Finding a Job in Japan
So you want to work in Japan but aren’t sure how. As someone who is on their second job in the country, I’ll tell you what I did as it may provide some help to a few of you.
For some context, I began my work life in Japan by teaching English through the JET Programme. It is one of the most common jobs for a foreigner to hold in Japan regardless of if they actually care about English education. JET is known to be the most accommodating, but Interac, Gaba, etc. are alternatives people can look into. Prior to that, I was doing social media marketing at a startup in Silicon Valley before I just couldn’t ignore my desire to experience life in Japan.
Teaching English can be a trap if you’re not serious about that career path, and I wasn’t. Keeping in tune with the online social and startup worlds was what helped me find my second and current job.
LinkedIn is hardly used in Japan, so that was out. Most of the job listings are for higher, managerial positions at larger western companies. I tried reaching out and tweeting to Japanese startup founders to no avail — they weren’t ready to expand internationally (where I would fit in). Networking with anyone at internationally-ready companies were limited since JET has its workers living in the countryside.
The tool that I became aware of that helped me get my second job was Wantedly.
Wantedly is Japan’s LinkedIn, with about 1.5 million users. There’s more English now (although not perfect) than when I began using it in 2014 which will be helpful. I created a profile, wrote my experiences in simple English, got help translating it into proper Japanese and added it, then began “showing interest” (there’s a button) in interesting companies that either were hiring or allowing office visits. I had a few meetings, all of which ended up being with companies not ready to go international, until I met with one where the CEO was ready to start moving in that direction due to realizing that Japan was behind in the online space. I’ve just completed two years there.