View Full Version : Returning to Japan & Job Listing Red Flags

December 1st, 2014, 23:44
I was on JET for 2 years a while back, and am now considering a return to Japan.

1. I'm just wondering if there is anything I need to know about returning--does having lived in Japan before change anything about getting a visa, doing taxes, etc.?
2. Perhaps more importantly, are there any major red flags to watch out for in job listings? It's hard to know what is and isn't reputable, but are there any common requirements/phrases that should send me running for the hills?
3. Should a cover letter for a job in Japan be any different from a cover letter for a job at home? Should I be saying anything different, or just the basic "why I want to work for you, what I can do for you, why I'm great" kind of stuff?

I'm mostly looking at kindergarten and preschool jobs, mostly looking at O-Hayo Sensei: The Newsletter of (Teaching) Jobs in Japan (http://www.ohayosensei.com/) (recommendations for any other particularly good sites are welcome, already familiar with GaijinPot). Though a private JHS or HS would be great, I'm pretty sure I can't swing that without any teaching certification and without already living in Japan.

I'd like to avoid eikaiwa as most of those listings sound like a red flag from start to finish. I'm considering Interac, too, but would love something with a little more responsibility than an ALT position (even if that is just the responsibility of chasing noisy children around a classroom on my own).

Any general advice is very welcome, but I'm most concerned about the questions above.

Thanks in advance!

December 4th, 2014, 04:00
Hey Sorccy,

I don't know anything about the reapplication process for returning ex-pats in terms of doing taxes and your visa applications.

That being said, however, I think one major red flag when it comes to looking for jobs online, especially at gaijinpot.com and daveseslcafe.com are spelling errors, and discrepancies in information. They are usually painfully obvious to an individual paying attention, and it looks really bad for the institution attempting to hire. Also, if you find something that looks good, google it. See if the organization has a website, and just browse the website for anything. I've found websites for companies that appear reputable, but constantly come up with 404s when you try and click on links regarding any kind of information, an immediate red flag, obviously.

Key thing to remember, you're applying to a school as an English Teacher or ALT, if there are glaring spelling errors, it means the person posting the ad didn't do so much as a spell check on word before posting it, it's unacceptable, and dismissal of these jobs should come naturally. Especially considering these are supposed to be schools educating youth.

JHS and HS do hire independently of recruitment agencies, though it is rare, and usually they are doing it because they require a very specific kind of teacher. If you fit the bill, absolutely apply. However, be aware that most of these places, much like any job where you are from, will require some understanding of the countries native language.

As for your third question, absolutely. Every cover letter no matter what should be tailored specifically to the job in which you are applying. Applying for jobs overseas you want to be able to highlight your ability to adapt, respect, and understand cultural differences, and any experience you've had travelling or living abroad from your home country. These are all things that might not be on a domestic cover letter.

December 4th, 2014, 07:54
Thanks a million for your response, genkispirit!

Watching for spelling mistakes makes a lot of sense. I do tend to Google (and occasionally find blogs by people who have worked for the school in the past, which is always nice). Clicking around and making sure the whole site works and seems up to date is also a great idea, thanks!

My Japanese is rusty, though it was at a high-intermediate level, and I'm pretty sure I could get it back up to that fairly quickly. That said, my Japanese skills are one reason I think it might make sense to look for a more advanced job once I've been back in Japan for a while and maybe done N1/N2. I do hope that kindergartens that don't require a high level of Japanese aren't a red flag. Most of the schools I've looked at take an English immersion angle, so I'm hoping that's why they're less concerned about applicant's Japanese.

Good tips for the cover letter, too. I'd definitely highlight my past experience in Japan and elsewhere. I suppose in addition to that, I was also wondering if Japanese employers are looking for different things than what an American employer would look for, besides the ability to live abroad and be sensitive to cultural differences. Cover letters for the UK, for example, tend to have a tone that's a little different from American ones.

I did think of one other question, if anyone has any input on this. Some jobs ask for letters of recommendation with the application. One of my references is my supervisor from when I was an ALT. Should I ask him to write a recommendation in Japanese, since he can, or should I just have him write it in English? I suppose the preference may depend on who is reviewing the application, but I'm planning to have him write a generalized letter for teaching jobs, so I can't ask what each individual employer would want (unless I have him write it in both English and Japanese, which just seems like a rude thing to ask--a bit excessive).

December 4th, 2014, 08:11
Depends where you are applying. If they ask for a Japanese resume then send Japanese reference letters. If they want an English one then send English letters.

December 4th, 2014, 08:18
Thanks a million for your response, Ini!

Following instructions makes a lot of sense.