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Exploring Job Options in Japan

#26
(2015-12-24, 2:17 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
(2015-12-24, 9:36 am)vix86 Wrote: More than likely it's pushed your chances of an internal transfer out by a few years. Salesforce is a huge company, you have to figure there are more people wanting to go to Japan in Salesforce than there was when your company was smaller. I'd talk to the new HR when stuff gets set up and find out.

I think it opens up a lot more opportunity. Salesforce already has a presence there with some significant Japanese clients, such as Japan Post. 

Vinster, I'd recommend starting to network with anyone in SFDC Japan as soon as you can. The more people you know and the more of a name you make for yourself over there, the easier it will be to transfer in the long run. Your language skills, IMO, give you a huge edge: there are so few people stateside who speak Japanese that you should be able to find ways to make yourself a valuable asset to the Japanese business. 

In my case, I joined a Training & Certification team at a large company a couple of years ago, and was lucky that at the time we had a sizable Japanese branch. I made it known that I was studying Japanese, and as a result I've been able to help out the Japanese team with things like content reviews, debriefing sessions on our training offerings, and interviews of new trainers. I'm working now with an American mentor who lives in Tokyo on doing some trainings at the Meguro office so that I can do some extended networking outside of my division.

Yes, Salesforce definitely has a presence. I have got some contacts from SFDC Japan via Dreamforce in September. I was thinking of reaching out to them after the holidays and setting up a call to just chat. I'm only worried about my chances being transferred to Japan because my speaking/listening is bad, which may jeopardize my possibilities; however, I'm hoping if I go there on behalf of the company it's more of in a nurture position. Y'know, learn the business culture, improve my Japanese, and so on.

We're contacts on LinkedIn so I'm aware of what company you're talking about. Seems pretty cool. Pretty much everyone at my current company knows I'm the Japan guy so I think that'll work out in my favor in the long-run.
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#27
(2015-12-24, 2:15 pm)hyvel Wrote: What makes me somewhat hesitant though is that when I was in Japan, I had the impression that there's an almost unsurmountable barrier between people that went to Japan on their own hand, and expats that got sent there by their companies in terms of treatment. Given that, I figured it'd make sense to start at HQ and then get transfered later. Any opinions on that? I'm not overly motivated by money (and am also considering a PhD), but seeing some of the expat packages really makes me think twice.
Unless you have some skill specialty that's in high demand (ex: in software dev, machine learning) at an international company, I don't think you'll find a regular job that can trump an expat package. Expat packages are generally attractive because you are carrying over your native salary + a lot more, stuff like, 1-2 free business class trips back home every year, housing allowance, extra bonuses, and other small perks. Regular jobs only grant you salary and in that instance its probably a salary in Yen vs say USD, so there is the exchange rate to think about as well. There are a couple of downsides to the expat route as well. 1) It can take years to reach that point and a certain amount of luck. Transferring internally may not guarantee you get one since my general understanding of expat packages is that they are meant as an incentive to convince someone to go overseas that may not want to. If you are requesting to be moved overseas; that's somethings different. 2) An expat position may not be permanent. They may only put you there for a certain number of years. You could probably work something out to keep your spot but you may lose the package.


While its understandable that money may not be a motivator, I think its important to keep in mind that a lot of fields/professions in Japan tend to make less than other positions elsewhere. If you are supporting a family or plan to, then that's something to keep in mind. Plus, it's nice to feel that people are paying you what you are worth.
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#28
In most cases and companies, expat packages are not going to be available except for very senior people or people with very unique skills.

To be honest, I wouldn't get my hopes up for a transfer to Japan without a few years of management experience or unique dev skills.

Edit: Theres probably some short term 3 month options at a company like Salesforce.
Edited: 2015-12-24, 10:55 pm
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#29
(2015-12-24, 10:34 pm)Gaikoukan23 Wrote: In most cases and companies, expat packages are not going to be available except for very senior people or people with very unique skills.

To be honest, I wouldn't get my hopes up for a transfer to Japan without a few years of management experience or unique dev skills.

Edit: Theres probably some short term 3 month options at a company like Salesforce.

On what do you base this? I know various people at my company who have held one or multiple positions in Japan for anywhere from three to 15 years.
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#30
Bumping the thread just to share some my thoughts as I start my own job search for real now.

