Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 42

Thread: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

  1. #1

    Default Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Hey all,

    So, I am an alternate for JET this year, and hence have to continue looking for plan B. Should I not be offered an upgrade, I don't want to give up on Japan altogether, as this would mean going to France where the economy isn't looking so hot. I also, however, don't want to apply to Interac/another ALT/Eikawa thing as it's not what I want to do with my life and compared to JET they don't look all that appealing.

    I am far from fluent in any written or spoken Japanese, though I do speak enough to survive. Does anyone know of any companies/jobs that would take a foreigner who speaks shitty Japanese, or am I SOL?

    Thanks, good people of the internet.

    p.s--Ideally I would be a concept artist/texture painter/character artist in a game or animation studio since that's what I'm interning for and that's what makes me happy, but you know beggars can't be choosers and all that jazz.
    Alternate 2014 | Houston

  2. #2

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    I'd be interested to know about this too, is there anybody in here who has found a 'professional' job in Japan post-JET. I've a degree in pharmacology and it would be interesting to know what career options might be open to me, although I understand that I'd need a pretty good grasp of Japanese if I were to enter their medicine/cosmetics/drugs industry.

    I don't know if you are aware of the site gaijinpot.com, I was looking on there for a time while waiting for my reply from JET. They boast as being the largest English based job-board in Japan (or words to that effect) so you may find something on there. They have also started publishing a weekly podcast, called 'Gpod', and if I recall correctly there was a recent episode talking about other job oppurtunities in Japan, besides teaching. I think it may have been the one mostly about university jobs in Japan, but have a little listen to those if you're interested in Japan and it's culture/pop-culture/current affairs, because it's pretty good.

    I do specifically remember the host saying there was a trend for companies in these fields to hire foreign designers etc. Caramel, I assume you have qualifications in the field you're looking to pursue? -'cause y'know that'd help lol.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Quote Originally Posted by Caramel View Post
    I am far from fluent in any written or spoken Japanese, though I do speak enough to survive. Does anyone know of any companies/jobs that would take a foreigner who speaks shitty Japanese, or am I SOL?
    Gonna be brutally honest, your chances are slim to none. Think about it this way; would a company in your own country hire a person who could barely speak a word of English? Why would they do so? The individual would have to possess some kind of qualification or skill that made them almost uniquely valuable. Heck, we wouldn't even employ language teaching assistants who couldn't speak English fairly fluently.

    Even if you are a graphic designer (or pharmacologist), ask yourself the same question; would a US (or whatever) company employ a foreigner with no English skills?

    If you want to get a job in Japan and don't speak much Japanese then English teaching in some form is probably the only option for 99% of people. Sucks, but there it is.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Thanks--I figured as much, unfortunately, but was worth asking.
    Alternate 2014 | Houston

  5. #5
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Atlanta->Tottori
    Posts
    4,627

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    You pretty much need JLPT N2 level Japanese at the barest minimum to get non-English teaching jobs, and even then you won't find anything unless you have skills in something that's high in demand (like programming). It's also harder to job hunt for non-English teaching stuff from outside of Japan. It might be a good idea to go ahead and apply for a teaching job to get your visa, study like crazy in your free time, and look for jobs once you get here.

    I will also say from my own job hunting experience that even if you have Japanese skills, the market really sucks right now, and it's hard to find stuff unless you know someone. It's also a lot harder to find stuff in the middle of the year since most hiring is done in February/March to start off the new fiscal year in April.

  6. #6
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    The Chicago of Japan
    Posts
    3,949

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Another option is to apply to a Japanese company or large international company with branches in Japan and request to be transferred after a few years. It's less of a guarantee, but career-wise it's much more stable. This is how most of the non-Japanese speaking people I know who aren't ALTs got here.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity View Post
    Another option is to apply to a Japanese company or large international company with branches in Japan and request to be transferred after a few years. It's less of a guarantee, but career-wise it's much more stable. This is how most of the non-Japanese speaking people I know who aren't ALTs got here.
    Any chance of getting some guidance on how to find these companies/positions? I don't really have desire to live in Japan any longer, but ideally I'd like to settle into a job with some possibilities for travel or living abroad. You always get this advice- find a company with international branches... but isn't that most large companies? And I'm sure 99% of people working at Ford, for example, don't have the option to just hop over to the China branch...

    What kind of skill set (apart from language, that's a given) or career-track will get you on the path to do this? What are these ex-pats' actual positions?

    Sorry, I'm out in the inaka so I've never met anyone who wasn't doing the ALT gig.
    Last edited by tealparadise; April 8th, 2014 at 09:48.

  8. #8
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    The Chicago of Japan
    Posts
    3,949

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    I wish I could point to a particular skill set, but the expats I know have done fairly diverse things - banking management, marketing for Google, web design, fashion, antiques/furniture ... it really depends on where your particular skills lie. What did you get your degree in? TBH you're going to have to do a lot of research on your own - look for companies that interest you generally and then check to see which ones have Japanese branches.

