The iPhone Gone Bad in Japan
By Jason Stauffacher
I was flying to Southeast Asia last spring for a long holiday and a cheap getaway. I really needed it. I didn’t really plan the layover as I barely look over my itinerary as a standard practice to make it more exciting. I do that on purpose; it’s more invigorating that way. So I had my layover in Japan, processed threw the international customs and had nowhere to stay the night. Visa in hand, I had not a clue where to stay. And I was stuck at the airport. So I walked up and down the greeting isles and areas where I found, just my luck, people congregating at pay-per-minute kiosks for Internet. Ah! I found my safety net. Not so. I looked up on Google-Japan places to stay close by and some pamphlets were not translated on the information booths in the airport to English. I solved this easy problem. I walked to the subway station and talked to a local American expatriate about my options. This easily translates into skills for gleaning jobs and a career track. How? Talk to people, get phone numbers at dinner parties, wherever, but don’t rely solely on technology and emails to companies to get you where you need to go.
iPhones or iPads don't get you a job. You do. And let me tell you why. Getting the resume into the hiring manager’s inbox or on her desk is the goal. Another dose of the obvious: computers don’t hire; people do. Nor do iPhones or iPads. Y-O-U do. iPhones don’t connect you to the right people. It’s a great technology to have and use. But it’s not the cure for getting you the links and connections that you need for a career that fits you best.
The guy I met in the subway system adjacent to the Japan airport was from Ohio, an English teacher and someone that was living in the Tokyo area for years. He knew where to send me and places to call. We exchanged contact details and I thanked him.
Hand Deliver Your Resume or Email Directly to a Hiring Manager. It’s the old fashion networking option. That’s what I did. I took myself to the subway. I did not rely on Google for all my life’s woes. It was my fault in someway in Japan, but I like to live by the seat of my pants when I travel internationally. I did what I had to do: I hit the pavement hard. I think some of my predecessors, a generation back, have real good ideas about what it means to get a good job and a happy career. Call, email directly to a manager for an informational interview. Talk to people. Yes, you even can find people on LinkedIn to email too for a short interview about the company you are interested in. But it’s all about the human network, not about the savvy of the technology at hand. The technology helps, and I wouldn’t live without my iPod or Twitter. It makes my life easier and connected, but it does not rule the actions of my career hunting. Move. Act. And think that networking is a living and breathing animal to be grasped and mastered. Don’t revert back to the technology that helps you in getting a job.
The chap I met in Japan had more insights into what I needed to do than whatever Google-Japan didn’t offer. Some say unless you get a long face-to-face with the hiring manager, you will not get the job. I disagree. After creating a top-notch professional resume and cover letter, your next major goal should be to meeting hiring managers at companies by networking and getting your feet on the cement like I did in Japan.
A certain and powerful way to increase your odds of meeting a hiring manager (even short meetings) is to pick up the phone and call, or even walk down for an informational interview with a resume in hand. Give it to the front desk person. You don’t know what will happen. But give it a go. I did in Japan and it worked out first-rate.
Here’s are some Twitter-like suggestions (short, pithy sayings as advice):
Never just email send your resume and leave it at that.
If they’re not available, just leave it with the receptionist. Would that be OK?
Say this: I’d like to stop by and drop it off. When I do, I’ll ask for you. If you’re available, I can introduce myself and personally give you my resume.
It will give you a huge advantage over other candidates who simply mail or email their resumes.
Getting a mini-job interview at the same time is SWEET!