I'm starting a tad bit early looking into companies to apply for since I graduate at the end of this year, but it's a little disheartening. CFN has a few jobs I need to look into that looks like it could fit the bill, but a few aren't exactly within my field. Will need to look into them more. A lot of the listings on GaijinPot seem to require you to already be living in Japan or have N1 or above (even if you have N2 and even if the posting only says business level Japanese required). GaijinPot seems pretty much useless unless you are already in Japan or want to be an English teacher. One of the other websites posted in this thread has the same exact layout as GaijinPot's job page but it has a lot more jobs available to overseas people for some reason.

Side note: I saw one company that had an average of 100+ hours of overtime a month according to a few different review websites. What the hell, Japan? I knew overtime was kind of to be expected of Japanese companies, but 100+ hours???

I already know I'm going to have to work pretty hard this year to get my business Japanese up to the point where I won't be completely bad in a Japanese business environment, and that it'd be harder because I need to find a company that is willing to sponsor a visa for me to come over, but it just feels kind of deflating (ESPECIALLY how a majority of the ads I see on CFN say they want native speakers only). I might look into another way of doing this if it comes to it. Maybe go to a school in Japan to practice my business Japanese and job search at the same time next year if needed. Or just go over there for a few months to do some job searching and hope for the best, since actually being there would help quite a bit I feel.

I wish I wasn't so stubborn about wanting to work in Japan, but life goals and all that good stuff. Part of me wants to make it happen even more because it's more challenging. I'm going to go over the other websites posted in this thread and also do some googling.

Edit: I'm feeling better after looking at some of the other websites that give me finer control of the search results (like Daijob). It feels like there's a lot more options now that I'm not hitting "母語レベル" for most of the results. Fingers crossed.
Edited: 2016-02-10, 5:16 pm
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#31
Just to bump this thread again...

Haven't lost hope that an opportunity to move to the Japan office at my current job is possible; however, getting very antsy. I've started browsing some sites and considering job searching again. Still unsure... I'll probably give it until the end of Summer but do want a plan in motion just in case.

Considering:
  • Pursue an MBA in Japan? Yes I know Japan colleges are now as "prestigious" as American ones, but don't care at this point. Only worry is comfortably taking classes in Japanese
  • Strictly search for a job, worry about an MBA later.
As always, the most depressing reality when searching for Japanese jobs is the ratio of crappy teacher postings to something legitimate. And if it's legitimate, either the Japanese proficiency is likely too demanding or they wouldn't intend to sponsor a visa.

Well... I just hate job searching in general, but at this point I seriously want to make this happen. In the background there's always the chance I can go to Japan as part of my existing company (preferred choice). That being said, waiting for something that may not happen will probably leave me in a worse spot. Any new and useful job sites folks have found? Doesn't help I'm not quite sure what I want to do going forward. Pretty open.
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#32
You already have a (from what I can tell, decent) job, and more importantly, actual work experience. Is the MBA something you would go for even if you didn't want to work in Japan? Do you have enough money to support yourself through an MBA in Japan? I don't really think it's worth it.

What websites are you using the search for jobs and what kind of position are you looking for? I plan to write a post later about my experiences so far, but I started searching jobs in the computer science field in the second half of March and I've been having decent luck. I've been using a Japanese website specifically targeted at people in the computer science/programming field. So far out of the 3 companies I've applied to within the first month I've gotten an interview with all of them (haven't applied to any more yet because I've been too busy). One had to reject me after finding out they can't support visas. One has lead to a second interview which I'm still waiting to hear the results of. The last company is flying me out to Japan this weekend so I can spend time in the office, meet everyone, and decide if we like each other after having completed 3 interviews.

I'm only N2 level so my Japanese isn't the greatest either. My keigo is complete ass still, but I was interviewing with only startups and venture companies, so everything was really laid back and only using teineigo was enough. One of those companies did everything in English, the other was done completely in Japanese, and the last company speaks Japanese in the office but the guys who interviewed me were good at English (besides the CEO), so everything but the last interview was half English half Japanese. If you're looking for a job that would require you to work with customers then you'll probably need a better handle on Japanese, but if you're skilled and can at least speak in ですます forms well enough to hold a conversation then the Japanese level probably won't be *too* demanding.

My advice is to try to get away from websites like GaijinPot and take a look at job recruitment websites aimed at Japanese people. Most companies aren't specifically looking for foreigners so they won't say if they can sponsor a visa or not. Check the website of any interesting companies to see if they have any foreign employees listed anywhere, or see if they say things like "looking to expand overseas" which all seem indicate that the company can or would be open to sponsoring a visa. Or you could always just shoot them an email and see what they say. I always made it clear as soon as possible in the first interview that I need them to sponsor a visa and it's in my profiles and such on all websites.
Edited: 2016-05-30, 5:53 pm
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#33
(2016-05-30, 5:48 pm)zx573 Wrote: You already have a (from what I can tell, decent) job, and more importantly, actual work experience. Is the MBA something you would go for even if you didn't want to work in Japan? Do you have enough money to support yourself through an MBA in Japan? I don't really think it's worth it.

What websites are you using the search for jobs and what kind of position are you looking for? I plan to write a post later about my experiences so far, but I started searching jobs in the computer science field in the second half of March and I've been having decent luck. I've been using a Japanese website specifically targeted at people in the computer science/programming field. So far out of the 3 companies I've applied to within the first month I've gotten an interview with all of them (haven't applied to any more yet because I've been too busy). One had to reject me after finding out they can't support visas. One has lead to a second interview which I'm still waiting to hear the results of. The last company is flying me out to Japan this weekend so I can spend time in the office, meet everyone, and decide if we like each other after having completed 3 interviews.

I'm only N2 level so my Japanese isn't the greatest either. My keigo is complete ass still, but I was interviewing with only startups and venture companies, so everything was really laid back and only using teineigo was enough. One of those companies did everything in English, the other was done completely in Japanese, and the last company speaks Japanese in the office but the guys who interviewed me were good at English (besides the CEO), so everything but the last interview was half English half Japanese. If you're looking for a job that would require you to work with customers then you'll probably need a better handle on Japanese, but if you're skilled and can at least speak in ですます forms well enough to hold a conversation then the Japanese level probably won't be *too* demanding.

My advice is to try to get away from websites like GaijinPot and take a look at job recruitment websites aimed at Japanese people. Most companies aren't specifically looking for foreigners so they won't say if they can sponsor a visa or not. Check the website of any interesting companies to see if they have any foreign employees listed anywhere, or see if they say things like "looking to expand overseas" which all seem indicate that the company can or would be open to sponsoring a visa. Or you could always just shoot them an email and see what they say. I always made it clear as soon as possible in the first interview that I need them to sponsor a visa and it's in my profiles and such on all websites.

Yes I do have a decent job with great people, but I really want to make my goal of Japan happen sooner rather than later. At least to live there for a few years while I'm still somewhat young (27 in July). I believe I would still pursue an MBA regardless, but Japan has always been in the back of my mind. Basically I keep pushing it off because a "What if an opportunity in Japan shows up?" mentality.

I have saved up a decent amount of money, yes. Throughout the entire MBA? Maybe not, but I imagine the visa would support picking up a part-time job. That being said, I feel as if I maybe missed some Fall college entrance timings. For example, Kansai University has a University prep term people can sign up for to learn the necessary Japanese to then pursue courses. Missed Fall enrollment by a month.

I'm mostly using LinkedIn, and sometimes Indeed's JP site. My problem is, as I said, I'm really not sure what I'm most interested in still. I'm currently in a B2B customer-facing role. Have any advice for specific job recruitment sites that you used? My company was originally a startup and I like that environment too, so I'd be curious to pursue a job at one in Japan. But visas are a bit more difficult to secure with a startup.
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#34
I turned 26 this year and I want to start working in Japan while I'm still young, I understand how you feel at least.

You should be able to get a part-time job on a student visa as far as I know, but you're restricted in the number of hours. If you were only trying to get an MBA in Japan to increase your chances of getting a job in Japan or live there then I'd say it wouldn't be worth it, but if you would get an MBA regardless then getting one in Japan would definitely help you out when it comes to job searching at the very least. I don't know anything about the actual process though so I can't say much.


I don't think LinkedIn is going to be the best place to search for jobs in Japan unless you are looking for foreign companies. Maybe you could check out Wantedly instead. It seems to be kinda similar to a Japanese version of LinkedIn from what I've seen. The company I have an upcoming internship with actually has a lot of its staff on that website so it's been useful for stalking and getting some info before interviews and such.
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#35
(2016-05-30, 2:01 pm)TheVinster Wrote: As always, the most depressing reality when searching for Japanese jobs is the ratio of crappy teacher postings to something legitimate. And if it's legitimate, either the Japanese proficiency is likely too demanding or they wouldn't intend to sponsor a visa.

