job they’re hoping for? We hope the tips and tricks w outline in this article are helpful for you!

Trick 1: Start early!
In general, there’s a tendency for international students to start job-hunting late. This may be due to a lack of knowledge about the job-hunting culture in Japan. Unlike overseas, where students begin their job search only after graduating, most students in Japan determine their future job while still in school. Japanese companies also generally begin their hiring process in March of the year before students graduate. (For example, in the case of a four-year university student, March of your third year). If you start your search after that, you’ll already be behind the other students.

So, when should you begin? Even though the hiring process begins in March of your third or junior year, that doesn’t necessary mean you should start your search in March. For instance, foreign companies have a tendency to begin hiring extremely early, even in the previous year (a university student’s third year), in October or November. There’s also a lot to prepare before you begin your search, too, including some self-examination, research on companies, practice for written tests, participation in internships, etc.

In other words, it’s best to assume you should start your job hunt in June of the school year before you graduate (your third year, if you’re a university student).

Useful links:
The Job-Hunting Process in Japan
Japan’s Unique Style of Job-Hunting

Trick 2: Gather information from as many sources as possible
Job-hunting is a process that includes many steps, begining with self-analysis. In this multi-step process, it’s most important for your success that you gather and make use of as much information as possible.

Out of all the information out there, if you’re not sure how to begin your job search, first head to your school career center. There, you can consult with a job-hunting professional, plan the direction of your search, and gather some basic information about job-hunting. In addition to getting information from job-hunting sites online, you can also use tools like books, company information sessions, visits with current employees, internships, and so on to get a more multi-dimensional understanding of a company. If you try to gather information from as wide a variety of sources as possible, you’re sure to have access to a greater number of opportunities.

Useful links:
Job-Hunting Informaton for Kobe City
Useful Tools for Job-Hunting in Japan
Internships in Japan

Trick 3: Target companies likely to hire international students
When non-Japanese students look for work in Japan, they’re generally judged according to the same standard as Japanese students. If you want to make greater use of your strengths as a foreign student, you may have greater success by setting your sights on companies that have a “global HR” hiring option. For instance, foreign companies, global Japanese companies, or companies that have expanded into your home country or overseas may all be options.

You can find such companies via the websites they make targeting international students in particular. They may also have group information session targeted specifically towards international students, too, so we highly recommend participating in these! Make use of your strengths as a non-Japanese student for a more successful job-hunting experience!

Useful links:
Portal Site for the Promotion of Hiring Highly Skilled Foreign Talent: Information on Companies Interested in Hiring Highly Skilled Foreign Talent
 (Includes information about company information session for international students)
International Foreign Students Association (IFSA): Job listings for foreigners

Tricky 4: Check your Japanese
The first thing you’ll have to face in the corporate selection process is the entry sheet, a kind of application form. International students, however, have a tendency to submit these without checking their Japanese. For companies, entry sheets can be considered their first impression of a student. Since you went to the trouble to write yours, be sure to check your Japanese for spelling or grammar errors to make sure it gets across what you’re trying to say.

Before you submit your entry sheet, get some help from a Japanese friend, your school career center, or Hello Work to edit it.

Tricky 5: Review, review, and review again!
When you’re searching for a job with all these unfamiliar words, many things may not go smoothly in the beginning. Interviews in particular test students’ ability to adapt on the fly, so it’s very important to make sure you can get across your strengths in Japanese well throughout the conversation. To be able to do this smoothly, there’s no better way than to simply practice a lot. If you practice again and again, you’re sure to find and strength your own particular technique.

To prepare for your interviews, practice with Japanese friends and the pros at the career center, but also make your own page of interview questions, and take your time practicing by taking a video.

Trick 6: Stay positive
As your job-hunting goes on for longer, it may become difficult to stay motivated, and you might feel yourself rushing compared to those around you. If you fall into this negative state, though, the negativity may come across to the companies where you’re hoping to work, so try to stay positive!

If your job search isn’t going well, and you feel hopeless, don’t keep your worries bottled up inside, and instead talk with a friend or family member. If you have friends who are job-hunting, too, support one another: you’re sure to feel better than you would all alone.

Try to make use of some of these tips, and make your job hunt in Japan a success! Believe in yourself, and stay strong!