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XR89
September 21st, 2015, 23:18
Hey all

First post so be gentle with me! (and apologies about the essay)

Having flirted with the idea of applying for JET ever since leaving university I finally made the leap to do it this year in the hope for a place in 2016/17. This has been a pretty big decision for me as I'm 26 and in a committed relationship (6 years now) so going abroad for at least a year has its inconveniences. My first question is that being a bit older, as i am aware most JETs are graduates, will they look unfavorably on me, or will it be a bonus?

The main thing i am worried about, and that i have the least control over, are my references. Having left uni around 4-5 years ago the chances of getting an academic reference are very slim to say the least, as all but one of my tutors have left the University.

As a result I need two work references which are as follows:

#1 my boss of nearly 3 years, the head of the Business development team at a large advertising company

#2 MD of a telecoms company who I have known for around a year having studied on a Network engineering course with him, alongside freelance work setting up his company network.

Firstly I wanted to ask does having two professional references Vs one academic and one profession count against you? Secondly do these seem like strong references? (Ie the job title/ relationship with each of each). And lastly how long roughly does the reference have to be? I realise there is an outline on the jet site for what they should say, but not a rough word count. Longer the better....? Or short and sweet....?

I feel in my case getting into the interview will be the main hurdle. I'm a pretty confident guy having worked in Sales for 3 years and I'm sure i can make a good impression in the interview, if i get that far. I understand the main cause for rejection tends to be people not following the guidelines down to the letter and i want to do everything possible to bolster my application to at least get face to face with them.

In regards to my personal statement, I wanted to focus on the idea that I am an accomplished sportsman, generally have a wide area of interests(massive techie), my upbringing (having grown up in one of the most multicultural parts of London, parents are journalists for the Guardian, Observer, and telegraph, etc) and that I am confident and adaptable due to my work experience.

This opposed to just harping on about how much i love Japan (which ofc i do). I will let them know about my interest and love for the country and culture, and the amazing time i had when i spent 2-3 weeks there this year, but i feel that i could get lost in ranting on about stuff they couldn't care less about. So I suppose i want to treat this more as a job application rather than a who loves Japan the most contest. I am assuming they want someone confident eloquent and able to ultimately be a "teacher" (as far as you can be as an ALT), who can act professionally and contribute to the school. Am I taking the right route with this?

As i understand it your personality is most important but i need to convey that as much as possible and play to my strengths. I could channel the inner weeaboo if needed but i doubt that's what they are looking for.

Basically any tips and hints re the references and personal statement would be amazing! The rest is somewhat jumping through the hoops/red tape.

Again sorry about the essay!

Cheers

XR

haitch40
September 21st, 2015, 23:54
In regards to my personal statement, I wanted to focus on the idea that I am an accomplished sportsman, generally have a wide area of interests(massive techie), my upbringing (having grown up in one of the most multicultural parts of London, parents are journalists for the Guardian, Observer, and telegraph, etc) and that I am confident and adaptable due to my work experience.

This opposed to just harping on about how much i love Japan (which ofc i do). I will let them know about my interest and love for the country and culture, and the amazing time i had when i spent 2-3 weeks there this year, but i feel that i could get lost in ranting on about stuff they couldn't care less about. So I suppose i want to treat this more as a job application rather than a who loves Japan the most contest. I am assuming they want someone confident eloquent and able to ultimately be a "teacher" (as far as you can be as an ALT), who can act professionally and contribute to the school. Am I taking the right route with this?


The Japan bit should be like 3 or 4 lines and a few lines on what JET can do for you in professional terms. The rest should be focused on why they should hire you. It is a job application at the end of the day, not a write in contest for a holiday.

XR89
September 22nd, 2015, 00:14
Hey Haitch40

Thanks for the reply and for confirming this. :) I do feel i have quite a strong application/ personal statement, its just reassuring to see i am going down the right route and getting any and all tips. This is probably one of the most daunting applications i have done. I'm even more nervous that when i was applying to uni!

The reason I mentioned being a sportsman is that i would love to help with the sports side in the school, so not only offering my ability to speak english, but also assisting in after school clubs and activities.

As i understand it JET is a cultural exchange, so its all well and good being into Japanese culture, but you also need to inform and educate students about your culture.

