The steps involved in job-hunting
Self-analysis (Understanding yourself)

When job hunting, it is important to carry out self-analysis. In this case, self-analysis is the process of considering what kind of person you wish to become, how you wish to live your life, and what role your career will take in it. You need to understand yourself to be able to select an industry, job type, and company that suit you. To do this, start by analyzing your past experiences and where you are now as a result of those experiences. You should then consider what you would like to do and how you would like to be in the future. It is important to do this self-analysis to ensure that you are able to give a clear account of your experiences and goals in application forms and interviews.
The following are specific examples of the kinds of points it may help to consider:

  1. The strengths and weaknesses of your personality
  2. Your past experiences, and what they taught you
  3. Why you chose to study at ICU, and why you chose your current major
  4. What kinds of things you have really devoted yourself to at university, and what you have gained from those experiences
  5. What kinds of work you would like to do and why
  6. What kinds of work will allow you to play to your strengths
  7. What you want to be doing, and what you want to have achieved, in five or ten years' time
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Researching industries and companies

It is essential to carry out sufficient research on industries and companies. We recommend researching as wide a range of industries and companies as possible, rather than focusing on a specific industry or company from an early stage. Try to develop your understanding by referring to as much information as possible, such as company brochures and websites, employment information websites, books and magazines on industries or companies, and the materials available at the Placement Office. It is also important to make a habit of looking through the newspaper(particularly the major newspapers) to always be aware of social trends and developments.
Reference materials:List of employment-related websites to top

Making use of the Student Career Advisors

Student Career Advisors are fourth-year students who have finalized their career choices and act as advisors up until they graduate, providing advice regarding future career paths. This system gives students the great benefit of being able to consult with older students who can draw on their experience to provide advice on topics such as job hunting or arranging to pursue further study. It may be particularly useful to consult with an advisor who has received a job offer in your chosen industry, as they may be able to talk to you about aspects of the selection process such as application forms, written tests, and interviews. Events led by Student Career Advisors are also held on campus.
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Contacting companies (registering your interest/requesting information)

When you find a company that you are interested in, the first thing to do is to register as a potential applicant or request information online(or through other means of contact, as necessary). This ensures that the company is aware of you as a potential applicant, and that they will provide you with information about the company and the recruitment process. Particularly when you make an online registration as a potential applicant (known in Japan as “entry”), some companies may ask you to fill in a simple description of the reasons for your interest in applying or a brief introduction of yourself, in addition to the basic information such as your name and where you are studying. It is important to take sufficient care when filling in such details to avoid any errors. You should also make a note of what kind of information you sent to which company. It is important to take a proactive attitude to registering with or requesting information from any companies that you have interest in as this is the first step in promoting yourself to the company.
In recent years, the majority of companies ask applicants to register online, but there are also cases where you may need to fill in and post a prepaid postcard or postcard provided with a listings magazine. Regardless of how you submit the information, make sure that you fill in details such as your full name, address, telephone number, university, faculty, department, and major correctly, and use the full official name when writing the name of a company.
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Meeting with alumni

Visiting alumni who are pursuing professional careers to get a direct account of their actual experiences is an opportunity to obtain valuable information that you would not normally be able to find in a company brochure, website, or information session. It allows you to gain a range of useful information such as what the work at that company actually involves, what the atmosphere is like, and tips on the recruitment process, as opposed to just an overview of the company’s business and other such general information. You should start by using the search system available at the Placement Office (only available in Japanese) to find graduates employed at the company you are interested in, then contact them by phone or e-mail to make an appointment. Make sure that you have a clear idea of what you want to ask before the appointment.
It is important to be aware that in some cases such meetings with graduates may form the first step in the recruitment process (under what is known as the “recruiter system”).Just because you are meeting with an ICU graduate, you should avoid being overly relaxed, and make sure that you adopt an appropriate attitude.

