Fancy a change from the humdrum of daily life? Feeling the itch to head off to pastures new and test your metal?
There’s no bigger challenge than moving overseas, and many people choose to push themselves further whilst giving something back at the same time, by teaching English as a foreign language. Japan is becoming increasingly popular as a country to move to and teach, and there are plentiful opportunities and jobs out there for the right individuals. I chose Japan because I have an interest in the culture, love the language, food and lifestyle. There’s also the fact that teaching English in Japan pays pretty well, too.
The problem is that many other people have the same idea as you do, and if you want to beat the competition and bag yourself that dream job, you have to be prepared to fight for it.
So, how can you do just that?
Pimp up your CV/resume
Whether you call it a CV or resume, the bottom line is the same – it has to be seriously attractive. Volunteer, get as much experience as possible, and make sure it all makes an appearance on your CV, in order to impress prospective employers. Don’t bore them by making it pages and pages long, instead make sure it’s snappy and to the point, but anything that is relevant, make sure it’s on there. Leave out the irrelevant stuff however, nobody wants to read about how you did a flower arranging course five years ago, when you’re trying to grab your dream teaching job. I spent a bit of time making sure my CV stood out and I think it made all the difference.
Read up on the internet about opportunities and the areas you want to work in, and talk to people who are out there doing it at the moment, or who have done in the past. This will all help in gaining knowledge to impress at interview, and will also help you manage your expectations of the experience when you do grab that job.
You might already know about this, but the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, or JET for short, has been handing people their dream for years. The application process is lengthy and gruelling, and can take almost a year, so make sure you hand everything in in good time, and be prepared for numerous interviews. If this doesn’t sound like your thing, or if you aren’t successful, don’t despair, there are still plentiful opportunities out there, as well as ALT (Assistant Language Teaching) positions as an alternative.
Completing an accredited TEFL qualification will boost your job prospects no end in the Japanese market, as well as boosting your confidence and teaching skills. Go for a course that includes timed teaching hours, rather than the online version, as these carry much more clout when applying for jobs in Japan.
Obtaining a teaching job in Japan can be a long and drawn out process, so don’t expect to just fall into the first job you find. Interview processes can take up to 6 months in some cases, and will involve a lot of paperwork, so if you’re heading out there before looking for a job, make sure you take all necessary documentation to prove your identity and allow all checks to be carried out.
Swot up and look good
Having knowledge of Japanese culture, daily life, and especially a little of the language will help you stand out from the competition, both in your application and at interview. Looking clean, well turned out, and professional at interview is also a must.
Finding your dream job of teaching English in Japan isn’t an easy task, however it is one that is worth it in every sense of the world. Persevere!