Job-Hunting Notes - Part 1
The Earlier You Decide to Prepare for Job-Hunting the Higher Chance You’ll Win
Updated in February 2021
When I came Japan for master’s degree, I already decided to get a job after graduation instead of continuing PhD. The reason is that I was inspired by a book called “Letter Shop” written by a Japanese author named Takigawa Yasushi. He said a company/organization is like a “human”─they are born, will grow up and die someday. Choosing a company to work is like choosing a partner of your life. You do not need someone famous or rich, you just need someone whom you can be better together.
One senior I knew, instead of going back his home country like planned, he changed his mind and wanted to get a job while he had only 2 months before graduation. I asked him a lot about his job-hunting process to learn for myself. At first, he was excited and happy because after applying for many companies he got information from job fairs, he passed document screening of one company, and he would have interview in English. However, he did not pass that interview, and he told me that they offered English interview, but at the end, they still switched to Japanese, and if I was not good at Japanese, there would be no chance at all. He continued trying, and sadly he did not make it. Although I still had 1.5 years left, I was worried so much.
I got my official job offer 3 months before my graduation. Some friends of mine who came to Japan around the same time with me were surprised, and they decided to apply for jobs too, instead of returning to their home countries like what they had told me so far. They hoped that they could get a job, and they even switched to travel visas after graduation with the goal to have more time to find a job. Unfortunately, they could not make it. I’m glad that now they happily work in their home countries.
June 2019, I met some old friends at an alumni event. That was a time I had just started my job too. One friend - 1st year master’s student, he asked me a lot about the reason I wanted to work in Japan and the job-hunting process. Then he said he would consider job-hunting instead of doing PhD. After a few months, he said he was job-hunting and tried his best. He had at least 6 months before graduation, so I hope he could do it well. In April 2020, he called me and said that he started working that month and that he enjoyed his new life as an employee so much.
Through 3 stories above, I want to say that it is better to decide and prepare for job-hunting early rather than late. Of course, doing it early doesn’t guarantee anyone getting a job, but you have to prepare and be ready for it. When I knew that Japanese students do it at least 1 year in advance, I was so surprised. Job-hunting is difficult for Japanese students too, so the earlier you decide to do job-hunting and prepare, the higher chance you will win.
The book “Letter shop” in Japanese and Vietnamese version. It’s pity that the English version has not been published yet.