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Few career guide 2010

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  2. 2. Introduction The For Empowering Women (FEW) Career Guide 2010This Guide has been produced primarily as a supplementary resource for participants of the 16th FEW CareerStrategies Seminar and, as such, features details of keynote and workshop speakers for the spring 2010 event.The Guide has been compiled by the members of FEW, with the invaluable assistance of many other foreignwomen working in Japan. These women have already trodden the path you are taking – whether you are justbeginning to settle into a new life and career, or have been here for some time and are looking for a changeof direction.There are numerous books and websites available to help you settle into life and work in a foreign country.This Guide does not aim to replicate or replace these resources, but instead looks to present you withfirst-hand accounts of how industries operate in Japan and how foreign women are thriving in these industries.Some additional aims are as follows: Ÿ to reassure you that a move to Japan does not have to mean the end of pursuing a rewarding career (even if you do not speak Japanese) Ÿ to provide you with tried and tested hints and tips on how to have an enjoyable and rewarding working life in Japan Ÿ to provide you with an extensive, but by no means exhaustive, list of useful resources that can help you achieve your dreams here Ÿ to help you appreciate that you are not aloneFirstly, the Guide provides you with a brief overview of 16th CSS workshop speakers. It then offers someadvice on evaluating your career, going job hunting, dealing with recruiters and handling job negotiations. Italso provides tips for “staying sane” in Japan while you’re dealing with all of the above. Throughout the Guideyou will find success stories of other women who are living and working here; these personal accounts reflectthe writers’ own experiences and opinions and are not necessarily those of FEW.We very much hope that the 16th CSS and this accompanying Guide will prove useful for you, and that yourtime in Japan will bring you much success and happiness. 3 FEW Career Guide 2010
  3. 3. Contents Acknowledgements .................................................................................... 05 Sponsors ..................................................................................................... 06 Keynote Speaker ......................................................................................... 10 Workshop Speakers .................................................................................... 10 Careers in Focus ......................................................................................... 14 Consulting Advertising Entrepreneurship Finance Human Resources/Training Information Technology Web design Marketing Public Relations Writing/Editing/Publishing Job Hunting .......................................................................................... 35 Getting into the Marketplace in Japan Networking Researching the Japanese Job Market Resume Writing Interviewing Interviewing – The Japanese Experience Getting an Offer Immigration and Visas .............................................................................. 49 Career Development .................................................................................... 51 Staying in Your Own Field Volunteer Work Career Management Japan Market Expansion Competition Temple University School of Continuing Education Continuing Opportunities Financial Planning .................................................................................... 68 Culture Shock – On the Job ................................................................... 70 Resources ..................................................................................................... 71 Recruitment Firms Job Listings and Information Business Information Organizations Advisory Services Other Helpful Resources About FEW ......................................................................................... 79 4FEW Career Guide 2010
  4. 4. AcknowledgementsAs a non-profit organization whose mission is to help women in Japan support each other in their creativeand career goals, FEW would like to express its sincere thanks to all of those who made this CSS event andGuide possible. Seminar Committee Chairperson Mary Fidler Career Guide Committee Lori Henderson, Geetanjali Singh, Monika Surma Career Guide Design and Layout Geetanjali Singh Publicity Kirsten Adachi Speakers Committee Mary Fidler, Lauren Shannon Administrators Michelle McKee Sponsorship Liaisons Andrea Mori, Minako Okuma, Florence Roca Website Administration Lauren Shannon Catering To the Moon and Back, Carolyn Pieroway Facilities Temple University Japan Special AcknowledgmentsFEW would especially like to thank Lizzie Murray of Studio Number 3 for designing all promotional materialsand folders for the 16th CSS. Special thanks also goes to the France Travel Center for their generous donationof a two night stay at Kyoto. Finally, FEW would like to extend its appreciation to Geetanjali Singh for thedesign and layout of the 2010 Guide, and Lori Henderson for compiling and editing the Guide contents. 5 FEW Career Guide 2010
  5. 5. FEW SponsorsFEW thanks the following sponsors for their donations to the 16th CSS. We encourage you to contact thesevendors when shopping for goods and services in Tokyo.ACCJ Journalhttp://www.accj.or.jp/ANA International Hotelhttp://www.anaintercontinental-tokyo.jp/e/BIVIO Sports Clubwww.megalos.jp/bivioChanel Japanhttp://www.chanel.com/ja_JPChez Olivier, Olivier Oddoswww.chezolivier.co.jpElectronic Artswww.ea.comEureka!www.eurekamoments.netFrance Travel Centerhttp://francetravel.co.jpFBC (Foreign Buyers Club)www.fbcusa.comFriends Provident Internationalwww.fpinternational.com 6FEW Career Guide 2010
  6. 6. FEW SponsorsFusion GOLhttp://www.gol.com/en/biz/Generali Internationalhttp://www.generali-gi.com/Hooplovershttp://www.hooplovers.com/index.htmlIFG Financial Serviceshttp://www.ifg-asia.comKUDOS First Benefithttp://www.firstbenefit.jp/Le Cordon Bleuwww.cordonbleu.co.jp/L’oreal Produits de Luxehttp://www.lorealparisjapan.jp/main.htmlLugdunum Bouchon Lyonnais French RestaurantChristophe Paucodhttp://www.lyondelyon.com/en/index.phpMetropolis Magazinewww.metropolis.co.jp/Nama Kiss Raw Vegan Dessertshttp://lucina-livefruitfully.blogspot.com/2009/07/lucinas-april-pure-living-news.htmlRoyal Londonhttp://www.royal-london.co.uk/ 7 FEW Career Guide 2010
  7. 7. FEW SponsorsStudio Number 3http://studionumberthree.com/Temple University, Japan Campushttp://www.tuj.ac.jp/Tokyo Hacker Spacewww.tokyohackerspace.orgTokyo Yoga Circlewww.rajay.orgTo The Moon And Back Cateringhttp://www.tothemoonandback.jp 8FEW Career Guide 2010
  8. 8. Few Sponsors9 FEW Career Guide 2010
  9. 9. Speakers & PresentersKeynote Speaker Workshop Presenters (alphabetical order)Yukiko Ogasawara Amanda CennonYukiko Ogasawara is President and RepresentativeDirector of The Japan Times, Limited; she also sits on With 10 years of international business, sales, andthe board of Nifco Inc., the parent company of the organizational development experience, Amanda hasJapan Times. The Japan Times, founded in 1898, is worked across a variety of industries and career levelsJapan’s oldest English language newspaper, and with workshop participants from around the world.currently serves the foreign and English-reading Interested in motivation, goal setting, and globalJapanese community nationwide. leadership, Amanda is also accredited to run workshops on team building, 360° feedback andYukiko was born in Japan in 1961 but spent most of strategic selling. Amanda runs Action Coaching Tokyoher childhood in the United States of America. She (a mastermind group for women entrepreneurs), isgraduated from Evergreen State College, Olympia, an enthusiastic member of FEW, an avid hiker andWashington with a B.A. in Art and pursued her artistic enjoys balancing things out with yoga. She holds anstudies with an M.F.A. from the California College of MSc from the London School of Economics, a B.A.Arts and Crafts in San Francisco, California. from the University of Saskatchewan and certificates from the American Society for Training &She has been awarded a fellowship from The San Development, Team Management Systems, and MillerFrancisco Foundation and has exhibited several Heiman. She is originally from the Canadian prairiescollections of her art work in California. and has worked in the U.K, Canada and Japan.After graduation, she spent some time teaching art Katie Deckerand crafts to children whilst she was Artist-in- Katie Decker is a twenty-something American gal whoResidence at the Francisco Middle School in San has spent five years living and working in Japan.Francisco at the invitation of the S.F. Arts Education Inspired since childhood to learn more about theProgram. Throughout her creative activities she has country, Katie studied Japanese language at themade great efforts to introduce art and artwork to University of Michigan and spent a semester abroadchildren. In Tokyo, she now continues these activities in Kyoto. After graduation, she returned to Japan toin a private capacity and was recently asked to work at the U.S. Pavilion at the Aichi World Expobecome a director of the Children’s Express, a non- where she explained U.S. public diplomacy initiativesprofit organization which seeks to educate children in to more than 10,000 visitors everyday. Shortlywriting, self-expression and artistic expression. following the conclusion of the Expo, Katie moved to Tokyo where she worked at the U.S. Embassy asIn 2003, Yukiko Ogasawara returned to Tokyo to take Special Assistant to the Ambassador for three years.up a position as Assistant General Manager of the In March 2009, she accepted an offer to work at TokyoInternational Division in Nifco Inc. and was elected a Electric Power Company (TEPCO), where she is thedirector of the company in 2005. She was appointed only foreigner among 40,000 employees, and isPresident of The Japan Times in March 2006. responsible for communicating with TEPCO’s international counterparts in the G8 countries. WhenYukiko now has residences in Tokyo and Los Angeles. not caught up in the daily grind, Katie can usually be found chatting with her girlfriends at a local café or dancing the night away. She loves Tokyo’s unique international vibe, and considers the city her home- away-from-home. Anne Good Anne is an HR professional with in-depth knowledge of, and experience in, business strategies and training 10FEW Career Guide 2010