    You might be surprised how easy it is to get transferred overseas sometimes though; most of those people didn't have Japan-specific skills (and one who spoke perfect Japanese hardly even ended up using it at work), just a desire to work here.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    I'd assume most people working at a company wouldn't want to get transferred to the other side of the world so it might even be relatively easy if said company has a lot of staff over here.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Yeah I suppose the problem is that my scope isn't narrow enough to start looking at companies critically. Time to decide what I actually want to do, instead of how I want to do it.

  11. #11
    VIP UPGRAYEDD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    4,158

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    I'm feeling generous today and will give my tips.

    Ask away

    (I work in the HR department of a major Japanese internet company - I mainly do MBA/Executive Recruiting and other special projects)
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Somewhere up north.
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Screw it, I`ll ask.

    How did you find the job you are currently in? Online, word of mouth etc.
    Have you taken the JLPT? If so, what level are you?
    What is recruiting like? I have seen many many postings for entry level recruiting jobs, whilst this is not exactly my dream job, it seems to be easiest way to get a job bar teaching in Japan. (Just my opinion).

    Many thanks!
    Last edited by yingyangryder; April 8th, 2014 at 14:11.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    I'd assume most people working at a company wouldn't want to get transferred to the other side of the world so it might even be relatively easy if said company has a lot of staff over here.
    I'd agree with this. Popping over to China or wherever seems lke an exciting prospect to the kind of people who frequent this forum, but in real life 90% of the workforce would never dare step outside the confines of their hometown.

    Opportunities to travel are everywhere. I worked at a relatively tiny company back home which had a sales office in Japan (staffed by a former Jet), so you'd be surprised at what you can find with a bit of research.

  14. #14
    VIP UPGRAYEDD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    4,158

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Quote Originally Posted by yingyangryder View Post
    Screw it, I`ll ask.

    How did you find the job you are currently in? Online, word of mouth etc.
    I converted an internship into a full time position. I got the internship through a combination of luck, persistence, flexibility, and contacts I made during my job hunt.

    Quote Originally Posted by yingyangryder View Post
    Have you taken the JLPT? If so, what level are you?
    I passed the N2 back in 2010. My speaking level is a solid B2 on the CEFR scale.

    Quote Originally Posted by yingyangryder View Post
    What is recruiting like? I have seen many many postings for entry level recruiting jobs, whilst this is not exactly my dream job, it seems to be easiest way to get a job bar teaching in Japan. (Just my opinion).
    The type of recruiting I do is not the same as the type of jobs you see in Japan. Those jobs you see are typically for headhunting companies and they basically just cold-call busy people all day. Some of these jobs can be okay, they give you a solid foundation in sales but from what I see, it takes a certain type of person to do this work and the pay is never anywhere near as advertised.

    I don't work for a headhunting company. I work for a major Japanese company and just happen to be currently assigned to the recruiting section of HR. I'm involved in formulating general recruiting strategy, planning campus visits, giving tons of company introductions, trolling linkedin all day, conducting interviews, plus a shit ton of other work. I never cold call.

    Many thanks![/QUOTE]

    Welcome
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

  15. #15
    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Central Tokyo
    Posts
    1,664

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    I was an ALT 2006-2008. I went back to a shattered US economy and started working at high end fashion designer's boutique, something I thought would be temporary. The money was good (40% more than I made on JET plus free clothes and more importantly free health care for me and my "domestic partner" GF) so I stuck around. I got a couple promotions and then corporate walked in one day when I was helping some Japanese clients in 100% Japanese. That put me on the radar. When the Tokyo liaison decided to move back home, I got asked to come to Japan.

    I started in the HR department helping the training team but I feel it was a waste of my resources (it reminded me of being an ALT too much and I hated the training manager.) I then moved into an "HR project coordinator" position that was mostly ad hoc stuff; helping the web team open the ecomm site, opening some stores etc. As of 4/1 I am now on the PR team and I am loving it.

    I took the JLPT 2kyuu back in 2008 and failed not by much. I haven't bothered since. While there are 2 other gaijin in my office, I have to speak Japanese and read Japanese 80-90% of the time. More so now then before. Almost none of the magazine, stylists or 'talent' speak any English. (I have had to re-study some Keigo, god I hate Keigo.)
    So with me, it was hard work and good luck.

    There is the career-forum the biggest of which is in Boston. (You will need an N2 or better). You will be treated like a 新入社員, and the pay is pretty basic at first.

    If you're from a country that does the working holiday visa thing, you can come over on that and try to get a job but you need some Japanese skills if you expect to stay. One of gaijin in my office came over 18 years ago and got a job at a department store. (She knew all the joyo kanji and took 3 years of intensive Japanese in college. She could read the newspaper when she got here.)


    There are opportunities. Most folks end up being lifer ALTs, or working as head hunters. If you're a hard worker and study your butt off, you can get something better.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Everything I have ever said was a lie, and that's the truth.

  16. #16
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Quote Originally Posted by UPGRAYEDD View Post
    I converted an internship into a full time position. I got the internship through a combination of luck, persistence, flexibility, and contacts I made during my job hunt.
    Thanks for taking the time to reply UPGRAYEDD- did you get your internship prior to arriving in Japan, or post?

    I've a degree and Masters in Human Resources as well as 4ish years experience; however I've low level Japanese Language and no experience within working with a Japanese H.R. environment.

