Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/9 22:29
Hi, I'm currently 29 and taking a gap year to travel around Asia after which I want to move to Japan. I'm trying to decide whether I should aim to find a job and move to Japan soon or postpone it until maybe next year so I can keep traveling. My specific questions are:

1. How do Japanese employers perceive age when it comes to recruitment? Does it look any worse if I find work at age 30 or so than when I'm 29?
2. How do Japanese employers perceive a career gap?

Some more info: I have JLPT N2. Unmarried. I have 4 years marketing background and I always see job openings that suit me. I have a remote freelance job so I can travel indefinitely if I want to.
The reason why I would want to keep traveling is I like exploring places and different cultures, and I know that once I start working in Japan, it would be harder to go on long trips abroad. So I want to maximize this freedom before I get tied to a job. Any advice would appreciated. :-)
by machigaesagashi  

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/10 10:38
If you are taking a gap year, does that mean you are in the midst of a college education? If that is what you mean, I would suggest youfd go complete your degree (a bachelorfs at least) first.
What kind of work are you looking for?
by ....... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/10 19:14
hi, I already finished college and worked for 8 years. So this is like a career gap. I'm keen to work in digital marketing which is what I've been doing.
by machigaesagashi rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/11 10:54
First get to N1 JLPT.
I donft see any good paying jobs in your field if you donft have N1.
Also save a lot of money for rent (around 1-1.5M yen), you will likely need to pay more than double upfront for the 1% of properties which allows for foreigners.
by ggh (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/11 16:43
Not sure what @ggh is talking about - maybe annual rent, but getting somewhere to live is not hard.
If you can speak/read/write getting N1 or N2 is irrelevant (obscure grammar rules native speakers don't know will not necessarily help) - it would quickly become apparent if you can communicate or not.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/12 10:34
uIf you can speak/read/write getting N1 or N2 is irrelevant (obscure grammar rules native speakers don't know will not necessarily help) - it would quickly become apparent if you can communicate or not.v

It's definitely true that practical language skill trumps a certification, but higher certifications are helpful in opening more initial doors, especially if you're applying from overseas. Asking an employer to simply take your word that you can speak/read/write Japanese adds an extra hurdle to getting an interview, and without that interview, it's not going to become apparent that you can communicate despite not having the credentials. And while there's definitely some esoteric stuff on the N1 and N2 JLPT, I think it's an exaggeration to say that N3-level grammar is as much as you need to understand to be able to communicate professionally with Japanese clients/colleagues.
by . . . . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/13 00:44
Your Japanese level needs to be sufficient such that you will be able to pass the SPI web exams (almost always in Japanese) to get to the interview phase; the exams will typically include personality (always), reading (sometimes), and math (sometimes, but more than reading) with severe time pressure. You should definitely practice doing math in your head and reviewing algebra, etc.

General application procedures goes like this: entry form/resume -> web exam -> interview (usually 3-4 rounds + HR)
Depending on companies, some companies may not give you interview if you fail web exam, while some companies will evaluate you on both the web exam and 1st interview (assuming you passed the entry form/resume)

You should prepare both a Japanese resume (in standard format) and an English resume.
Also there are standard interview questions: e.g. self introduction, 3 strength/weaknesses, your biggest challenge, etc. You should write answers to these questions first and memorize them <-- when you write answers, always think about what the company wants.

I think you should take advantage of your free time now, and really prepare for the interviews/exams for a few months. Unless it is a low paying service job, all the good jobs are just as competitive as overseas; and you can expect the other candidates to be extremely well prepared as well.

It also may be advisable if you can find a good headhunter based in Japan. You shouldn't take the first person who you reach. You should find one who can advise you on your resume and more imporantly advise you on your interview answers + practice interviews.
by lugg (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/13 12:00
if you want to live like a human, please don't work at a japanese company in japan. focus on finding a job with a foreign firm here. i'm not saying all, but the great majority of them will offer more competitive salaries, more equal career opportunities with less discrimination towards foreigners, promotions based on performance and not seniority, will not kill you with tons of unpaid overtime, have a more international working culture, might not require you to speak ultra fluent japanese, even english might be enough, and will not ask for SPI and these things, just normal regular interviews.
by kiki (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/13 13:00
u have a more international working culture, might not require you to speak ultra fluent japanese, even english might be enough, and will not ask for SPI and these things, just normal regular interviews.v

Are you saying it's not normal for a Japanese company that's hiring someone to work in Japan to have a Japanese working style and want its employees to speak fluent Japanese? A company being run in the local style, and in the local language, seems like the absolute definition of "normal."

I'm not at all arguing that non-Japanese companies in Japan are more internationalized in terms of in-office culture and language, and those factors do indeed often make them more attractive places for foreigners to work in Japan. But anyone going into job-hunting with the mindset "I want to apply for a job in Japan, but it's so weird that Japanese companies expect me to communicate in Japanese or adapt to Japanese work styles!" is pretty much setting themselves up for frustration.

And while it's definitely true that many Japanese companies require a lot of overtime, it's not like everyone working for a foreign company in Japan has a cushy schedule. I have friends who work in Tokyo branches on non-Japanese financial and recruiting companies, and those guys work a ton of hours.
by . . . . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/13 15:16
Are you saying it's not normal for a Japanese company that's hiring someone to work in Japan to have a Japanese working style and want its employees to speak fluent Japanese? A company being run in the local style, and in the local language, seems like the absolute definition of "normal."

naah, i'm not saying that. All i'm saying is that there are more choices available than working for a japanese company in japan. everyone's like: you have to speak japanese fluently, you have to pass the SPI, and so on.... but why would he have to especially when there are other options available that won't require that, and that even better, would probably be a better cultural fit for a foreigner? yeah, not everyone at international companies is having a picnic but definitely the chances are better than with japanese companies.

japan is truly a great place, but i've seen so many foreigners whose experience has gone wrong because they can't get adjusted to the office environment and demands of a japanese company. my only point was to warn him.
by kiki (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/14 00:10
Kiki,
I'm not sure which foreign company you work at but most of the big foreign companies also require SPI or something very similar to it, even if there's a very foreign office culture.
I work for a global strategic consulting firm, and if you apply, there's still an web exam. It may not be the SPI the Japanese firms use, but it is quiet similar in content.

I think companies which do not require an SPI or some type of web exam for someone late 20s early 30s, who would be entering into a junior position, would be in the minority. Therefore not preparing for the SPI would really limit his options.

I do agree that the pay in foreign companies is significantly better than Japanese companies for younger workers. I used to work in a Japanese company, and I can say that after I changed to a foreign firm, my salary went above 3x my former salary within a year with better benefits.
by lugg (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/14 15:05
What the others said, you should be able to prove that you can communicate well in Japanese. I applied twice for another job in Japan in very huge companies and both times I also needed to do the online exam, personality, math and reading.

However, I don't know if the result is really that important, my Japanese skill is still not very good and therefore I needed a long time to read the math questions and some of the reading questions I didn't completely understand, but either I must have done okay or it was not that important, because I was offered the job in the end both times.

I had 2 interviews both times and they were really short (like 15-20 minutes) each one, so I was sure I failed, but got the result that I passed on the same day, so it seems to me that shorter interviews are better than longer ones, because the perople have already made the decision to offer you the job.
by City Hunter (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Advice on moving to Japan sooner or later 2020/2/15 17:24
thanks for the insight guys. Looks like age is not a huge issue if i infer correctly. And for the next several months what I would do is develop my conversational skills and prepare for potential exams. While preparing and waiting for a good opportunity I will enjoy my travels around Asia.
by machigaesagashi rate this post as useful

reply to this thread