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Exploring Job Options in Japan

#51
(2016-06-15, 7:33 pm)TheVinster Wrote:
(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.
Good luck man! I'm rooting for you. I can definitely understand how you would not like the change in environment at your workplace. I would probably want to find something new if the company I signed with change significantly. The environment is a huge reason why I enjoy it there. Everyone is really laid back and casual including even the CEO.

I wish there were more sites that were easy for foreigners to use for job searching. paiza isn't perfect but it at least offers tags such as "Skype interviews available" and "Native Japanese not required" which are what I searched by to find my job. paiza also made it really easy to bypass a lot of the formalities involved in the job search such as resumes and/or skill tests. The other choices like GaijinPot and such seem to be for established professionals with work experience and who already live in Japan, or English teachers.

At any rate, here's to hoping you can find a job this year as well TheVinster (and vix86! Still offering a beer for all of the help if you're in Tokyo sometime).
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#52
(2016-06-15, 7:33 pm)TheVinster Wrote: 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.

I feel this. I got to use Japanese somewhat in my last position in my company. I interviewed several candidates for trainer positions for the Japanese office, and did some material reviews and event support in Tokyo. Sadly, the environment in that position turned negative and hostile, and I felt like I had to get out before it went completely south. (Out of the group's nine members, six have either already left or are planning to escape, so it seems I got out in the nick of time.) 

So now, thanks to office mismanagement and politics, I'm back in an "ordinary" job where Japanese is solely a side interest. I looked for opportunities internally where I could use my skills, but they all required native-like fluency, and I'm not there yet. 

The wife and I had talked about moving back to Japan for a year or two once the kids are all grown up (in about five years). However, she's now hooked on America and doesn't want to go back! Smile

So now I'm at a crossroads and figuring out what to do next with my language skills. My current plan is to hunker down on my studies, get my N1, and work toward moving into technical translation work over the next few years as my kids start transitioning into their own lives. (I live next to one of the few colleges in the country that offers a translation certificate program.) I may look at changing jobs after a year or two if I can find something interesting and Japanese-related, but for now I'm waiting for my stock to vest so I can build a financial cushion in advance of embarking on a major career change. 

I'm also tinkering with the idea of tackling the Japanese Literature program at University of Washington. It's not very practical, but it sounds like a hell of a lot of fun. I would eventually love to write stories in Japanese as well, so diving into a literature program seems like a wise idea. 

Sorry, very long-winded reply to your own travails. It's interesting to see what other people are doing with their Japanese ability!
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#53
Just continuing to occasionally look at job sites. Frustrating part is finding a new site and having to set up a login, all your info, etc. etc. all over again.

Has anyone tried and/or had luck with https://global.mynavi.jp/?
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#54
That doesn't look like a job search site though. It looks more like its a site that carries company info and describes what sort of things the company looks for in candidates, which kind of reeks of traditional Japanese job hunting where you look to enter the company in the spring after graduation. Some of these even mention a "Seminar" which is like a giant orientation for potential hires, *bleh* avoid those, you have enough experience to ignore that stuff.

Here is another site to check, this seems to be aimed at people mid-career change, https://mid-tenshoku.com/
To keep your sanity in check. I wouldn't sign up for every site unless you see at least 2-3 jobs that you could see yourself applying to and I would avoid any site that requires you to sign up just to see job postings (thats just stupid).
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#55
Turns out I just started an internship here in Tokyo for an executive recruiting firm. I'm in the IT team. It's my first time in the recruiting industry but I'm pretty impressed at the process as it's all pretty new to me.

I'd suggest contacting a recruiting agency. Honestly. They have an inside track on the industry you're trying to get into and a pretty good idea of the current status for the jobs you're looking at. The incentives match up too. You want a well matched position. The recruiter wants a long-term relationship with you and the company because that's how they get paid. And the company wants a good fit for the position they're looking to fill.

