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ckhushrenada
October 8th, 2013, 21:13
I wanted to know if there is anyone specific who has to write the letter of reference for the application. I'm out of school so I don't really have lecturers to ask. My boss is willing to write one for me but I'm not sure who to get the other one from.

Can I ask one of my friends who has known me for over 10 years?????????????

I was thinking about asking one of my Japanese teachers but they have only known me for a couple months. Is there a specific length of time that the referee must know me or a specific qualification they must have?

I'm not sure what to do or who to ask.

Thank you in advance for all your assistance.

Gizmotech
October 8th, 2013, 21:23
Well your boss is a good start. I would recommend contacting your consulate and asking for their suggestion.

I believe that your friend of 10 years would be a bad choice, as they are unable to provide an honest evaluation of you as a worker (either academic or professional). Ideally whoever it is who provides the reference should be able to speak to your abilities and character in a working situation, so think a bit more on the topic.

ckhushrenada
October 8th, 2013, 23:04
My embassy has a don't call us we'll call you policy. :(

Jamie Solo
October 8th, 2013, 23:38
Sometimes an 'official' can be used. For example, I know a police officer who has written a reference or 2 for me in the past.

PaddyPakku
October 9th, 2013, 00:19
My embassy has a don't call us we'll call you policy. :(

Eek, that's rough.
You should really get a professional person to do it. So Managers, senior coworkers, a doctor, old teachers; people that you aren't related to or are friends with.
referees should be able to evaluate your personality in a professional environment.

MJN
October 9th, 2013, 08:39
Your boss is a definite yes, but a no to the friend. The Japanese teacher of only a few months better candidate than a friend of 10 years.

Your next best bet would be a supervisor or something in an elevated position at your current work, if such a position exists. How long have you been out of School/University? It's not uncommon for lecturers to be asked for a letter of reference as much as a decade after they've left, from what I've heard.

therealwindycity
October 9th, 2013, 08:39
Has it been a really long time since you graduated? It would be good to get a reference from a professor or academic adviser

Edit: Jinx!

chikorita
October 9th, 2013, 10:35
Friends and relatives are a no-no for pretty much all job references. You might know that your friend is a completely fair, objective judge of character, but your employer doesn't know that (also it's pretty hard to write an entirely neutral letter for a good friend, and you might be biased without realising it). Not to mention, your friend probably can't talk about what you're like as an employee/co-worker, which is what JET want to know.If a reference says, "Oh, ckhushrenada is really honest, friendly and generous", JET will be thinking, "That's good to know, but can he/she show up to work on time everyday, complete a project, and/or project a professional demeanour? How do they get on with colleagues? What are they like with deadlines? What professional experience do they have?"

I would say ask your Japanese teachers. A few months isn't a great length of time, but it's long enough to know the basics about someone- and unless there's something really weird in the reference letter, JET aren't going to be phoning them and drilling them for all the nitty gritty details like when and where you met. So long as your reference explains their relationship to you (i.e. "as ckhushrenada's Japanese teacher, I can say that he/she is...", it should be fine.

Gizmotech
October 9th, 2013, 11:18
I have one thing to say against Japanese teachers,

more often than not they don't really know anything about you, other than how well you did in their class. They seldom have the ability to really speak to your character, or your ability to adapt to situations, just how well you learned a language.

While an interesting point, it doesn't say much about you. All it's saying is "I took Japanese class", which isn't that important for the application.

Ini
October 9th, 2013, 13:47
I got my references written by family friends and I was ok. That was 10 years ago so maybe things have changed........If you are going that route make sure those people have some clout that'll impress. The Japanese care about status so if the letterhead is good enough it won't matter what the relationship is.

chikorita
October 9th, 2013, 16:14
The Japanese care about status so if the letterhead is good enough it won't matter what the relationship is.

That;s a very broad statement. Also, if this is right, what if the person who reads your application and decides whether to put you through to interviews or not isn't Japanese?

uthinkimlost?
October 9th, 2013, 16:21
That;s a very broad statement. Also, if this is right, what if the person who reads your application and decides whether to put you through to interviews or not isn't Japanese?

One of your interviewers probably will be. They will have the letters, or copies of them, there. Your schools probably see them as well when they decide whether or not to take you.

word
October 9th, 2013, 20:41
That;s a very broad statement. Also, if this is right, what if the person who reads your application and decides whether to put you through to interviews or not isn't Japanese?

