- Your post-graduation plans will depend heavily on the following:
- What career you want
- What you can offer to potential employers
- What kind of opportunities you get to know as a student
- But in any case, overconfidence is a big no-no
- Starting to look for opportunities early also really helps
- A list of companies where some recent graduates are working at can also be found at the bottom of this article
Written by: Austin Zeng
In order to plan your career, you really need to be aware that your post-graduation career is pretty much decided by the following questions.
What career do you want?
- Are you planning to work in Japan for a few years and then return home?
- What is the environment that you would prefer? Company size and whether the company is Japanese or international can make a big difference.
- What field do you want to work in?
- What is the minimum salary that you are willing to take as a fresh graduate?
What can you offer to potential employers?
- What working experience can you show?
- But also do note that many Japanese companies prefer hiring students without experience.
- How is your language fluency especially regarding English and Japanese?
- Do you have any concrete skills?
- Technical skills, especially programming, can be heavily in demand
- Note that some professions (e.g. design) will demand a portfolio too
What kind of opportunities did you get to know as a student?
- How are you getting to know companies and opportunities beyond the typical channels such as job boards?
- Are you closing yourself off unintentionally to sectors which may have good opportunities like for example SMEs?
- See the “how to job hunt in Japan” article for more information on this
Your answers to the above questions will probably give you a hint about what your first step after graduation will be. If you are still unsure though, do not hesitate to approach your MEXT senpais for advice!
Be realistic and plan ahead!
Anyway, a few general principles apply. Firstly do not be overconfident – especially regarding your language abilities. Remember that if you are aiming for the top-tier of companies you will be competing against the top-tier of Japanese talent – many of whom have native level fluency in both English and Japanese.
Another point is to start early. The earlier your career development, the more successful your first step post-graduation will be. You can develop your career through internship experiences, developing your own research portfolio, part-time work and general networking (view the other articles for more information about part-time work and internships).
For your reference, the following is a short list of companies in which some MEXT scholars who have graduated in the past 4 years (2014 – 2017) have entered for their first job. We hope this gives you an image of the opportunities open to you!
- AI Squared
- Amuse Inc.
- British American Tobacco
- Chuo University as faculty
- Customer Solutions Development Co
- DIRECT PUBLISHING
- IBM Japan
- INPEX Cooperation
- Mitsubishi Research Institute
- Mitsubishi Co.
- Mitsui Chemicals Group
- Nippon Koei
- VISITS Technologies Inc.
(Image taken from flickr.com (2017/10/25))
These guide articles are meant to be advice based on the experience of current and previous scholars. Given how situations may change depending on the school, region or year etc., we urge any scholars to approach the relevant authorities in your school if you have any doubts or concerns.