    I've been lucky enough to be short listed for this years JET intake; apart from working on my Japanese Language, can you recommend anything else while out there in order to make myself more employable?
    Last edited by Be-ran; April 8th, 2014 at 22:20.

  17. #17
    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Central Tokyo
    Posts
    1,664

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Quote Originally Posted by Be-ran View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to reply UPGRAYEDD- did you get your internship prior to arriving in Japan, or post?
    1.) I love that your profile is all Sasha Grey'd out.
    2.) I believe that UPGRAYEDD was an ALT in Shikoku
    3.) Be-ran, if you have experience in HR, you know as well as I do, that you really need strong communication skills. Even when I was in HR as a Training coordinator, the staff would ask me some pretty difficult questions. Like how to deal with in store disputes, disputes between store staff and other stores staff in the same department building, how to motivate lazy staff, etc. The same way you have to dance around the subject with word poetry in your home country, you'd have to do that here. (But its extra hard)
    4.)Labor laws are really strict in Japan. The internship thing here is often a "we'll try this person out for a year as an intern, then we'll hire them" thing. The reason for that is that during the first year, its pretty easy to let anyone go for any reason. After that it's pretty hard to fire someone. But if you're an intern first, they get the intern time and the first year to try you out before they buy you.

    I'd say in your case, stay up to date with your field. Learn Japanese, learn the ins and outs of the office and its VERY DIFFERENT ways of doing things. You might find you don't like office work in Japan or you might love it.

    One thing my team likes and hates about me is that I have a different way of seeing things. I challenge them in new ways but sometimes they don't want to be bothered. In my situation, I am from the Home Office so my say and thought has a lot of weight behind. (It doesn't hurt that the CEO hand picked me to come out here.) You might find that you'd be in a situation that your ideas and way of doing things would be "wrong". I would highly recommend working for a branch of a foreign company instead of pure Japanese company. (Although places like rakuten and uniqlo will want people like you that can explain to the foreign based staff about the differences between Japan and your home country. Labor law wise and HR wise.)

    I am rambling...... time for bed
    Everything I have ever said was a lie, and that's the truth.

  18. #18
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Quote Originally Posted by ihatefall View Post
    1.) I love that your profile is all Sasha Grey'd out.
    I've worked in H.R. too long; pretty cynical with "anonymity" Lol. I don't mind sharing though!


    Quote Originally Posted by ihatefall View Post
    2.) I believe that UPGRAYEDD was an ALT in Shikoku
    Pretty creepy you know that.. is everyone super close on this forum? :P

    Quote Originally Posted by ihatefall View Post
    3.) Be-ran, if you have experience in HR, you know as well as I do, that you really need strong communication skills. Even when I was in HR as a Training coordinator, the staff would ask me some pretty difficult questions. Like how to deal with in store disputes, disputes between store staff and other stores staff in the same department building, how to motivate lazy staff, etc. The same way you have to dance around the subject with word poetry in your home country, you'd have to do that here. (But its extra hard)
    Absolutely, word poetry is a nice way of putting it but honestly a lot advice, especially at senior level (although i'm loathe to admit it) has been winging it. Although that's as much my inexperience as H.R. as a job.


    Quote Originally Posted by ihatefall View Post
    4.)Labor laws are really strict in Japan. The internship thing here is often a "we'll try this person out for a year as an intern, then we'll hire them" thing. The reason for that is that during the first year, its pretty easy to let anyone go for any reason. After that it's pretty hard to fire someone. But if you're an intern first, they get the intern time and the first year to try you out before they buy you.
    Coming from an Ireland / U.K. background; we're pretty legislative too so i'm not altogether too uncomfortable with that. It's just trying to get a level of reading the moon runes and getting to a level where I feel comfortable enough to understand exactly what's happening.

    Good idea with keeping with more international companies- I don't think I'd feel confident enough in a purely Japanese organisation!

    Thanks for taking the time to ramble!

  19. #19
    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Central Tokyo
    Posts
    1,664

    Default Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    I am not a lurker but I have a good memory for details like that (I even remember the prefecture because my buddy was an ALT in the same prefecture.) I remember skus and style numbers from 4 years ago.

    Names on the other hand.....I forget them by the time the person says the last syllable. Something I have to work on for this PR role.

    Ya HR is definitely about winging it there is not "users guide" for that sort of thing. No "if A than B", you never know if you're gonna come back to work to a phone call from a crying staff member being a complete baby over something so trivial or some thing major like drug use on the job by the best manager in the company. You can't plan for it, but it's about being able to wipe out those pretty dance around the burning bush phrases at a moments notice.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Everything I have ever said was a lie, and that's the truth.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Gunma
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Actual Career-oriented jobs for Gaijin

    Just another possible job to add to the list is working in a big brand-name hotel or the hospitality industry in a higher-level capacity (obviously you'll work your way up). My step mom works as a manager at a Hilton hotel as a base, but she's also been sent all over the country, as well as two 3 month stints in China and Egypt. She also gets awesome discounts when she travels at hotels in the brand. It is a job I'm considering if I ever move back home!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •