Every year in Japan during the shuukatsu season (from January to May), thousands of university students are preparing to secure their first job. But the odd thing is –these Japanese students start rigorously applying for graduate roles 2 years before they graduate. It’s an exhaustive process that involves attending hundreds of sersumeikai (company seminars), examinations, web tests, study visits to companies, job applications, internships and mass interviews.
Without doubt, the shuukatsu season is a chaotic and crazy time for students. According to Japanese job information site Rikunabi, the average number of applications per student in 2012 was 76 and students apply for these much sought-after positions not one at a time, but simultaneously. And to top it off, some companies will require you to hand write your application form and résumé. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!
The rules of the game
Where do I start? There’s rules like only wearing a dark blue suit if you’re being interviewed by a bank, talking about what you think is BAD about yourself and explaining what things you are doing to improve yourself in those areas. You also need to go into detail about where you put most of your energy at university and convince the interview panel that you can apply those same energies in within their company.
The spirit of preparedness
Yes, it all seems extreme to say the least but I’m pretty impressed with the level of dedication that these students show in their pursuit of their first job. Plenty of job seekers in other countries (now I’m not pointing fingers here) would have given up after the second or third application. Maintaining that level of commitment would require relentless determination, preparedness, focus, plenty of sleep and nerves of steel. You’ve got to hand it to these guys. After 5 months of relentless pitching to potential employers, I think they all deserve a job.
Imagine if Australia had a similar job hunting system. At least most graduates would have jobs to walk straight into and no time to sit idle. In Japan, it’s all about being productive and I’m kind of warming to the idea . . .