Tuesday, June 11, 2013

履歴書 Challenge #5: 志望の動機

One of the largest differences between a Japanese 履歴書 and an academic CV in America is the inclusion of a section called 志望の動機(しぼうのどうき). As always, the internet is not the best informed about how this works. Madtokyo recommends "営業経験を活かして" where the 営業 would be substituted in our case to 大学で言語講師経験を活かして. But is there something better we can write here? Franchir Japan suggests a more direct but also brief example.

Japanese resources online and friends strongly disagree.Native Japanese-language resources prefer a paragraph-length answer and one that highlights why you are a fit (See http://www.chance.jobs/siboudouki/ and http://www.mensetsu-check21.net/douki.html). Among the different examples are prior business experience, life-long ambition, taking advantage of prior experience [non-business],  part-time work experience, determination [to get a job], valuable experience in a different field, to improve skills, etc. This gives a feel for the common styles available.

One site even has an entire set of samples across the range for educators (http://www.chance.jobs/siboudouki/kyouiku.html) ranging from "I like little children" to "I've done something similar before (but left for reasons that don't sound bad)" to "This is my life-long ambition."

In my case, I want to convey the following:
(1) Prior experience teaching university courses in America at two universities.
(2) Interest in a future in university teaching in Japan.

My first shot at it was:


I had a friend take a look and he changed it to the following:

But right now, it remains incomplete. My friend has made several helpful suggestions for how to make it better (on top of fixing the Japanese) that I will work on in the coming day or so. The most important point is to explain why you personally are a fit, and this current explanation does not make that plainly clear. A second feature that differs -- and was even more strong in his own 履歴書 (he is Japanese, presently earning a MS in Computer Engineering, and found gainful employment) -- is to express how this contributes to Japan. For a Japanese guy, this means using 私たち but for a foreigner this means using 日本 and for an academic specifically 日本の学生.

Note: It is also important to consider hand-writing applications as this shows a high degree of interest in Japan. Is it required of a foreigner? No, it basically is not, but it's good to remember that it shows a certain amount of effort has been put in. And in Japan, attendance (and high-effort low-value things) are seen as demonstrating just the sort of personality they want.

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