Originally Posted by FinalEvangelion
@Kiratsukai - Thanks for the input as usual. This next semester / summer is when I will be going through my application process. Does having some experience in the Japanese language and having lived there help or hurt things? I've heard both sides. Some say they want people who are "virgin" to the Japanese culture and language.
Japanese language ability and travel experience are both a plus, I'd imagine... though a lot depends on what the individual school boards request in their ALTs. Some prefer blank slates. Others want applicants who can handle themselves without much help in a Japanese community or workplace.
Though either way, the pool of applicants without Japanese experience is much larger than the pool who has it. Chances are there is more demand for the language-experienced.
I've never heard of people being turned away for lack of interest or background in Japan. I was a Japanese Studies major who had lived in Japan for 2 years prior and had studied abroad in Tokyo and I made short-list no problem.
I'm told that recruiters focus on three things:
1) Teaching or tutoring experience, certifications/degrees, or any educational training
2) Travel experience, experience living abroad (anywhere in the world)
3) Sincerity of interest in either teaching English or Japan/Japanese.
If you can demonstrate at least two of the three in your application essay and interview you should be golden.