Finding a job in Japan – IKEA

These last couple of weeks, I’ve gone through a period of job interviews and waiting.

To start from the beginning. As some of you know, I’ve been working for IKEA in Sweden for a while. During that time, I found an interesting job recruitment ad (アルバイト募集) on the IKEA webpage. The only problem was,  it was all written in Japanese! So I printed it out and brought it home for translation. It said that IKEA Kobe is looking for part-time workers in all departments, and I thought that this would suit me perfectly during my time in Japan. As I had worked partime for IKEA before during my studies in Sweden, why not try it in Japan?

The process started in July this year. I wrote a draft for the cover letter and gave it to a Japanese friend living in Stockholm to doublecheck it. My friend also mentioned that I would need a Japanese style CV. But since I didn’t have time to translate it, I submitted my English one. After some time, I got an answer written in Japanese from the HR department of the IKEA Kobe store. They said they were interested in having me coming over for an interview when I had settled down in Japan, which was almost 2 months later.

Back to the present.

I got help from the career advisor at Doshisha University who helped me to write a Japanese CV and brush up the Cover letter before going. The first interview was a group interview about three weeks ago with me and about 8 other Japanese people. The interview was conducted 100% in Japanese. It started with a short presentaion of IKEA. The group was then asked questions and we were all supposed to answer according to our own thoughts and experiences. For me, this was very hard since they used 敬語(polite Japanese) and some technical words I’ve never heard of. But in the end, I think I made a good impression. A few days after the group interview, I got a mail callling me in for another interview. And a week later, I went back to Kobe and met two managers from different departments. It was more informal and we talked about my background, Japanese language proficiency, and what my future plans were. A few days ago, I got a mail saying the job was mine and that i’ll start my training on the 1st of December!

IKEA is a great company and I have been thinking about continuting my career there, and working part-time for a store in Japan would greatly enhance this. My Japanese skills will also improve, and I’ll have a lot of fun and make new friends. And not to forget, I get a source of income again!