Nov 24 2017 Florian (France) From Full-time students to Full-time work
How did you find out about Active Connector?
When browsing the Internet in search of job opportunities in Japan for internationals, Active Connector came up rather quickly. I looked through some of the job offers available on the website of Active Connector and found that the latter were far more relevant for me than those of other recruiting services I had used in the past and also open to international profiles, which is why I decided to register.
How hard/easy would you describe job hunting in Japan?
I believe job hunting to be very challenging because the Japanese job-hunting and working styles are so different from anywhere else in the world. Application needs to be done so long in advance, and the recruiting process (information, application, rounds of interviews) is very heavy. Job hunting in Japan is also very time-demanding. Many international students looking for a job in Japan are already overwhelmed by research activities, lectures or part-time jobs. For them it is difficult to find time to go through information, application procedures, job offers and forums that are systematically held in Japanese-only.
I wanted to avoid such methods as much as possible by using a service such as Active Connector because I thought traditional job hunting in Japan was too time-consuming and would prevent me from really focusing on finding a company that matched my professional and personal ambitions, technical skills, and idea of work.
More generally speaking, one reason why job hunting in Japan feels difficult is because standards are completely different from that of my home country in terms of paid leave, salary, recognition of the level of studies, etc. Due to this, it is rather tricky to see if a given job offer is “good” or not and if the decisions that I make in response to these offers are appropriate or not.
How different would it have been without Active Connector?
Active Connector was a formidable interface between me and Japanese companies in Japan looking for English-speaking staff. Without them I would not have been able to find as quickly (less than two weeks) companies that matched my criteria. Since I was so reluctant on going through the Japanese-style job hunting process and had only little time available for this purpose, I would probably have ended up finding nothing and going back to my home country to continue my search from there (not especially jobs in Japan).
How are you finding your new job? Any challenges/highlights?
I feel very lucky to have found a company whose international and well-balanced working style matches what I was expecting and which operates in a sector that I like and in which I wanted to work. Although a good command of Japanese is needed, I appreciate that I could find a company where most people speak English and are used to interacting with non-native speakers. Language and culture are obvious challenges when working abroad, and so are the need to socialize quickly with colleagues, to learn about a field rather new to me and integrate well in my team.
The job I have found meets many of my criteria (vision, fulfilling on a personal point of view, “humane” working conditions, good atmosphere in the workplace) and yet differs from what I was ideally imagining and from any job I would have obtained in my own country in terms of salary, paid leave, career prospects and variety of skills put at use. For me, thinking of how/if I can build my career in this company during the upcoming years in a way that further meets my personal and professional ambitions or clearly thinking what my priorities are, constitute an additional feature of me working in this company as I was only recently hired.
5) Do you have any advice for other members of Active Connector who are job hunting?
Job hunting in Japan is an undeniable challenge. My first advice is obviously to persevere, trust the staff of Active Connector and be honest with them as to what your motivations are, whether professional or personal, so that they can suggest relevant job offers, and to carefully judge whether the companies you are interested in really match your state of mind, working style, family and professional ambitions… A short internship can be very beneficial for that purpose.
Would you recommend Active Connector to others? Why?
I recommend Active Connector to English-speaking and highly qualified people living or wanting to live in Japan, especially if they are looking for a job in IT or engineering. You will be faced with a dedicated team of advisers always available and listening to your needs and requests that will do their best to make your professional ambitions a reality, and even help you prepare for your job interviews!
I also believe that resorting to Active Connector can be a good way for non-Japanese students eager to work in Japan and who have little time available for job hunting to start a career. Using this service allows you to use your time efficiently and be introduced to companies that you may not have found on your own and that are looking for people with an international background.
What was the most helpful/positive feature about your experience with Active Connector?
A team of very professional and dedicated people listening to me, making their best to present me with offers that best suit my personality as well as my private and professional ambitions. I also appreciated the help and systematic advice I received at each step of my job hunting process.
What advice would you give to the Active Connector to better
support members like you in their job hunting in Japan?
As a foreigner, I was not well aware of employment standards in Japan and so I tend to appreciate when contracts are clearly written so that I know what I am signing for, what is included and what is not. Once, I received a 1 page job offer with only limited information, and the exact terms of the contract were unclear to me because some details were not written explicitly, for instance the number of days of leave, housing allowance, refund of travel expenses (and although I did ask for a new version, I never obtained any). I think it would be in the interest of all members if Active Connector could ask companies for contracts to be as transparent and easily understandable as possible (if that is something that can be asked?).
One of the things that make Active Connector great is (I think) that they listen to members (for instance at the first interview I took when I joined Active Connector) and try to understand their priorities and what they expect from their job in Japan to make relevant suggestions of companies that might be compatible. This is definitely something that should be conserved.
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