Zolrak 22
September 22nd, 2015, 01:03
The references are fine, the sportsman bit can work as motivation/how you can help.

Try to focus on what you bring to the table.

If I remember correctly, a good amount would be 65% what you can do for them during and after the program, 25% how this will benefit you in the long term and 10% why Japan of all places.

Edit :
They only ask academic references for those about to/recent graduates.

Gizmotech
September 22nd, 2015, 07:55
A) the Age thing doesn't matter.
B) You're graduated. An Academic reference doesn't matter at all.
C) Treat it as a job app in the sense of "What do I bring to the table that noone else does" + "Small bit of Japanowankage"

XR89
September 22nd, 2015, 19:21
Thanks for the replies guys :)

"Small bit of Japanowankage" nice XD

Glad that the age and references seem all ok, never thought that at 26 i would be worried about being old, but just from the amount of graduates on the scheme it got me thinking!

I suppose i will play up to the fact I'm used to presenting to crowds of people, not only to pitch ideas, but teach them about products and technology. Despite having left business development to move into network engineering I think it will have given me a very strong base, its certainly given me confidence.

Unfortunately due to the fact i have only been in network engineering for a few months I know moving out to Japan for a year is going to impact my career, which is a shame, but i sort of see it as being better now than another few years down the line.

Has anyone been early into a career then taken a year out for JET? If so how has it impacted when you started to search for jobs again?

Virgil
September 22nd, 2015, 22:01
Personality can't count for too much...

XR89
September 22nd, 2015, 22:06
Personality can't count for too much...

why do you say that XD?

Virgil
September 22nd, 2015, 22:34
why do you say that XD?
Just a joke. Kind of. Some of the worst personalities I've witnessed have been JET participants.

There's lots of fine people on the program too.

XR89
September 22nd, 2015, 23:26
Just a joke. Kind of. Some of the worst personalities I've witnessed have been JET participants.

There's lots of fine people on the program too.

Ah i see :P. They must just be good at bullshitting their way through the interviews. Most of what i have read though tends to point to personality being a one of the most important factors.

moonbeam
September 24th, 2015, 15:15
Yeah, don't worry about age. I'm also 26 and graduated a few years ago and it didn't affect me. One of my references was a professor I had 6 years ago (that I kept in touch with). I think as long as they meet the JET requirements it's okay. But if it's been a while since you've last talked to them then at least give them a brief summary of what you've been up to.

I came over while also being in a relationship (3 years). It sucks, I'll tell you that. But if you're committed to it then you'll find ways to make it work. So far so good for me.

krayziesensei
September 28th, 2015, 11:11
I'm 34 and I was shortlisted last year, so the age thing shouldn't matter. I'm from the US, so it could be different for the UK. I came over during a long-term relationship. She came over about a month after me and will be starting with a private English school in October. If she were to stay in the States, I doubt we would last very long.

XR89
September 28th, 2015, 17:55
Thanks for the reply guys, I am from the UK just for clarification. Re the relationship, my gf wants to travel as well, but we are probably going to go on a break during the year. We will have been together nearly 7 years by the time we go away, but it just seemed like the best way to go abroad and not just sit there depressed we couldnt see eachother. We both believe if our relationship is truely worth it we will both come abck to it after a year and be eager to pick up where we left off.

But enough about that. Applications should begin in the next week or two, so just writing my personal statement and getting it proof read etc. Still need to get my second reference, but that will be easy. I don't know if applying later stands against you, but either way i want to get in my completed application as soon as possible.

Although I'm jumping the gun a bit what I am slightly concerned about is if i do get an interview the small English test they give you. Generally i consider my grammar and spelling to be ample but I want to check what kind of test it is! Anyone got any advice re that?

Edit: Read a bit about the English test and apparently it is nothing to worry about or revise for?

Frap
September 29th, 2015, 15:48
The English "test" is a single sheet of A4 paper with pretty basic questions. I had to choose the correct definition of a couple of words, describe the difference between two sentences, and like one or two other things. You spend less than five minutes at the desk. Don't worry about it.

Frap
September 29th, 2015, 15:49
Also, be prepared to wait until the end of October. Last year the applications only opened literally the end of the month.