Ini, as usual, speaks the truth. An impressive title and letterhead can go a hell of a long way for a Japanese screener--certainly a lot farther than the contents of a letter, because generally all the letters say exactly the same thing. "chikorita is a fantastic candidate, a natural leader, and a perfect fit for JET blah blah blah etc."

The year that I applied (and this may have changed), the online instructions actually mentioned specifically that your letters of recommendation could be in Japanese, but that it wasn't required and would not give an advantage either way.

Page
October 10th, 2013, 11:35
So in a nutshell: you can't get your friend down the street to write your reference for you UNLESS they have some kind of standing. There's no rule that they have to write what kind of relationship they have with you (i.e. "friend", they can just go with a general "I've known xxx for 10 years and ..."). If it's a company director that you happen to play video games with every weekend that's fine, just don't have to mention the video game part. I think it's universally accepted that references based on friendship are not acceptable for work applications--it needs to be someone with some kind of work or social standing that can comment on your abilities. That's not to say that they have to be a work or school mate, they just shouldn't mention the relationship, imo, just focus on why you're good for JET. Just use common sense!

Jiggit
October 10th, 2013, 11:47
I think it's still pretty poor if the referee can't say in what context they are familiar with the referent (did I get those words right?). I mean my mother is a Principal back home and has a different surname from me but I still wouldn't ask her to be write me a reference because there would be no honest way in which she could say she was linked to me professionally. If I were reading that reference I would assume it was a friend of the family who just happened to have a good job, and it would seem pretty shaky. Perhaps if you honestly have no alternative but getting one from a teacher and a previous employer would be better if that option is available.

CannedCoffee
October 11th, 2013, 14:59
I have one thing to say against Japanese teachers,

more often than not they don't really know anything about you, other than how well you did in their class. They seldom have the ability to really speak to your character, or your ability to adapt to situations, just how well you learned a language.

While an interesting point, it doesn't say much about you. All it's saying is "I took Japanese class", which isn't that important for the application.

I had two professors from my Japanese language department as references. To be fair I took several classes with both and they were pretty high up in the foreign language department. Plus one of the interviewers I think actually knew one of them, but that's beside the point.

I think it's a good idea if possible because one thing I think interviewers are looking for is people who have a genuine interest in Japan and Japanese culture. If your professor says something like "so and so showed great enthusiasm for Japanese" that would probably look favorable to JET officials. Plus doing well in a class would still show you have some degree of work ethic.

Gizmotech
October 11th, 2013, 15:22
I had two professors from my Japanese language department as references. To be fair I took several classes with both and they were pretty high up in the foreign language department. Plus one of the interviewers I think actually knew one of them, but that's beside the point.

I think it's a good idea if possible because one thing I think interviewers are looking for is people who have a genuine interest in Japan and Japanese culture. If your professor says something like "so and so showed great enthusiasm for Japanese" that would probably look favorable to JET officials. Plus doing well in a class would still show you have some degree of work ethic.

Ahh, the knowing thing probably helps :P I don't disagree with what you've written, except one point:

doing well in a class == demonstration of work ability. I've done well in classes before where I have done almost no work. I have done poorly in classes where I did great work, just not what the teacher in particular wanted (or the rest of the class were those 100% super keeners so someone had to bring up the rear :P)

Remember, we're not showing a great interested in Japanese, were showing an interest in japan :P I suspect that is better showed in your SoP than in your letters of recommendation.

Tzvi
October 15th, 2013, 05:10
Ini, as usual, speaks the truth. An impressive title and letterhead can go a hell of a long way for a Japanese screener--certainly a lot farther than the contents of a letter, because generally all the letters say exactly the same thing. "chikorita is a fantastic candidate, a natural leader, and a perfect fit for JET blah blah blah etc."

The year that I applied (and this may have changed), the online instructions actually mentioned specifically that your letters of recommendation could be in Japanese, but that it wasn't required and would not give an advantage either way.

I don't want to sidetrack this topic but is a letterhead that important? I got a couple of good references written up from my last employers (at HM Revenue and Customs) but policy there means it cannot be on headed paper. Should I be worried about that?

PaddyPakku
October 15th, 2013, 05:30
I don't want to sidetrack this topic but is a letterhead that important? I got a couple of good references written up from my last employers (at HM Revenue and Customs) but policy there means it cannot be on headed paper. Should I be worried about that?
I think it states in the reference section that if it can't be written on a letterhead, the reference must state why I can't.