  10. 10. Speakers & Presenterspractices. She operates her own coaching and of Oak’s Human Resources Solutions team, whichpersonal development business in Japan called Eureka! offers HR consulting services in areas such as Corporate Training & Development, HR Outsourcing,She moved to Japan in 2003 and has worked with a Executive Coaching & Career Consulting andvariety of businesses ranging from large Orientation & Relocation.multinationals to smaller entrepreneurial enterpriseswith a particular focus on foreign companies investing Renee Kidain Japan. Renee came to Japan over twelve years ago, after graduating with a degree in Japanese Studies fromAnne has an MA in Educational Management, San Francisco State University. She began working atCertificate in Post Compulsory Education and Training, an American orthopedic medical device company withUniversity of Hertfordshire, England and is a Certified rudimentary Japanese skills, right in the middle of aMyers Briggs Professional and Certified Keirsey company merger, and had no real idea of what sheTemperament Sorter II Professional. was going to be doing! She found herself one of three foreigners working in a company of approximately 700Anne has well-developed skills as a facilitator and has employees, in an industry known for being verymanaged teams of trainers in a wide variety of training conservative, with a difficult customer target –fields. She has a strong commitment to helping Japanese doctors. After finding her way slowly in theindividuals and organisations achieve their maximum organization she achieved some success and apotential. promotion, and began leading a team of two foreigners. Approximately six years into her time inIn the UK, Anne worked with Spring Group plc, a UK Japan she married a Japanese man, and decided tobased consultancy, recruitment and training make this her home. But she had hit a wall in hercompany, where she further developed business- career. So, after 8 years she parted from her firstplanning skills including strategic direction, company in Japan, and took some steps to reinventcompetitor analysis and financial planning & analysis. her career. She received her MBA through distanceShe gained additional experience in managing start learning, and currently she is the HR and Operationalup projects including Education Learning Centres. Manager IKEA Japan’s Contact Center, leading a team of approximately 90 Japanese staff. In her personalAnne set up her own executive career and life time, she likes catching up with friends, meeting newcoaching business in January 2008 and works with people, cooking, travel, getting massages and recentlypeople from all walks of life to support their personal has gotten into Twitter.and professional developmental needs. Anna Kunnecke Anna Kunnecke talks a lot, writes stuff, and coachesCarolyn Gaskins people around the world by phone.Originally from North Carolina, Carolyn has lived inTokyo for over 13 years. In the U.S., with Roadway She graduated from Bryn Mawr College and put thatExpress, Carolyn assumed management and sales excellent education to questionable use: as flowerroles, with hands-on experience in facility operations, shop girl, cleaning lady, bookstore clerk, andclient relationship management and supervision of unemployed beatnik. (Obviously, she needed a lifeunion employees. When she moved to Japan in 1995, coach in the worst way.) She also had “real jobs” atCarolyn worked as an instructor for Nova Group; she a foundation, at international consulting andthen became involved in the training and marketing firms, and as a professional theater actressdevelopment of new employees, the supervision of and MC. She continues to do voice-overs for TVinstructors and in the management of HR generalist commercials, video games, and documentaries.functions at head office. After briefly returning to theUS, Carolyn and her husband came back to Tokyo in Since she had made every career misstep possible and2001, when she joined Oak Associates K.K. through a survived (even thrived), she decided to help othersreferral from a former colleague. After working for avoid some of her early mistakes. She trained as a lifethe first year as a Search Consultant, Carolyn is coach with Dr. Martha Beck, author of Expectingcurrently a partner in the company and the manager Adam and monthly columnist at O, the Oprah 11 FEW Career Guide 2010
  11. 11. Speakers & PresentersMagazine, and was certified as a Martha Beck life artistic pursuits and enjoys working collaboratively oncoach in November of 2009. She likes to coach different advertising and creative projects. She isrenegades, who she defines as anyone ready to make currently based in Tokyo, Japan, where she runs hertheir own joy and live by their own lights. She is agency from a shared studio at the Ikejiri Institute ofcurrently writing a memoir, and writes a daily blog Design. Lizzie is always looking for ways to promoteabout her life as the working mother of a 3-year-old: talented artists and designers, and loves that art andwww.sitatmytable.com. design are an important part of everyday life in Japan.Check out her upcoming telecourse, How To Shine In Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Lizzie has aFront Of People, at www.annakunnecke.com. Bachelor of Fine Art (Photography) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Interactive Media. She enjoysTerri MacMillan the freedom of working for herself, especially becauseTerri was born in Harlem, New York in January 1958. it enables her to collaborate with a broad range ofShe attended the High School of Music and Art as a talented contributors on various projects.Voice major, was Manager of Business Affairs for CBSRecords International for 10 years, Director of Ad- She likes cats, cafes, gardens, art, and Heathcoteministration for Prince’s Paisley Park Music for 2 shiraz.years, Director of Sales for Kampo Cultural Center,then moved to Japan to co-manage Pizzicato Five. Kristin NewtonAmong other artists and musicians, Terri has worked Kristin is an artist and facilitator and has deliveredwith Laurie Anderson, Don Alias, Onaje Allan Gumbs, workshops for a long list of global clients, includingMark Egan and Danny Gottlieb, Boom Boom Satel- Ogilvy & Mather, SAP, AIG, UNITAR Hiroshima, Fujilites, Hisaishi Joe, GAO, Asian Kung-fu Generation, Electric, MI Associates, Fuji Kasai, Shinsei Bank, andChitose Hajime, Feed produced by Lenny Kaye, and Pro-Active Learning. She studied for many years withKayoko. She managed Pizzicato Five’s international Dr. Georgi Lozanov, considered the "father ofcareer, signing them to Matador Records, and was accelerated learning", and Betty Edwards, the authorinstrumental in exposing their music in commercials of “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. Kristin isand films in countries outside of Japan. well known in Tokyo for teaching a 5-day workshop by the same name. She holds a degree in Fine Art and,As a new media producer, Terri has produced pod- in 1993, founded RBR, an art school inTokyo. She wascast series garnering hundreds of thousands of originally invited to Japan in 1980 to make glassdownloads. She has also worked with some of the sculptures and teach glass design, and still considersmost prominent social media communities in Ameri- glass her favorite medium.can progressive politics.Julia MaedaJulia is an experienced management consultant, Sarajean Rossittotrainer and coach who has had extensive experience Sarajean is a Tokyo-based nonprofit NGO consultant.working with cross-functional teams, particularly She facilitates workshops, seminars and projectswithin organisations undergoing transformation. aimed at developing skills, organizational capacity and an understanding of global issues through effectiveJulia juggles being an independent management partnerships. For more than 10 years she has workedconsultant and interim manager, with being a mother with organizations in Japan, running training and skillsto two very lively boys. She is also an active member development programs for nonprofit NGOof the local and ex-pat community. As well as being professionals, and has assisted with linking differentPresident of FEW, she is also Chair of the British School communities to Japanese organizations. Sarajean alsoPTA and has been involved in work for a number of facilitates internal organizational planning meetingslocal charities. and corporate community engagement programs. She spent close to four years coordinating bilateralLizzie Murray exchange of nonprofit professionals between the USLizzie is a creative director and producer for her own and Japan for Japan-U.S. Community Exchangecompany Studio Number Three. She loves art and (JUCEE). She also worked for 6 years with the Tokyo 12FEW Career Guide 2010
