What should I do with my Japanese skills?
The first question someone will ask you when you tell them you are learning Japanese is So, what do you plan to do with your Japanese skills?
Most people who learn Japanese as an adult can expect to use it within their career in some capacity. Japanese is spoken by 125 million people worldwide. Of course, English is still considered an important skill across business settings; however, if you have experience or education in Japanese, it can help set you apart from your competition.
Thanks to its use in anime and manga as well as technology like Nintendo and Sony PlayStation products, interest in learning Japanese continues to grow.
Language Skills are in Demand
How well do you know Japanese? Do you understand the language, or are you just able to make yourself understood?
Whatever your level of Japanese-language ability, it’s important to be aware of how language skills are in demand in today’s workplace. Whether you’re working at home or abroad, there are many job opportunities available to people who know multiple languages, and most of them don’t even require fluency.
If you’re a freelancer looking for work online, you may need more than writing skills. Many clients are after writers who speak multiple languages or understand cultural nuances.
Clients want writers who can translate their ideas into words that resonate with international audiences. Fortunately, freelance sites like Upwork and Freelancer make it easy to find clients interested in your specific language and cultural skillset.
Japanese Jobs can be from Japan or Overseas
If you want to find a job in Japan, you can use your Japanese language ability to work at an English-speaking company, or you can look for jobs in Japanese-speaking environments.
A lot of corporations are very interested in hiring Japanese-English bilinguals because it can cut costs and increase profits. Many government agencies hire people who have experience living abroad or people who speak foreign languages. You don’t need a college degree for these types of jobs but the experience is preferred.
It will be easier to find a job if you have some sort of prior work experience as well as relevant specialized skills like computer programming or accounting knowledge.
Start Learning Another Language
Some people don’t see much value in being bilingual or trilingual, but there are a ton of benefits to being able to communicate in two (or more) languages.
In fact, language is one of those soft skills that many companies put a lot of weight on when making hiring decisions. Obviously, that doesn’t mean you need Japanese to land a job; it just means your ability to work in another language may give you an edge over someone who only speaks English.
Expose Yourself to Japanese Culture
Although it might be tempting to stay in Japan for an extended period of time and just focus on learning Japanese, there are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t.
Doing some part-time work is one way to get more comfortable with your language abilities. Not only will it help you practice and make friends, but it can also help subsidize your study abroad experience while adding diversity to your CV.
In other words, if you want a career in Japan after learning Japanese or a career that isn’t limited by not speaking Japanese fluently, then consider staying somewhere else in Asia (or at least spending some time abroad) where you can learn more about business culture while still being able to take advantage of what Japan has to offer.
Apply for Employment in Your Home Country
If you have a keen interest in Japan and its culture, consider looking into studying abroad for a semester or year. Depending on your major and career goals, an internship may also be a good option to help further hone your Japanese language skills.
You could also try traveling to Tokyo or other cities and jobs in Japan while living abroad, which is an excellent way to learn more about Japanese culture while strengthening your abilities.
Keep in mind that many countries around Asia are growing increasingly interested in their languages’ global relevance, so taking time to study abroad will not only strengthen your resume but also open up new job opportunities as well.
Study Abroad in Japan
Study Abroad programs in Japan are a great way to enhance your Japanese language ability and make valuable connections for future jobs in Japan. Studying abroad is an experience like no other. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in another culture; to learn firsthand about another country and its people, and it’s a chance for you to set yourself apart from others in your field who have not had that experience.
After studying abroad in Japan, you can work there more effectively or compete more favorably with others hoping to work there. You’ll also have less difficulty connecting with those who share your unique experiences.
Learning Japanese is a great start to a career in Japanese, but it’s not enough. The only way to find a job in Japan (or anywhere else) is to get out there and meet people! Talk to your school’s alumni association and look for organizations related to your industry. A simple Internet search will turn up more leads than you can handle.