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Campus Now

Midsummer Issue (Jul.)

Career compass
Students and career choices

Focusing on the life story created by students themselves

Mr. Tsukasa Koyama
Personnel Section, Personnel Department, Central Japan Railway Company

In this article "Career Compass," we hear the latest job-hunting information and how they generally perceive involvement in job-hunting from people in charge of recruitment. In this edition, we speak with Mr. Tsukasa Koyama, who is in charge of hiring at JR Tokai.

Seeking employees who take on new challenges while valuing both autonomy and teamwork

Our company's core business is railways and, generally speaking, we are often viewed as a "stiff company." Of course, ensuring safety is the most important facet of the railroad business and our company has a tradition of focusing on rules and teamwork. However, in recent years, our company has diversified into business such as logistics, restaurants, travel and real estate. As a result, there has been an increase in opportunities which require new ideas which are unfettered by preconceptions.

For that reason, a prerequisite for employees sought by our company is that they value both autonomy and teamwork. We expect our employees to actively take on challenges in new fields without being restrained by existing ways of thinking. In other words, we seek employees who possess the dream and passion of creating a new Japan through their own effort.

The period in which students begin to focus on their career will decided future success

In its "Corporate Code of Ethics for Hiring," the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) calls for corporations to show consideration towards academics. Our company supports this spirit and beginning from last year we have increased opportunities for holding company information sessions on the weekends (Saturday and Sundays).

Although there is a trend in which the actual job-searching period is becoming shorter, students still need to avoid waiting too long to begin thinking about their career. Our company believes that it is important to heighten career awareness from an early time at university. We deploy employees to university events such as career formation lectures in order to provide explanations on professional viewpoints and careers.

Why is it necessary to heighten career awareness from an early time at university? The answer is that such awareness will change your behavior while studying at university. Students with a high level of awareness obtain the habit of identifying their own issues for specific periods of time and then overcoming those issues. By repeating such actions, such students gain valuable experience. One example of such behavior is part-time work. Instead of choosing a part-time job simply because it pays a high hourly wage, students should choose a job which allows them to overcome weaknesses or which is related to their future dream. Such behavior is more convincing to prospective employers. During our hiring process, our company mainly uses employment interview which emphasize the character of the applicant. During those interviews, we focus on the issues which students have established and the actions which they have taken to address those issues.

In an age of reliance on the Web, students should take other action to gather information

Finally, I would like to discuss my impressions of recent job-search activities from my position of recruitment supervisor. Currently, almost all students use the Web when searching for employment. Although the Web is an efficient tool which aggregates information, there is the danger of overlooking important information due to the excessive volume of information available. Because now is the era of the internet, I believe it is important to gather information by oneself. For example, a student seeking employment at a brewery could take a tour of the brewery. A student interested in working at a housing manufacturer could visit model homes. In this way, students should take advantage of every available opportunity. There are things which can only be learned through onsite visits, and such proactive behavior will be highly evaluated during employment interviews.

Furthermore, the problem of mismatches between employees and employers has become a problem during job-searching activities in recent years. For this reason, I believe that it is important to ask employees about negative aspects of the company. It is easy to find the positive aspects of a company that you are interested in. However, students should search for negative aspects and carefully consider whether they are prepared to thoroughly embrace such negatives aspects, as well as what will achieve in the future based on those negative aspects. I believe that job-search activities are similar to marriage in that a successful relationship is only possible if you face both the positive and negative aspects of your partner. Personally, I was conscious of such issues when conducting job-search activities as a university student. I hope that students today will have the same awareness.

Moreover, I am sure that many parents worry about the employment prospects of their children. I believe that it is sufficient for parents to discuss their own work, their own mistakes in life, and any other experiences that may be of reference to their children. Ultimately, job-search activities are conducted by students themselves. I hope that parents will show understanding and support which allows children to carefully consider their future.

Mr. Tsukasa Koyama
Personnel Section, Personnel Department, Central Japan Railway Company

Graduated from the School of Economics in 2004. After entering Central Japan Railway Company, underwent onsite training as station staff, shinkansen (bullet train) conductor and shinkansen driver. From 2006, supervised the onsite training of young employees and the education of new employees. In 2009, was stationed at the Kaiyo Academy, an educational institution established by Chubu region corporations including Toyota Motor Corporation, Central Japan Railway Company and Chubu Electric Power Company. Supervised the education and instruction of students at the academy. Assumed his current position in July 2010.

Central Japan Railway Company (JR Tokai)
Central Japan Railway Company is a passenger railway company that operates the Tokaido Shinkansen line which is the artery of Japan railways. It also operates 12 conventional railways centered in the Tokai region. In recent years, the company has expanded into operation of station buildings, agriculture and other diverse business outside of the railroad business. The company is also involved in the Chuo Shinkansen project using a maglev line, as well as the overseas expansion of high-speed railway systems.

From the Career Center
Be persistent in your job-search activities

At this period in time, there is a mixture of students who are continuing their job-search activities and students who are preparing to start their job-search activities. This is the peak of activity for students seeking to take the bar examination, to become certified public accountants or teachers, or students planning to pursue further education. Also, some industries and corporations will offer new employment opportunities beginning from this period. There will continue to be employment opportunities for students currently conducting job-search activities, including summer and autumn hiring. Please be persistent in your search for employment.