Well... I just hate job searching in general, but at this point I seriously want to make this happen. In the background there's always the chance I can go to Japan as part of my existing company (preferred choice). That being said, waiting for something that may not happen will probably leave me in a worse spot. Any new and useful job sites folks have found? Doesn't help I'm not quite sure what I want to do going forward. Pretty open.

Daijob is a good place to start. It's a big step up from Gaijinpot, which I assume you're using if you're seeing teaching positions. I've seen a number of other job sites that are more focused to specific fields, so try searching around for what you're interested in.

It's hard to comment on Japanese ability without knowing the exact job role, but I think N2 can go a long way if you have some amount of speaking skills. I wouldn't let it hold you back too much if you have some relevant experience, but I would start practising interviewing and brushing up on vocab relevant to the field ASAP.

One thing to note is that direct hires seem few and far between on job sites. "Applying" for a position often ends up being applying to a recruiter who'll then recommend other positions. This can be good and bad, but it might be worth finding out about the company a little before you share your CV and such. It also means applying directly to companies may actually get you an interview.
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#36
(2016-05-30, 8:06 pm)TheVinster Wrote: I'm mostly using LinkedIn, and sometimes Indeed's JP site. My problem is, as I said, I'm really not sure what I'm most interested in still. I'm currently in a B2B customer-facing role. Have any advice for specific job recruitment sites that you used? My company was originally a startup and I like that environment too, so I'd be curious to pursue a job at one in Japan. But visas are a bit more difficult to secure with a startup.
I can't recall if I mentioned this in a prior post but I recommended it to zx and he/she had a really good experience with it. http://paiza.jp/

Do the coding challenges. Maybe do some of the Rank B/A stuff first to get a feel for it and get your self up to Rank A. Then try tackling one of the two Rank S problems that has the highest average of success. These problems are timed and in Japanese. You should aim to finish them within the "average time" thats listed. Going over the average will cause you to lose some points. Once you have Rank A you can probably apply for most spots. This site is almost entirely startups and there are a lot of companies interested in foreigners it seems (whether they know about how rough visas are is a different matter though). zx573 will have a write up on his experience eventually as he said but for now that's a new site I'm recommending to people.
Edited: 2016-05-31, 5:54 am
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#37
(2016-05-31, 12:19 am)vix86 Wrote: I can't recall if I mentioned this in a prior post but I recommended it to zx and he/she had a really good experience with it. www.paiza.jp
Wrong URL? That link gives the nginx default config test page... (or maybe they've messed their site up ;-))
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#38
Fixed, they don't have the www subdomain setup apparently.
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#39
(2016-05-31, 5:54 am)vix86 Wrote: Fixed, they don't have the www subdomain setup apparently.

For some reason I still don't understand, Japanese websites always seem to mess up domain names somehow.

And yeah, that's the website I was using (although vix86 already knows Tongue). Some posts earlier in the thread made me think TheVinster wasn't into programming kind of jobs though.

Just a word of warning: they sent a shit ton of email. They sent emails all during the weekday with things like comics about how to find a job, how to do interviews, etc. Maybe it might just be because I signed up as a student.

They also have apologized twice in the past week because one of the companies I applied to before, who admittedly has been less than ideal throughout the entire interview process, has taken so long to tell the guys running the website the results of my interview from like two/three weeks ago.



Some useful things to know about the website:
1) It's kind of a do-it-yourself kind of style recruiter website. They take 25% of your salary as commission (the company that hires you pays, not you). I don't think they really deserve that much because I do most of the work, but it's a useful website still. The same guy handles all communication between companies and job seekers from what I can tell.

2) You can't communicate with the companies directly. That's on purpose, and the admins of the website do as much as they can to discourage companies from communicating with job seekers directly. You have to respond to the email you get from the website with status updates and your 募集ID and the guy I mentioned in bullet point 1 will act as an intermediate between you and the company. The only time they willingly let the company and I communicate with each other directly is when it was decided they wanted to fly me out to Japan and so we needed to exchange a bunch of information to set things up.

3) You have to do most of the effort to find a job and take interviews. But, in the emails you get after applying for places, it *does* mention that you have the option to respond to the email asking for interviewing tips or ask any questions you have. I have yet to take advantage of this service yet, but it's an option.

4) Companies give you direct feedback after your interview, which gets summarized by the same person from bullet point 1. You are also expected to give feedback after an interview. This is REALLY nice because it gives you an idea of how the company was feeling after the interview and what they liked.