ALSO, I had everything prepared and sent my application two days after they opened. I had my interview in week 5 of the 6 we were told would be happening. I don't think it makes a difference when you send your application as long as it's before the deadline.

ambrosse
September 29th, 2015, 15:55
The UK folks have the roughest interview schedule...

XR89
September 29th, 2015, 17:42
The English "test" is a single sheet of A4 paper with pretty basic questions. I had to choose the correct definition of a couple of words, describe the difference between two sentences, and like one or two other things. You spend less than five minutes at the desk. Don't worry about it.


Also, be prepared to wait until the end of October. Last year the applications only opened literally the end of the month.

ALSO, I had everything prepared and sent my application two days after they opened. I had my interview in week 5 of the 6 we were told would be happening. I don't think it makes a difference when you send your application as long as it's before the deadline.


Thanks for the info dude. I should have everything sorted by the deadline, as far as i see the main things to get sorted before the application gets released in the UK is:

Personal Statement
Proof of degree
Academic transcript
References
Proof of nationality

the rest will be released with the application it appears. As far as i can see i wont need a statement of physician as i haven't had any major issues in the last 5 years. Its roughly around Jan that you find out whether or not you have got an interview correct. OK glad that the English test is a doddle thats one more thing that's i can put out of my mind.

To be honest I am less worried about the interview opposed to the application process. Making yourself shine on paper and grab peoples attention is often a difficult task, despite having done an essay subject at Uni.

Meh i dont mind having a rough schedule....as long as i get on that is :P

Frap
September 30th, 2015, 08:38
My interview was at the end of January and I received the letter a week before I was due in London. This was after 4~ weeks of seeing lots of "got my interview!" posts on Facebook. Don't worry if you're still waiting 'til the very end of the 6 weeks. I think they really do just spread them out for that long. I'd give up hope when they tweet "all invitations have now been sent out," but until then, keep your chin up.

Just be methodical when you're assembling your application. Check. Double check. Triple check. Quadruple check. I had all four sets of my application on the dining room table the night before I sent it and I spent ages making sure every set was identical, in the order listed on the guidelines, and "held together with a large paper clip in the top left hand corner" as instructed in some part of the guidelines. If you aren't feeling confident, just make sure you read everything. That's what I did. Highlight important information. Make your own lists. Cross things off. Be methodical. Easy!

XR89
October 5th, 2015, 17:08
Hey Frap, again thanks fro the replies :)

Still no update on the jet uk website unfortunately. I am still writing my personal statement though so more time is better in a way. I did a first draft and then torn it to pieces(as much as you can on word :P) when i reread it. but i think i am almost there which is good. As you mentioned i am making my own lists to be ready for when the application gets released.

The one thing i am having trouble with is cutting down the personal statement. It says 800-1000 words and i am sitting on about 970, which i feel is a bit on the long side. Also i have tried to stay true to the layout they post on the site, but giving it my own flair. I assume they want something easy to read, concise and right to the point hence why they have given an outline. I don't want to deviate too much as i have a feeling i will be penalised doing something too off the wall. So i have stuck to the three sections, why i want to participate, what i can offer, and what teaching ideas i have to create an enthusiastic and productive learning environment.

Frap
October 6th, 2015, 08:32
Hey Frap, again thanks fro the replies :)

Still no update on the jet uk website unfortunately. I am still writing my personal statement though so more time is better in a way. I did a first draft and then torn it to pieces(as much as you can on word :P) when i reread it. but i think i am almost there which is good. As you mentioned i am making my own lists to be ready for when the application gets released.

The one thing i am having trouble with is cutting down the personal statement. It says 800-1000 words and i am sitting on about 970, which i feel is a bit on the long side. Also i have tried to stay true to the layout they post on the site, but giving it my own flair. I assume they want something easy to read, concise and right to the point hence why they have given an outline. I don't want to deviate too much as i have a feeling i will be penalised doing something too off the wall. So i have stuck to the three sections, why i want to participate, what i can offer, and what teaching ideas i have to create an enthusiastic and productive learning environment.

970 is under 1000. Stick to the guidelines, they're there for a reason. My PS followed those three sections and I was shortlisted. My word count for the three sections were 383 why, 304 what, and 239 teaching (930 total).