My name is Danielle and senior year of college I was a Japanese 101 tutor and that was the only job that I had at Gettysburg College. I did not do any sort of internship. Over my summers I worked at a movie theater or as a nanny. I am currently working as an administrative assistant in the Economics Department at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C. This post is about why I chose to work after school and [cue daunting music] the actual job search.
The first major choice that I was confronted with senior year of college (when it finally hit me that I was actually going to graduate in the spring) was whether or not to apply to grad school. After a few months of thinking about it, I realized that while I still wanted to go to grad school eventually, I had no idea what I wanted to study or what career I wanted to pursue. Therefore, I decided I had better find a job. This led me to the second big decision that I had to make: whether or not I wanted to work in Japan or the US. Mostly for family reasons, I decided to try to find a Japan-related job in the United States. After making this decision, I promptly began procrastinating starting the search. I actually did not even start looking for a job until a month after I graduated.
Preface- A bit of Advice
If you are still a student, for your own sanity, unless you intend to take some time off after you graduate, do not wait to start looking. The job market now in 2010 is extremely competitive and that is not likely to change soon. Entry level positions are hard to come by and you may find yourself caught in the terrible loop hole of already needing 1-3 years experience to apply for something labeled as an entry level position. Sometimes a B.A. can be substituted for that, but sometimes it can’t.
Japan-Related Job Sites
It didn’t take me that long to realize that the job search can be very difficult and intimidating especially if you have no idea where to start looking. Below I have listed some helpful sites for those specifically looking to use your acquired Japanese Studies skills. Some I personally used and some were suggested by friends (thanks guys!). I highly recommend checking them out first to see what might be available to you and to begin the process of putting your resume out there for employers to see.
Career Forum.Net is a site for English-Japanese bilingual speakers.
TOP the HR Professionals. This site has lists of Entry Level Jobs that have something to do with Japan for college graduates. I put my resume on monster.com and someone from TOP called me back in about one week to ask what type of Japan-related career I was interested in.
Interesse International Inc. I found out about this site through some of my Japanese friends. It provides HR and employment services within the U.S. and between Japan and the U.S.
Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC). Definitely check out this resource! The JICC is a part of the Embassy of Japan. You can find extremely helpful links under the “Japan-related links” section, particularly if you scroll down to “Employment in Japan” or “Cultural Exchange.” Look under “Category Quick Links” on the right side of the screen to reach these options faster.
Also, be sure to check out the JICC and Embassy of Japan homepage. We post available internships and jobs under “Employment” or “Announcements”. My awesome friend Nyssa told me about the administrative assistant job at the Japanese Embassy and checking their website is how I got the job.
Embassy of Japan in DC http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/english/html/index.html
Resumes – Cover Letter
This has been mostly covered by Rachel, but I wanted to add this information about Cover Letters. Many formats are acceptable, but if you do not know where to start, I found this tutorial to be very helpful and I used it to write my cover letter for the Embassy.
“How to write a Cover Letter” tutorial on Gettysburg’s website here: http://www.gettysburg.edu/about/offices … letter.pdf .
The internet alone will NOT get you a JOB – Talk to People
You can only get so far on the internet. I also avidly looked through newspapers. I recommend going to job fairs and talking to people. Networking is necessary. Ask your friends, teachers, parents, parent’s friends etc. The career center at your college is a great resource as well. USE THEM. During my senior year I kept putting off going to the career center to talk to someone and I wound up never going. I think that I would have been much more prepared to start looking for jobs if I had gone.
Beginning this process is difficult. Continuing it after months of looking is even harder. You may find yourself settling for a job you don’t particularly want. I think that if you need to start working, especially if you have debt (student loans!), instead of waiting for that dream job to come along you have to start somewhere. It is definitely worth it to seriously look extensively for something you are excited about doing, but do not think less of yourself if you just need to work for a paycheck. Having a job may give you less time to look for a more desirable job, but you will gain experience and knowledge of the process that can only make you a better candidate in the future. Plus, you get paid.
If you have anymore useful links in the Japanese-related job hunt, please email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can include them in future posts!
photo by Brandon Christopher Warren