Sakura Mentor

My way to job in Japan - Part 1
Rahul Maroju Updated in March 2024

In this article, I will describe my story of job hunting in Japan. I started my job search in October 2021, and I had time until September 2022, when I was expected to graduate. By the time I started, many of my friends and lab mates had already secured a job. They began applying from around April 2021 and expected to work from April 2022. So, I was a bit nervous at the beginning as I’m late with the recruitment schedule but decided to attempt my best.

I was determined to work in roles related to “energy and climate change”, as I’m passionate to contribute my part to this important global problem. I knew that there would be very few opportunities in this area, but I took up the challenge.

Photo AC: fujiwara

In parallel, I started learning some basic Japanese language hoping to reach a conversational level of proficiency. From my observation, this would not be very beneficial as most companies require business level or fluent Japanese proficiency, but I tried my luck considering the short time available for preparation. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any peer who was in a similar situation searching for jobs in my department, thus making me a lone explorer then!

First, I attempted the classical way by talking to all the people in this field I know. Especially, I asked my lab members and some seniors and collected the names of some organizations working in this area. Then I searched in their career site but realized that fluent Japanese language skill is required for all of them. Everyone I discussed with advised me that it would be extremely difficult to find work in this field without the language.

Next, I started my online search using the websites - LinkedIn, Mynavi and Rikunabi. During the online search, the main challenge was to filter out relevant jobs from a long list of search results. Reading the description of each role is tedious and could easily make one lose one’s concentration and interest with job search. Estimating the suitability of the job quickly based on what kind of candidate the company is looking for is the key skill. A useful tip to simplify the approach was to find (Ctrl+F) the keyword “japanese” in the job description page. This helps to first understand the desired Japanese language proficiency and if it is not in line with the skill of the candidate, one can skip reading the job description.

Despite an intense search for several months, just as I worried, most of the jobs were demanding Japanese fluency. I could only find as few as around 10 jobs which matched my interest and required only English skill. Even with them, the roles preferred candidates with some prior work experience in that field. Among them, most of them have rejected my applications and the remaining ones have never responded. I believe that they kept my profile on hold and may plan to consider me for future opportunities of that role.

The clock is ticking!