Tzvi
October 15th, 2013, 05:41
I think it states in the reference section that if it can't be written on a letterhead, the reference must state why I can't.

I got them to state that in the references (I doubt not reading the instructions properly would have helped my chances either). My question was more about whether not having the headers even when that was taken into account would be a hindrance.

Gizmotech
October 15th, 2013, 06:16
So long as it's stated that they can't use letterhead in the reference then it's okay. It's quite common for governmental departments to have difficulties with that, and thus it's not a problem.

PaddyPakku
October 15th, 2013, 06:26
I got them to state that in the references (I doubt not reading the instructions properly would have helped my chances either). My question was more about whether not having the headers even when that was taken into account would be a hindrance.

Well, from what I've heard. Our applications as a whole will be graded on a points system. The PS/SOP and the references hold the most weight-in terms of points. So I imagine the having a header will give you more points. I have absolutely no idea though.

Aurano
October 15th, 2013, 07:59
Well, from what I've heard. Our applications as a whole will be graded on a points system. The PS/SOP and the references hold the most weight-in terms of points. So I imagine the having a header will give you more points. I have absolutely no idea though.

If our applications are based on a point system then I wonder what else gets graded. In some ways I feel like a point system would actually be unfair.

PaddyPakku
October 15th, 2013, 08:27
If our applications are based on a point system then I wonder what else gets graded. In some ways I feel like a point system would actually be unfair.
I'm curious...how would it be unfair? I think I prefer the idea of a point system. At least with a point system, you can kind of guess as to how to attain more points on your application. As opposed to having no idea how applicants are selected for an interview.

So for example(How I think it might work)

1) You'll get more points with your PS/SOP if you've answered all the questions, show an interest in japan, your PS/SOP is crafted in a clear and concise manner, with no grammatical errors.


2) You'll get more points for your references depending on whether they're professional/academic as opposed to something which isn't those, the length of time they've known you...etc

Gizmotech
October 15th, 2013, 09:09
Paddy, while that is basically how they are evaluated (based on the multitude of posts/conversations I've had on the topic), why do you think having a letter head or not would be worth points?

If the individual can indicate why they cannot use letterhead, then the issue doesn't matter. If the person has no letter head to use, then it's obviously a personal reference and therefore dubious to begin with.

@Aurano: A point system is the only way to fairly assess the massive number of applications that are received, so that applicants can be given interviews. You need a standard system of evaluation, and point systems work quite well for that. Also, with a point system and a marking rubric, you can easily evaluate candidates from multiple areas, and multiple countries, on the same scale by identifying those things you value in the process.

The arbitrary "ohh I like this candidate" is possibly the worst way to do it, especially at the paper level, because it can lead to uneven and potentially disastrous selections.

PaddyPakku
October 15th, 2013, 09:38
Paddy, while that is basically how they are evaluated (based on the multitude of posts/conversations I've had on the topic), why do you think having a letter head or not would be worth points?

If the individual can indicate why they cannot use letterhead, then the issue doesn't matter. If the person has no letter head to use, then it's obviously a personal reference and therefore dubious to begin with.
.

Like I said, I'm not at all knowledgable about how the point are allocated. Although, my original thought was that generally speaking; those that have access to letterheads are usually those that have a greater degree of clout. For example a proffesor or a store manager will have acess to LHs and IMO will attain you more points, than a teaching assistant or a supervisor, that won't have access to them.
Of course, I'm aware this isn't always the case. There are extraneous circumstances but...generally speaking.

Aurano
October 15th, 2013, 10:21
Well maybe unfair was the wrong word... Makes me feel like I have less of a chance to be honest.

But what I was referring to is pretty much what Paddy said. Such thing as a letterhead is actually quite trivial, and if people lose points on something like that then it could be considered as unfair.

Gizmotech
October 15th, 2013, 10:57
Alright, I understand what you're saying... but think about this. A teaching assistant, who does not have access to a letter head, might be able to say something about you, but are they in a position to say something about you? Do they have the authority and experience required to make appropriate judgments about you?

While yes, many do in various cases, their comments do not carry as much weight as someone in a position of authority. The reason why employers ask for letters of reference from other employers is they have the authority to make decisions and comments about you. University professors have that same power.

Personally I would be worried about any student who went through university without engaging with a teacher sufficiently to acquire a letter of reference. It shows quite a bit about the student, especially in regards to their own interest and motivations in an education environment. The same thing with an employment history as well. So you worked a bunch of bs jobs. Did you do so little and work so poorly that you can't engage with a supervisor/employer to get a basic letter of recommendation saying you weren't a colossal screw up?

If you can't get either, it also says something pretty important. In your entire university career you did nothing at school and did nothing at work, and must have had everything taken care of for you. That shows a pretty sheltered existence, and that person might not be appropriate for the type of work they will be asked to do (move to a new country, live in a new culture, work in a professional environment, deal with people on various levels, etc...)


This isn't an application for a Macdonalds job. This is an application for an international exchange program which is competitive (contrary to the number of screw ups who end up on the program). There is no reason they shouldn't be setting the bar high and requiring Letter Head references.

Corvus
October 15th, 2013, 11:10
This might not apply to everyone and I certainly don't know if the committee takes into account the type of university an applicant is from, but I would argue that for very large universities a teaching assistant might have more of an opportunity to give them an accurate assessment of an individual than the professor.

I've attended quite a large university and usually the courses are set up around 1 professor with several TAs. TAs actually teach sections and meet with a smaller portion of the entire classroom, the idea is that the TAs will get more of the face time and questions, whereas the professor gives the lectures. In this environment it is reasonable that someone would find the TAs more approachable and that there would be more of a connection in terms of what they could write as an assessment than the professor.

In the end I think if I had to choose between a professor that couldn't even remember my name or a TA that I've had many meaningful in class discussions with, I'd go for the TA.

There is also something to be said for the way you illicit the recc. For example, I would avoid contacting them by email at all costs, I would also make sure that I had some reference material that I could attach along with a draft of my SoP so they have a good amount of material to work on. Some professors might not want to write you a letter but would prefer not to reject you outright, which in my opinion, could be as bad as not writing you a letter at all. This is why I would reccomend approaching them during office hours, you can sort of gauge their reaction and see if they seem like they are supportive. If they seem hesitant, you can fish for others, or you can politely let them know that you prefer they write something they are comfortable with that represents your talents well, etc. etc.

Just my two cents.

Gizmotech
October 15th, 2013, 11:15
Corvus, in my comments I am not dismissing that perspective at all. I went to a university with 30k people on campus. That's big enough that you "could" in theory do your entire time at university without having any direct interaction with your teacher. My point is, there is a big difference between someone who went to class and only interacted with their TA, and someone who would use teacher hours to ask their teacher something. Also, in later years (ie 3 or 4) the number of those 1prof 8ta classes drastically reduces. Seminars, special topics, early graduate courses, are opportunities to develop good relationships with teachers, rather than just whatever MA students got stuck with TA duty.

uthinkimlost?
October 15th, 2013, 11:37
Corvus, in my comments I am not dismissing that perspective at all. I went to a university with 30k people on campus. That's big enough that you "could" in theory do your entire time at university without having any direct interaction with your teacher. My point is, there is a big difference between someone who went to class and only interacted with their TA, and someone who would use teacher hours to ask their teacher something. Also, in later years (ie 3 or 4) the number of those 1prof 8ta classes drastically reduces. Seminars, special topics, early graduate courses, are opportunities to develop good relationships with teachers, rather than just whatever MA students got stuck with TA duty.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. The further you get in uni, the stranger it is if you don't have profs that know you well.

Jiggit
October 15th, 2013, 12:22
It all sounds ghastly. Thankfully the teacher:student ratio in my classes was never higher than 1:3.

Aurano
October 15th, 2013, 19:58
Well luckily both my references have letterheads. The same ones mind you considering they are both academic references from the same university. I understand that a reference has to be professional and credible; exactly the reason why friends/family can not write them. However, I do think the providers position and relationship to the applicant is a hell of a lot more crucial than a letter head. If it was to turn out that a letterhead does give you points, then I can't imagine it's a lot.

Maybe the letterhead is more of a case of reflecting the effort and determination of the applicant, and how well they read and obey the rules on the JET website! :)

ckhushrenada
October 18th, 2013, 00:12
Personally I would be worried about any student who went through university without engaging with a teacher sufficiently to acquire a letter of reference. It shows quite a bit about the student, especially in regards to their own interest and motivations in an education environment. The same thing with an employment history as well. So you worked a bunch of bs jobs. Did you do so little and work so poorly that you can't engage with a supervisor/employer to get a basic letter of recommendation saying you weren't a colossal screw up?


