One tradition of the Club is to support the career ambitions of current students and active Club members. On this page please find valuable advice as well as information about, and links to, various career management and/or development resources.

 

Internships for Current Notre Dame Students

First, you need to consider whether you have the legal right to participate in an internship in Japan: If you are Japanese or if you are a current Notre Dame student studying in Japan with a valid visa that includes the right to work (foreign students studying in Japan on a student visa do have the right to work up to 20 hours per week and there are no constraints here in Japan such as the OPT/CPT rules in the U.S.), then you are good to go. If you do not meet these conditions, you probably will not be doing an internship in Japan….

Second, you need to ask whether you really want an internship in Japan…. Because the number of positions for newly minted Japanese graduates exceeds the number of newly minted Japanese graduates (due to Japan’s shrinking population), most internships exist as a way for Japanese interns and companies to “try before buying” where “buying” means getting hired for a lifetime position. From a U.S. perspective, the “system” for internships is not as developed in Japan as it is in the United States. If you are a Japanese citizen or if you are already in Japan with a student visa, then your better option might be to register with a temporary staffing company and get yourself dispatched to a company as a temporary worker on a very flexible schedule and with a good rate of pay.

If you are not familiar with the temporary staffing industry, please read the infographics here https://www.tempstaff.co.jp/english/jobseekers/ to understand how a temporary staff company works.

Key Points: Any Japanese citizen and any foreign individual (who is over the age of 18, living in Japan with a valid visa allowing work in Japan) may register with a Temporary Staff company at any time. This approach allows you to craft a paid “internship-like” experience, but the difficult tasks of 1) assessing your work-ready capabilities in a Japanese context and 2) connecting you with a company are left to a specialist.

DOMESTIC (Japanese) TEMP STAFF COMPANIES
+ Recruit: http://www.recruit.jp/service/human_resources/
+ TempStaff: https://www.tempstaff.co.jp/
+ Pasona Staffing: http://www.pasona.co.jp

INTERNATIONAL TEMP STAFF COMPANIES OPERATING IN JAPAN
+ Randstad Japan: http://www.randstad.co.jp/
+ Adecco Japan: http://www.adecco.co.jp
+ Manpower Japan: http://www.nipponmanpower.co.jp

Third, Notre Dame students who really want to do an internship in Japan are encouraged to search for internships using LinkedIn’s job search feature: http://www.linkedin.com/job/home

Alternatively, using the search terms “internships and japan inc” on google.com in November 2013 obtained the following results:

Fourth, Notre Dame students with American citizenship who really want to do an internship in Japan are also encouraged to investigate internship opportunities at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo via the State Department website, The following URLs have worked in the past, but may be out of date: http://japan2.usembassy.gov/e/info/tinfo-jobs.html

Note: Current Notre Dame students (undergraduate and graduate) and university Career Services counselors are encouraged to read this page carefully before contacting the Notre Dame Club of Japan for career advice. Additionally, when contacting the Club for career advice please include the following information and/or attachments in your email:
  1. Most current resume.
  2. Japanese language proficiency level.
  3. Number of months (or years) of previous experience living/working/studying in Japan and what you did while you were here.
    • Please indicate whether you were active with the Notre Dame Club of Japan during your previous time in Japan.
  4. Your key takeaways from the results of taking the inventory at careerleader.com. (Note: If you have not taken the inventory at careerleader.com, please let your career services counselors know that all the best universities offer careerleader.com to their students at student prices (e.g. $20 or free, depending on the school).
    • If you are an MBA candidate, please indicate your current stage in the Notre Dame MBA Career Catalyst™ process. Note: If you are at the beginning of the process, please do not contact the Club until you are far enough along that you know specifically what kind of position you are seeking.
  5. An outline of your intended career path and how it relates to Japan.
  6. A statement indicating why an employer in Japan would select you over a local candidate; that is, please indicate your perceived market value in Japan. (If you do not understand why I am asking for this information, please read Dan Beaudry’s Power Ties: The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States – Revised and Updated, but replace where it says “United States” with “Japan” and recognize that you are the international student in this situation.)
  7. The name and email address of the career services counselor who is advising you.
  8. If you make a request in your email, it needs to be clear, specific and pass a common sense test. Requests for information about “any jobs that are available” or for information that can be found through a simple Google search indicate a lack of preparedness on your part. Requests for information about specific types of positions in specific industries or companies and/or alumni working in those companies/industries reflects a much greater level of preparation and consideration on your part. (Note: Before contacting us, please check the LinkedIn Alumni tool for university alumni and/or Mendoza alumni living in Japan to get a sense of who we are and where we work. Things you should notice include, a) most of our Japanese alumni attended Graduate Schools at Notre Dame, b) most of the alumni who attended ND as undergraduates are non-Japanese, c) most of the alumni work for the Japan operations of non-Japanese companies).

Getting a Job in Japan – Early Career Strategies Need to Be Devised While You Are Still a Student!

One of the best routes to a getting a job in Japan is as follows.