Finding a number of alumni to consult
Students can look up alumni to consult using the Alumni Search System available at the Placement Office.(Only available in Japanese. Please ask the staff for assistance regarding information in English.) Please note that the search system may only be used by those students who have registered their career preferences. Meeting graduates from different generations will give you a chance to hear about the company from different standpoints. For instance, you could start by meeting with graduates who have been working at the company for two to three years, and then consult with those who been at the company for longer periods, such as five or ten years. Job hunting is a valuable opportunity to meet people from various industries and various age groups. We recommend consulting with as many alumni as possible. If you need more information—such as when you do not know the department or division of an alumnus you wish to contact, or when there are no ICU alumni at the company you are interested in—try contacting the human resources department or other such department responsible for recruitment at that company.

Making an appointment
When you wish to consult with an alumnus, you generally make an appointment by calling them on their registered number, such as their contact number at their place of work (the number for a certain division or department, etc.). You should think carefully about the timing when to call to make an appointment. Where possible, try to avoid calling close to the start or end of the working day. If you have to call them at home or on their cell phone, make sure that you call at a reasonable time. While it may seem obvious, it is important to remember to clearly state your name and university and speak correctly and politely when making the call. The same goes when you contact an alumnus by e-mail. Please always take care to be polite and considerate. You should try your best to arrange an appointment that suits their schedule. Students often find that alumni wish to meet in their lunch break or after they have finished work.

Preparing for the meeting
Before meeting with alumni, it is essential to make sure you have a clear idea of the purpose for the meeting and put together a list of questions you want to ask. You should never go to a meeting unprepared about what you wish to talk to them about. As mentioned above, in some cases such meetings have some influence on the recruitment process, so it is important to thoroughly research the company and consider your experience and future goals to ensure that you can introduce yourself positively and explain your reasons for applying. You should check the date, time, and location of the meeting carefully and make sure that you are on time. If, due to circumstances beyond your control, you are going to be late, you should always contact the person you are meeting in advance. Unless you have been told otherwise, you should generally wear a suit to the meeting. If you have been told you do not need to wear a suit, you should still take care to make sure that your clothing is appropriate and not disrespectful to the person you are meeting. Even though they are fellow members of the ICU family, they are also professionals. Regardless of whether you have met them before, you should be careful to speak politely and always adopt an earnest and sincere attitude. Always keep in mind that the alumni are giving up their own private time to meet with you. We recommend sending them a letter or e-mail to thank them after the meeting.
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Seminars and company information sessions

Like consulting with alumni, seminars and company information sessions are generally opportunities for you to gain a better understanding of a company. At the same time, they may also be important chances that form part of the selection process. It is essential to have a clear idea of why you would like to apply to that company and to prepare how you will explain this to others. While such seminars and sessions are an opportunity for you to find out more about the company you are interested in, they are also a chance for you to promote yourself to that company.
Try to be as proactive as possible toward participating in such events, as they may also be chances to find out about new industries or job types that may be of interest to you.

Informing yourself and registering for events
Once you have registered as a potential applicant or requested information, the company in question will send you information on its seminars by post or e-mail, etc. You may also need to inform yourself by checking company websites or websites run by employment information providers. Companies often send information directly to the university, so remember to check the Placement Office noticeboard and the online portal. If the company sends such information directly to individuals, you will need to have registered to receive the information. It is essential to register with the companies you are interested in. In many cases, the location or other such factors may mean that there is a limit to the number of people who can attend an event, so make sure that you inform yourself carefully and register well in advance.

What the seminars or sessions cover and how to prepare
While they will of course cover information such as the company’s business and its management goals, seminars and company information sessions are also a unique opportunity to hear a direct account of the atmosphere at a company. After the presentation, the staff will open the floor to questions and answers, so try to be proactive and ask a question. Note that for some companies, you may only be considered in the recruitment process if you have attended such an event. In some cases, you will be asked to take an aptitude test or other such written test and/or an interview at the seminar or session. It is essential to have at least done some basic research on the industry and read up about the company from the company brochure and other such materials. We also recommend that you prepare for an interview by thinking about how you can explain your reasons for applying, introduce yourself positively, and describe the distinctive features of ICU.

