Teaching jobs in Japan are not as easy to get as in years past. Still,if you've been rejected by Aeon, Nova and a host of other English schools you'd hope to forget there is another way...
Finding teaching jobs in Japan is no easy task. With the implosion of Geos Corporation (one of the largest conversation school chain in Japan thousands of their former employees were looking for jobs prior to them being bought out by competitors and to some degree were re-employed. This kind of shook the landscape a bit and undermined confidence.
To make things tougher, newbies to teaching in Japan also have to compete against more experienced teachers with better teaching credentials. How can newer teachers get their foot in the door and get hired? The best way is to try to avoid employers who employ only from Japan. This eliminates the experienced group of teachers that you have to compete against to get the job in the first place all together.
Why do so many schools only employ teachers who are already in Japan? Because agreeing to sponsor a teacher for a visa is a pain for small schools so they don't do it. It's a bit more than just filling out some paper work for them. They actually have to accept responsibilities for your actions. So if you wind-up kicking someone's butt in a dark alley. Your employer gets his/her butt kicked right after the cops kick yours.
There are a couple of other ways but the key ingredient in both is persistence. Remember that although there are piles of teaching jobs in Japan there are also tons of people looking for them. Check out our jobs page for starters.
Another common way to break into teaching is to use a TEFL placement programs like i-to-i's online TEFL course. Basically, they have huge connections in various teaching markets and will help you find work when you take a course from them. More here. In addition to this sad to say but more and more employers are writing things like "certification preferred" on their job ads. Which means you get blown out by more qualified candidates more often.
Teaching in Japan - Put Your Resume into Electronic Format
One of the first things to do is to get your information together so you can start applying. Let's start with a resume. Put it into electronic format as the bulk of schools accept resumes in electronic format and for many the only way to apply to their ads is through this format. Get resume tips here.
Tips For Your Letter of Introduction
Go ahead and get started on writing your letter of introduction or "Why I want to teach in Japan letter." Many employees will request this. A word of caution on this. Hiring managers are busy people. Keep your letter fairly brief. How brief is brief? Brief enough to adequately convey your desire to teach in Japan and not 1 word more. Put yourself in the shoes of this person. What do you think they want?
They want competent teachers who are fun and show interest in teaching. They also generally don't like overly romantic or "flowery" letters. Why? Because they know these types overly romanticize what it would be like to live in exotic Japan. And they also know that these types soon become disappointed or un-enchanted with Japan when it fails to live up to their "expectations." They basically want less headaches. So when you write your letters of introduction, write with this in mind knowing that first and foremost you want to come across as easy to employ or "headacheless."
Another point is spelling and grammar. Believe it or not we hear from quite a few hiring managers that say stuff like "How can this man expect to be hired when he misspells the word English?" Or "if this gal can't write a simple sentence without basic subject / verb agreement how could she possibly teach it?" No shame in having someone look over your stuff before sending it off. (Even the best copy writers have other writers look over their copy.)
Photo Tips Do's and Dont's
Get a photo of yourself and convert it into a j-peg so you can send it along with the rest of your documentation. Here are a few tips on using your photos to get teaching jobs in Japan. Looking sloppy in your photo just makes things tougher so men should be dressed in a suit, women in a blouse and jacket or something tasteful and conservative.
Don't do the face only shot when having your photo taken. Have it taken from the waist up. Why? Because some employers will think you're ummm.... well... overweight and are trying to hide it by excluding the body in the shot. Unless of course the company asks for a passport size photo.
When you've got this stuff put together, it's time to start applying. Ohayo Sensei is a great place to start as they have a lot of jobs posted. Also take a look at our jobs page. If you want to look at the top 4 chain schools and are having trouble figuring out who to apply to look at our salary comparison chart for some help.
Are You the Big city or Small City Type?
Secondly, you need to decide on the city you want to work in. Do you want to be in a big or small city? More here. If you're new to teaching in Japan, you may want to stay on the bigger side. Why? If things go wrong you won't have to look far for more work or greener pastures or heaven forbid, another place to live. How big is big?
For your convenience, we've listed the 10 biggest cities in Japan for you : 1)Tokyo with 8,164,000 people 2) Yokohama 3,220,000 3) Osaka 2,624,000 4) Nagoya 2,155,000 5) Sapporo 1,672,000 6) Kobe 1,477,000 7) Kyoto 1,461,000 8) Fukuoka 1,237,000 9)Kawasaki 1,174,000 10) Hiroshima 1,086,000.
When you do secure your interview, look at our interview tips. page for some last minute pointers. And lastly, when a school extends a contract, make sure you're getting a fair deal. and if you're using a recruiting organization, make sure that they're on the up and up.
If you are ready to get started started teaching in Japan, here is a page with a step by step outline of how to go about finding jobs in Japan.
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