How To Deal With Job Hunting Period in Japan (For Students)

Jan 7, 2019


In your country, what is it like to be in the last year of University? Do people enjoy every last of one of their senior days? Or do you they get busy for the next step? Well, in Japan, being a Senior is the busiest and most stressful year for them because they have “Shu-Katsu(就活)”. Have you ever heard of this word before? It’s shortened for “Shushoku Katsudou(就職活動)” meaning “job hunting”. If you have been to a Japanese University before, and get to know any senior, you might have already noticed that they always wear a suit, and rarely come to school. Even though you meet them, all they will be talking about is job hunting. So you’ll get the point of how important and difficult it is to get job offers from the companies they are seeking. Probably, job hunting is one of the cultural backgrounds of Japan that happens every year during the Spring through to the Summer. If you are a foreign student studying in Japan, and you are thinking about getting a job like the other students around you, but has no clue how to…well, you came to the right page. This article will explain to you when to start, what you’ll need and a little bit about the process of job hunting.

1. When Do Companies Start Recruiting the Students?


Here is something about job hunting. There is a general schedule like the terms of starting job fair and job interviews, but did you know that the schedule can be changed every year? For example, 5 years ago job fairs were usually opened from December and job interviews started in April. However, these schedules are getting slow and tight each year. Like last year, companies started to hold job fairs in March and job interviews from June. That means students only have 3 months to choose where they want to apply and have less time to prepare for their interview. Luckily, the people who will be graduating in the year 2020, they will be having the same schedule as their senpai. As a matter of fact, if you are going to do job hunting like other Japanese students, you must put in mind that March is the most important month for you. There will be many job fair held in different places and occasions. My advice to you is that you attend as much as possible. Some companies will not even let you apply if you haven’t been to their job fair. Of course, not all companies do that, but if you are aiming for the big company, you won’t regret attending one. And another reason why it’s important to attend is that you get to feel the atmosphere of the company. Some of my friends who decided to go to these job fairs have decided not to apply to the company they were interested in because it was different from what they were expecting after going to their job fair. Moreover, the company will you give you important information about when you can apply for the job and about what it takes to get the job, like how many interviews you may have to go through. So don’t miss out!



2. What Do You Need to Prepare to Apply For Your Dream Company?


March is also important because many companies start recruiting students and you can be a part of these students when you send them the entry sheet. For those who are not familiar with it, entry sheet, other words an initial application form, is pretty much a mix of cover letter and resume. It’s the first document between you and the company. What you write in the entry sheet is very important because they will be judging whether you’re the right candidate to allow to move on to the job interview. For most, Japanese people, this one sheet of paper is going to decide how the rest of their life would be. In addition, it is reference material for the first step of selection, but it is also used at the job interview as well, so it is important what you know your resume and cover letter, because, they will be testing you by asking questions on what’s written. So where do you get the entry sheet? There are several ways. You can either download the sheet from the company’s website or obtain it directly from the company’s office. Sometimes it is handed out at the job fairs as well. Now, all you’ll be needing is to gather as much information as possible about the company, and then write in the entry sheet how much you want to be in the company. However, you wont be able to write an essay level length about how special the company is for you, but what you’ll get to write the answers to questions such as what you’ll likely to be asked during the interview like your major, your strengths and weaknesses, and some other general questions like why you chose this company. And on most occasions, you must write in Japanese if you are going to apply to a Japanese corporation. However, as it is getting more international nowadays, there are some companies that allow you to write in English so always have a good look through of the application requirements.




3. What Steps Do You Have to Take to Get Accepted?


Normally the interview is the moment they decide whether or not you are the one. It’s important to show the interviewers how attractive you are by presenting yourself in an appealing way, being polite and to show how much you know about the company. Japanese job interviews are very gloomy and make can make you even more nervous because you are surrounded by a bunch of serious interviewers, unlike in the states, it is more cheerful since they actually have a conversation, not like questioning and answering style like it is here. However, not every company decide by interviews. In some company, they gather several students together and make them do group discussions or group work, so the interviewers can actually see how well you interact with the others. Of course, it’s important to tell your ideas and show off how good you are to everyone else. But here’s a little tip, it’s more important how well you are able to work as a team than sharing your ideas. Since the Japanese can be shy and considerate sometimes, they will be needing someone to pull the team like a leader. So if you ever have to do one of these group tasks, it shows the interviewers how well you make everyone work together as a team.




