Friday, March 25, 2011

Job Spotlight:

TOP is a recruitment consultant that specializes in Japanese-English bilingual job positions with (usually large) Japanese firms. They advertise positions both within Japan and across the U.S., and they have branches in Tokyo as well as 5 major U.S. cities. Their listings also include some English- or Japanese-language-only jobs.

If you are looking for a job where you can use your Japanese skills, and particularly a job outside of the English teaching industry, TOP is a good place to start. (In regards to Japanese skill, expect to need at least JLPT-2/N-2 to be considered for bilingual spots. An equivalent or higher BJT score is better.) You can search and inquire about job listings through their website, but if possible, I would recommend contacting them by phone or arranging a visit to their office. Recruiting agencies need to get a full picture of who you are and your available skillset in order to pair you with jobs where you are likely to pass the initial screening and proceed to interviews.

I am a big fan of recruiting agencies and the services they provide to job-seekers. Agencies take a cut whenever they match an applicant to a job opening; that cut is paid by the hiring company, not the applicant. So, use of an agency is free for the job-seeker. (If you encounter a recruiting agency that doesn't offer you its services for free, something's up. It might be better to look elsewhere.) You need only invest time to speak with the agency and demonstrate your eagerness to find a new job. Have a good handle on your strengths and weaknesses and fields of interest.

A good agent will not only introduce jobs to you but guide you through the application process, offering you opinions on how to strengthen your resume and coaching you on how to handle interview questions. I found this kind of help indispensable in my own search.

And, the caliber of jobs you can apply for through an agency is, in my opinion, usually greater than that of jobs you can find on your own. Big name companies often entrust their initial applicant search to recruiting agencies; this makes it the agency's job to weed out inappropriate applicants, saving the company time. Because of this, some of the highest quality openings may only be advertised through the safe annals of an agency, meaning people only looking in newspapers and online miss out on them.
By the way, the listings on an agency's website often don't cover all the positions the agency has to fill. This is, again, why I recommend calling an office or asking them if you can visit in person. By just having a conversation with an agent, he or she may remember some other open position that could work for you.

Finally, TOP specifically is an interesting find because of their offices outside of Japan. Even if you're in the U.S., their numbers and offices are available to introduce job-seekers to positions within Japan. TOP's listings are maintained in English, and the company appears just as interested in finding native-English speakers with fluent Japanese as they are in finding native-Japanese speakers with study abroad experience. If you are interested, be sure to check them out.

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