Other key points about seminars
After taking part in such a seminar or session, you should always make a record of what you have learned in your job-hunting notes, so that you have it as reference for the next stage of the recruitment process. Company information sessions may provide you with information that is not covered in the company pamphlets or website. Such seminars and company information sessions also bring together a number of students from various universities, so these events provide chances to swap notes with students you might not usually have the opportunity to meet. Try to make effective use of these chances to expand your information network, which may be limited if you are only interacting with other ICU students.
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There are two types of applications for employment: direct applications (applications submitted directly to a company by an individual student) and applications on recommendation (applications where a student is recommended to a company following selection within the university).

In most cases, companies will recruit on the basis of direct applications.
Opportunities for applications by recommendation are largely available to students majoring in scientific subjects. When a company requests us to provide recommendations, we put out a call for interested students via the online portal and the Placement Office e-newsletter. The students who will be recommended are then selected within the university. Students who receive a job offer as a result of an application on recommendation are not allowed to decline the offer, regardless of the reason.
Whether you are applying directly or on recommendation, please always be conscious of the fact that you are a student of ICU and behave and express yourself responsibly when taking recruitment tests or attending interviews.

Types of application documents
When applying, you will generally need to provide the following four types of documents:

  1. The application form provided by the company, or the CV or self-introduction form prescribed by the university
  2. An academic transcript
  3. A document confirming you are expected to graduate or complete your course
  4. A medical examination report

The required documents may differ depending on the organization you are applying to, so make sure that you check what you will need for each application and prepare the documents in time for the deadline. When you need a document issued by the university, make sure to check the office hours of the relevant department in advance. It is important to take sufficient care in preparing the documents, as your application may be rejected if the documents are insufficient or incomplete.

The organization you are applying to may also ask you to provide a reference. As a general rule, the university does not issue references to companies recruiting students on direct applications. If you are asked to provide a reference, please consult with the Placement Office. When preparing documents for an application, you should also make sure that you always give yourself leeway before deadlines and make spare copies.

Filling in application documents

For the majority of companies, the first step of the recruitment process is the screening of applicants on the basis of written documents such as an application form or CV. In order to move on to the next stage, you first need to clear this screening. Such application documents may also be referred to as the basis for the interview, so as you fill them in it is important to make sure that you are providing information that you can explain well in the interview. Try to ensure that what you write is as clear and specific as possible, and avoid using expressions that are too abstract.

CVs and self-introduction forms
For writing a CV in Japanese, there are forms prescribed by the university or forms that are available commercially. Where possible, we recommend using the prescribed CV form marked with the university’s name. While your handwriting may not be an issue, the reader may lose interest in you as an applicant if you have filled the form in carelessly or made mistakes or omissions. Try to write as carefully as possible to avoid mistakes. We recommend writing a draft beforehand so that you can avoid having to use correction fluid where possible.
There is no specified format for CVs in English. Students create their own format on computer, in A4 size.

Application forms
Many companies will have an application form they have created specifically for their recruitment process, commonly known in Japanese as an “entry sheet.” Applicants are often asked to submit such forms before company information sessions or interviews. Some companies may ask applicants to fill in and submit such a form at the end of an information session. The forms combine elements of a CV and a self-introduction form and require applicants to provide information such as details on their time at university, details promoting themselves, or a description of their reasons for applying. The following are examples of questions you may be asked to answer:

  1. What are your strong points?
  2. What have you devoted energy to during your time at university? What have you gained from those experiences?
  3. Explain your reasons for applying.
  4. What would you like to do at our company? What kinds of abilities do you think you will be able to draw on at our company?

In recent years, many companies have begun to use such application forms as the first stage of the screening process, so before filling them in, make sure that you have thoroughly considered your experiences and future goals and researched the company. You should take care of the following points when filling in an application form.

  1. Make sure that what you write is convincing and persuasive by including concrete anecdotes or examples.
  2. Make sure that the style of writing is polite and consistent, as well as true to yourself.
  3. Make a copy of the completed form, as it will be used in interviews and other stages of the screening processes.