  12. 12. Speakers & PresentersYMCA. Sarajean holds a Columbia University Mastersof International Affairs degree with a focus on humanrights in East Asia. Her undergraduate degree is inSociology with a focus on social movements.Lauren ShannonLauren Shannon is the president of the Tokyo-basedSapphire Restaurant Management Group,chairwoman of Democrats Abroad Japan, founder ofTokyo Writer’s Salon, vice-president of ForEmpowering Women (FEW), and a start-up memberof Tokyo Hacker Space. Until recently, thePennsylvania native and 12-year Japan resident wasalso the general manager at Fujimamas, the late,much-lamented restaurant in Harajuku. With herformer Fujimamas staff, she runs the cateringcompany To The Moon And Back and is in the processof re-opening her popular new hangout for fine winesand good food called the Kimono Wine Bar.Eriko TalleyEriko has held various Human Resources roles for thepast 20 years in the Silicon Valley (California) andJapan, overseeing global HR in more than 20 countriesover the years. She is currently based in Tokyo as theHR Director of a major US company, and co-chairs theHRM Committee of the American Chamber ofCommerce in Japan (ACCJ). She holds a BachelorsDegree from Notre Dame de Namur University.Deanne TonkinDeanne is passionate about bringing the art of hoopdance to the diverse international scene in Tokyo. Herdesire to connect people through dance, music andfun fueled the creation of Hoop Loverswww.hooplovers.com. Deannes mission is to inspireglobal beings to find their true potential throughmovement and self-expression, and is passionateabout the encompassing benefits of hoop dance.Deanne currently teaches weekly Hoop Dance classesin Tokyo, including active and creative lessons foradults and children. She regularly performs HoopDance shows for corporate and private parties as wellas kids events and a variety of other celebrations. Shehas traveled the world sharing her individual style ofhoop love and has performed on stages in Sydney,Thailand and San Francisco. 13 FEW Career Guide 2010
  13. 13. Careers in FocusConsulting very much focused on providing expertise that could not be provided by a native Japanese speaker.Consultants provide a company with expertise and Examples of these areas of expertise could be bringingadvice in areas that the company itself lacks, or does a new foreign business or idea into the Japanesenot have the free resources to deal with. That market or helping a Japanese company manageexpertise can be in any area, from marketing to image relations with their native country. Consultants advisebuilding, accounting, IT services, strategy and on many aspects that in their home country wouldplanning, post merger management and managing often be handled in-house, including office location,change, business process reengineering, or even banking facilities, staffing, market analysis, marketing,changing direction entirely. communications, management and even recommending potential business partners.One area of expertise that is in particular demandhere is dealing with and handling the Japanese Good interpersonal skills are clearly essential, as is theregulatory process. The regulatory process in Japan is ability to see through the tangle of corporate,unique; being walked through the process is an almost governmental and market data, create strongessential service for many foreign companies and quantitative analysis to backup recommendations andbusinesses hoping to enter the market in Japan. the courage and ability to make realistic, rather than optimistic or pessimistic, assessments andConsultancies come in all shapes and sizes, from recommendations.corporate giants like Accenture to solo operators,from highly specialized niche practices for IT or Networking is also an essential tool for consultants,marketing to “one-stop shopping” conglomerates. In in order to build and strengthen their networks, aspractice, most fall somewhere in-between. well as broaden their knowledge and awareness of the current climate. This can increasingly be doneIn addition to the private consultancies, government- online, as well as in the real world.backed trade commissions also offer a number ofsimilar fee-based services, including JETRO, the US Japanese language ability is generally required toDepartment of Commerce, the Australian Trade successfully move into the larger consulting firmsCommission and the German Chamber of Commerce here. This is because junior to mid-level positionsand Industry, just to name a few. These tend to charge essentially are involved in interviewing the client andon a project or hourly basis, while private working together with local staff on the project. Someconsultancies will usually charge on a flat fee or senior level managers are expatriates but are moreretainer basis. commonly bilingual local staff, and few positions at this level are available here.Consulting can be entered via several levels. Often,an entry-level position can be obtained with an Recommended Resourcesundergraduate degree from a prestigious school or a Organizations:strong educational background in a particular field, Management Consulting Network Internationalsuch as IT. The next level up will usually require an http://www.mcninet.com/onassociations.htmlMBA, according to accepted wisdom. However, manyconsultants are successful purely and simply becauseof their experience, and the expertise they have builtup in their chosen field of specialization – they willhave an extremely in-depth knowledge of their field,they can predict and navigate potential pitfalls andproblems successfully and they have a wide range ofvaluable contacts with whom they have a high degreeof credibility. Consultants like these may be able towork independently on per project basis for largecompanies (often international).Without bilingual skills, consultancy here in Japan is 14FEW Career Guide 2010
  14. 14. Careers in FocusAdvertising account manager who must decide when to persuade the client to accept something different from what heThe Japanese advertising industry is witnessing a had envisaged and at a different cost – in effect sellingrecent trend of gradual recovery as advertisers’ total the creative team’s idea back to the client.spending increases, while clients are starting to focuson building brands and turning to more experienced For anyone in advertising, good interpersonal skillsforeign advertisers. On the other hand, clients are are paramount, as well as a creative turn of mind andlooking for an integrated approach to their marketing, the ability to accept scathing criticism. For ameaning that advertisers have to consider all the copywriter, the ability to write concisely, as well asdifferent ways that people connect to and experience the ability to work under pressure and to adaptbrands, including Internet, mobile phones, out-of- oneself to the client’s demands, is essential.home media, in-store activities, and events. At thesame time the industry is continually becoming more A degree in marketing could be helpful these days,high-tech with the Internet advertising expenditures though good experience may still win the day, and anshowing a rapid expansion, although it still remains account manager will also need the ability to controlbehind television and newspaper ads. A lot of a team and to empathize with the client.expenditure is also being sent to in-store marketing,as the retail environment continues to grow as a In Japan, many of the opportunities in this field are inmedia to capture consumers’ attention and interest the area of bridging foreign and Japanesewhere the actual purchase happens, to drive cross- advertisements. Global brand advertisers more andsales and even unexpected purchases. more seek for consistency in advertising campaigns worldwide. This could mean that the concept of anIn simple terms, the types of jobs in advertising are advertising campaign is built at one office, usually thedivided into three areas, as in “Client Service headquarters, and creative executions are adapted toDepartment”, “Creative department” and “Planning local context. Your language skills and cross-culturalDepartment” and within these sections, the different understanding may help in this type of environment.job descriptions range from Account Executives,Account Supervisor or Manager, Account Director, Interactive advertising for the Internet is now also onthen Account Planner or also called Strategic Planner, mobile phones, being a growing area in Japan and alsoMedia Planner and then going to creative part, a new field of advertising that offers manyCreative Director, Art Director, Designer, Copywriter. opportunities for those willing to take a chance and branch out, since there is still a limited number ofIt is said that good copywriters are made, not born – experienced people in this area.being able to write is not a guarantee that they willmake a good copywriter – it takes time, and just as You should never underestimate the power of yourimportantly, requires an ability to write concisely, native communication skills, but more important thanoften wittily and with a good and usually original turn your language abilities, your main competitiveof phrase. Of course, advertising positions are not just advantage could be your bicultural skills. Clients tendlimited to copywriting, there are many other positions to be more internationally oriented and appreciateavailable too. Japanese Advertising agencies different ways of thinking, expecting to be exposedoutsource almost everything of the work, leaving their and stirred up by new ideas. By understanding andoffices to deal with Client Service and Creative, appreciating both cultures, you clearly have anhowever this is not the case for Foreign Advertising opportunity to contribute as a bridge betweenagencies which have full services in-house and it is a cultures. So, consider your status of being a foreigntrend that is starting to be embraced by Japanese woman in Japan as your advantage and use it asagencies also. leverage.Account managers are the key point of contact with Recommended Resourcesthe client, managing the day-to day business Organizations:relationship, and ensuring that the creative team Forum for Corporate Communication (FCC)meets the client’s expectations in terms of creative http://www.fcctokyo.comexecutions, scheduling and budgeting. It is the 15 FEW Career Guide 2010
  15. 15. Careers in FocusJapan Advertisers Association, Inc. (JAA) EntrepreneurshipAn industry organization aimed at improving thequality and efficiency of advertisers’ activities. For whatever reason some people were born to seekIncludes a list of related organizations. risk, adventure and challenge; for those folks, workinghttp://www.jaa.or.jp/jaa_eng/index.html in a corporation or for a boss can be stifling. As an alternative, they feel the need to recreate their lives,Japan Advertising Agencies Association (JAAA) make their careers more independent. One way thatIncludes membership list. many women in Japan – foreign and Japanese – havehttp://www.jaaa.ne.jp/english/ achieved this is by starting their own business. In some ways, Japan seems a very daunting environment for entrepreneurship. There is, of course, the language barrier and costs can potentially be very high - though these costs are coming down in the new global environment. Also, the business culture in Japan is often difficult to understand, regardless of your level of Japanese. However, these challenges are by no means insurmountable and, if you are determined, you can even use some of these perceived barriers to your advantage. One common theme to hundreds of business books, seminars and conferences is that starting your own business demands passion. To make a business successful, you need passion to drive you through the ups and downs, so it’s essential that you are doing what you love. You cannot just “like” your business idea, model or product; “like” will not sustain you during the hard times especially when getting started. If you want to read a great and funny book about finding passion and taking it to great heights, check out Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk. His three principals for entrepreneurship, which set the tone for the whole book, can’t be underestimated: Love you family, work super hard, and live your passion. For a more feminine approach to going it alone, SEED is a great resource. This is an empowerment tool for the advancement of 21st century women, and the recognized authority on the feminine way to do b u s i n e s s : http://www.seednetwork.com/php/summary.php?id =1. Through its learning programmes, support networks, group events and unique tools, SEED enables women to live and work according to the feminine principles of community, connection and collaboration. A piece of advice to potential entrepreneurs in Japan is: look for possibilities - and don’t let the bad economy of the 2009-2010 scare you off. The 16FEW Career Guide 2010
  16. 16. Careers in Focuseconomic situation is apparently so grim that some Finally, a good rule of thumb for any entrepreneur is:experts fear we may be in for a stretch as bad as the Give back. One way we can all succeed as women inmid-seventies. But you know what? That is when business is if we help each other. We should activelythese two companies were formed: Microsoft and seek out and support other women in Japan! TwoApple. There is an even longer list of household known ways to do this are to check out women’s businessnames that started during and just after the great groups and buy from female-owned companies. Or,depression of the 1930s. A recession may not be such if you have been running your own company for aa bad time to launch a startup - what matters is who while why not mentor a new woman entrepreneur?you are, not when you do it. If youre the right sort ofperson, youll win even in a bad economy. An upside Being your own boss is highly rewarding and a lot ofto a down economy is that sometimes, starting costs, work but for many of us in Japan it is the best matchrent and other daunting bills may be lower than in for our personalities and passion!boom times. Everyone knows youre supposed to buywhen times are bad and sell when times are good. Written by Lauren ShannonBut, even in bad times, if you run your own companyas cheaply as possible you’ll be off to a good solid Recommended Resourcesstart. Entrepreneurs have a great ability to see Organizations:potential. Seeing potential and coming up withsomething new means being out there on your own EA-Tokyosometimes – and this is difficult in Japan. But The Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo was foundedremember there are lots of resources and online sites to promote and support entrepreneurship in Japan.to help! http://www.ea-tokyo.com/index.phpHaving a viable business plan is also important to your Tokyo Small Business Meetupendeavor. If you have a strong business background, The focus of the Tokyo Small Business meetup, is onuse all of what you know to make your plan viable; if getting managers the tools they need to do their jobyou don’t, get in touch with people who do, and get better. Every month, one of the members or anlots of feedback before setting up. With a strong external speaker, presents their business idea, orbusiness plan, you may be able to find partners or introduces their service, or gives a workshop relatedinvestors to help you get started in Japan. to business, hopefully with a specific focus on Japan. http://www.meetup.com/TokyoBusiness/about/Obviously, individual talents and skills are the mostimportant things for starting your own business. And, Chambers of Commerce:no matter what your educational background and Contact your local one through the phone directorywork experience, while you’re in Japan, you must or phone operator. The chambers can answer manycontinue to build your skills, develop yourself, and questions about how to get started, where to findtake stock of what you are learning. Striking out on networks and more. Some examples of activeyour own means pooling all your resources from every chambers in Tokyo include:area of your life, so that you can continue to buildyour experience and skills. And, as with anything Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japanworthwhile, building your own business requires http://www.cccj.or.jpcontinual efforts. The accumulation of hard work ona day-to-day level is essential to success. British Chamber of Commerce in Japan http://www.bccjapan.com/Being in business for yourself can be stressful, so it’svital to take care of your health and, as much as you American Chamber of Commerce in Japancan, try to maintain a good work/life balance. Look http://www.accj.or.jp/for positive ways of dealing with the ups and downsof entrepreneurship, like joining an entrepreneur’s Online:organization for example. http://www.womanowned.com/ WomanOwned was formed in 1998, and since then we have provided the information, tools, networking 17 FEW Career Guide 2010
  17. 17. Careers in Focusopportunities and advice that have helped hundreds Financeof thousands of women. Women just like you -starting or growing their business. The financial services (FS) industry encompasses a huge range of professions and employers throughSmallbiz Japan different strains of finance. A career in finance couldA Yahoo group for foreign people starting or running mean working anywhere from a multinationalsmall businesses in Japan. securities house as a trader to a small manufacturinghttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/SmallBizJapan/ enterprise as an in-house accountant. Each sector offers different levels of client contact or individualReading/Research: or team working. Most offer attainable careerGlobal Entrepreneurship Monitor progression and some, more than others, the needhttp://www.gemconsortium.org/ for specific qualifications to enter.Entrepreneur.com Magazine Typically career entry is either at graduate level,http://www.entrepreneur.com/ although a finance or economics related degree is not always required, or at school-leaver level. As withBooks: many industries, opportunities may presentThe Anti- 9-5 Guide themselves to those people who prove that they arehttp://www.amazon.co.jp/Anti-Guide-Practical-Career- willing to work hard and have the skills to adapt to theOutside/dp/1580051863/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=en environment. Many posts are recruited throughglish-books&qid=1268978115&sr=1-1 company websites or through financial headhunters, the local and international press or recruitment. SomeThe Boss of You positions require many years of experience and ahttp://www.amazon.co.jp/Boss-You-Everything- good reputation in the market place whilst otherM a i n t a i n - positions are best filled by unqualified novices whoBusiness/dp/1580052363/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid= can be molded to fit the company ideal. The best1268978033&sr=8-1 opportunities in Japan at the moment, as with many other industries, are gained through contacts andKick Start Your Dream Business: Getting It Started and networking. The financial services industry isKeeping You Going reasonably self contained giving rise to manyhttp://www.amazon.co.jp/Kick-Start-Your-Dream- opportunities for experienced or inexperiencedBusiness/dp/1580082513/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=en administrators, data input clerks, telephoneglish-books&qid=1268978477&sr=1-1 representatives and other junior positions, all of which may lead to other professional opportunities or long term rewarding jobs in these fields. If you already have industry qualifications it is likely that, if gained abroad, they will not be recognized in Japan. You will probably have to become a chartered member or register with the relevant institution in Japan before you may work. The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Financial Services Agency are two examples. However, many of the chartered associations of Japan offer fast track accreditation for those who are chartered abroad. Japanese language is not always required within the FS industry although accountancy and real estate professionals could not function without strong language skills, particularly written, and a knowledge of Japanese laws. As such, a premium is paid for candidates with these skills. Japanese firms operating 18FEW Career Guide 2010
  18. 18. Careers in Focusin foreign markets do not always require Japanese underwriter who assesses an applicant’s level oflanguage skills if business acumen is strong. exposure to risk and determines the provision or price of cover. There has been an increase recently in theGreatest employment is within the commercial banks number of insurance policies sold through banks,that offer banking services to individuals and however, specialist insurance companies continue tobusinesses. Opportunities range from branch clerks be the largest employers in this field. Lloyds of Londonand administration assistants to financial planners, offers a worldwide benchmark for insurers with Themortgage advisors and managerial positions. Other Prudential, Zurich and Mitsui Sumitomo being otherroles within this sector include credit analyst, loan key companies in Japan.officer and trust officer. Because these tend to belarge companies, completing many tasks in-house, Fund Management involves the creation andthere are also opportunities for other careers, which management of a portfolio of stocks and shares foryou may not associate with these firms such as human institutes or private clients. Opportunities includeresources, marketing and advertising. This is very portfolio management, portfolio managementmuch a customer based environment and your career marketing, investment advisory, mutual fund analystprogression is likely to see you perform a number of and hedge fund management. This is rarely an entry-different roles, meet many different clients and give level career and often one pursed after a goodyou the opportunity to learn about various aspects of reputation and personal style has been establishedthe business. Career goals in this field are relatively through for example insurance or other trust fundeasy to identify, track and achieve due to the rigid roles. Fund management requires a strong sense oforganizational structure of this type of company. In belief and a keen eye for the volatility andJapan, Citigroup, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and opportunities of the stock markets. EmploymentMizuho bank have good market presence. options here range from the large investment houses to small funds. Entry to this career is most likelyThe real estate or property sector is also a large through word of mouth or recommendation althoughemployer. It is a far-reaching sector and fascinating opportunities may exist for trainees. Top firms in thisbecause of the number of people worldwide who are field are Citigroup, UBS and Merrill Lynch.involved and because of the relationship between realestate and the economy and social development. Investment Banking is probably the area which firstAgain many opportunities exist within the sector; springs to mind when talking about the financialproperty brokers, commercial property, property sector. This sector incorporates a huge range ofappraisal, property management, real estate advisory services, some of which may be offered by specialistand development and construction. Roles range from firms, in-house teams in other industries ormanaging tenants in properties for real estate agents, multinational investment banks. Some of the servicesto assessing the validity of property investment offered are summarized below.opportunities for investment banks, to creating loanspackages for a commercial banks or mortgage brokers. Corporate finance: financial planning for businesses either for growth or expansion, or management ofProperty in Japan can be a complicated business assets. This involves the financial analysis of projects,because of the level of administration involved and assets, credits and debts, competition and markets.consequently the language and cultural barriers. It can be hugely rewarding and interesting work which is often carried out in teams.The insurance industry is growing dramatically at themoment, thanks in part to, with the worlds’ aging Mergers and Acquisitions: Investment banks arepopulation, the constant threat of terrorism and the often involved in valuation and assessments when oneincreasing frequency of litigation. Careers in insurance firm attempts to buy out or merge with another. Thisinclude actuary, broker, claims adjuster, service usually involves modeling and structuring of deals andrepresentative and risk manager. Insurance involves negotiations. Project Finance – This usually relates toassessing exposure to risk and providing adequate infrastructure or capital projects and the assessmentcover to insure against losses. Your part may be as an of project proposals and the validity of revenueactuary who analyzes statistics to determine the risk projections. This field usually involves co-ordinationof writing a particular insurance policy, or as an with multinational engineering consultants and 19 FEW Career Guide 2010
  19. 19. Careers in Focusregional, national or local governments or 1. Financial accounting, which involves the reportinginternational regulatory bodies. of financial information to institutions outside the company.Trading: Equities, bonds, options, futures and 2. Auditing, which tests the reliability of financialcurrencies are all exchanged between investment information.banks, commercial banks, stockbrokers and other 3. Managerial accounting, which involves theinstitutional investors by traders. This field involves creation of internal reports to assist managers inin-depth knowledge of specific markets, politics and their decision and strategy processes and finallyeconomics and the ability to carryout transactions to 4. Tax accounting, which helps businesses plan theircreate a profitable, dynamic and adequate inventory strategy based on tax consequences and assistsof these items. the reporting of finances to government bodies.Research: Analysts in this field use computer International accountants KPMG and Sakuma CPAprograms, contacts in specific markets or within operate in Japan and Japanese consumer brands arespecific companies and their analytical skills to often recruiting.provide market, economic and political informationto various parties from traders and fund managers to Financial planning is big business in Japan with ancorporate financiers and venture capitalists. Clients increasing number of relatively wealthy expatriateswill pay considerable sums to proven research offering an ideal client base for foreign executives.specialists and their importance in modern markets Whilst most commercial banks offer investment andgrows as competition increases. financial planning advice, an increasing number of small practices are opening up with a view to offeringStock broking: This covers only a small section of the investment and financial planning advice in Japan andopportunities within investment banking. For further abroad. This can involve anything from pension andinformation see investment banks’ websites. Nomura college funds to estate planning and taxHoldings is the leading Japanese investment house considerations. Experience levels can vary but youbut other international firms include Goldman Sachs, may enter this field either at entry level and thus gainMerrill Lynch, and Lehman Brothers. experience through a company by setting up alone, or by invitation to set up such a venture with otherInformation Communication Technology: This is a partners. Trust is key in this industry, which is usuallyhuge growth area with the increasing importance of gained through experience. Just as you would needimmediate access to, and manipulation of, to be certified at home the Japan Association ofinformation. Careers in this field span from software Financial Planners offers certification in Japan that isdevelopment of, for example, trading tools or pricing a great indicator or early career goal in this field.software to database management and development.This is of particular interest to those who require The Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan is responsible for ensuring the stability of the financialaccess to statistical information particularly in theinsurance and trading fields. In addition to keen system in Japan. It is linked to the Ministry of Financeinterest in those who have the knowledge and flare and is charged with protecting financial institutionsto create the technology is the need for those who and transactions through such measures as planning and policymaking regarding the financial system andare able to update and maintain it. Careers in this fieldare not always limited to those with degrees in the inspection and supervision of the private sector.Information Technology or Electronic Engineering Japan ’s economy grew rapidly in comparison to thebecause of the increasing importance of rest of the developed world and has suffered numerous economic setbacks in the last two decades.understanding the needs of those in the finance field.Employers range from small specialist emerging firmsThe FSA acts to guard against future setbacks. Mostto news agencies such as Bloomberg and Reuters. careers in the finance industry in Japan require registration with this authority as they would withAccounting: Accountants record and report financial similar authorities in your home country but thetransactions. Accountancy can be broken down into association itself offers an interesting opportunity.four main areas: The Japanese economy has shown signs of recovery 20FEW Career Guide 2010
  20. 20. Careers in Focusand sustainable growth since2005 and it is still proving Human Resources/Trainingto be an economy to be involved in. Competition forjobs has increased and there are many opportunities Though many people associate human resources witharising in all sectors for all levels of experience. payroll, recruiting and administrative matters, the field has been taking on an increasingly strategic roleRecommended Resources within organizations over the past several years. ThereOrganizations: are a wide variety of positions and specializations,Association of Women in Finance with jobs available in the public, private and non-http://www.awftokyo.com/ profit sectors.Financial Services Agency Human Resources consists of several areas, mainly:http://www.fsa.go.jp/en/index.html compensation and benefits; training and professional development; employee/labor relations; andCareers Information and Opportunities recruiting.http://www.careers-in-finance.com/ Many Japanese companies have large humanCommerical Banking resources departments, covering nearly everythinghttp://www.citigroup.com/citi/global/ in-house, but smaller companies and foreign companies often prefer to streamline and outsourceProperty some of their responsibilities. As a result, positionshttp://www.fudousan-kanteishi.or.jp/english/ are often available in firms that specialize in HR consulting, training and development, recruiting andInsurance other HR functions. Most often, companies choosehttp://www.lloyds.com/ the combination of a small HR department,http://www.seiho.or.jp/english/ supplemented by outsourced support. Somehttp://www.manulife.com/public/article/index/0,,la organizations add HR functions to positions withinng=en&artId=145007&navId=610017,00.html business units to act as liaisons with corporate HR departments.Fund Managementhttp://www.ml.com So, how does a budding HR professional break into the field and what types of jobs can she expect toInvestment Banking encounter?http://www.nomura.com/Asiahttp://www.db.com/index_e.htm Types of Jobs in Human Resources Those working in smaller organizations may wearFinancial News several hats, and handle a wide array of duties. If youhttp://www.reuters.com/ are starting out in the field, you may want to considerhttp://www.bloomberg.com starting with a smaller organization so that you can get a solid grounding in all areas of the field beforeAccountancy deciding to specialize.http://www.azsa.or.jp/english/index.htmlhttp://www.tohmatsu.com/view/en_JP/jp A partial, but by no means complete, list of HR jobs is as follows:Financial Planninghttp://www.jafp.or.jp/english/ HR generalists are common in small to midsize organizations and act as a contact for a variety of HR functions, such as compensation, benefits, compliance, employee relations and performance management. Compensation specialists are responsible for evaluating positions and administering job grade 21 FEW Career Guide 2010
  21. 21. Careers in Focussystems to monitor pay scales. They may also handle development needs of the individual, the overallpayroll processing, though this function may be part resource requirements of the project and the over allof the accounting department in some organizations. resource needs of the firm. They may also manage the yearly evaluation processes, provide general coachingBenefits specialists manage and administer health and feedback to aid an employee’s career path andinsurance, pension, profit-sharing and other benefit run team effectiveness sessions.programs in the organization. HR jobs with an international flavorTraining and professional development specialists Global HR specialists manage internationaldesign and deliver courses to employees based on the assignment programs, including rules and regulations,results of needs assessment consultations with assignee compensation and benefits, internationalbusiness units and upper management. They may also relocation issues, staffing, and other related issues.work with employees on career development plans, These positions are often, but not always based atconducting things like Myers-Briggs tests and general corporate headquarters. Some major Japanesecommunication or soft skills. Training is often corporations specifically seek out non-Japaneseoutsourced to firms that specialize in human resource candidates for positions in this area, to act as liaisonsdevelopment programs. with group companies worldwide.Employee relations specialists mediate labor conflicts Cross-cultural (or intercultural) trainers design andand liaise with labor unions. conduct programs for international assignees and for those who work on global management teams or inRecruiters work with business units to assess the need culturally diverse workplaces. Some training andfor new positions and new employees, followed up development specialists conduct interculturalwith advertising positions, conducting interviews and management programs as part of their other dutiesnegotiations with job candidates. Some recruiters in-house, but these programs are often outsourcedtravel the country hosting information sessions at to firms or independent consultants who areuniversities or job fairs. Many companies choose to specialists in the field.outsource this function, and work with firms thatspecialize in recruiting and executive search. International relocation specialists provide assistance for issues related to international assignees, includingCareer development specialists work in large the shipment of personal belongings, home finding,corporations, HR consulting firms, university career school visits and area familiarization tours. There arecenters or as independent consultants. When some large relocation firms that handle all of thisemployed in-house by a large organization, they assist in-house, but there are several smaller firms in thecurrent employees develop a career path within that Tokyo area that have alliances with real estateorganization. At consulting firms and universities, they agencies and moving companies.work with career changers and new graduatesthroughout the process of finding suitable careers, Salary ranges vary widely according to the position,job-hunting and interviewing skills and other the candidate’s experience, the industry and the sizetechniques to help make their transition a success. of the organization.Career development specialists are also employed by In Japan, another growing area in human resources isoutplacement firms to assist people who have lost HR consulting services, provided by consulting firmstheir jobs as a result of corporate restructuring. or individuals. Many mid to senior level corporate HR professionals choose to move into HR Consulting workLarger and medium size consulting firms will often after gaining experience in the corporatehave Staffing and Professional Development environment. HR consultants are hired to partner withpositions. The role of a Staffing and Professional their clients to solve HR issues within the corporateDevelopment Coordinator can be varied but generally environment, and to help companies & organizationsinvolves working with the upper level management build and improve their HR related processes. The HRand partners to appropriately staff client consultant brings value to organizations throughengagements. This includes considering the increased efficiency of HR functions, improved 22FEW Career Guide 2010
  22. 22. Careers in Focusemployee relations and morale, external analysis and information to those interested in learning moreview, and reduction of operating costs. HR consulting about the field.work may touch on all aspects of human resources,from compensation to training & development to Japanese Language Requirementsrecruiting. As with many other positions in Japan, the higher your Japanese level, the more opportunities will beExamples of projects a HR Consultant may be involved available to you. Human resources positions with ain include: primarily domestic focus will often require native or Ÿ Establish a human resources department for a near-native Japanese language skills. Upper small, growing company management positions in non-Japanese companies Ÿ Audit the effectiveness and efficiency of a client’s may not require fluency in Japanese but often you human resources functions must already be an employee of the company and are Ÿ Advise senior management on a strategic brought over to create a link to the home office. approach to HR within their firm Positions with a more international focus may often Ÿ Temporarily manage HR functions within an have more flexible requirements. organization Ÿ Assess future development needs of employees Recommended Resources and build a training plan Organizations: Ÿ Orientation of new employees to business & World Federation of Personnel Management cultural practices in Japan Associations http://www.wfpma.com/Finally, a very common HR related field in Japan is thatof recruiting and executive search. There are Society for Human Resources Managementnumerous companies both large and small, http://www.shrm.orgmultinational and Japan specific which compete inthis field. While Japanese is often not necessary in SHRM Globalsuch firms, a willingness to spend a lot of time on the http://www.shrmglobal.orgphone, searching for and talking to potential recruitsis a must. American Society for Training and Development http://www.astd.orgRequirementsSome universities offer bachelor’s degrees in human Chartered Institute of Personnel and Developmentresources management, but this is not an absolute http://www.cipd.co.ukrequirement to enter the field. Some HR professionalschoose to further their education with a master’s Japan Management Associationdegree or certificate in human resources management http://www.jma.or.jp/en/or an MBA. Continuing education courses in finance,marketing and other fields enhance the ability of HR Society for Intercultural Training and Researchprofessionals with non-business academic (SIETAR) Japanbackgrounds to work with upper management on the http://www.sietar-japan.org/en/index.htmlorganization’s business strategies. Personnel TodayTemple University Japan offers business courses, http://www.personneltoday.comincluding human resources management in theircontinuing education course catalog. Additionally, Workforcesome HR professionals based in Japan enroll in http://www.workforce.comdistance learning programs for master’s degrees orcertificates in HR management. HR.com http://www.hr.comHuman resource management textbooks are availableat large international bookstores in Tokyo and on the Monster HRInternet, and provide an additional source of http://hr.monster.com 23 FEW Career Guide 2010
  23. 23. Careers in FocusInformation Technology courses in programming languages, operating systems, software design, and computer networkingMore commonly call IT, this area encompasses all are beneficial and assist in picking up new skills in theaspects of the information creation, access, use, workplace. Ongoing education is essential in IT. Evenstorage, transport, and management, as well as the in Japan, it is possible to find companies that offerdesign, development, installations, and continuing IT and tech certification classes in English.implementation of the systems and applications tostore, retrieve, and use that information. Given the Software developers (programmers) design andscope of that description, it becomes clear that IT implement computer software or tailor existingcovers a wide range of possible careers, from the software to a particular business’s needs. Proficiencyhighly technical (programming database creation) to in at least one programming language, strongthe creative (web design, user interface design) and analytical skill, and an in-depth knowledge of thethe analytical (network design, troubleshooting). operating systems being worked on are important.Overall, many in the IT industry are self-taught, and System integrators ensure that the different systemsthe shortage of specific skills has led in the past to used by a business or industry work smoothlyemployer’s willingness to train fairly inexperienced together, and may write interfacing programmingworkers in-house. As the IT industry grows and between different systems to ensure this harmony.becomes more mature, this trend is changing. Although if something major is needed, the task willDepending on the company, Japanese-language be handed to a full-fledged programmer. A successfulability is essential in the workplace here. You may find systems integrator needs to have a full understandingthat being computer literate with an in-depth of a number of products and systems and of the wayknowledge of Windows, and/or other operating they will work in the business environment. Keepingsystems, together with corresponding applications, abreast of current developments and how they canwill get you in the door. The hard truth, however, is be used is essential.that your competition in the Japanese market is anative Japanese speaker who has been trained with Project managers have a similar role to systemsthe same skills that you have. Given this environment; integrators, but are usually brought in from outsideyou will have to come to the table with an advantage to manage a specific project. They ensure thatover your competition. These advantages include appropriate “tech” solutions are found andfluency in English (depending on the environment) or implemented to secure the smooth running of thea mastery of a specific and highly specialized project. Project Managers have to know whattechnology. products are available to help with the project (and which ones will not) and what interfacing programsFor non-Japanese speakers, the creative side of IT need to be written (although these are usuallycould prove to be most beneficial. There is a lucrative outsourced). They are often the interface betweenmarket for Western-based start-up companies geared the business and the engineers. Japanese is almostto the foreign community in Japan. Many web essential in this role, as project managers have to dealspecialists offer their service in the English web site with Japanese companies that offer the productsdesign and creation as freelancers to such businesses. being used. Equally, they must be computer literate,Of course, thorough and up-to the date knowledge of with a strong knowledge of the various operatingweb technologies is essential for these roles. systems available, such as UNIX, Windows, and Linux. They should also have a good command of theFor more technical jobs, a thorough knowledge of applications the various systems use and ancomputer architecture and data structure is essential. understanding of network connectivity. NetworkWhile a degree in computer science or electrical engineers are responsible for setting up andengineering would be extremely helpful, proven maintaining a company’s computer network, whetherability in the field is likely to prove far more important within one building (LAN) or linking different officesto a potential employer in the long run. (WAN). To succeed, a network engineer must have a good working knowledge of available products andA strong interest in, and a willingness to learn about services and a thorough understanding of thecomputers and new technology are vital. Additional company’s business needs. In Japan, many such 24FEW Career Guide 2010
  24. 24. Careers in Focusengineers are employed by IT consulting companies. Dreamweaver, Frontpage, Homesite, or other widelyTheir engineers are then outsourced to sites to used HTML editors. Web page developers create theprovide IT support. Project managers tend to be hired code necessary to bring theby companies such as Accenture and pages together, and keep them managed andPricewaterhouseCoopers to carry out consulting work. organized with a logical design structure. While knowledge of HTML is a solid prerequisite, familiaritySystems administrators decide how the computer with technologies such as JavaScript, CSS, and XMLsystem will function in practical terms-which are big plusses for web page developers.computers will share resources, how end users willaccess files and information, and how information will If a website is to be more than simply an onlinebe backed up. Again, a thorough knowledge of the brochure with web pages and graphics, such as ansystems’ abilities, coupled with a clear understanding e-commerce site handling customer transactions,of the business needs and priorities of the company back end development is necessary. Back endis essential. System Admins are usually responsible developers are the people who develop any neededalso for data security and should be able to Java programs, CGI and Perl scripts, and connect thedemonstrate good knowledge in this area as well. frond end web pages to a database. Often, back end expertise is split functionally into applicationUser support is often the most visible part of a developers and database experts. In addition tocompany’s IT department. User support staff assist having expertise with popular programmingend users of the systems, offer training and advice languages, people interested in back endwhen problems arise, and set up the operating development should also familiarize themselves withsystem. Apart from a good knowledge of the product-specific API (Application Programmingoperating system used, and a sympathetic Interface) tools for widely used packaged solutionsunderstanding of the end users’ needs, an ability to for the web. Those produced by Broadvision and BEAdeal calmly and quickly with irate end users is essential. Systems are examples. For database connectivity, the pre-requisite is usually knowledge of Oracle, SQL, orWeb Design Sybase relational database management systemsLarge web design companies usually split the different (RDBMS). Back end developers generally possess aparts of web design into what is called the front end degree in computer science or a related field.and the back end. Web designers in the front end deal Standard certification as a developer with a particularwith the more creative aspects of the process. They technology is a big plus on a resume and is mandatoryare responsible for giving the web page a good look with a few companies.and feel. They should know HTML, even if they use adesign package like Dreamweaver, Frontpage, or Although Japanese-language skills help in theHomesite, in order to create really great pages marketplace, they are still not essential-goodwithout simply following what the package can do. experience and a proven ability to do the job are moreThese days they should also be good with at least one important.product like Flash or Shockwave. Recommended ResourcesThe back end people are usually the ones that make Organizations:Java programs or connect the front end to the International Computer Association (ICA)database. They are essentially programmers who http://www.icajapan.jpknow Java, NET, PHP, Java Script, Perl, CGI scripts, etc. Bar Camp TokyoGraphic Designers specialize in the creation and http://barcamp.orgmanipulation of the graphical images that appear ona web page. Expertise with industry standard graphics Tokyo Hacker Spacemanipulation packages such as Photoshop and Tokyo HackerSpace is an open community lab, studio,Fireworks is usually a pre-requisite to get into web workbench, sewing circle, machine shop+, wheregraphic design. Creative and artistic flair is also people with common interests in technology, buildingessential. Web page developers must know HTML and things, gardening, cooking, science, sewing, digital art,be adept with software packages such as 25 FEW Career Guide 2010