Let me know if you want the name of the company I'm interning with in a PM. You can set up a phone call with one of my team members to discuss the current opportunities on the market and your prospects. I don't get anything from this lol I'm just finishing my grad school and wanted a foot into Japan so I took this internship to learn about my prospects at working here and if it's worth moving my wife over etc.
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#56
Hi, thx very much for the information!
What level of Japanese are you, and what level is recommended/required?
Is the internship money enough to pay the rent and food and other necessities?
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#57
@Ben_JP
I don't have any links for reference, but I've heard the executive recruiting business can be really rough in Japan. Some people don't seem to mind it though. I guess it depends on the company though. Recruiting and English teacher are the two jobs I personally wouldn't want to do after hearing stories is all I know. Tongue

At any rate, good luck with the internship. I hope it works out for you.

@Meriden
I can't answer for Ben, but I'm pretty sure you're not technically allowed to have a paid internship without getting the proper visa, so keep that in mind. Due to that, the company that I interned at (for a week and a half or so last month) decided to pay for my hotel and flight instead of paying me back through a paid internship. They also paid for dinner a few times during my stay.

And Japanese level will highly depend on the company. Some companies are fine with minimal Japanese skills, while others require business level Japanese if not native level. So, business level or native (or near-native at least) are of course "recommended" if you want to make sure you have as many jobs open to you as possible, but it all depends on the company. That's something a recruiter would be useful for since, in my experience, a lot of companies don't consider foreigners so they don't say what level Japanese they require on their recruitment pages.
Edited: 2016-07-09, 8:49 am
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#58
(2016-07-09, 6:53 am)Ben_JP Wrote: Turns out I just started an internship here in Tokyo for an executive recruiting firm. I'm in the IT team. It's my first time in the recruiting industry but I'm pretty impressed at the process as it's all pretty new to me.

I'd suggest contacting a recruiting agency. Honestly. They have an inside track on the industry you're trying to get into and a pretty good idea of the current status for the jobs you're looking at. The incentives match up too. You want a well matched position. The recruiter wants a long-term relationship with you and the company because that's how they get paid. And the company wants a good fit for the position they're looking to fill.

Let me know if you want the name of the company I'm interning with in a PM. You can set up a phone call with one of my team members to discuss the current opportunities on the market and your prospects. I don't get anything from this lol I'm just finishing my grad school and wanted a foot into Japan so I took this internship to learn about my prospects at working here and if it's worth moving my wife over etc.

Sent you a PM. Might as well give it a shot. I'm going to give my current job a few more weeks and occasionally look for jobs, but will get pretty serious soon after.
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#59
(2016-07-09, 7:21 am)Meriden Wrote: Hi, thx very much for the information!
What level of Japanese are you, and what level is recommended/required?

zx573 covered most of the bases. I will say though that I think Japanese skill can be overlooked depending on the level of English that is needed. Some jobs will set some pretty high bars on required English skill and in those cases they may be interested in foreigners. The only thing to watch for is to make sure you have enough Japanese skills for it which may be high depending on what the company wants to use you for. If you are a customer facing position or someone that will help with dealing with other companies, your Japanese will probably have to be pretty high in all areas (ex: speaking, not just reading/listening).

You can always apply and try interviewing and seeing how it goes. At the very least though you should be able to hold a regular conversation
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#60
(2016-07-09, 7:21 am)Meriden Wrote: Hi, thx very much for the information!
What level of Japanese are you, and what level is recommended/required?
Is the internship money enough to pay the rent and food and other necessities?

Hey, sorry for the delay. 

If you're wanting to work in Japan, N2 is the absolute bare minimum. You should be able to easily have conversations as well. I'd also add that you should be able to talk about and explain your industry and projects in Japanese as well. 

Yes, I'm being paid. It's enough to pay my over-priced short-term rental contract and buy food. But after the initial costs of moving (plane tickets, damage deposit, new household items, transportation) I won't make back the money I spent to get here until after 3 months.

My advice: know your worth and don't get a job that doesn't pay your expenses in the short term. Long term is a different story.
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#61
(2016-07-09, 8:49 am)zx573 Wrote: @Ben_JP
I don't have any links for reference, but I've heard the executive recruiting business can be really rough in Japan. Some people don't seem to mind it though. I guess it depends on the company though. Recruiting and English teacher are the two jobs I personally wouldn't want to do after hearing stories is all I know. Tongue

At any rate, good luck with the internship. I hope it works out for you.

