Departing JET! You will soon end your tenure on JET in the near future! It’s easy to get overwhelmed by things to do. This section will help guide you smoothly into your next adventure; it will mainly focus on those wanting to stay in Japan, but will also contain some advice for those leaving the country.
6 months before finishing on the JET Programme, start making your online presence professional! Nowadays, many employers check out their prospective employees. Drunken banter on Facebook and the like can be found if it was uploaded. Do a quick online search with your name on different search engine, and see what comes up. Scrub your Facebook and check your privacy settings (but remember that your friends who tag you in pictures don’t necessarily have the same settings you do, so some things might still be found even if you think you’re safe).
If you haven’t already, create a LinkedIn account. Many companies and recruiters check forums and groups. Keep your profile up-to-date and link it with your email to receive any updates. Add your friends and colleagues to your network and endorse their skills; they will do the same for you.
There are guides online for this. This should be done as soon as December or January. You should have an updated resume ready for the After JET Conference. I especially recommend going to the job fair since you will meet many potential employers and learn what they are looking for. You might even land a few interviews, as many will contact you afterward.
Vince Ricci’s guides are quite good and he’s been supporting JET alumni at the After JET Conference for many years. His blog contains much advice as well as sample resumes for ALTs, CIRs and PAs.
You can also read Danny Choo’s article on his Culture Japan site. Danny has recently been appointed on the Cool Japan Strategy Committee by the Japanese Cabinet. As well as directing and presenting on the TV shows Culture Japan and Japan Mode, he created a now-famous character to promote Culture Japan. (His character, Mirai Suenaga, became in 2013 an official mascot for Japan Tourism, in 2014, for publicity in Malaysia.)
He goes into lengthy details about his experience to changing his resume to apply for different positions at foreign firms in Japan.
Start making a Japanese resume too. The style in Japanese is quite different than in English, and there is less freedom in form. You can buy and write your own, or find an online template you can download. It is worth noting that many employers will favor hand-written ones.
Daijob (a job listing website, check it out!) offers a nice guide here: http://www.daijob.com/en/tipsadvice-jobinjapan/create_japanese_resume.html
There are many more sites explaining the Japanese resume; a quick Google search will be of great help. You can also ask a Japanese colleague to check it and give you his/her opinion to help you avoid any mistakes.
The After JET Conference is a good chance to meet employers and other JETs looking for work. You will also meet many JET alumni and other professionals who will be more than willing to network and give advice on what to do. Listen to the presentations and take notes.
There is a career fair associated with the After JET Conference; this is where you will learn about the job market and what employers are looking for. Make sure you have your resume and business cards ready. There will be many people at the fair, and competition is fierce. Some lines can be long, but if you give your information to a company, they will most likely contact you. Calculate your time and do research beforehand to know what employers you want to focus on, and set out a plan to see them at all cost and go soon when the conference starts to be sure not to miss out.
In 2015, CLAIR also hosted a career fair in Osaka. This was the first time such an event took place, and hopefully will mean more options for JETs in western Japan in the future.
Feel free to join the AJET Job Listings Facebook page, which features a variety of job postings from all over the world.
There are some job fairs in Japan; most are aimed toward new university graduates, but there are a few for bilingual individuals. They usually involve a higher level of Japanese but are a good way to see what companies are open to foreigners and what their requirements are.
As AJET learns of them, they will list them on the AJET Block pages.
Here are a few that we know of for employment in Japan or abroad:
If you know of any other job fairs happening in Japan, please share it with us and we will update this list.
You can also turn to outside help and tap into the Japanese system. Throughout most cities in Japan, the Hello Work system assists Japanese looking for find work. They have a listing of jobs available nationwide in their database and will try to help as they can.
The office in Shinjuku (Tokyo) is especially for foreigners looking for employment in Japan. They might go as far as contacting employers in front of you and ask if you can apply with your level of Japanese as well as tell them to expect your resume. They can also proofread your resume and give you advice on how to write it to make it more appealing for Japanese employers.
Here are some information about their office:
If you are closer to Osaka or Nagoya, you might want to check these instead.