Ask anyone in Career Services, and they will tell you there’s major change happening in their world. While there are many ways to stay on the cutting edge, we frequently take for granted the commonalities of our work. Examples include what career fairs look like, how students apply to opportunities, and even the most glamorous industries. However, my trip to the Temple University Japan Campus (TUJ) in Tokyo showed me new ways of serving students.
I went with colleagues last summer to learn about the structure and operations of our branch campus, specifically how their career development staff works with study abroad and TUJ matriculated students. Many students are looking for opportunities with large corporations, which requires starting a job search extremely early and learning new self-marketing tools.
Entry level job searching in Japan has defined industry recruiting seasons, and if you don’t successfully get a job then, you become a “mid-career” job seeker upon graduation. Students also need to start job searching 18 months before graduation because companies hire students a year before graduation-and TUJ’s academic calendar differs from Japanese universities. It is easy to get confused about the process. In the U.S., we may advise early starting students about flexible learning opportunities to gain experience and industry knowledge, but it’s up to the student.
But in Japan, those 18 months include a specific sequence of events. Companies don’t target job postings by major, rather recruiting all majors, so there are more screening activities. Standardized tests, learning how to write an entry sheet instead of a cover letter, required registration at official job seeking websites, creating a handwritten version of your resume in Japanese characters, and attending required company seminars keep students on their toes. And we thought that job searching was exhausting here!
At home, I empathized with our Japanese students and those from TUJ studying abroad in Philadelphia. The individuality of job searching likely feels overwhelming, and the subjectivity of the process is challenging.
Here’s how I try to assist students coming from this environment:
Set tangible expectations: Although the job market is changing in Japan, it’s still common to work for the same company for many years. That’s not the case here, and students may have several stops before they get to their “dream career.” Highlight realistic examples from your institution to illustrate the benefits of a diverse career journey.
Harness their strengths: Reach out to them proactively to establish an understanding of the American job search process. Encourage them to think of the unfamiliar aspects of the job search as a way to explore their curiosities while harnessing strengths of organization and focus.
Get familiar with some new industries: It surprised me how popular manufacturers and large conglomerates were, and the disparate nature of businesses within those conglomerates. For us to effectively advise on those industries, make it a point to identify the relevant professional associations, check out relevant reference databases, and learn about the similar organizations in your area.
February focuses on global career services. Find information on international perspectives to interviewing, best practices for partnering with campus international programs, and serving international students.
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Cristina Lawson at email@example.com.
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Podcast With Danny Malave on New Professional Retrospective on the Job Search