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Getting that first job

ratboycom

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Well, I graduated back in December and have been job hunting and so far it sucks pretty hard. Im having trouble finding any jobs that are available for anyone without years of experience (I'm looking in Japan and Singapore), and unfortunately I missed the boat when it comes to Japanese companies hiring new grads as they get hired about a year before they start. I am considering other countries at this point (would like to stay in Asia), but either way I need to get a job soon.

I studied International Affairs in uni and want to work with emerging markets/developing countries. Careers not with NPOs related to my major are kinda limited, so I have been looking at marketing/sales positions, but I am running into issues of not having taken the classes/training the companies want in a new hire. While I am not totally devoid of experience, (having worked for Toyota for a few years as a Tech, having a background as a computer repair guy, and interning at the Embassy of Afghanistan doing PR) I am unsure as to where I should be looking for work which I would even be given a chance.

I kinda have a lead on a job with KPMG's Tax Dept here, which I heard is a really great company to start a career with, and I'll be sending my resume and cover letter that way soon, but I am kinda at a loss as to how I should be writing this cover letter or how important it really actually is.

While this thread is partly about me looking for direct help, in general I think it could be helpful for some of the older members to give kinda pointers and what not for new grads looking for help getting their first career directed job. Thanks guys
 

Matt

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Apologies if this sounds a bit blunt Colin, but what do you have to offer that either a Singaporean or a Japanese kid does not? If you can't answer that, you can't be an expat...
 

globetrotter

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colin, plus one to what matt said. also, if you can afford to do so, take a job for experience rather than pay - if you are offered a job paying much better flipping burgers, or a really sucky job that will look good on your resume but doesn't pay well, take the latter.
 

Hombre Secreto

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His wit and charm transcends borders.
 

ratboycom

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Originally Posted by globetrotter
colin, plus one to what matt said. also, if you can afford to do so, take a job for experience rather than pay - if you are offered a job paying much better flipping burgers, or a really sucky job that will look good on your resume but doesn't pay well, take the latter.

Im staying with my internship till I get a job or another internship that has a better chance of turning into a job, I figured it would look good on the ol resume.

Far as what I can offer that a Japanese kid cant: I dont need people to hold my hand or babysit me to make sure I get my work done. The work ethic of kids here my generation is pure ****. They do what is asked of them or less and as slow as possible. While I could deal with the Sempai/Kohai thing, I am also willing to break such a relationship if I think the company would benefit (this could be a negative thing really, as such a breech is disrespectful even if your team leader/manager/boss is an idiot). So I could put such things in my cover letter or bring it up during an interview, but finding a way to do it in which is convincing and doesnt just sound like every other person, might be difficult.

At the moment, my biggest roadblock here is going to be finding a place which will hire me soon and since I graduated at a weird time of the year I will no longer be considered a new grad for the next hiring round for most companies here.
 

kxk

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Originally Posted by ratboycom
I dont need people to hold my hand or babysit me to make sure I get my work done.


while this may be true, how do you intend to demonstrate this to potential employers through resumes/interviews?
at the end of the day, getting that first job (through traditional paths) is more about the tangibles than intangibles.
 

globetrotter

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Originally Posted by kxk
while this may be true, how do you intend to demonstrate this to potential employers through resumes/interviews?
at the end of the day, getting that first job (through traditional paths) is more about the tangibles than intangibles.


my thoughts. is your japanese fluent? then your languages would be an asset.
 

ratboycom

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Originally Posted by globetrotter
my thoughts. is your japanese fluent? then your languages would be an asset.

One of my weaknesses, I dont speak enough polite/business Japanese, so many jobs are ruled out right there. While it certainly would be a boon to my cause to be totally fluent, many large Japanese companies are targeting foreigners and switching their official inner office language to English. Though that is not to say I wouldnt consider private Japanese lessons once I get a steady cash flow. As of now my part time job gets me just enough to scrape by.

I guess one of my other strengths is that I studdied at an American uni here so my BA is recognized by both Japan and the US. Classes are much tougher in American universities, Japanese ones you dont even need to show up to class regularly and its near impossible to fail (with the exception of the major schools like Keio or Tokyo Daigaku).
 

globetrotter

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Originally Posted by ratboycom
One of my weaknesses, I dont speak enough polite/business Japanese, so many jobs are ruled out right there. While it certainly would be a boon to my cause to be totally fluent, many large Japanese companies are targeting foreigners and switching their official inner office language to English. Though that is not to say I wouldnt consider private Japanese lessons once I get a steady cash flow. As of now my part time job gets me just enough to scrape by.

