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    5. 67 years after World War II
    6. What is a life plan? From the National Bar Exam to becoming a painter
    7. Job-hunting experience note -Receiving a job offer from the first-choice company is not a dream-
    8. Job-hunting experience note -Self-analysis is about "Constructing one-self"-
    9. The skill-levels of world-class top talents are extremely high. That is why, in order to compete against the world, ambition and aspiration is necessary.
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    11. PIANO LINE -Seattle Study Abroad Chronicles-
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    14. Why are those who've experienced study abroad programs a little different? -Full Japanese SILS student reveals the whole story of studying abroad -
    15. China, The Neighboring Country You Do Not Know ~ My Encounter at Peking University ~
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    17. C'est la vie! This is life! Work hard, Play hard.
    18. Study abroad @ Taiwan
    19. Study abroad @ Beijing
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    22. Japan Study Students to Waseda: A message from the class of 1983-84
    23. Developing Medical and Welfare Robots ~The Challenges of Kabe Laboratory, Faculty of Human Sciences~
    24. Recollecting experiences of Exchange Programme at Waseda
    25. Kuroda Kazuo Interview: About Studying in Japan
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Blog:May, 2012

Job-hunting experience note -Receiving a job offer from the first-choice company is not a dream-

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Profile
Name: Yuki Iketsu
Period attended at Waseda University: April, 2007 to present
Affiliation at Waseda University: School of International Liberal Studies, 6th year
Hobby: Travelling

 

What I’m about to say may be considered rare; I enjoyed job hunting. The opportunity to apply everything I had learned and thought about, and seeing how much it is accepted by society excited me. It would be a lie to say the experience required no effort, but it was incredibly fun to think about what I want to do and what types of impact I wanted to make in society. I feel I was able to grow through meeting many people and absorbing new knowledge. In this article, I would like to briefly introduce what was going through my mind, and my experience in job hunting. 


[Result of job-hunting]

Future company: Human resources system
Pre-entry: More than 100 companies, attended seminars of large and small companies in various fields
Submission of entry-sheet: 22 companies, foreign manufacturer, material manufacturer, human resources, education etc. 
Eligibility of entry-sheet: 15 companies
Job-offer: 2 companies


[Schedule of job-hunting]

July, August: Application and participation to information technology firm.
September: Devotes to travelling and part-time job. No particular job-hunting. 
October: Attending to information sessions of foreign firms mainly.
November: Passing my first entry-sheet
December: Japanese large firms start their information session at once. Reservation battle begins. I had to stop my part-time job.
January: Worked hard on volunteer event and submission of entry-sheer at the same time
February: Attended daily information sessions, selection of venture companies and an internship of foreign manufacturer. 
March: Peak of the selections of foreign manufacturers and venture companies. Late March, I receive my first job-offer. 
April: Early April, I receive a job-offer from my first-choice company. Withdrawal from the remaining selections, job-hunting has ended with good result. 


[Important Things about Job Hunting]

*Self-Analysis

There are many important things about job hunting, but I think the number one is self-analysis. It’s important that you analyze not only your college life, but experiences all the way back in childhood and elementary school. Your current values are built upon your past experiences, so when you analyze big events in your memory, I think this allows you to understand how you think, and how you have evolved. 

People say it is important to make a chronological table of your life; I have found that this is effective. In addition, rather than only doing it once, I think it’s important to self-analyze many times over time. I, for example, did not know what I wanted to do in the beginning. When I’d attend a seminar and feel that it’s boring, I would analyze why I felt that way. Through a process of elimination, this narrowed down what I was interested in. 

There are many ways to do it, but I think it’s good to think back upon your past every time you receive new information. I, personally, kept writing my self-analysis in Microsoft Word, and when I look at it now, there are more than 20,000 words. I wish I could make this a graduation thesis!