@Meriden
I can't answer for Ben, but I'm pretty sure you're not technically allowed to have a paid internship without getting the proper visa, so keep that in mind. Due to that, the company that I interned at (for a week and a half or so last month) decided to pay for my hotel and flight instead of paying me back through a paid internship. They also paid for dinner a few times during my stay.

And Japanese level will highly depend on the company. Some companies are fine with minimal Japanese skills, while others require business level Japanese if not native level. So, business level or native (or near-native at least) are of course "recommended" if you want to make sure you have as many jobs open to you as possible, but it all depends on the company. That's something a recruiter would be useful for since, in my experience, a lot of companies don't consider foreigners so they don't say what level Japanese they require on their recruitment pages.

Yes, you're generally right about the visa's. I went through the process to get a proper visa sponsorship to work here.

Re: executive recruiting and teaching, yes. I've never wanted to be a teacher in Japan so I can't comment there. Recruiting isn't my "field" per say, as my degree is quantitative and I will pursue those types of positions; but, I can comment on want I've experienced so far. 

The best way to sum up recruiting is that it's a sales position. As we know with sales positions you need to cold call, meet quotas, meet and liaise with clients and candidates, etc. If that's not in your bag of tricks, then recruiting won't be very enjoyable. 

Personally, I think it's pretty cool. But yes, definitely takes a certain set of skills to succeed at. However, even if you have those skills, often the dice don't roll in your favour due to uncontrollable external circumstances.

That being said, it's a great company atmosphere and very supportive. Coworkers are all friends and working very hard to succeed in their respective position.
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#62
I should also add for the general reader, that Japanese companies often post their open positions in English.

This may surprise you, but many of these companies do this to cater to a specific type of crowd: native Japanese who are competent enough in English to find and understand the posting; the "elite".

The underlying assumption here is that you're not only fluent in Japanese, read "native", you also know and totally understand Japanese culture and its business customs. Of course, this can't explicitly be stated in the job description.

Not completely correct, but I have to say that in general, if a Japanese company is willing to hire a foreigner, they'll at least specificy the JLPT level that you'll need. It's usually N2 or N1 with the assumption that you can meet with Japanese clients, lead meetings, and pick up the phone and call. It's not just the technical proficiency in Japanese that they're looking for.
Edited: 2016-07-16, 12:45 am
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#63
I've been digging around on Japanese job sites quite recently and most companies that seem to have a want for English speakers aren't specifying the level of JLPT. Its possible that they have no idea about the test (how many small to med. western companies do you think know about TOEIC?). I've contacted a few of these companies and gotten responses back and have had some companies reach out to me that also seem to have a desire for English speakers. So I would say I'm a bit skeptical about companies with English listings only wanting Billingual native Japanese. Of course that doesn't mean you can have 0 Japanese.
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#64
For what it's worth, there's only one other white guy at my company, A guy from Singapore(I think?) has ok enough Japanese, and the other white guy knows enough to communicate, but said he's only around N4 level. Can't speak on the other foreigners. I want to say there are less than 10 in total in the company. The company isn't advertising in English or anything, though. However they are trying to expand globally and growing quickly as a company so they're open to people who don't speak perfect Japanese as long as they are able to work with their teams (be it in English or Japanese or some other language). They don't mention English or Japanese level on their website at all, and the only hint I got was they had the "Not native Japanese ok" tag on the recruitment website I found them on.

I personally have N2 and did half of my interviews in Japanese and the other half in English (sometimes using both languages at the company). I feel like it definitely helped my case, but with the right skills it wouldn't have been a huge issue. The company doesn't want or expect me to handle customers, calls, or anything like that, though.

However, I've heard a lot of companies at, for example, the Boston Carrier Forum supposedly are looking for Japanese students studying abroad instead of foreigners (although they aren't against qualified foreigners either). I thankfully didn't have to make the trip so I can't say for sure, but that's what I've heard.
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#65
(2016-07-16, 12:27 am)Ben_JP Wrote:
(2016-07-09, 7:21 am)Meriden Wrote: Hi, thx very much for the information!
What level of Japanese are you, and what level is recommended/required?
Is the internship money enough to pay the rent and food and other necessities?