I guess one of my other strengths is that I studdied at an American uni here so my BA is recognized by both Japan and the US. Classes are much tougher in American universities, Japanese ones you dont even need to show up to class regularly and its near impossible to fail (with the exception of the major schools like Keio or Tokyo Daigaku).


good luck. I don't know enough about japanese business to know what value you bring. I was thinking that if you had your english and fluent japanese then you would be up on local candidates. anyway, good luck
 

ratboycom

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Originally Posted by globetrotter
good luck. I don't know enough about japanese business to know what value you bring. I was thinking that if you had your english and fluent japanese then you would be up on local candidates. anyway, good luck

Yeah, I'd be in nearly anywhere if I was fluent in both. Thanks for the well wishes.
 

Lord-Barrington

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Originally Posted by ratboycom
One of my weaknesses, I dont speak enough polite/business Japanese, so many jobs are ruled out right there. While it certainly would be a boon to my cause to be totally fluent, many large Japanese companies are targeting foreigners and switching their official inner office language to English. Though that is not to say I wouldnt consider private Japanese lessons once I get a steady cash flow. As of now my part time job gets me just enough to scrape by. I guess one of my other strengths is that I studdied at an American uni here so my BA is recognized by both Japan and the US. Classes are much tougher in American universities, Japanese ones you dont even need to show up to class regularly and its near impossible to fail (with the exception of the major schools like Keio or Tokyo Daigaku).
In regards to Japan: Knowing Japan, I don't see how you'll land a job anywhere without knowing Japanese. Even Tokyo, is Japan's most cosmopolitan city, is still incredibly homogenous. The only people I know in Japan working without knowing Japanese are TESL kids. I'm sure there's a number of expat businesspeople working there as well but I doubt they're doing entry level work. Frankly, you would do well to consider what Matt said. Saying that you'll work harder or more independently than a Japanese kid is great but you can't really prove that tangibly. What you can prove to employers and what they want to see is that: a) You're Japanese b) You speak Japanese. And from what I know about Japan, that's what they care about. Remember, this is country with a chronic lack of quality jobs for young adults. I don't see why they'd want to throw a job to an outsider before hiring one of their own.
 

Lord-Barrington

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Originally Posted by Lord-Barrington
In regards to Japan:

Knowing Japan, I don't see how you'll land a job anywhere without knowing Japanese. Even Tokyo, is Japan's most cosmopolitan city, is still incredibly homogenous. The only people I know in Japan working without knowing Japanese are TESL kids. I'm sure there's a number of expat businesspeople working there as well but I doubt they're doing entry level work.

Frankly, you would do well to consider what Matt said. Saying that you'll work harder or more independently than a Japanese kid is great but you can't really prove that tangibly. What you can prove to employers and what they want to see is that: a) You're Japanese b) You speak Japanese. And from what I know about Japan, that's what they care about.

Remember, this is country with a chronic lack of quality jobs for young adults. I don't see why they'd want to throw a job to an outsider before hiring one of their own.


After re-reading this, it comes off a bit harsh. I'm not meaning to rain on your parade, but I think that you need to be realistic about what it takes to land any job in a foreign country like Japan that has never really been that interested in employing foreigners except for menial labor or TESL.
 

Don Carlos

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You're an American who has spent time (and possibly uni?) in Japan? Then focus your search back in the States. I know that sounds completely antithetical to your desires, but I'm not suggesting you look for jobs that would keep you in the US indefinitely.

Many US companies would love to hire "Asian experts" for various entry level strategy, business development, or marketing roles. Their bar for expertise is set pretty low, from what I've seen; simply having lived in another country for more than a year seems to bestow it.

Go where you are valued. You won't be valued very highly to Japanese firms as a non-Japanese who doesn't speak the language. Ironically enough, you'd be more highly valued as an American with significant American work experience, because then you'd be seen as the US market expert.

Finally, you should make a concerted effort to learn the language of any country in which you plan to settle or do ongoing business. Not only will this be a requirement for most jobs in Japan, American or otherwise, but it'll be good for your career. Trying to network in Japan without speaking Japanese seems pretty limiting.
 

globetrotter

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actually, working someplace where you can use your japanese in the US or UK is probably your best bet. get some experience then leverage that to get back to asia.
 

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