Visiting Alumni in Japan ~OB&OG-Houmon~
The best opportunities to hear to what working people really think You can talk directly to people who work at the company and gather information that you cannot obtain from the company brochure and websites.
Process of visiting alumni
First, look for someone who graduated before you: If you are familiar with someone that graduated before you and that now works at the company that you want to work at, you should contact that person directly. If not, you can consult with the career center or Employment Department of your school. Of course, the person does not have to be an alumnus of your school. You should fully utilize your connections in clubs, at part-time jobs, and in your network of friends.
Make an appointment: If you want to contact someone that has been introduced to you, you should use good manners when contacting him// her by telephone or e-mail. There is also a way to contact the Human Resources Department of the company directly to have them introduce you to an alumnus.
Prepare: When the date is set to meet the alumnus, you should organize "what you want to ask," "where to put focus when asking questions," etc. By all means, you should avoid spending the whole time talking about ordinary things!
Day of the visit: Be sure to wear a suit or jacket to be polite even if you are visiting someone you know well. This is all the more true when meeting the person for the first time. As everyone knows, being late is strictly prohibited. Also, pay attention to your language and attitude.
After the visit: Write in your job-hunting notebook a summary of the visit and what you felt. Then, you should once again examine the things closely to see if the company meets your expectations. Be sure to send a thank-you email or letter to the individual you met with.
Examples of questions when visiting an alumnus
Specific content of work
Failures and difficulties at work
Reasons for entering the company
Screening process (tests, interviews, etc.)
Treatment and benefits
Assignment and career paths
The company's characteristics as compared to competitors
What students should study while in school
*Asking questions about the information listed in the company brochure or website will be taken as an indication of a lack of research, so be sure to ask about other things.
Key points of visiting alumni
Upon visiting an alumnus, you must give full consideration to the position of the other party.
Be sure to avoid contacting the person in early morning, late at night, just after the business day has started, or before and after the lunch break. When using a mobile phone, make phone calls in a quiet place with good reception.
You should use polite phrases, such as "I am sorry, but," "I realize you are busy, but," and "Pardon me, but."
Do not begin a phone call with your business, but rather ask if it is a convenient time for the other person.
Be sure to repeat and take notes of the date and location to meet. In particular, it is easy to make a mistake with one o'clock (ichi-ji in Japanese) and seven o'clock (shichi-ji in Japanese), so use 24-hour time and say "13 hundred hours" (jūsan-ji in Japanese) and "19 hundred hours" (jūku-ji in Japanese).
You should use a cheerful tone of voice to leave a good impression, especially when greeting or thanking the other party right before hanging up the phone. Be sure to quietly hang up the phone after confirming that the other party has already done so.
Job Hunting Guide for International Students | JASSO