Hey, sorry for the delay. 

If you're wanting to work in Japan, N2 is the absolute bare minimum. You should be able to easily have conversations as well. I'd also add that you should be able to talk about and explain your industry and projects in Japanese as well. 

Yes, I'm being paid. It's enough to pay my over-priced short-term rental contract and buy food. But after the initial costs of moving (plane tickets, damage deposit, new household items, transportation) I won't make back the money I spent to get here until after 3 months.

My advice: know your worth and don't get a job that doesn't pay your expenses in the short term. Long term is a different story.

I see, this probably sums up the situation. Did you spend time in Japan beforehand?

As one self-studying Japanese not in Japan, I think that fluency in speech will be the latest target I reach. Indeed, if one doesn't practive speaking, it's very difficult to develop that skill. So in a case like mine, at least JLPT N1 would probably be required.

How about universities? I've seen several universities that require N2. If you can understand when the professor speaks, maybe that should be enough.
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#66
(2016-07-16, 2:33 pm)Meriden Wrote: How about universities? I've seen several universities that require N2. If you can understand when the professor speaks, maybe that should be enough.

My uni wanted an N1 certificate when applying to take the entrance exam (master's course). But I think it can vary not just by the uni but also each faculty within the uni.

Understanding what the prof says, writing essays, papers, exams, giving presentations, debating, reading...
Edited: 2016-07-16, 10:15 pm
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#67
(2016-07-16, 10:00 pm)Ash_S Wrote:
(2016-07-16, 2:33 pm)Meriden Wrote: How about universities? I've seen several universities that require N2. If you can understand when the professor speaks, maybe that should be enough.

My uni wanted an N1 certificate when applying to take the entrance exam (master's course). But I think it can vary not just by the uni but also each faculty within the uni.

Understanding what the prof says, writing essays, papers, exams, giving presentations, debating, reading...

When exploring colleges, I did find one (in Kansai) that offered prep for college-level courses in Japanese. So I guess it would teach you the vocab and help you gain the necessary skills so you could then succeed for all of the courses. Was like a 1 semester thing.
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#68
Slightly related to this topic and I don't want to make a new thread just to point this out, but I'm reading over the contract my company gave me to work remotely part time until I graduate, and I found what I thought was a kinda hilarious and slightly ridiculous section in the contract. I can't post the contract and I don't feel comfortable copy/pasting anything from it, but I did find mostly same section in another contract online.

第22条(反社会的勢力の排除)
https://www.i-alcos.com/index/agreement-for-use

I know Yakuza and stuff is a thing in Japan and they have their hands in everything, but I can't help but say "oh Japan..." when I came across this.


P.S. Reading contractual Japanese is a huge pain in the ass if you're not used to it. Sad
Edited: 2016-07-27, 9:22 am
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#69
Keep in mind that there's sort of a two-class system among Westerners in Japan. Expats (people hired overseas and sent to Japan) live much more comfortably, and folks who just go there and try to find something sort of start at the bottom and struggle to work their way up. Some people manage to jump from the latter group to the former group, but it's a slog and time is not on your side. 

So you might focus on trying to get as far as you can in your profession at home (especially if you're in a high-opportunity location like N. America) and then work towards getting sent over as an expat. If you prioritize getting to Japan over everything else, your career progression could suffer. Not for sure, but quite possible.

You can also try to get connected for expat type jobs from overseas, such as through the Business in Japan group on Linked In.
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#70
The Yakuza stuff is due to some laws that were passed 4-5(?) years ago that made businesses culpable on the same level of the Yakuza, if its discovered they have dealings with the Yakuza. This could be as simple as serving a burger to some low ranking yakuza goon. This is mostly an extension of some prior laws from back in the 90s that aimed to try and reduce the influence of Yakuza on businesses. A lot of these laws mainly exist to help give businesses an excuse on why they can't deal with the Yakuza.
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#71
I guess that explains why they mention 5 years specifically then. Never heard of that before. I'm sure you can imagine the feeling of "wtf??" when reading over a contract and seeing them saying they are not affiliated or do business and will not do business with members of organized crime. Tongue
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