ESID: My problem was that I did so well and engaged with everyone that I was the first person in my university to be selected as a cultural ambassador to go on multiple student exchange programs. I went to three different universities in three years and still graduated with honours but the problem is that its very difficult to make meaningful connections with lecturers when you only have them for one semester and by the following year you no longer in their university.

While what your saying may be true for some people, ESID. My options for asking past lectures is limited by the fact that every four months I had different ones and every nine month I was in a different school.

I work directly under the managing director in my company. my only other option is to ask one of my co-workers who are also on my level but there is no one else above me that I can ask.

During the time i've been in japanese class, we've have put on two cultural shows and were even invited to do a presentation at the ambassador's house. We've also gone out as a group together to dinners and movies and i'm hoping that that personal connection with my japanese teach will hold some merit. She has also seen how hard I work in class so i hope that counts for something.

Gizmotech
October 18th, 2013, 00:45
I'm sorry. That is not ESID, that is You Are a Special Snowflake.

Everyone else: I wasn't able to network with the people in the same university I studied in, under teachers who would likely know me from year 1 to year 3. But given a small bit of ambition and determination, I probably could've made at least one memorable contact in my faculty under whom I studied for in that 3-4 year time span.

You: I was a cultural ambassador, and traveled on many cultural exchange programs.

ESID is used for run of the mill events which do not coincide. You are not talking about run of the mill events.

Keep in mind this... just because you've been through all these awesome experiences does not mean you will be selected (though I would be surprised if you weren't...). My friend was a daughters diplomat, she had been to 2 dozen countries (ish) and was not selected. Welcome to JET :)

Necrovex
October 19th, 2013, 03:18
This is a good enough thread to ask this question here. I got my two reference letters, one from my professor who has known me for a year (I have taken two classes with her), and a supervisor from my current place of employment. My question is for the latter. I have known my supervisor for 20 years. I have gotten both pros and cons from different people for using this supervisor. Would anyone be willing to give their own opinion on using this supervisor?

I have another professor willing to write me a letter if I ask him. Though I want to have variety in my reference letters.

Shincantsen
October 19th, 2013, 04:12
This is a good enough thread to ask this question here. I got my two reference letters, one from my professor who has known me for a year (I have taken two classes with her), and a supervisor from my current place of employment. My question is for the latter. I have known my supervisor for 20 years. I have gotten both pros and cons from different people for using this supervisor. Would anyone be willing to give their own opinion on using this supervisor?

I have another professor willing to write me a letter if I ask him. Though I want to have variety in my reference letters.

Can you ask for an extra copy of the reference letter from both, and then send the better one?

Corvus
October 19th, 2013, 05:29
That would probably be the best thing. It's definitely the part of your application that you have the least control over, since you technically will never unseal the recommendation letters, you'll never know what they've written you.

Having said that, it definitely wouldn't hurt to have a letter from a backup source in case you get a bad feeling about one of your letter writers.

I've had a friend who's professor agreed to let him write the entire recommendation and just have him sign off on it. Though its pretty disingenuous, its probably the best way to make sure you hit all the points they might be looking for.

Some professors may be great people, but just not very good writers.

Necrovex
October 19th, 2013, 06:08
My supervisor gave me his letter to look over and edit if needed. I wait until the reference form came out to see what JET wanted, and I quickly edited the relationship, and added whether I would adapt well in Japan. 80% of the letter was written by him; the content was about how I was always the first to come into the work and the last to leave, my work ethics, my kindness and good communication skills involving everyone in the company, how I looked out for the best interests of the company, and anything else work-related. So the content is as praiseworthy as one can expect from a work supervisor who barely writes. I'm just curious if anyone thinks the embassy may see the 20 year relationship as a good, neutral or bad thing?

The professor has written me a non-confidential letter before for my application to become an Army officer, so I know her writing skills are top-notch and know she thinks of me highly. Even though I cannot see the letter, I have complete confidence in it. (The professor stated she couldn't go over the content due to JET stating it to be confidential.)

PaddyPakku
October 19th, 2013, 09:00
My supervisor gave me his letter to look over and edit if needed. I wait until the reference form came out to see what JET wanted, and I quickly edited the relationship, and added whether I would adapt well in Japan. 80% of the letter was written by him; the content was about how I was always the first to come into the work and the last to leave, my work ethics, my kindness and good communication skills involving everyone in the company, how I looked out for the best interests of the company, and anything else work-related. So the content is as praiseworthy as one can expect from a work supervisor who barely writes. I'm just curious if anyone thinks the embassy may see the 20 year relationship as a good, neutral or bad thing?


