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Campus Now

Early Spring Issue (Apr. 2014)

Career compass
Students and career choices

In order to cultivate independent students, we work tirelessly to expand support in all directions

Yumi Shirai
Manager, Waseda University Career Center

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 spoke with Yumi Shirai, Manager at the Waseda University Career Center. Shirai discussed the role and philosophy of the Career Center, the condition of job-search activities by students, and her advice for parents.

Two roles of the Career Center

The Career Center views the first 3 years after entering university as a period for exploring one’s way of living and path in life. Instead of starting to search for employment at an early stage, devoting yourself to class work and extracurricular activities will give you the ability to easily overcome job-search activities which are nothing more than a waypoint on the path to self-realization. In line with this philosophy, the Career Center distributes a “Future Design Guidebook” to new students and introduces students to places with the opportunity for growth throughout the university. We also hold seminars on themes such as finding areas of interest and considering one’s future profession and career path. Overall, we provide auxiliary support which enables students to grow into independent adults and working members of society.

Another role of the Career Center is to provide useful information to students who are searching for employment. However, we do not introduce specific corporations to individual students. Instead, we have students fully utilize the abilities which they have gained at university and select a corporation as part of independent, autonomous activities. In order to enable students to make their selection, we offer a variety of courses including employment guidance, lectures on the Labor Act and methods for corporate research, lectures on the current conditions and prospects for each industry and corporation, instruction on practical measures such as self-analysis and interview techniques, and courses for students who plan to take certification examinations to become public servants or teachers. Moreover, since their class schedule may prevent students from attending lectures, we offer on-demand transmission of lecture content. Furthermore, after the ban on provision of hiring information by corporations is lifted, we invite about 500 popular corporations to hold corporate information sessions on our campus. In addition to corporate human resources staff, these sessions are also attended by employees who are Waseda alumni. This enables each corporation to send an appealing message to Waseda students.

In order to fulfill the two roles discussed above for all students, the Career Center has enhanced individual consultation and established a system in which no reservations are required. This system is used by a total of 8,000 students every year.

Waseda Students: Career path and current job-search conditions

Regarding the path taken by Waseda students after graduation, 70% seek employment, 20% seek to further their education, and 10% have other plans. This ratio remains unchanged from past trends. When examining the 70% which seek employment, nearly half of the students who obtained a job focus on Japan’s 300 largest corporations. On the other hand, overall consideration is being given to approximately 2,900 corporations and groups. In terms of the 10% with other plans, almost all of these students have chosen to select a path other than seeking employment after graduation at their own discretion. Some students will sit for certification examinations, some are preparing to enter foreign graduate schools, some are foreign students returning to their native country, and others are pursuing a path of their own choice.

One difference from when parents conducted job-search activities (the 1980s) is the use of employment websites, which make application simple thanks to computers. In order to receive a job offer from a single corporation, students submit application forms to dozens of corporations and take countless interview examinations. On the other hand, corporations must select a few new employees from thousands of applicants. The process is extremely laborious for both students and corporations.

Job-search conditions for 2016 graduates

Guidebooks published by the Waseda University Career Center

The job-search schedule is pushed back 3 to 4 months from the hiring of new employees that will enter corporations in April 2016. Based on our policy of prioritizing learning while supporting job-search activities, the Career Center recommends that students use the extra time for personal growth through study or other activities. Furthermore, we would like to emphasize to corporations that academic records from Waseda University are a trustworthy material. Therefore, in addition to the use of application forms as criteria during interviews, we hope that corporations will also use academic records as an insight into the way in which how applicants spent their time at university, as well as the behavioral characteristics and way of thinking held by the applicant. This will produce a positive cycle in which corporations emphasize academic record and students focus on learning.

Job-searching is an activity conducted as an independent adult to select a path of one’s own choice. We hope that everyone involved will respect the ideas and values of students, and request that parents provide warm support for their children.

Major job-search support events scheduled for March and later
  • Lecture on interview techniques for students seeking public servant certification: March 4 (Tues.)
  • Consultation with Student Career Advisor alumni: March 15 (Sat.)
    Alumni who served as student career advisors during their 4th year at Waseda gather at our university and offer consultation to current students.
  • 3rd On-Campus Joint Corporate Information Session: April 14 (Mon.) to 18 (Fri.)
    More than 70 corporations and groups gather at Waseda University to meet with students. Sessions are also scheduled to be held from May and later.
  • Mini job-search seminar: Held almost every day, excluding Sundays, national holidays and university holidays
    Held based on several themes which are pertinent at that time.
  • Individual consultation: Held every day, excluding Sundays, national holidays and university holidays
    Individual consultation is provided by Career Center staff and specialized advisors.

※Career support events for students in lower grades will be held from April.

For information on dates, times and venues, as well as information on other events, please see the Career Center website.