Working in Japan

Project Management Skills That Will Help You Find A Job In Japan

While you are waiting to land your first job, use the time to improve your skills in the areas of project management and digital literacy. With numerous ways to access educational resources, there is no excuse not to take the first step.

Conducting a job search can be challenging. Employers look for candidates with specific skills, yet gaining those skills can seem elusive without prior experience. One strategy to overcome this obstacle is to take a proactive approach by initiating your own training program to be prepared for that next interview.

In Japan, Japanese language proficiency is undoubtedly an obvious choice for study options; however, most employers seek more than just language skills when making hiring decisions. Let’s explore other areas of expertise that are universally sought-after and relevant across various roles within a company.

Tackling Project Management

Project management is a fundamental discipline applicable across industries and integral to various roles within a company. Every organization engages in projects; for instance, in the construction industry, projects are at the heart of their business. Whether you pursue a career in finance, marketing, IT, or sales, you may eventually be tasked with leading or participating in a project. It is beneficial to start preparing early in your career for project roles. Companies initiate projects to drive business improvements or changes, underscoring the significance of successful project execution.

Initially, many people may struggle to differentiate between day-to-day work and projects. Projects are inherently temporary, with clear start and end dates and specific objectives to achieve Conversely, daily work comprises ongoing tasks or assignments that must be completed regularly. Each task represents a discrete unit of work within the day. Tasks are usually manageable in size and often assigned to individuals. In response to the ever-evolving nature of the digital age, companies are proactively trying to transform themselves to meet the demands of this new environment. This transformation often involves projects aimed at leveraging new technologies and innovative work methods.

Project Management Certification

There is a wealth of resources available for project management training, accessible online, through books, and other periodicals. The Project Management Institute ( offers various exams and accreditations for project managers and team members. The Project Management Professional (PMP) accreditation is a globally recognized certification.

The PMP exam is comprehensive, covering essential topics like scheduling, budgeting, risk management, and procurement, among others. During my PMP exam preparation, I used my commuting time to study note cards crammed with vocabulary and process descriptions. To enhance motivation and comprehension, consider forming a study group. Discussing topics which are less exciting with peers can be more engaging and beneficial. Your first project can be to organize a study group and successfully pass the PMP exam!

Project management resources are widely available in Japanese as well. The Japanese chapter of the Project Management Institute ( is very active with lectures and other get-togethers. Project management used to be solely the domain of the construction/manufacturing industry, but it is now fully used within other industries.

Embracing an Agile Methodology

The saying “time is money” holds significant importance for companies, particularly concerning project management. Projects consume financial and personnel resources, prompting companies to prioritize completion to start reaping benefits sooner. Consequently, many organizations are adopting modern project methodologies like Agile, and hybrid approaches to expedite value realization.

The term “agile” embodies the ability to move swiftly and adapt readily to changes. In today’s project landscape, there are often more uncertainties than traditional methodologies can effectively handle. This unpredictability poses challenges for promptly and successfully accommodating changes during ongoing projects.

Projects can benefit from starting with a proof of concept (POC) phase. Before committing significant time, money, or resources, a small-scale POC is developed to assess its feasibility and potential value. The POC serves to demonstrate whether the proposed new product or process is viable, providing assurance to the project sponsor.

Additionally, companies are shifting towards a mindset where projects deliver tangible benefits throughout their lifecycle, rather than waiting for a final “big bang” at the end of the project. This approach ensures that value is realized incrementally, reducing risks associated with lengthy projects that yield minimal results. Moreover, the business community often emphasizes the importance of “failing fast and failing cheaply,” encouraging swift identification of unsuccessful projects to avoid prolonged investment in unproductive ventures.

Studying project management is valuable for learning the jargon and becoming acquainted with the fundamental concepts, even if you haven’t secured a job yet. Being proactive and prepared through continuous learning can position you to seize opportunities when they arise. This approach ensures that you are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to capitalize on the right opportunity when it comes your way.

Improve Your Digital Literacy

In addition to project management studies, major technology companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) offer a wide range of training and certification programs, some are free and others fee based. These programs cater to both the needs of business users and engineers.

Even if you are not aiming to become an IT engineer, having a foundational understanding of key technology concepts such as cloud computing, security, and data handling is increasingly essential for many job roles. Proficiency in areas like data analytics, targeted marketing, and customer experience/user design is now expected in marketing and sales positions.

A solid grasp of technology basics not only enhances your job readiness but also enables better collaboration with IT colleagues within the company. Given that much of today’s work is computer-based, embracing technology education can yield significant professional advantages.

Displaying badges and certificates from training programs on your professional profile adds credibility and expands networking opportunities by highlighting skills and knowledge to potential employers and industry peers. This proactive approach can pave the way for new career paths and professional growth.

Choosing an Online Learning Platform

The availability and quality of online learning platforms have significantly improved over time. When selecting a learning platform, several key factors should be considered before signing up, including course structure, content quality, availability of an online community for support, and cost.

While free resources like YouTube may seem appealing due to their accessibility, they often lack a structured and progressive learning format, making it challenging to assemble a coherent learning program. Paid courses, on the other hand, tend to be more engaging and of higher quality, offering a more comprehensive and guided learning experience.

Many online course providers offer free trials or refunds if you are not satisfied with the content. Some courses provide lifetime unlimited access, while others operate on a subscription basis with limited-time access. When choosing a learning platform, it’s important to weigh these considerations to ensure that you select a platform that aligns with your learning goals and provides the support and quality necessary for effective skill development.

Skillshare, Coursera, Udemy, Master Class and LinkedIn Learning are among the top names in the online learning community. This is not an endorsement, but I have used and been quite satisfied with the classes I have taken on Udemy. The content was thorough with plenty of videos, written materials, and exercises for the class.

Many companies are recognizing the value of online learning platforms and are offering free access to these sites within their company networks. Additionally, there are numerous niche platforms which specialize in specific topics such as Adobe products.

If you have specialized knowledge or skills that you would like to share, consider creating your own course on one of the learning platforms. This not only benefits others but also generates passive income over time. It’s a rewarding way to leverage your expertise and contribute to the online learning community.

Lastly, the project management and technology skills you learn while in Japan are applicable globally. Even if Japan isn’t your last stop, the expertise you pick up now can benefit you wherever you may land in the future.

Find a better job in Japan through Jobs in Japan.

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