4. How Long Does the Process Take?


There’s no telling how long the process takes. The fastest can be 3 months and the longest can take up to 14 months to get a job offer. However, there is a ceremony for incoming recruitment class called “Naiteishiki(内定式)” normally held on October 1st. Unless they get the offer from the company they really want, many students will still keep on continuing to apply as much as possible, so many set their goal to have a company in mind in time for this ceremony since they have to decide which one of the companies to attend. So talking about average, it takes about half a year to last their job hunting. By the way, if you’re wondering how long it takes for the company to tell you the result, it’s approximately three to seven days after your very last job interview. If you pass, the company normally calls you on the phone to tell you the result or even sometimes send you a mail to your house. However, if you didn’t get to pass they normally just message you through your email address or sometimes don’t even bother to tell you anything. So you can pretty much tell how your result went by how the company contacts you or doesn’t contact you.




5. When Can You Actually Start Working?


Your very first day will be on the first of April. However, you have to put in mind that in some company, they will call you to come over to the company to have a little job training. It’s interesting that in some company these training will only last a day; in which you pretty much only listen to their talk. On the other hand, some company will make you work as a part-time job so you’ll get to learn before you actually work. Although you are not forced to, my advice is to participate so that you won’t get lost behind after you start working formally. Another reason why it is better for you to attend is that you get to know your senpai and build relationships with the other colleagues. Although this is only a rare case since not many companies have long job training before the official entering of the company. For those who don’t have the need to come to the company every day, you have the time to enjoy your last moment being a student. Yes, you may party and enjoy every day, but don’t forget you’re going to be one of the members of society soon so always be aware. There is something you can actually do as in “preparation”. In most companies, they will ask you to learn Word and Excel after you enter the company. So you can study a little bit about it if you are not very good at using computers. Also, it is always a plus to gather information about the company since it is always better to know more about the company you’ll be getting into.




6. Is It a Happy Ending?


Well, this can be only be answered by yourself. For many Japanese, they believe that the company they get will change their life forever. So they will put in as much effort as possible to get their dream career. However, nowadays, I seem to encounter people who are not happy with the company they are in. The main reasons are because their boss or colleagues are not as nice as they expected and many starts to feel mentally ill. For example, my friend, she feels left behind from the others because she had missed the first workday on her job. Besides the human relationship, some people are unhappy with their work time. Since some companies can be very busy, they are asked to work overtime which gets the employees more and more physically tired. According to another one of my friend, she comes to work early in the morning and finishes work around ten in the evening. She told me that she rarely had any time for her self which made her really depressed. Eventually, she quit her job after a year of working there. It was a very big company and her pay wasn’t that bad, but after a while, she noticed that this job didn’t suit her at all. Later on, she decided to apply to other companies taking her own time, and now my friend is doing the job she really wanted. Her salary has decreased but thanks to the new company she’s in, she is happy every day. It is true that not many people get the job offer from the company they want, so they have no choice and pick the place where they were only accepted. Maybe you won’t get the job you really want to do, but if it’s a good company, have a try and work for three years. Then try what’s best for you. On the other hand, if you’re having a rough time, it’s okay to quit. There’s always a second chance waiting for you as my friend had.



As you can see, job hunting can be very tough. However, if you decide your aim early enough like what job you want to do and which company you want to apply for, you can prepare and work hard towards it. If you are still a student who has not started your job hunting yet, my advise to you is that you value your school life. Do something you can work hard on. It can be your club activities, volunteers or maybe your part-time job. What’s important is that there is something you tried hard during your school days and that is what the interviewer wants to hear about during your interview. You may have a rough time applying to many companies but don’t worry, as long as you don’t give up and have confidence in yourself, it will lead you to your dream career.



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