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Thread: What kind of qualifications does one need?

  1. #1
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    Default What kind of qualifications does one need?

    Hello everyone, this is my first post although I have looked on these boards for awhile now. I had a question in regard to qualifications and what necessary or helpful for landing a job as an ALT in Japan

    I recently graduated from school with a B.A. in both history and Japanese, and I studied in Japan during the fall 2011 semester. During my time there I worked as an English conversation partner at an independent language learning lab, and volunteered for community outreach services and taught English to locals. I graduated with distinction in three years, and I am a phi beta kappa, so my academic record is also pretty strong.

    I applied for JET and obviously didn't get to the interview stage, but applied for Interac this past recruitment season and got all of the way too the end but didn't get the job. I found this puzzling because throughout the process, the people at Interact told me my chances were very good, and my recruiter at the interview told me that I was pretty much going to receive the position.

    I want to work as an ALT in Japan as I am sure most of us here do. I am curious if you can tell me what I can do to improve myself for the ALT companies, because as previously mentioned in another thread, Japanese companies do not disclose why a candidate was declined.

    Should I just keep trying to apply for a variety of companies with my current resume? Should I seek a TEFL certification and if so what do you recommend?

    I sincerely appreciate any advice or assistance the ITIL community can provide.

  2. #2
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: What kind of qualifications does one need?

    Sounds like you're pretty qualified. Just work on your SOP and interview skills. You can have perfect qualifications and still be rejected if you come off as a weirdo.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What kind of qualifications does one need?

    Yeah if you have those qualifications and aren't getting in it's almost certainly that you're interviewing badly because of nerves/socialawkwardness/overtotakusyndrome. Or you could have just been unlucky. Whatever reason I would say you don't need another qualification.

    As to whether you should keep applying for different companies, that's something only you can answer. Do you want to get to Japan that badly? Is it worth the time commitment? Can you afford not to start applying for jobs soon? Would you rather wait a year and apply for JET again?

  4. #4

    Default Re: What kind of qualifications does one need?

    .
    Last edited by Papa Smurf; June 18th, 2013 at 20:29.

  5. #5
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coop52 View Post
    Sounds like you're pretty qualified. Just work on your SOP and interview skills. You can have perfect qualifications and still be rejected if you come off as a weirdo.
    word

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Yeah if you have those qualifications and aren't getting in it's almost certainly that you're interviewing badly because of nerves/socialawkwardness/overtotakusyndrome. Or you could have just been unlucky. Whatever reason I would say you don't need another qualification.

    As to whether you should keep applying for different companies, that's something only you can answer. Do you want to get to Japan that badly? Is it worth the time commitment? Can you afford not to start applying for jobs soon? Would you rather wait a year and apply for JET again?
    word

    It sounds to me like you're overthinking/overdoing this, and could possibly be missing something very obvious (are you a socially awkward weirdo? I am, and had to hide this fact during the interview).
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  6. #6
    Sociopathic Scroogemcduck MJN's Avatar
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    Default Re: What kind of qualifications does one need?

    I have to hide that fact working here
    I thought it was time to use a sig

  7. #7

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    As stated above, social awkwardness, being too shy, not enthusiastic enough, being interested in Japan only for anime/manga, etc. would probably disqualify you. Althoughthe majority of ALTs that I have met in Japan tend to fall into at least two of those categories, so either they are better than you at hiding it or you have something else that you are lacking.

    I might add that if you are too specific in placement, you probably wont get hired. Tokai jobs tend to be taken by people that are already in Japan. If you just want to get hired, tell them that you are willing to go anywhere in a way that doesn't sound too eager.
    Last edited by shbflyjin; June 27th, 2012 at 19:47.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What kind of qualifications does one need?

    It is reassuring to hear that my qualifications are not necessarily falling short. I apologize for the wording on my first post, as I wrote it pretty quickly, and I left out a couple of potential issues.

    From what I have been told, I actually interview pretty well, and I am pretty sociable and friendly. I also don't like anime that much. I love the artwork but I do not really have the patience to watch it, and I do not come across as an otaku. I am very passive and very polite with people, but I didn't think that would be an issue applying with a Japanese company

    I had an interview for another position and I asked my roommate to look over my interview sheet and he said that "you seem to write what they want to read rather than about yourself," I.E. I say the standard phrases. I also remember that during my interview, when the recruiter asked me questions, I would take a second and think about my answer, but I thought that was normal. If you have advice on how to change that or improve, I welcome it.

    I am very flexible with placement, and my only preference is for a rural area, because I am originally from a small village in Massachusetts and I love that type of community. I could see how I could come across as too eager because I stress my willingness for rural area, but everyone seems to hire for rural areas so I thought that would be a plus.

    I do really want go back to Japan because I would feel it would be a waste to study Japanese history and language and not spend a long time in Japan.

    I sincerely appreciate your advice, and I apologize for not replying sooner, it has been somewhat chaotic here in Colorado the past week
    Last edited by woodq90; July 1st, 2012 at 07:39.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What kind of qualifications does one need?

    Maybe if you're answering questions with standard phrases it's not coming across as sincere? One thing that interviewers really look for in any applicants for any job is the ability to give concrete results that show how they have learned from past experiences.

    For example,

    Q: "How will you be able to deal with the stress of moving to a foreign country?"

    A: "I'm a very laid back person and I deal with stressful situations well."
    versus
    A: "I have already experienced a move far away from my family when I went to college, from Massachusetts to Colorado. Once I arrived in Colorado and began my studies, I also found a part-time job. Learning to keep up with many responsibilities at the same time, while still keeping in touch with my family, has prepared me for the stresses of moving to a foreign country."

    Okay, maybe that's not the best example; but in general, concrete answer with a past experience = win.

    Otherwise idk why they wouldn't hire you. You have great qualifications, your English is exceptionally coherent (written, anyway), and with good interview skills you should be a very strong candidate. Keep trying!

  10. #10

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    Last time I got a job in Japan I was told by the recruiter that one of the reasons I was hired was because I had a very friendly and warm smile and when I gave her a demo lesson she felt very comfortable. I never gave it much thought before that, but being warm and friendly does go along way when working with English as a foreign/second language learners.

    I am not saying that you are not friendly or don't have a killer smile, I could never know that without meeting in person, but it is something to consider.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ainigi View Post
    Last time I got a job in Japan I was told by the recruiter that one of the reasons I was hired was because I had a very friendly and warm smile and when I gave her a demo lesson she felt very comfortable.
    Plus you're good with your tongue?

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Plus you're good with your tongue?
    I'm told I am quite the cunninglinguist

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What kind of qualifications does one need?

    Just to update everyone, persistence paid off. I got a job with Joytalk, and I am living and teaching in Ashikaga, Tochigi. Thanks for everyone's advice, when I look back at my previous interviews, I realize I was disingenuous. I took what you said to heart, and it paid off. so...

    ありがとうございます!!!

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