Josy Audigier was a CIR at the Nara Kencho from 2006 to 2008 and served as the AJET Block 7 Representative in her second-year. Since returning to London post-JET, she has worked at Pokemon UK, Nikkei Europe and currently at the Ethames Graduate School. She advises current JETs to “make the most of JET as a networking opportunity” since you never know who will hear about a job opportunity that is perfect for you – or at least save you on hotel costs when travelling! For more advice from Josy, read the full interview after the break.
National AJET: When you left JET, what kind of job were you looking for? And how did your jobs since then compare to your expectations?
Josy Audigier:: I was very open to anything when I first got back to the UK. I wanted to continue to use my Japanese if possible. I knew that I would probably have to work my way up, and go through some slightly less glamorous admin-type roles to gain UK office experience. I have to admit I was not prepared for how little you can be paid in the private sector! I certainly had more disposable income as a JET!
NAJET: How did you start your job search?
Josy:: The JET Alumni Association (JETAA) holds a job fair for returning JETs in September. I joined several of the Japan-related recruitment companies at that job fair, and then got the Pokemon and Nikkei Europe Jobs through them.
I found out and applied to the job at EThames after hearing about it from another JETAA member. I have just recommended one of my JET friends from Kyoto to work here, so hopefully I can pass on the good luck!
NAJET: When applying for these positions, how did you present your experience on the JET Programme to make it work to your best advantage?
Josy:: I think that the majority of the work I did as a JET was transferrable for other jobs, I just had to ‘sell’ them in a way that made it easy for employers to see that. For example, showing I can cope well in a multicultural environment (I was surprised by how many employers were looking for this!) and public speaking (If you can do this in Japanese, it is a piece of cake in English!).
NAJET: Can you tell me a little bit about your experiences at Pokemon, Nikkei Europe, and EThames Graduate School?
Josy:Pokemon UK was a really fun company to work for! They promote Pokemon merchandise, TV programmes and games in the UK. When I first got back to London, I just needed some money to pay my rent, so I took this as the first job that came up. I was basically the HR/admin monkey/receptionist but I also got to introduce a Pokemon movie screening in Leister square (for competition winners).
I took a pay cut to move into my role at Nikkei Europe, as it sounded like a good experience. I was the advertising and marketing executive which meant I supported the advertising manager by creating marketing materials, putting together proposals for newspaper advertising campaigns, liaising with Tokyo etc.
It was incredibly useful as way to learn about how advertising works, especially the Japanese online advertising market. However as with many Japanese companies in the UK, all of the managers were Japanese ex-pats and there was no possibility of me progressing in my role, so I decided to move on again…
I actually applied to be the manger of Study UK (an association for UK-based Higher education institutions that want to attract foreign students.) I did not get the job I was hoping for, but was offered a marketing role at EThames Graduate School instead. Initially I was responsible for creating our new international prospectus but after a few weeks I was poached into a different team to start setting up and marketing the college’s corporate and executive courses.
NAJET: Why stay involved with JETAA after attending their career fair?
Josy:: I really love the JETAA pub nights in London. We have set up large events like our winter ball, the careers and information day etc. We also have plenty of smaller events where it’s nice to be able to chat to people who understand your random Japanese-based vocabulary and share your love of Japanese food etc.
NAJET: Any final advice for current JETs to help them make the most out of their experience?
Josy:: If you are enjoying your placement on JET and you still feel challenged then make the most of it! Try to get involved with as many projects as you can. If you feel under-worked, then try to join National AJET or your local AJET chapter so you will still have a range of skills by the end of your placement.
At the very least, make the most of JET as a networking opportunity! It is really nice to have a group of JET friends to support you once you get home. You might find job opportunities through other ex-JETs, and you might be able to go and visit them. I have already had five different ex JETs come to stay with me in London as well as countless ex-JETs join me for house parties…it is good to keep in touch.