*Decide for Yourself 

Job hunting is filled with all types of information. There are many job hunting websites like “Rikunabi,” and you may hear stories about your friends’ and seniors’ experiences; information starts flooding in. I think it is important that you do not over-trust information you hear from people or the internet. The emphasis should be in information you receive directly from speaking with working adults. When your senior tells you that a company is bad, it would be wasteful to completely ignore that particular company. Make your own actions, reorganize information you receive, and decide your own direction. Looking at people around me that have this mentality and those that don’t, I feel that there is a clear contrast of success and failure. 

Of course, sharing information with your friends is important; employees only talk about the positive aspects of their company, so it is necessary to include all of those aspects when making your own decisions. (Therefore, please do not believe too much of what I am writing here either.) 

*Don’t Be Typical

There are many manuals for job hunting, but it is said that companies easily know when a student is simply “following a manual.” I met someone in charge of personnel affairs, and told me, “I have read and memorized every book about job interview methods, and when I hear a student’s answer to questions, I can figure out which book by which company they read.” This may be an extreme example. However, my impression was that things like hairstyles, clothes, and the way you speak did not matter too much (although I am sure that it depends on the industry and company). I was not used to referring to myself as “Watashi (formal “I”),” and later switched to a less formal “Boku,” but I have never been criticized about that. 

Job hunting can easily be undifferentiated, so when you do something different from others, you can stand out. If you are going to read a book, it may be better to read something like what a successful salesman does to succeed, and look for information you can use for job hunting. 

I really wanted to be employed by my first-choice company. I made a presentation to the recruiter using a self-promotion kit I created and a document stating my reason for application. I don’t know how effective this was, but it resulted in getting an unofficial job offer, so it probably couldn’t have been bad. If you are able to express yourself completely, I think you will feel good, even if you do not get the job. 

This became a little long, but the above is a simplified wrap-up of my job hunt. 

There is one last thing I’d like to add. I think it’s very important to cherish your connections and who you meet. Fate is very mysterious; you never know what results from a single connection, in what form, or when. When I was employed, a company I declined, for example, has become a client. If you decline in an unfitting manner, it will always come back to you. There are interactions with many people during job hunting, and in order to have a good life after employment, I wanted to cherish every contact I made. I am sure that you will face many difficulties, but I hope this article finds you well, and helps with your job hunting in some way. 


[Necessities]

Starting this year, job hunting began generally in December. Attending many seminars in a small time span was hard work. Succeeding to make reservations for popular companies, even if you tried the minute reservations began, was extremely difficult. It was like reserving tickets for a popular idol’s concert. 

*Smart phone: 

I can’t even imagine job hunting without this item. For large companies, reservations had to be made the moment you receive an email indicating the start of reservation, or else it would be completely booked immediately. With constant access to the internet, smart phones became incredibly handy (some websites cannot be accessed from regular mobile phones). I am also terrible with directions, so the map function helped me out many times. I highly recommend smart phones for people that are about to begin job hunting. You are sometimes required to fill out surveys when making reservations, so a tablet may be helpful as well. 

*Extra cell phone batteries:

Once job-hunting begins, you may receive about 60 emails a day if you are registered to multiple job-hunting websites. Email reception alone uses up a lot of battery power, so I recommend having extra batteries. You may regret it when a company’s seminar reservations begin and your batteries are dead (as I did). 

 

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Job-hunting experience note -Self-analysis is about "Constructing one-self"-

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Profile
Name: Sanami Suzuki
Period attended at Waseda University: September, 2009 to present 
Affiliation at Waseda University: School of International Liberal Studies, 3rd year
Hobby: Dance and Flute

 

My job-hunting schedule
July, 2011: Started attending internships. The internships were in various fields.
September, 2011: Started attending joint information session for companies. 
December, 2011: Job-hunting begins! Information session and seminars for firms start at once.
February, 2011: Application for large firms. Peak of sending ES on late February.
March, 2011: Selection starts (written exams, interviews).
April, 2011: Job offer! 