The professor has written me a non-confidential letter before for my application to become an Army officer, so I know her writing skills are top-notch and know she thinks of me highly. Even though I cannot see the letter, I have complete confidence in it. (The professor stated she couldn't go over the content due to JET stating it to be confidential.)


You've known your work supervisor for 20 years? How old are you? I think your age may be more of a problem that the amount of time you've known the person. I've heard that JET prefer people in their 20's. Of course there are exceptions but generally speaking...

Antonath
October 19th, 2013, 09:41
You've known your work supervisor for 20 years? How old are you? I think your age may be more of a problem that the amount of time you've known the person. I've heard that JET prefer people in their 20's. Of course there are exceptions but generally speaking...
JET takes people up to 40, I think. I'm certainly no spring chicken, and a lot of the JET regulars around here aren't just out of college, either.

PaddyPakku
October 19th, 2013, 09:51
JET takes people up to 40, I think. I'm certainly no spring chicken, and a lot of the JET regulars around here aren't just out of college, either.
This is a very heavy assumption, but assuming Necro didn't know their supervisor until they started working at about 16, that would mean that they're at LEAST 36, possibly closer to 40. Please correct me if I'm wrong Necro.
I was under the assumption that most JETs were in their 20's though...

Antonath
October 19th, 2013, 10:03
I can see their supervisor being a family friend they knew before they started working for them. Though if that's the case, I would make sure the supervisor writes the letter in "supervisor mode" rather than "family friend mode".

uthinkimlost?
October 19th, 2013, 11:21
JET doesn't care at all about age. I flew out from my departure city with a 45 year old woman.

Necrovex
October 19th, 2013, 11:58
I can see their supervisor being a family friend they knew before they started working for them. Though if that's the case, I would make sure the supervisor writes the letter in "supervisor mode" rather than "family friend mode".

This is the right statement. I'm 23. My supervisor is friends with my father. They've worked together for three decades, so I have known him prior to working at the company.

I saw his reference letter, and the tone was professional.

Illuria
October 19th, 2013, 21:28
This is the right statement. I'm 23. My supervisor is friends with my father. They've worked together for three decades, so I have known him prior to working at the company.

I saw his reference letter, and the tone was professional.

Hmmm, you're in a bit of a sticky situation. Scrutinise that reference VERY carefully, and make sure you scrub any suggestions that he might have known you prior to working at the company. The UK guidelines (at least) have this to say about family friends:

Do NOT ask friends, family members or family friends for references.

so I'd be pretty careful with it.

Necrovex
October 19th, 2013, 21:49
Hmmm, you're in a bit of a sticky situation. Scrutinise that reference VERY carefully, and make sure you scrub any suggestions that he might have known you prior to working at the company. The UK guidelines (at least) have this to say about family friends:

Do NOT ask friends, family members or family friends for references.

so I'd be pretty careful with it.

I'm going to alter our relationship a little bit in the reference letter. I worked at the company when I was in high school, and when he was the Vice President. I'm going to write we met through that, instead of him having put down he has known me for 20 years because of my father. I messaged him about those changes. He should be fine with those alterations, considering he gave me his bloody letter to edit to my heart's content the first time, and not to hesitate to ask for help.

wicket
October 19th, 2013, 22:00
oops

wicket
October 19th, 2013, 22:02
officially JET takes people up to 40. unofficially they'll go a bit older for the right candidate.
i was 25 the first time i did it and 37 the second time.
an older candidate who is open to new ideas and experiences is preferable to a younger candidate who is inflexible.

Aurano
October 20th, 2013, 01:17
I personally think being older would have its advantages so I wouldn't worry too much about not being in your early twenties. I think an older candidate would be appealing because they could be considered as being individually independent, mentally mature, and the extra life experience can help to take a more rational approach to different situations. Though, this isn't always the case. I've met some people older than me in my time who have turned out to be real dipsticks and have been somewhat useless in some situations.

I think age can imply certain experiences or abilities but ultimately it comes down to who you are as an individual.

Gizmotech
October 20th, 2013, 06:40
officially JET takes people up to 40. unofficially they'll go a bit older for the right candidate.
i was 25 the first time i did it and 37 the second time.
an older candidate who is open to new ideas and experiences is preferable to a younger candidate who is inflexible.

