Self-Analysis For Job Hunting in Japan

A necessary step when starting to look for employment in Japan, self-analysis and evaluation involve asking yourself questions. This includes everything from your strong and weak points, preferences, skills, interests, dreams, values, and outlook on life. After this, you must organize your thoughts.

This preparation will help you get to know your real character and desires by looking at the past, reflecting on your current self, and visualizing your ideal future self. If you are searching for a job in Japan or a foreign country, this is very important.

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1. To identify the type of job that you want to do, and the type of job you are suited for 2. To help you make a good impression in your initial application and interview

As shown in the figure below, let's start with reflecting on yourself from various angles.

  • What qualities do I have?

  • What does my past say about me?

  • What sort of person do I want to be?

  • What does Japan mean to me?

  • How do others see me?

Think about key events or achievements in your life -- these might be within your family, at school, with friends, at a conference or seminar, or at your part-time job. What role did you play? What did you contribute? Prepare a list of these key events and achievements that demonstrate your qualities to a potential employer.

Think back to your childhood. What are some of the events or situations that might have affected you deeply, or that made a strong impression on you a s a child? Your past can provide important clues to your personality and character.

Find out more about your past by constructing your own personal history. The personal history should begin at around six years of age and progress through each stage of your schooling. In Japan, education is divided into elementary school, junior high school, senior high school, and then university.

It is important to write your ideas about the personal history on paper, rather than just thinking about them. Even after you have finished, it’s necessary to revisit your personal history from time to time.

Divide the history into sections marked elementary school, junior high school, senior high school and university.

  1. In each section, write down what you were good at, what you struggled with, and what you thought about Japan.

  2. List at least three events or situations that had a strong impact on you at that time.

  3. How did each one make you feel? How did you respond? What did you learn?

Examples: a conference or presentation, a lecture, school or university clubs or societies, friendship groups, part-time job, volunteer work, hobbies and interests, studying overseas.

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*At the interview, you should talk not only about events that have had a big impact in your life, but also describe what you thought, how you responded, and what you learned from the experience. Examining your past in this way allows you to identify key turning points in your life and analyze your personality and characteristics. This is a key part of your personal history.

Consider your goals and aspirations, both personal and career-related. The timeline below is a great way to help you clarify your goals and aspirations for the future.

The future timeline is where you set out your life plan for the years ahead. What do you want to achieve in the world?

Where do you want to be in three, five, 10, 20, and 30 years? In all aspects of life, it is important to set yourself concrete goals that you can work towards. In particular, how would getting the job at your preferred company fit into your life plan?

Divide your future timeline into specific milestones: three, five, 10, 20, and 30 years from now.

  1. List your life plan and work goals at each milestone. Do not worry about whether they are achievable or not. Concentrate on the big picture of where you want to be.

  2. Try to identify the reasons underlying your choice of goals and objectives. Why are they important to you?

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Think about why you came to Japan to study, and why you want to work in Japan. Consider also your feelings for your home country.

In interviews, Japanese employers will often ask international students questions such as:

  1. Why did you choose to study in Japan?

  2. Why do you want to get a job in Japan/work for a Japanese company?

You should be prepared for these sorts of questions. Your answers should mention things from your past as well as your aspirations for the future.

  • In the past: what got me interested in Japan?

  • In the future: what is the role of Japan in my future?

  • Japanese products/films/manga etc.

  • Japan has strong links to my home country

  • Connections with family members and friends

  • Studying Japanese

  • Japanese people I know in my home country

*Consider the relevance to Japan. *Even the smallest idea or motivation can tell an important story about you. *Concentrate less on events or situations and more on how they affected you or what you felt about them.

Consider how you appear to others. Ask your close friends and people you trust to provide an objective evaluation of you.

The Johari Window is an objective self-analysis tool that you can use to reveal important insights about yourself. The Johari Window is an interpersonal self-awareness model developed by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham at San Francisco State University. It involves analysis of how you see yourself and how others see you with respect to known and unknown constructs.

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How to construct the Johari Window and use it for self-analysis

  1. Compile a list of your strong points (good qualities) and weak points (areas you would like to improve). There should be about 30 in total.

  2. Ask a friend or acquaintance to compile a similar list of about 20 of your strong and weak points.

  3. Now sort the items from both 1. and 2. into the A, B and C quadrants.

  4. Look through all the quadrants and pick the five personality traits that best describe you. Now describe an incident or episode that exemplifies all of these.

A: Personality aspects that both myself and others are aware of: These are your natural or inherent qualities, qualities that both you and others are aware of. They represent your strong points that you should emphasize to potential employers.

B: Personality aspects that I know but others do not: These are qualities that others are not aware of, qualities that may surprise others. You can use these qualities to show potential employers that you have more to offer than they first thought.

C: Personality aspects that others see in me but that I am not aware of: These are personality aspects that are apparent to others from what we say and do, but which we are not normally aware of. These represent weak points that need to be addressed.

D: Personality aspects that neither myself nor others are aware of: This area represents your hidden self, a part of you that is hidden away and only comes to light in certain situations. This is not something that you can use to appeal to employers. Nevertheless you should be aware of your potential qualities in this area.


Job Hunting Guide for International Students | JASSO

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