COVID kept me from my dream of studying in Japan
I am from China and enrolled in Nanjing Forestry University for my undergraduate studies. After graduation, I worked at a design company in China. Soon I developed an interest in information technology (IT) that made me want to pursue a career in an IT company eventually. With that in mind, I decided to pursue a master’s degree and specialize in Information Systems at the University of Dublin in Ireland.
However, my original plan was to study in Japan. I was interested in Japanese and wanted to live in Japan for an extended period to improve my Japanese language skills. Additionally, I came across success stories of Chinese students who secured employment in Japan through FAST OFFER International on WeChat. At that time, I realized that Japan had advanced technologies and many renowned companies, and I believed that working in Japan would enhance my career prospects. Therefore, I started studying Japanese three years ago and obtained JLPT N2 certification within one year. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was unable to fulfill my dream of going to Japan. As a result, I decided to study in Ireland, a cost-effective option in Europe with English-language programs available.
Pivoting my dream to work in Japan, I job hunted while studying in Ireland
Although I could not fulfill my dream of studying in Japan, I did not give up on working there. Once my studies in Ireland settled down, I registered with FAST OFFER International and actively started pursuing employment opportunities in Japan. As my Japanese language studies had been lacking since my preparations for studying abroad, I joined the “Worldwide Japanese Class” offered by ASIA to JAPAN, where I learned Japanese with students from various parts of the world.
Additionally, I took classes online to practice conversational skills with Japanese instructors, focusing on interview preparation and improving my speaking abilities. Thanks to this, I acquired sufficient Japanese language skills to confidently participate in interviews.
After having interview sessions with the staff at ASIA to JAPAN and completing the necessary document submissions, I received interview offers from two companies. The interview preparation was hard because Japanese interviews differ significantly from those in Chinese companies. Chinese interviews tend to focus on technical knowledge, with challenging tests, and the scores play a significant role in the selection process. On the other hand, Japanese companies’ tests are more lenient and emphasize the candidate’s personality. While the unique interview style in Japan posed challenges, I appreciated that this lets them see each student as an individual. I prepared PowerPoint slides for my Final Year Project and practiced explanations extensively. I also utilized mentor sessions and conducted mock interview practice.
Although I passed the first-round interview with the first company, I was unsuccessful in the second-round interview. While I was disappointed at that time, I moved forward with the next interview opportunity awaiting me. Eventually, I successfully cleared two rounds of interviews with the second company and received a job offer. I was ecstatic when I received the offer!
Advice for Job Hunting
I am scheduled to join the company in April 2024. After joining, my goal is to gain practical project experience and enhance my technical skills with AI. Additionally, while working and living in Japan, I want to further improve my Japanese language proficiency.
Based on my experience in job hunting in Japan, the most important advice I can give is that Japanese language skills are paramount. First and foremost, prioritize your Japanese language studies and work hard to improve them. Furthermore, there is a significant difference between textbook Japanese and conversational Japanese. While it is necessary to learn vocabulary and grammar, speaking skills are also crucial for interviews. Therefore, I believe that practicing with native Japanese speakers is essential. If possible, I recommend taking Japanese conversation lessons or conversing with Japanese friends. Additionally, self-analysis is crucial in job hunting. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and strive to express yourself based on self-analysis during interviews.