What exactly is an internship in Japan?
An internship originally refers to a practical type of internship, which is common in western countries. It is for gaining experience to be work-ready before graduation.
On the other hand, Japanese internships usually refer to the ones university students participate in. So, it’s not the same as a practical type of internship.
Because it is for job hunting, the focus is on experiencing a job rather than acquiring the necessary skills to work.
This is very important, so keep it in mind.
Types of Internships
There are three main types of internships,
-A one-day seminar
-Practical internship for a few months to several years
A One-day Seminar
A seminar-type of internship is generally a seminar-like program where students listen to information about a company. It is mainly for job hunters who want to learn about a company in a single day.
There are cases where some group work or hands-on training is provided, but it’s just one day, so what you can gain from this internship is somewhat limited.
A project type of internship focuses on group work and/or hands-on training. It’s usually a week-long internship and mainly for university students in the job-hunting process, which is during their 3rd or 4th year, but there are cases where 1st or 2nd-year students can participate.
The program often includes opportunities for students to get feedback from the company on the results of group work and/or on-the-job training, which students get to learn a lot in a short period of time.
On top of that, there is a high chance that your internship result can affect the hiring process and your performance during the internship is likely to be evaluated.
As for a practical type of internship, you get to have the same work as an employee at the company. It is mainly for 1st to 3rd-year students and 4th-year students who finished their job hunting and want to acquire business skills.
Practical type of internships is more suitable for those who are motivated to grow as a worker compared to the other two, which are very different from the practical type of internships. But I bet this type of internship is normal in the west.
Now, let's take a closer look at practical internships.
What is Good for Practical Type of internships?
The practical type of internships is highly recommended for students who haven’t started job hunting as there’re two advantages you can have.
- You can get an idea of your future self working in a Japanese company.
- The chance of getting a job in Japan will increase.
You Can Get an Idea of Your Future Self Working in a Japanese Company
With a practical type of internship, a hands-on training experience helps familiarize yourself with the position you’re interested in. So, you can visualize your future vision more clearly.
Also, by experiencing the type of work that interests you at an early stage, you can judge if you’ll fit before job hunting to reduce the chance of mismatches after employment.
Needless to say, the experience of a practical internship will be your selling point in the hiring process.
The Chance of Getting a Job in Japan Will Increase
Your academic achievements and part-time job experience are also great, but most job hunters try to stand out by talking about the same things in an interview, so it’ll be difficult to get a recruiter’s attention.
On the other hand, there aren’t many 1st and 2nd year students who participate in internships, so internship experience at an early stage can make you stand out from other students. It is more impressive if you’re an international student.
If you already gained practical experience from an internship, you’d be considered as someone who is work-ready Therefore, you can come off as a strong candidate as companies think highly of your skills.
I highly recommended you talk about your internship experience when asked about "what have you put the most effort in while you are in university" during the interview.
- Internships for students are for experiencing work
- There are three types of job hunting internships: practical, seminar, and project.
- It is possible for even first and second-year students to participate in a practical type of internship.
If you have time, you should try a practical type of internship. As I said, companies accept freshmen or sophomores too.
If you’re starting to look for a job, a seminar-type or project type is a great option.
If you choose an internship that suits you, you can make great progress in the future.
So, choose the right internship according to your purpose.
Check out the previous articles for information on Job Hunting in Japan:
3 Characteristics of Japanese Companies that you should know [Job Hunting in Japan Series - Part 1]
7 Things That You Should Do in the Job-Hunting Process [Job Hunting in Japan Series - Part 2]
4 Ways to Search for Japanese Companies [Job Hunting in Japan Series - Part 3]
How to Find Excellent Companies in Japan [Job Hunting in Japan Series - Part 5]