Self-help Program to Overcome - "Lack of Experience" Part Two: Projecting Your Qualities
Networking is a key activity in finding a job for yourself if you're inexperienced. What you want to have happen once you're in a group, is to have everyone else within that group see from your actions over a few months that you're someone who is trustworthy, energetic, intelligent, and generally a person who can be depended on. Even though you're totally inexperienced in the industry, you also project a good grasp of the facts.
Inevitably your new friends will talk about work. You can discover a lot about which companies are hiring and for what. Look for opportunities that you could take advantage of and sooner or later you can volunteer yourself for the position. You should know which company/sector you want in to get in to, so jump at even the most modest job in order to get started.
I had a friend who wanted to become a systems engineer at a bank. One day he heard from a friend about a terribly boring job that no one else wanted to do - listening to tapes of trader orders (the bank was trying to decide whether a trader had broken the rules) throughout the night. My friend was trained how to work the complicated machines and soon became well known at the bank as the "guy who works all night" and also a bit of an expert on the tape machines because he was able to fix them after they broke down - which was often.
The key point here is that my friend was always very positive and friendly - even when he'd been working all night and was actually feeling really tired. He was smart and went out of his way to discover who the key managers who hire people were. Every morning after finishing the all-nighter, he'd go past the offices of those managers and wish them good morning. Soon he was chatting with them on a personal basis, and eventually when the tape job finished, one of the managers asked him to do some other inconvenient clean-up work on some PCs. Months later, my friend was still at the bank, now in a trusted position and being asked whether he'd like to join as a full time employee.
The point here, and especially in Japan, is that familiarity breeds trust, and trust equals employment opportunity. Even if you don't have the experience (or language skills) to get a job through a recruiter - who after all, is looking for theperfect person for their customer - you still have yourself. You just need the opportunity to project your good points - human nature being what it is means that managers like to hire people they know and trust for entry-level jobs, so it's just a matter of getting to know the right people and earning their trust.
And so long as there is pride and ego, there will be always be vacancies for entry-level work. So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find those entry level opportunities through your networking, and to use your natural good nature and intelligence to help the hiring manager find you.
Needless to say, this approach only works if you're in Tokyo and able to personally attend events. It's not a quick program and implies that you're probably holding down another less desirable job in the interim. I get lots of requests from people overseas asking how they can get a job in Japan when they don't have experience. The simple answer is: get over here any legal way you can, and start wherever you can. If you can't actually see the other person to talk to, you can't imprint their subconscious with your image of trust and potential.
Terrie Lloyd is the founder of DaiJob Inc. He also writes a weekly newsletter for entrepreneurs and business people, about business and political opportunities in Japan. You can find the newsletter at www.terrie.com.
For further contact with Terrie, email him at email@example.com.