  25. 25. Careers in Focusgaming+, can find the space, the like-minded people, Marketingand the infrastructure needed for these activities.http://www.tokyohackerspace.org/ Debbie Howard, President of Japan Market Resource Network, states that there are a number ofTokyo 2.0 personality traits an individual must have in order tohttp://www.tokyo2point0.net/ be successful in the marketing field. These include creativity, good communication skills (both writtenTokyo Startup Weekend and verbal), persuasive ability, and an interest inhttp://tokyo.startupweekend.org/ people and human psychology. A lively, enthusiastic personality doesn’t hurt either. Having graduated withDigital Eve Japan a BA in advertising and marketing from the Journalismhttp://www.digitalevejapan.org School of the University of South Carolina, and with a 30-year career overall in marketing andJapan Electronics and Information Technology communications, Howard is somewhat of an expert.Industries Association Of those 30 years, she has spent the last 20 in JapanAn industry organization in Japan with activities and has been president of her own market researchcovering both the electronics and information company for the past 17.technology (IT) fields.http://www.jeita.or.jp/english/index.htm To get into the Japanese marketing arena, says Debbie, you will not only need all of the skillsInternet Association Japan (IAJapan) mentioned above, but a few others as well. The firstA non-profit and industry-based organization is Japanese-language skills. As Howard points out,providing leadership in promoting advanced systems marketing is selling—and it is difficult to sell to aof the Internet and solving problems that ISPs Japanese target market without speaking Japanese.encounter when they operate services. As an alternative, or until you hone your Japanese-http://www.iajapan.org/index-en.html language skills, you might try getting into sales that focus on a foreign target market (i.e., telemarketingEducation: or selling advertising space that targets foreignTemple University School of Continuing Education customers, or assisting in a section of a company thatCourses in database design and creation, desktop services a small but elite number of foreign customerspublishing, networking, web page design, etc. in addition to its Japanese customers—such as retailhttp://www.tuj.ac.jp banking, hotels, financial planning and international schools). If you already have solid marketing skillsReading: from your career back home, you may be able to findCool Careers for Girls in Computers work in your field without Japanese-language skills—Ceel Pasternak, Linda Thomburg, 1999 but such positions are few and far between.Japan Internet Report (JIR) Another skill that will benefit you greatly in Japan isFree, monthly e-mail newsletter featuring news and patience. You will need to keep in mind that thingscommentary on Japan’s Internet industry. are going to take a lot longer to happen here and youhttp://www.jir.net have to be prepared for that. The fact that decisions and actions take longer to occur means the processNikkei BizTech of marketing is likely to cost more time and money.http://www.asiabiztech.com The third skill you will need to develop is cultural sensitivity. This entails the need to acknowledge that business is not going to be transacted using the same formula as “back home.” People are going to have different expectations and experiences—and these will need to be factored into any marketing plan. Howard points out that Japanese culture is subtler in many ways. As an example, she says that comparative 26FEW Career Guide 2010
  26. 26. Careers in Focusadvertising does not always go over well here as in countries as well. Don’t overlook smaller NGOsAmerica. Many ads in the US blatantly state how and however, since these may offer the chance to work atwhy product A is superior to product B, but in Japan, a higher level because they need more “peoplethat can lead to a feeling of sympathy for the product power.” Another opportunity for volunteering andbeing sullied. Therefore, the way a message is acquiring skills is via the foreign business chamberscommunicated in a Japanese marketing campaign here in Japan, such as the American Chamber ofmay well have to be more nuanced. Commerce (ACCJ), the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ), the Canadian Chamber of CommerceSo how do you go about getting into the field of in Japan (CCCJ), the German Chamber of Commercemarketing? As Howard reminds us, marketing is a and Industry in Japan (GCCIJ), and so forth. Each ofrather large field, encompassing advertising, direct these organizations has a variety of committeesmarketing, marketing research, public relations, and through which you can demonstrate your marketingsales, so the first step is to identify companies that skills by volunteering. Not only will you be able tohave such departments, or companies that provide build your portfolio, you will also be presented withthese services to other companies (advertising or PR great networking opportunities.agencies, marketing research companies, etc.).However, this may not be as simple as just finding a In addition to volunteering, you can build your skillsparticular department in the company’s directory. by taking additional courses according to your specificAlthough marketing is essential, Howard says, the role area of interest. There are a number of distance andis not as transparent in Japanese companies as it is in continuing education institutions that offer coursesnon-Japanese companies. Even if you look at a in marketing and communications. Yet anotherparticular company, it may not have a “VP of strategy is to take a lower level position at a companyMarketing,” or a “marketing department” per se, but and then work your way into the marketing area bythat does not mean the function is not included within demonstrating your interest and talents internally.another department, such as “planning” or “new Although it may not be exactly what you wanted atbusiness development.” Generally speaking, the first, at least you will have your foot in the door anddiscipline of marketing is not as developed in Japan— you can develop relationships from the inside.and this translates into the fact that there are fewerjobs to be found. Of course getting a position is the first step, but once employed there are a few quirks to be aware of whenAs Debbie points out, the marketing field is very entering the marketing field in Japan. The first is thatcompetitive in Japan, just as it is in the United States booms can occur in Japan in a very big way comparedand Europe. It is the same old adage: you cannot get to other markets. Howard uses the “tamagotchia job without the skills, but it is difficult to acquire the craze” of several years back as an example, pointingskills without having a job. If you find that you are not out that it became huge very quickly, yet the buzzhaving much luck entering the area of marketing, dissipated not long afterwards. Should you succeedhowever, there are a few steps that you can take to with such a hit, your company will enjoy a big burstmake yourself more attractive to a prospective of sales for a short time, but then you will have toemployer. In short, you must be able to demonstrate come up with the next idea quickly. In any case, suchthat you have skills that will allow you to make an booms do not occur as often as people in marketingimmediate contribution, since things move fast in the would like and, as Howard states, there is a lot ofworld of marketing—but Howard stresses that this is “product churn” in Japan, with notable short producttrue for career seekers in marketing anywhere in the life cycles in comparison to Western markets. Sheworld. One way to do this is to start building (or cites vending machines and convenience store shelvesexpanding) your portfolio by offering to volunteer as an example—you can see new drinks beingyour services. There are a number of organizations launched almost every week. A second differentiatingwith international ties in Japan, such as FEW, that can point of marketing in Japan is the fact that it is analways use help with their PR. Howard suggests extremely expensive advertising market. This meansgetting yourself involved with an NGO that has global that ad and marketing budgets must be far larger hererecognition (e.g., Refugees International, World than in the US or Europe in order to achieve the sameWildlife Fund, etc.) so that your efforts will be penetration.recognized not only here in Japan but in other 27 FEW Career Guide 2010