Association of Vocational Schools and Special Institutes of Miyagi Prefecture
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A review of important points for international students in Japan and Miyagi We asked a specialist about f inding employment.

Foreign study

Various procedures are necessary until immigration into Japan

Once the decision is made to study in Japan, various procedures must be completed before immigration to Japan.First of all, a school must be selected and a letter of application must be written. After the successful admission test the applicant receives the "School admission permit." Then an application for a certificate of eligibility must be filed with the local immigration office. Once the certificate has been issued, applicants can apply for a visa at the Japanese embassy in their home country.Upon arriving in Japan, applicants need to obtain the permission of entry of the immigration branch office at the airport, and are then ready to commence activities in Japan as international students.

Observing Japanese customs and rules and enjoying life and culture in Japan

Familiarity with Japanese customs is necessary in order to make living in Japan an enjoyable experience. The following are examples of common customs in Japan.
・When using public transportation, do not talk on your mobile phone during train or bus rides.
・ Stand in line when getting on a bus or train.
・ Do not talk in a loud voice in public places.
・ Discard garbage in the designated places. Do not litter.
・Do not smoke outside the designated areas.And more.

What other customs and rules there are is something for you to find out and experience by proactively collecting information at school from instructors and friends, which will help you to better understand people in Japan.

Change of status of residence after taking up employment

For all foreigners resident in Japan, the content of their permitted activities and the manner of procedures during the period of residency is prescribed in detail in the Immigration Control Act and in the Refugee Recognition Act. International students who find employment in Japan after completing a specialist course at an advanced Vocational School and after graduating with a specialist designation must change their status of residence to one that allows for taking up employment. However, changing the status of residence will be permitted only if the content of the work to be done for the employer corresponds to a residence status that allows for employment, such as Specialist in Humanities/International Services or Technology, and if it is judged that a relation exists between the content of the subject studied at the Vocational School and the content of the work to be done for the employer.

Taking up employment

Capabilities of international students sought amid accelerating global strategies

Along with companies' advancing globalization the hiring of international students has come into focus of late, but the situations remains difficult. Compared with somewhat over 20,000 job seekers in 2013, at 10,969 hires only about one-half found employment. Moreover, although international students have a preference for large corporations, in actuality 47% of international students took employment at companies with under 50 employees and 76% at small and medium-sized companies with under 300 employees.
These numbers show that small and medium-sized companies, a supporting constituency of Japan's economy, are not looking for simple labor but are interested in securing highly-qualified and motivated human resources for the long term with a view to global strategy implementation. This trend has been strengthening at an accelerating pace.
What Japanese companies expect of international students is "Japaneseness" and "intercultural adaptability." "Japaneseness" means (1) Japanese language proficiency required for the communication by telephone, e-mail, and business correspondence, which is distinct from the conversational. (2) The ability to appreciate Japanese (corporate) culture. (3) Preparedness to cooperate, with the emphasis on integration (team work). Further to these desired qualities, the focus is on the presence of language proficiency in the native language, English, and a third language, a clarity of purpose distinct from Japanese employees, ambition, and an appetite for success and reward.

Job hunting begins with grasping the schedule for employment

Japan is perhaps the only country worldwide where job hunting starts while students are still enrolled at a university or Vocational School. This unique schedule is the most important point that job hunters in Japan must take into account, or else the registration period will be over before the job-hopeful has noticed.
As to the sequence of actions that need to be taken, first of all, information must be obtained about companies' recruitment information sessions by registering with an employment information site. Along with researching prospective employers, applicants need to familiarize themselves with resume writing and self-analysis and sort out their aspirations for the future, which will prove useful in interviews and placement tests. Since written examinations contain the same questions for all applicants, international job hunters will need to brush up their Japanese language skills.
From my experience as the Tohoku regional project leader for the "International Students Employment Support Project" (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) which matches Japanese companies and international students through internships, etc., the Tohoku area has many small and medium-sized companies that excel in technology and services and where business owners and employees are working together. I think international students should conduct their research not only with company size in mind but give a thought also to corporate culture.
Job hunting is a good opportunity for reassessing oneself and for acquiring a diversity of new skills.
When the going gets difficult, please persist and do not give up. We are here to help you realize your dreams.