Updated: Nov 7, 2019
by James Cahyadi P
published on September 16th, 2019
Boston Career Forum (BCF) has been known for Japanese-English bilingual students studying in the U.S. and many countries in the world, and many of them find jobs at BCF because 1. BCF allows candidates to interview with companies at the site, unlike many other job fairs. 2. More than 200 companies located in Japan participate to find talents. However, you do need to know crucial key points to acing BCF to receive offers from companies.
The Boston Career Forum (BCF), the most famous Japanese-English bilingual job forum is going to kick off in a matter of month, to be more precise, on November 1st - 3rd a total of three days. However, navigating the forum is not as simple as it looks, going there with zero preparation might just hinder you from landing an offer during your visit, in fact there are all sorts of must do’s and don’ts that can have significant impacts on your prospects of getting the offer you want. BCF themselves acknowledges this fact, and have prepared an official guideline for candidates. For those who are short on time, scroll down to the end to view the summary.
About Boston Career Forum 2019
Date: November 1 2019 - November 3 2019
Venue: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC)
Number of Participating Companies: 234
Apply directly on the link: https://careerforum.net/en/event_entry/52/register/
INTERVIEW: 2 International students' voice about Boston Career Forum
We interviewed two people from different backgrounds. Ms. Melia is from Indonesia went to the BCF back in 2016 while the other interviewee, Ms.Sayaka from University of Tokyo, is planning to go to Boston Career Forum 2019 this year. Let's hear what they have to say about the most famous job forum for Japanese-English bilinguals.
Q: Why did you choose to go to the Boston Career Forum?
Ms. Melia: Simply put, it’s because I can get an offer within 3 days. And that my boss at the place I interned at in Australia, who happen to live in Japan before, recommended me to go. Another thing was that I only started looking for a job in October for April of next year, so it was too late in Japanese standard, the BCF on the other hand is held in November, so it was just nice timing for me.
Ms. Sayaka: Since BCF is catered towards Japanese-English bilinguals, I thought that it’d be easier to compete & get a job offer there compared to doing it in Japan. Faster job selection process is another factor (as you can get a job offer during the 3 days there). Final reason is simply because it doubles as a US trip for me, especially since I want to take a look at some graduate schools in the States since I might continue my studies there in the future.
Q: What are / were the companies (or their industries) you aimed for?
Ms. Melia: Companies in the maker / food industry.
Ms. Sayaka: IT and Consulting (Apple, Twitter, Bain & co, Deloitte etc)
Q: How many of them among your colleagues who decided to go to the forum, eventually got an offer they accepted?
Ms. Melia: I didn’t know anyone who went there aside from me at the time so I can’t really answer this question.
Ms. Sayaka: Most of my senpais got at least one job offer. As far as I know. I know a few people who didn’t get any, but according to them it was due to the lack of preparation beforehand. I heard that if you prepared well you can at least get an offer.
Q: Any special preparations you did / are doing before going?
Ms. Melia: Since I didn’t really know how job hunting with Japanese companies in general, I had to research and practice for that. And I guess, plane tickets, accommodation, etc. It’s better to prepare for them early on.
Ms. Sayaka: Buying plane tickets, getting a visa (because I’m Indonesian), getting accommodation, preparing my resume, checking BCF’s website and see what companies are going to be there, pick which ones to apply to, and apply to the companies (some companies open application 3-4 months prior). Also, I guess asking senpais around for tips and advice on how to secure a job offer in BCF. Another thing to note is that the BCF uses their own template for resume, and since regular Japanese job hunting do not require a CV so I had to figure out how to make a CV in both Japanese and English. Also, though I haven’t experienced it (as I haven’t really started applying) but most interviews before the BCF event are done through phone calls/skype, while normally in regular job hunting in Japan you do it face to face.
Q: How many interviews did you do? How many do you recommend?
Ms. Melia: As some companies can conduct 3 to 4 interviews, I think I interviewed at 5 or 6 firms, So I had at least 10 interviews in total. Most BCF interviews are done during the first and second day of the forum. For some companies I had the 1st interview on the 1st day and the 2nd interview on the 2nd day, for others, I had two interviews on the same day or even an online interview before going to the career forum.
Ms. Sayaka: I plan to apply to around 10-15 companies, hopefully pass to the interview stage of 3-5 companies and get at least 1 offer! Most people around me apply to 10 companies or so.
Q: What are your Japanese and English level? Do you think that it has a big effect on your job hunting?
Ms. Melia: My Japanese was around JLPT N2 at the time and my English is fluent. And yes, Japanese was really important to me as I mainly interviewed at Japanese companies.
Ms. Sayaka: My English is native level, so no problem at all with it. My Japanese on the other hand, is business level. Yes, my Japanese is not native and it gives me headache now, haha! Especially during web tests that have Japanese language questions that I can’t answer, or just the web test in general because I can’t really read kanji. Another hurdles are the interviews because sometimes I can’t speak out what I really want to say accurately. However, there are senpais with weaker Japanese level than me who have got offers. It depends on the companies and the roles really, some companies require higher English level more than Japanese, and vice versa. So as long as you can find the companies where you can really play your skills to your advantage, it'll be fine.
Q: Finally, can you provide any tips or even precautions you’d like to share with the readers?
Ms. Melia: Prepare long before BCF, then practice for the interview with your Japanese friends and ask them to review your CV and ES.
Ms. Sayaka: Book your flights and hotels super early, or else the price will hike like crazy. Most people think that BCF only lasts for 3 days, so they don't prepare beforehand, which is a big mistake. Companies start accepting applications long time before November, and they start arrange phone interviews early, so the real deal happens long before those 3 days. So get started now.
Summary of this article
- At BCF, you may get an offer within the 3 days, but it requires preparation / early-bird application long before the 3 days.
- Preparation is a must before going as it can determine whether you can get an offer or not. Generally, most people who did prepare will receive at least one offer.
- Book your flights and accommodation as early as possible.
- Research Japanese job hunting practices if you are not too familiar with it and rehearse your interviews with someone who can fine-tune your Japanese.
- Some companies open applications much earlier (around July or August).
- Most of the interviews are done in day 1 or day 2, or even days before that through online interviews.
- While being fluent in Japanese/English is definitely a big plus, it doesn't mean that one has to be fluent to get a job in the BCF.
Word of Advice:
Job-hunting in Japan can give you headache due to its unique and lengthy process which probably do not exist elsewhere in the world, but don't lose hope. BCF is one of the examples. In any great work done by charismatic people in the world, preparation is the key for success, and so it is for BCF. Good luck to all of you who are flying to Boston this fall.