That was changed wicket. The age limit is no longer an official thing.

PaddyPakku
October 20th, 2013, 08:47
I personally think being older would have its advantages so I wouldn't worry too much about not being in your early twenties. I think an older candidate would be appealing because they could be considered as being individually independent, mentally mature, and the extra life experience can help to take a more rational approach to different situations. Though, this isn't always the case. I've met some people older than me in my time who have turned out to be real dipsticks and have been somewhat useless in some situations.

I think age can imply certain experiences or abilities but ultimately it comes down to who you are as an individual.

...But I think age and teaching experience may sometimes be a disadvantage. Older JETs with more working experience than someone like myself, may be unsatisfied with the mundanity of being an ALT. Don't get me wrong, I would love to be an ALT, but I'm only 21. Other than my PT job, I haven't had much experience in the workplace and my teaching abilities are nonexistant. As an older ALT , you MAY not get much say in how the classroom is run or find the work to be not very stimulating. This is a general complaint I've heard among many of the older JETs that have had decades of work experience.

Gizmotech
October 20th, 2013, 09:17
...But I think age and teaching experience may sometimes be a disadvantage. Older JETs with more working experience than someone like myself, may be unsatisfied with the mundanity of being an ALT. Don't get me wrong, I would love to be an ALT, but I'm only 21. Other than my PT job, I haven't had much experience in the workplace and my teaching abilities are nonexistant. As an older ALT , you MAY not get much say in how the classroom is run or find the work to be not very stimulating. This is a general complaint I've heard among many of the older JETs that have had decades of work experience.

Those "older" JETs.... well let's just say this. Not everyone has the right set of people skills necessary to work in Japan. I came here at 28, I've managed to work out some decent working agreements and have more control in some classes than I should. I had another friend who came over w/ me, a bit younger, but with the same XP as me. He left after his 2nd year because he couldn't get a decent working situation for himself sorted out.

Usually it's the sense of entitlement that causes the problem, and if you don't have a strong sense of expectation, then things are usually quite okay.

I also have a good friend who was working for the last 8 years (since having done JET) in a government agency. He hated it so much (but was quite successful) that he left it to go on JET again. Now he teaches kindergartners and loves his life.

jwkelley
October 20th, 2013, 12:35
Do NOT ask friends, family members or family friends for references.



All my bosses in Korea were friends i drank with, and because its Korea they all got cool ass sounding titles for what was essentially a head teaching position. Their letters worked wonders.

Aurano
October 20th, 2013, 22:48
I have a sneaking suspicion that the sign-ups are going to open tomorrow. Fingers crossed! :popcorn:

Shincantsen
October 21st, 2013, 22:42
All my bosses in Korea were friends i drank with, and because its Korea they all got cool ass sounding titles for what was essentially a head teaching position. Their letters worked wonders.

I don't think it's talking about bosses who are also your friends, here, more the people who get their Aunt or a friend of the family to write their letter because they've never worked.

Ini
October 22nd, 2013, 09:23
Friend of the family wrote one of my references and I got in ok

PaddyPakku
December 10th, 2013, 08:36
I know the application period has already passed, but does anybody have any idea of whether a letter written by a professor is more favoured/ranked higher than a letter written by a Head of foreign languages.
I'm currently in my final year and I had my letter written by a head of department for a Japanese course I took for 2 years. Although looking back at the reference letter requirements, JET asks that current undergrads preferably get a reference from a professor.

uthinkimlost?
December 10th, 2013, 08:45
Is the Head not a professor?

One of my references came from a Department Head and I was just fine. Though they had also taught me for several courses and I had worked directly under them for a bit.

PaddyPakku
December 10th, 2013, 09:45
Unfortunately no. The other problem is that she hasn't directly taught me but her reference was based on the comments of my Japanese teacher. The other reference was from my store manager and it was an extremely good reference IMO. Hopefully that makes up for it.

Jiggit
December 10th, 2013, 10:48
Unfortunately I think it might have been better if a professor who knew you directly wrote the letter but who knows? And as you said it's too late to worry now.

But for others who might be viewing this thread bear in mind that many candidates who had no particular previous contact with Japanese get onto JET. There's no reason you have to seek out someone related to Japan to write your personal statements. It's a testament to your character and personal merit, not to how much you love Japan. I had mine written by the two English professors I worked with most in college and got accepted.

spman2099
December 10th, 2013, 12:28
Unfortunately I think it might have been better if a professor who knew you directly wrote the letter but who knows? And as you said it's too late to worry now.