Filling in application forms takes time. Even so, in periods when a number of companies have their submission deadlines, you may also need to fill in applications for several companies around the same time. Try to prepare in advance so that you have some leeway before for the deadlines.
The Placement Office can assist students by checking application forms as part of individual consultations.
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Recruitment tests and interviews

Written tests
A growing number of companies are asking applicants to take written tests in order to ascertain basic abilities and narrow down applicants. The main types of written tests include:

  1. General knowledge tests (such as questions based on content of general education and questions on current affairs)
  2. Aptitude tests (tests of linguistic and non-linguistic abilities or personality tests, such as SPI3, GAB, CAB, or the Uchida-Kraepelin psychodiagnostic test)
  3. Written composition

The content of written tests differs depending on the industry, company, or job type you are applying for, and is also becoming more varied year by year. Many typical companies conduct a test called the Synthetic Personality Inventory (SPI). The GAB (only in Japanese), which evaluates candidates’ ability to think logically and analyze data, is used by organizations such as trading companies and financial institutions, while the CAB (only in Japanese), which looks at aptitude as a system engineer or programmer, is often used by companies in IT-related fields. You can prepare yourself by looking up which tests are used for the industry, company, or job type you are applying for, and accustom yourself to the tests by practicing using books of sample questions and mock tests which are available commercially. In recent years, there have been increasing opportunities to take such tests at a test center (an aptitude test venue used by multiple companies) or online, rather than only being able to do so at the company you are applying to.
As part of our support events, the Placement Office holds practice SPI3 tests and general knowledge and vocational aptitude tests, as well as follow-up seminars to go through the tests.

Interviews account for the greatest proportion of the recruitment and screening process. The interviewers ask a variety of questions to ascertain the personality, ways of thinking, and approaches of the students they are screening. This helps them to determine whether those students have the suitable nature and abilities to pursue a successful career at that company. While companies may use a range of methods at interviews to assist them to ensure that they recruit ever more capable and talented people, there are some typical interview formats, as listed below:

  1. Individual interviews: One student is interviewed by an interviewer or multiple interviewers.
  2. Group interviews: Several students are interviewed by an interviewer or multiple interviewers.
  3. Group discussions: Several students debate a given topic.
  4. Presentations: Applicants give a presentation on an assigned topic. The length of the presentation is specified.

The list below provides some examples of common topics for interview questions. Regardless of the topic, it is important to avoid giving responses that are too abstract. Try to provide a concrete answer based as far as possible on your own experiences.

  1. Promoting yourself
  2. Things you have particularly devoted yourself to at university
  3. What you have studied at university, the topic of your senior thesis
  4. Your strengths and weaknesses
  5. Why you are applying to that company (comparisons with companies in the same industry)
  6. The kind of work you would like to do

The interviewer(s) will not only consider the content of your responses, but also aspects such as how you express yourself, your facial expressions, and your attitude. Take care to carry yourself appropriately when entering and leaving the room and to greet the interviewer(s) in a cheerful and energetic manner. During the interview, you need to take special care regarding your dress, manners, and choice of words. You should also make sure that you look the interviewer(s) in the eyes when you speak. It is also important to ensure that you have understood the aim of the question you have been asked and provide an appropriate and accurate response.
A key point to have in mind at interviews is to communicate with the interviewer(s) in your own words. Try to make sure that you are engaging in a natural conversation with the interviewer(s), rather than using words and phrases you have memorized or borrowed from others.
Like taking written tests, another important point for interviews is building up experience. You may feel very nervous at first, but the more you gain experience through practice interviews and other such opportunities, you should be able to develop a clearer idea of what you want to say and be able to approach interviews feeling more relaxed. At the same time, however much you prepare beforehand, you will probably find there are many cases where the actual interview does not go as you expected. Try to look back on each interview, clarify the points you need to reflect on and the points you need to improve, and use this to help prepare you for the next interview.
The Placement Office assists students by conducting mock interviews as part of individual consultations. The mock interviews are in the style of an individual interview.
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Job offers