Future job
A foreign food company

[Feelings towards Working]
When I was accepted to the School of International Liberal Studies in September, I decided to graduate early, as opposed to studying abroad. Why? After living abroad for 18 years, moving between 5 different countries, I could not confidently say I was Japanese. This is why I wanted to become a member of the working society as soon as possible and raise my value. With these feeling in my heart, I started job-hunting.

[“Employment begins!” Briefing Sessions and the ES rush!]
Being an indecisive person, I was certain it was going to take a long time for me to find what I want to do. This is why I participated in an internship starting in July, to deepen my understanding towards employment. From education to consulting, travel agency… I participated in various things. However, I still could not narrow down what industry I wanted to work at. Soon came September. A joint briefing for Japanese firms began, and I checked out only large firms that I had heard of. Company information sessions for Japanese firms began at once in December. I applied for about 150 companies. An Entry Sheet (ES) rush began in February, and I would fill out 3 sheets every day. I had confidence towards job-hunting in the beginning. Due to the saturation of the Japanese market, companies moved overseas. This is why I was confident that my experience and knowledge from overseas was going to help me. In March, I realized I had no idea.

[Flaws]
It may have been because of my experience overseas, but I passed the ES and the first interviews with ease. However, I felt uneasy when answering the question that is always asked at the second interview: “reason for application.” At the first interviews, they ask things like what kinds of hard work you have done, your skills, etc. At the second interview, they often question if their company is really the company you want to work at. This is where I always failed. I was explaining my “reason for application,” completely dressed up in an identity created strictly for the purpose of job-hunting. My heart was not in it, so of course, they did not feel any enthusiasm. Since I had applied to various companies, my understanding of industries was poor, and I could not even compare with other companies. I continued to fail second interviews, and I was lost. 

[Constructing My Self]
This is when I met a recruiter from a certain company. It was a company I had contact with through internships and seminars. He listened to my worries toward job hunting. As I spoke to him, I began to understand how much I did not understand myself. With this opportunity, I reset my state of mind, and dug up my past. The details are too long to write about here, but from this experience, I came up with a goal: “I want to revitalize Japan.”

Thanks to this, I was able to advance through the second interviews, and onto the final interviews. I was able to understand how important it was to think about yourself as a human being, and connect that to what you want to do in your own future.

[Hesitation]
My job-hunting ended on April 26. This is a day that I will never be able to forget. I hesitated between two companies: A food company and the consulting agency whose recruiter helped me. These are two completely different industries, but they had a similarity. They both contribute to people’s daily lives. The food company delivers to people worldwide. The consulting agency truly reforms Japanese firms. Both can “revitalize Japan.” This is when I imagined myself working as an employee. I compared how it feels from the perspective of an employee, about the company and the actual work. I was still hesitating. In the end, I relied on my intuition. One may think I took an absurd approach, but I believe “intuition” is something you can trust. I compared everything that was comparable, and still could not decide, so the only thing left to depend on was intuition. On the 26th, I chose the foreign food company. My 9-month long job-hunting days came to an end. 

[Looking Back]
There were strong feelings of stress during the process: The frustration of not being understood, the feelings of being behind when others around me were succeeding in getting employed… Still, job-hunting was an experience of “growth” for me. This may sound ridiculous, but it is true. I became able to put my thoughts to words, and speak logically. I also found out new things about myself. What I realized during job-hunting was that self-analysis is not about looking back, but about “constructing yourself.” Some people understand themselves before job-hunting and are able to move forward, but I believe that most people, including myself, begin to understand themselves through job-hunting. Another privilege of job-hunting is the people you meet. Meeting the recruiter was very important to me, and I am still thankful today, from the bottom of my heart. I deeply appreciate all the friends and the people at human resources I met through job-hunting..

[Message]
I have only one wish: that you continue to be confident about yourself. Of course, there will probably be companies you will not get accepted to. You may lose your confidence. However, the goal of companies is to raise their profits, and employment is simply a strategy. Some companies decide in advance on the number of people to employ that year. So, not being employed by a company does not mean you were not acknowledged. Please have confidence. And please construct yourself. Please look for a job/environment that you can be excited about. Please stumble upon walls and hesitate. Please ask people for advice, and trust your own decision. I pray that you will find a company that is perfect for you.