5) 2/3rds of the companies I've interviewed with so far have decided and told me before the end of the interview if they wanted to proceed with the next interview or not. The feedback thing from bullet point 4 comes usually a day or so later. I think the website encourages or puts some pressure on the companies to make quick decisions and work within the expected flow of the website.
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#40
(2016-05-30, 2:01 pm)TheVinster Wrote: Pursue an MBA in Japan? Yes I know Japan colleges are now as "prestigious" as American ones, but don't care at this point. Only worry is comfortably taking classes in Japanese

The few decent MBA programs here are all taught in English. I have had a few friends get their MBAs from Hitotsubashi and if you go this route I have two pieces of advice I have gleaned from them. First, make sure you start your job search very early and hit it very hard. Second, don't expect just having your MBA to me a major career move, it allows for less of a ceiling but generally doesn't change things in the short-term.
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#41
Ha, it's those people? I actually signed up to the 'code girl collection' game thingy just for the haha-wtf factor a little while back..
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#42
Yep its those people. I too had a "WTF" moment when I saw it and laughed pretty hard since I can only imagine how much shit they'd get if they were a western site. But their recruiting section seems pretty legit and I'm all for sites that provide potential opportunities that don't involve head hunters.
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#43
As a marketing trick I guess it gets them much more widely known than if they were just another sober recruiting website so in some ways it's pretty clever...
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#44
I'm not a programmer or explicitly in IT so not sure if those would be good for me. I work at a tech company, but work with the product in that regard unfortunately.
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#45
Oh dam, I forgot about that. Well, something you could do is maybe check out the companies listed and then find their web sites and see if they have something you are looking for. Keep an eye out for any companies that have a web site version for English as well, this might give you a good hint as to how international their team is.
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#46
So after 3 interviews, a 入社体験 where I did some real things that will be used seriously (apparently), and a final interview with the CEO today, I was given a job offer. I will be moving in January. I won'y go into the specifics of my salary, but I will say that it was better yearly than what I was expecting (although not by a huge amount) and they will pay to fly me out again and for my first month's rent (with all fees) and offer other assistance as needed.

I get the contract tomorrow. Hopefully they give me some time to read over it (like, until I get home and have some friends check ot over with me.

I found this job through that website vix mentioned earlier in the thtead: paiza. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask. Everything about the company is really laid back which is really nice.
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#47
Congrats to you again zx573!

I'll reiterate again to you TheVinster, you should check out some of the companies on paiza and google their name and check their careers page. You might not be a coder, but I've seen some companies looking for some management/project level positions. Always good to have a fall back.
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#48
I have a few questions for you zx573. I was wondering if barely N2 would be enough to get a job in a japanese startup. Are you able to relatively easily read the wall of text you find on japanese companies websites? ^^
Also, was the company where u got the job a startup?
If things are THAT positive, I may actually try on Wantedly.
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#49
(2016-06-14, 7:31 am)Meriden Wrote: I have a few questions for you zx573.  I was wondering if barely N2 would be enough to get a  job in a japanese startup. Are you able to relatively easily read the wall of text you find on japanese companies websites? ^^
Also, was the company where u got the job a startup?
If things are THAT positive, I may actually try on Wantedly.

N2 was good enough for me. I've been doing interviews in Japanese and chatting with people at the company with decent enough ability. They do dumb it down for me a bit and do theirr best to understand me when I don't make much sense, which is probably more than I think lol.

Yes, I can generally read the stuff on Japanese companies' websites I guess.

Yes, the company is a startup. They're about 5-ish years old I think.

I did things on http://paiza.jp/ not Wantedly. However, the company I am with now (sign the contract today!) is on Wantedly too.
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#50
(2016-06-13, 6:09 am)vix86 Wrote: Congrats to you again zx573!

I'll reiterate again to you TheVinster, you should check out some of the companies on paiza and google their name and check their careers page. You might not be a coder, but I've seen some companies looking for some management/project level positions. Always good to have a fall back.

Yes, congrats zx573. I'm definitely jealous. Will be seriously searching as of this weekend. I love the people I work with at my current job; however, I have goals and want to get there this year if possible (if not already have an offer in to transfer early 2017 like you).

And appreciate your words vix86. I will take another look and see what I dig up. My company was originally a startup and I think it will be a more accommodating environment for a foreigner such as myself. I also enjoyed the pace and lack of politics that I experienced personally at the startup I work at. Now that we've been acquired, the politics are creeping in which really ruins it for me. I'm just not happy anymore unless I see an opportunity at this company to eventually move to Japan.

Will do my best.
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