But for others who might be viewing this thread bear in mind that many candidates who had no particular previous contact with Japanese get onto JET. There's no reason you have to seek out someone related to Japan to write your personal statements. It's a testament to your character and personal merit, not to how much you love Japan. I had mine written by the two English professors I worked with most in college and got accepted.

Well, that answers my question. I still question whether I should have tried to find another source for my second letter of recommendation... I feel like diversity is always a good thing. Still, I am sure I got a glowing letter from both of my profs, so I am sure that will help.

Jiggit
December 10th, 2013, 12:47
If I'd had a job I might have used a reference from my boss but I didn't so I couldn't.

uthinkimlost?
December 10th, 2013, 12:48
Well, that answers my question. I still question whether I should have tried to find another source for my second letter of recommendation... I feel like diversity is always a good thing. Still, I am sure I got a glowing letter from both of my profs, so I am sure that will help.

Did they let you read it? You'd be surprised.

spman2099
December 10th, 2013, 17:46
Did they let you read it? You'd be surprised.

I didn't ask, I thought it would be somewhat shady. However, one tried to recruit me to the masters program, and the other I went out to dinner with (with a couple of other students). I always performed extremely well in their classes; which, in all fairness, is because they were excellent teachers who I have a great deal of reverence for. I am not terribly worried about it.

Gizmotech
December 10th, 2013, 18:08
Sounds okay to me. We often read about people who got shady sources for their letters because the name looked better. That isn't what jet really wants in a letter.

PaddyPakku
December 10th, 2013, 18:55
What exactly are JET looking for in a letter? I know that it should be a letter praising your academic or work ability, but essentially, 99.9% of references will say the same thing will they not?

uthinkimlost?
December 10th, 2013, 19:23
What exactly are JET looking for in a letter? I know that it should be a letter praising your academic or work ability, but essentially, 99.9% of references will say the same thing will they not?

What JET wants? Nobody'll know. What most places want? A little of what you said, and a lot about your character.

Most references WILL say the same thing. You WANT your references to say you did something special. (Not Lianwen special)

moonbeam
December 10th, 2013, 20:55
Well considering that JET specifically asks that the reference writer state how well they think the applicant will adapt while living in another culture, I would think that's what they're looking for. So it wouldn't be a stretch to say JET would prefer a reference who's had direct contact with you in either a supervisory or classroom setting since they would know better than someone you've barely spoken to.

Catastrophe
December 11th, 2013, 04:57
Since we're on the topic of References, I was wondering if the Jet Program actually contacts your references?

PaddyPakku
December 11th, 2013, 05:43
Well my referee was able to speak to my abilities, academic performance and suitability for the programme, but I'm concerned that JET will knock off a few points as the head hadn't taught me directly. Although, having said that, I've roamed the ITIL archives throughout the day; reading old threads-I'm talking ~2006. There seems to be the perception that JET are more concerned with how prestigious/ up the ladder your referees are, more so than actual content, I'm not sure what to think of this...

Catastrophe; I remember seeing a post by someone who wrote their own reference, on behalf of their actual referee and the referee was contacted...according to that poster anyway. I'd assume that they will if the reference seems suspicious.

word
December 11th, 2013, 10:51
One of my references was an art prof; I'd never taken any of his classes and wasn't an art major. He was a Japanese dude, his English wasn't the best, and I'd helped him put together his tenure application earlier that year, so I asked him if he'd mind, and he wrote me a fantastic letter in J-go. Can't be entirely sure what it said, but another J-friend read it and told me it was completely awesome.

Don't stress about it.

My other reference was dictated to me; I typed it up, edited it, printed it, and gave it to the guy to sign.

I don't believe either of my references were contacted.

Catastrophe
December 11th, 2013, 13:12
I asked my Japanese prof few years back to write me a referral but she told me she couldn't because she is Japanese. Now granted I graduated like 2-3 yrs earlier but I took 3 classes with her and she claimed to remember me when I saw her.

Since there's an option to write a referral in Japanese I'm guessing the whole "I'm Japanese and can't do it" was bullshit excuse?

word
December 11th, 2013, 13:14
Since there's an option to write a referral in Japanese I'm guessing the whole "I'm Japanese and can't do it" was bullshit excuse?

Yes.