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PIANO LINE -Seattle Study Abroad Chronicles-

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Profile
Name: Yuki Iketsu
Period attended at Waseda University: April, 2007 to present
Affiliation at Waseda University: School of International Liberal Studies, 6th year
Host school: University of Washington (Seattle, Washington, USA)

 

For about a year, starting in September, 2010, I studied abroad in a city called Seattle, Washington, on the west coast of USA. I was a senior in college, and studying abroad was a big decision for me. I was a little worried about having to repeat a year when I get back to Japan, as well as about job-seeking. The decision-maker was the idea of this being my only chance to challenge myself overseas. 

So what is so great about studying abroad? I am currently in my 6th year as an undergraduate student. I was fortunate enough to receive job offers from multiple companies, and every day is very rich. I cannot say all of this is because of my study abroad, but I think I would not be what I am today if I did not make that decision to study abroad. 

The biggest change within me after the study abroad was my attitude to be responsible for my own life. Between age two and the end of middle school, I lived in three countries, for a total of ten years. Many people would think of me as an incredible global talent when I mention this, and I was not convinced. I had no motive toward living abroad back then; I felt I was simply going along with my parents. 

The purpose of my study abroad was to settle this within myself; my identity, life abroad, and the nature of what a global talent is. 

As ordinary as it may sound, the most important memories from my study abroad are the times spent with my friends.

A memory I cannot forget is from the time I spent hours speaking with my friends in the common room of a dorm. We shared a huge thing of ice cream we bought for a dollar (American size!), and spoke for hours without ever becoming bored. We sat at a sofa in the corner of the room. Other students were doing various things around us; some were laughing like we were, some were studying, and some were reading. And someone always played the piano there. A melody that I did not recognize quietly echoed throughout the room, giving an impression of a classy café. 

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With my friends in the common room

I realize today that a scene from an ordinary day like this was filled with incredible happiness. I experienced many things that cannot be experienced in Japan: traveling to Canada two weeks after arrival; dressing up in a costume for Halloween despite my age; going to see Ichiro’s baseball game twice; studying for about ten hours before a test; these are all fond memories. 

Another thing I learned and re-confirmed through my study abroad was about the connection and ties between people. I believe studying abroad is a valuable opportunity to realize that one cannot live alone. I think what support you in an unknown environment can be warm words from family and friends; it may also be the professor that shows you the way, nice at one moment and strict at another. In Seattle, I felt that no matter how high your goals are, it is very difficult to reach those goals without the help of others. At the same time, working at something alone feels very empty. I will never forget the appreciation I have towards the people I came in contact with in Seattle. 

If someone reading this is considering studying abroad, there is one thing I would like them to remember: just because you study abroad, it does not mean something will happen. Important memories, courage, and experiences do not come to you on their own; they are things you build on every day. I believe what was important about an experience is realized later on, and is hard to recognize when you are experiencing it. Therefore, in order not to miss any moment, please cherish each encounter, each effort, and each drop of tear. 

Enjoy every day 120%. Is this not the key to live a 120% meaningful study abroad? You decide what your “best” is, and what you call “success.” There is no “right way” of studying abroad. Please challenge yourself to do what you want to do, as much as you would like. There is nothing to fear. If you want it, and take action, you can be anything. Anything is possible. I strongly feel that believing this from your heart is how you become responsible for your own life. 

A side note; I still keep in touch with my good friends from abroad using Skype. The world has become very convenient (this statement may make a 6th year student seem old), and we can stay in contact as much as we wish. We decide on a time together and, unable to wait, I always log into Skype and start waiting five minutes before the decided time. My American friends are always on time, which is rare (this may be rude towards Americans), and always come online immediately. At that moment, we are always back in that common room. The room we ate ice cream and spoke at, someone’s piano echoing in the background. This memory of us will forever continue to support and lift my spirits in the years to come. 

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