Candidates who pass all stages of the recruitment process will receive notification of a job offer (at Japanese companies, this is known as a naitei—“a preliminary promise of employment”). Job offers may be notified orally or in writing. If you are notified orally, it is important to carefully confirm that it is notification of a job offer, as in many cases, the wording may be ambiguous. In such cases, we recommend that you confirm the full name of the supervisor in charge. After receiving a job offer, you may be asked to sign a written acknowledgement of the offer or an agreement to join the company.
If you are fortunate enough to receive offers from more than one company, you should promptly make a definitive decision on the one company that you wish to work for and contact the other companies that have provided offers to notify them that you will not be accepting. We ask that you do your best to avoid keeping several offers open at the same time, as this deprives other students of the chance to be selected. In the event that you wish to continue looking for employment even though you have received an offer, you need advice on the documents you need to submit, or you have been asked to submit a reference from the university, please consult with the Placement Office as soon as possible.

Please note:
Japanese companies may sometimes describe job offers (naitei)as “early” job offers (nainaitei).This is due to the fact that the “Guidelines on Recruitment and Selection” published by the Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) prescribe that “preliminary job offers (naitei) are to be made on October 1 or later of the academic year in which the students graduate or complete their master courses.” Job offers given on or after October 1 are therefore referred to as “(preliminary) job offers” (naitei), while offers given before October 1 may be described as “early job offers” (nainaitei).
*Click here for more details.
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Self-management (Managing your health, information, and schedule)

Job hunting typically takes a significant amount of time—around six months to one year—from the initial preparations to receiving a job offer. You need to be able to manage your behavior and well-being effectively if you are going to be able to continue job hunting for that length of time and keep your motivation up as you do. Managing your health, information, and schedule are particularly key factors in whether students are able to find employment successfully. Try to take an independent approach to doing so.

Managing your health
It is fair to say that the process of job hunting involves a succession of experiences that are completely new to students. It may also involve many situations in which you feel stressed or under pressure. Try to make sure that your schedule is varied, and actively seek out opportunities to exercise or socialize with your friends. It is also important to note that many recruitment tests will start in the mornings. If you have generally been active at nighttime until now, you should try to change your pattern so that you are active in the morning, by trying to establish a more regular daily routine.

Managing information
Gathering information is an important part of job hunting. It is essential to have accurate information in order to make the right decisions. The internet is now the largest source of information available, but among the information online, you will also come across a large amount of unofficial information based on personal opinions, and a considerable amount of information that is not wholly reliable. When gathering information, you should try to use your critical thinking skills. Rather than simply taking any information you have gathered at face value, you should try to improve the accuracy of the information you have by gathering information from a range of sources—such as printed materials, other people, or online resources—and verifying the pieces of information by checking them against each other. You should particularly try to incorporate and effectively utilize information that is not widely available to others, such as anecdotes and advice from alumni and other professionals, or information obtained from the Placement Office.

Managing your schedule
In the particularly busy periods of job-hunting season, students may often find that a number of commitments overlap—for instance, they might have to participate in information sessions for two or more companies in one day or submit application forms for no less than five different companies within one week. Screening tests for different companies may also be concentrated around the same dates.
The first step to organizing your time is to fill in and manage a schedule with dates such as the information sessions you plan to attend and the deadlines for submitting application forms. If there is a clash in the timings of the information sessions or screening tests for different companies, the first thing you can try is to negotiate with the company to see if you could attend on a different day. If, for unavoidable reasons, you are unable to attend, always contact the company to inform them. Please keep it in mind that if you are absent without informing the company, you will not only be depriving another student of the opportunity to take the test or interview, but also creating a negative image that adversely affects how other ICU students are judged. It is also essential to ensure that you are always on time to events or appointments. Check the time and location carefully and allow yourself extra time for getting there. If, due to circumstances beyond your control, you are going to be late, always inform the company in advance.

The first step to organizing your time is to fill in and manage a schedule with dates such as the information sessions you plan to attend and the deadlines for submitting application forms. If there is a clash in the timings of the information sessions or screening tests for different companies, the first thing you can try is to negotiate with the company to see if you could attend on a different day. If, for unavoidable reasons, you are unable to attend, always contact the company to inform them.Please keep it in mind that if you are absent without informing the company, you will not only be depriving another student of the opportunity to take the test or interview, but also creating a negative image that adversely affects how other ICU students are judged.
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