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5 Tips on Job Hunting

Hiring season for the 2024 academic year has begun. This article we’ll look at some tips for finding a job that matches your preferences, and what to expect in our job interviews.

I am often asked by JET teachers if we have positions starting in August/September. The quick answer to is that at EduCareer, it is very rare that positions open up in the middle of the year.

The longer answer is, in an ideal world, all teachers will start their contracts in April and finish up in March the following year. However, we know that is not the case, and there is always a chance that something will come up, at any time of the year. Teachers go on maternity leave. Teachers go home due to family emergencies. Teachers leave because they feel the position wasn’t such a good fit after all. The list of reasons go on.

So, we always recommend applicants to get in touch with us for an interview, any time of the year, to speed the application process up should a suitable position come up.

Here are some tips to finding your ideal job during this hectic recruiting season. The list we have is by all means not perfect, or not even the best top 5, but after reviewing thousands of applications, and interviewing hundreds of teachers, we've found that these tips make it easier for both the applicant and the recruiter.

A lot of the information may sound like common sense, but believe me, many applications have been rejected due to not the whim of the recruiter, but due to the tardiness of the applicant. So without further ado…

1) Sort out your resume

The first thing companies and schools usually look at is your resume. A confusing or incomplete resume is not the way to get an interview. Make sure it's easy on the eyes, and ideally no more than 2 pages.

If there are job gaps, be prepared to tell the reasons, or even better, make note of it in the resume or cover letter.

In Japan attaching a photograph of yourself in business attire is standard practice, so get your best outfit on and ask someone to take a good photo, or even try and search out one of those photo booths. A selfie photo in casual attire would most likely lead to instant rejection.

2) Write a decent cover letter

It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just make sure it is free of spelling and grammatical mistakes as these especially don't look good on an application to be an English teacher, and will most likely lead to instant rejection. Ideally, keep it under 1 page.

State your reasons for applying for the specific position, why you would be a good fit, and if possible include a brief summary of your teaching philosophy.

Recently, there has been a high number of AI generated cover letters - they're so generic that they're easy to spot and weed out.

3) Do some serious maths

Everyone has different spending habits, so it is important that you set a realistic salary base for yourself. Are you investing? Do you have loans to pay off? How often to you travel? Do you eat out often? Do you have a family to look after? Hobbies? If after doing the sums and you realise you can't live on less than 250,000yen per month, don't take a job that pays less.

Qualifications and experience are huge factors in how much we can offer teachers. However, the biggest factor is age. For reference, in Japan, fresh out of college teachers receive ¥200,000-¥250,000 a month depending on the work area.

Our teaching positions usually start around ¥280,000/month.

4) Be honest

In interviews it can be tempting to exaggerate, but it is always the people who are honest and open that are remembered favourably. Nothing is worse than lying and then being found out, which will result in being blacklisted. We do reference and background checks thoroughly before moving any applications forward.

Also, be realistic and honest about your preferences. If you want to teach high school because you can not stand little kids, it makes sense to say so. The preferences we always cover in our interviews are location, salary, preferred age group, and working a 5 day a week schedule with Saturday being a regular work day - you'll get Sunday and one week day off.

5) Decide on a position after you have seen the school

School interviews can be nerve-racking and stressful, but we think they are very much a two-way process. Not only is it a chance for the school to meet you, it is also a chance for you to see the school, staff, environment, and decide if it is a place you think you will enjoy working at or not.

Only those who pass our team's screening, and then the school's screening, will be invited to proceed to this stage.

So, there you go. These are the 5 tips we think are important when job hunting, and hope they can help you find a suitable teaching job in Japan.

The next step is to look for an actual position, so why not start by looking at our job board for positions available here at EduCareer? Remember, even if there are no suitable jobs for you, we're always keen on learning about your background and preferences, and maybe someday be able to find a good school match for you.

Good luck with your job search!

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