This Monday I wrote a post entitled 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Major in Japanese (and 2 You Might Consider It). This post is a follow up to that. A lot of people want to know about the best ways to get over to Japan and the best ways to find a job there. In this post, we’ll be hearing some advice from YouTubers who have had some firsthand experience with the matter. Hopefully they can offer some insight regarding what you’d be getting yourself into if you decide to live and work in Japan. It seems like it mostly comes down to one single thing: motivation.
How to Get a Job in Japan
This guy is all about motivation. And he’s right, you really need to be motivated and serious about finding a position in Japan to get one. You need to set goals, achieve them, and move ahead. A big thing that helped this guy find a job was that he was already living there when he was looking for one. And I agree, this is a big help, even if you’re just staying there on a 90 day visit.
Japanese companies will really appreciate the fact that you are serious enough to live and/or visit there while looking for jobs. It’ll really help you out. GaijinPot is also a great resource for finding jobs. You’re encouraged to apply to tons of places. The more places you apply to, the more likely you are to hear back from someone. You never know, you might get lucky.
This guy is always super genki in his videos. He’s all about being excited and outgoing and exciting. This is especially helpful if you want to teach over there. They really seem to like teachers who look like they can make learning English more fun and interesting for the students.
It’s also pretty much essential that you have some sort of college degree. I don’t think I really need to explain why this would be a boon. This guy’s video is motivational if nothing else. Just go for it!
This “no BS” guide seems more like common sense than anything else, but sometimes you just need to hear these things said out loud. He’s a bit more pessimistic about the prospect of getting to and landing a job in Japan, but again, the main theme here is that you need to be passionate and motivated to really get what you want in Japan. The same can really be said about employment anywhere, but this goes double for finding employment in Japan.
He’s pushing a book in this video, and I can’t comment on it, so just ignore that part. The important message to take away here is that you need to be both passionate and motivated.
Getting a Non-Teaching Job in Japan
As he says in this video, this is kind of a hard question to answer simply. Like I said in my Monday post, if you’re looking for a non-teaching job, you need to have some sort of skill that would be likely to land you a job in your home country anyway. You just take those skills to Japan and find a job there. You could even get transferred to Japan from a Japanese company based in your home country.
It’s also very important, way more than a teaching job, to be really really good at speaking, reading, and writing Japanese. It’s definitely harder to find a non-teaching job in Japan than it is to find a teaching one.
Jobs for Students
I’m sure some people are wondering what it’s like finding part-time jobs in Japan as opposed to full blown careers. Maybe you’re studying over there or you just can’t work full-time for whatever reason. There are plenty of odd jobs to be found in Japan from selling things on eBay, to working at a fast food joint, to doing English voice acting for language learning programs.
She also harps on being resourceful, having good Japanese, having other useful skills, being motivated, and being presentable. Really, these are all traits that anyone would need to find success in employment anywhere. They’re just things you really need to keep in mind as you search for ways to make it in Japan, even if you’re just trying to make ends meet. She also mentions how teaching English in Japan is really the entry level job for those seeking employment in Japan.
Success Story Interview
This last video here is pretty long, and I wouldn’t say all of it is relevant, but it’s much more in depth than the other videos here. It’s just an interview of someone who landed a teaching job in Japan and his journey that got him there. Maybe you’ll find something helpful or insightful in this video, maybe not. Give it a watch if you have the time.
Quotes from People John Actually Knows in Real Life
Believe it or not, I actually have friends outside the internet, many of which who have lived in Japan and worked over there as well. Many have only held teaching positions, but others also have some experience with non-teaching jobs. Let’s hear what they have to say.
It’s basically just like finding any other job… put out a bunch of applications and hope someone hires you.
Note, this only applies to teaching English. I think for me, I just rocked the interview and looked into some basic TESL forms in order to put together a sample lesson. Interestingly enough, knowing Japanese was actually a bonus for me because they knew I wouldn’t have to rely on my co-workers to adapt to Japan. (Although sometimes that backfires.)
Other than that I applied to and sent inquiry letters to like, 10-15 different places. Only heard back from two. Also, having a visa and some prior experience will net you a job pretty fast, but good luck getting a visa without a job if you’re an American.
The visa thing is the most important. Also having a driver’s license if you’re applying outside of Tokyo. Obviously work experience helps and usually they want to see that you have some sort of multicultural experience so they know you’re not going to get homesick and leave randomly. “Screw you guys, I’m going home” is generally not a trait they want to see.
I’ve heard it’s really easy to find a job if you are already in Japan. Obviously it’s easier if you have a visa too, but I’ve heard about people getting visa sponsorship for part time jobs like tutoring, English teaching, and bar tending. Then while they have their visa sponsored, they look for full time work elsewhere. This is what I plan on doing once my teaching contract expires. There are a lot of full time jobs that will sponsor your visa, but it seems to be a lot easier if you’re already in Japan.
Of course, I’m talking about it being easier to find teaching work. I don’t have experience looking for any other type of work… yet.
I would like to say that unless you are with JET, coming here and teaching English is a horrible idea. Unless you plan on doing it as a stepping stone to another job outside English, but this doesn’t happen that often since most people come here with degrees in stuff that no one needs. I have met two people so far who broke out, one had a degree in economics and the other in law, they were English teachers only for the work visa and then left mid contract.
I think this is all really good advice. It’s something to think about at least. Also, most all the YouTubers up above are people I actually subscribe to, so I know they’re good reliable sources. Feel free to check out their other videos too. They’re good people.
In conclusion, the takeaway from this is that if you really work at it and stay motivated and do all that you can, you’ll make it in Japan. Making it is kind of a broad term though, and how well you “make it” will depend on your employability and your skill set. But just keep at it, and eventually you’ll find your way.
And I know I asked for it my last post, but if you have any additional advice, or have a success story to share, let us know on Twitter! You’ll help out someone else and helping people will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Promise.