Feb 2, 2016

The Salaryman Resume

The Salaryman Resume photo

Japanese resumes look like they were written by an elementary school student.  Where I come from, they’d be cut up and recycled for use as office memo paper.  In their presentation, they are the polar opposite of resumes back home, where the attitude seems to be, “Well, my resume includes 3D projection mapping of my face.  Loser!”.  

The salaryman resume

In becoming a salaryman, I think I handed over a resume during the warm up stages of the ‘give me a job’ dance.  Nothing fancy, it was presented in a fairly standard format.  I’m not sure how much interest there was in my role as shopping trolley assistant at the local supermarket (I hope to God I didn’t leave that on there!).  

A key obstacle for me getting a job outside of teaching, is that, for the most part, teaching accounted for nearly all my work experience in Japan.  Clearly I needed to adapt whatever experience, skills, and qualifications I had gained through the field, into something broader. You might call this bullsh#@ting, and given that my default setting is ‘cynical’, I’d be attempted to agree with you.  But then, it did actually work, so maybe there’s something in it.

To this end, I present some ideas on how you can make your teaching skills and experience look a little more … salaryperson.

Management/supervisor role - helping out fresh-off-the-boat teachers

Editor - sorting out the ropy English of your Japanese homeroom teacher

Proofreader - checking students’ homework (+ colleagues’ worksheets/letters/emails/test questions …)

Translator - helping turn your students’ speech contest speeches into something comprehendible

Handling business correspondence - checking your salaryman / office lady students’ emails for glaring errors, and fixing up their presentation materials

Sales - conducting demo lessons for prospective students / handing out flyers on the streets (for the unlucky ones).  (Given the staggering sums of money charged by big English schools over here, anyone who makes a sale can rightly consider themselves a Jordan Belfort, of sorts.  Now, ‘sell me that pen.’!)

Event organization - treasure hunts, themed bowling, themed cooking, sports days … dressing up as Santa (OK, these don’t involve booking high profile speakers or silver-service catering … but they’re still events, and if they're aimed at kids, well, I don’t know anyone in my office who could handle that!)

Communication skills- anyone who can explain how the ‘be’ verb works to an audience barely literate in their native language, and then convince their moms of this, should be afforded a position at the high tables of diplomacy.

Public speaking - if you’ve been an ALT, you’ve likely stood on stage in front of (literally) hundreds and been forced to fumble through a few words

Presenting - maybe you don’t know it, but you’ve probably got more presentation experience than Steve Jobs, albeit to smaller audiences … with less money at stake.

OK, I’ve treated this lightly, but I believe it to be true.  There are lots of skills to be acquired as an English teacher in Japan.  Skills that can be adapted to other areas of work, should you so desire.

Now, time to sneak out early!

Previously from Salaryman (in Japan): The Blog ...

How I Became a Salaryman in Japan (And How You Can, Too)

Salaryman (in Japan):  The Blog

The image comes from Michael W Murphy on Flickr.  I trimmed it and added the text.



A foreign salaryman in Japan, documenting life from somewhere near 'salaryman town' Shimbashi, Tokyo. Way out of my depth!