While you are a student:

  1. Identify the industry in which you would like to work.
  2. Select a major that enjoys a high level of demand within that industry.
  3. Identify several companies within that industry that have operations in Japan.
  4. Study the Japanese language and culture.
  5. Get hired in the U.S. by one of the companies you identified, and — after you have developed contacts and relationships at the U.S. operations — make it known that you can speak some Japanese and that you would be willing to relocate to Japan if there is a need for someone with your capabilities.
    • Be certain to investigate the variety of arrangements under which you can be sent to Japan: Expatriate (most lucrative, governed by Letter of Assignment and usually for a fixed period), Local Plus (higher pay than local hires, but subject to local labor laws), and Local (governed by all local laws and employment practices).
      • If you are not familiar with the above terms, please investigate the websites of companies like Mercer but with the understanding that premium expatriate packages are usually not available to early career employees.

If you are interested in working in Japan after graduation, then majoring in finance or engineering (for IT jobs) is perhaps the best way to get a full time, well-paid job in Japan after you have work experience and a network in the U.S. as the work in these industries is often performed in English in Japan. Young Alumni who work for big finance, I.T., or consulting firms in the U.S. and who have specialized skills and/or Japanese language capabilities can be transferred to Japan on a project basis or a fixed-term basis.

Regarding finding a finance job in Japan while you are completing your Mendoza MBA, one alum recently offered this advice:

My impression is that some level of Japanese language ability is likely to be a requirement for at least most sell-side positions, but if there are any exceptions to that then recruiters who have been working here for a while would know about it. I would encourage you to reach out and submit your CV to them, and then maybe follow up with an email if it’s feasible through their websites.

For current students without a finance or engineering background who are interested in working in Japan, the best way to get a full-time job in Japan is to apply to — and earn a position on — the JET program. The JET Program really is the gold standard of teaching jobs for new grads. Applications come out in early fall. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of being selected for an interview. Note: Answer every question in the JET Program application (including the question about drivers’ licenses), or your application will be rejected before the interview stage.

If you do not want to teach English and you are extremely keen to work in Japan without getting employment experience in the U.S. first, and you have good Japanese language skills, then you should attend the Career Forum for Japanese-English bilinguals. It is usually held in Boston in November every year, but in recent years Career Fora have also been held in California. Please check their website for details.

Another way to get a full time job in Japan is to join the U.S. military. (The Club currently has more than 10 active military and civilian personnel alumni on bases around Japan). Personally, I think that if an ND student is going to join the military after graduation in order to work in Japan, she or he should probably join ROTC and get their tuition paid by the military while they are students.

Yet another way to get a job in Japan is to become an attorney who understands some Japanese and who has deep expertise in some area of U.S. or International Law. One of our members who is an attorney spends half his time in California and the other half in Japan.

Finally, joining the U.S. State Department, Commerce Department or FBI can also result in being attached to the U.S. embassy or a consulate in Japan.

Note: Unfortunately, if your primary interest in Japan is limited to manga and anime and you do not understand the fundamentals of business, it is unlikely that you will be able to compete with young Japanese who have the same manga/anime interests. Please read Power Ties: The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States – Revised and Updated to get a better understanding of why this is the case.

 

What if I Cannot Speak Japanese but I Want to Find a Job in Japan Anyway? 

First, you need to ask yourself if you could help an immigrant to the U.S. (one who cannot speak English) to find a professional position in your hometown. If you conclude that you could not do that, at least now you understand your challenge.

Next, you need to ask yourself why the advice above (leverage your degree to get hired in the U.S., acquire new skills and new professional relationships in the headquarters, and then get transferred to Japan as an expat) does not work for you. If you come to Japan at the wrong stage of your career you might be damaging your longer-term career prospects by failing to build a professional network in the U.S. and you might be imposing a hit on your lifetime career earnings. (Why would you do that?!?)

With all of the abovementioned caveats in mind, here are some sites you can visit.

  • BizReach This is the Japanese equivalent of TheLadders. Every position should have a minimum salary of 10,000,000 JPY. But, you will need to use Google Chrome as your browser and ask it to translate the site from Japanese to English for you.
  • ACCJ Career Engine This is the jobs platform run by the American Chamber of Commerce Japan.
  • DaiJob
  • CareerCross

Senior Positions

Collectively, the Club Officers have a long institutional memory of the evolution of job market in Tokyo. And, collectively, our club members are working in a wide variety of industries which means that our local alumni network is plugged into current market realities. Recently, there are not many opportunities for professionals who do not currently reside in Japan, and there has been a long term market shift from “expat” positions to “local” hires. However, opportunities do emerge from time to time for candidates with the right set of skills and experiences, so if you are currently in “transition,” please do not hesitate to tap the alumni network by contacting one of the Club Officers.

Additional Resources

ONWARD: Notre Dame’s Official Career Development Program

Recruit Dot Net: A website that aggregates job listings in Japan

Ecentral: A bilingual job site centered principally on opportunities in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area.

American Chamber of Commerce Japan: A center of commercial gravity in Tokyo; many alumni are members. Students on the Year in Japan Program who are studying at Sophia University or Keio University are strongly encouraged to become student members of the Chamber.