Things to put on your resume: college attended, previous work experience, favorite pop idol

By Casey Baseel

Job hunting is a concentrated, intense process in Japan. In general, major companies all do their recruiting during the same, single stretch of the year, which runs through winter and early spring. Most college students try to line up a job roughly a year before graduation, and those who fail to have a doubly difficult road ahead, as not only will they have to wait a year to try again, being a year or more older than other candidates is considered a black mark against an individual.

With so much pressure on them, job hunters should be happy to learn of what may be a new secret weapon they can implement in trying to land their dream job: make it completely clear that they love idol singers.

At first glance, this seems like a risky maneuver. Sure, more people than ever are proudly owning their otaku or geekish tendencies, but compared to people who love anime or video games, idol otaku are far more likely than most other obsessive fanbases to give the average Japanese person the creeps. Even train and railways nuts are at least considered to have a periphery fascination with engineering, which can give them a leg up on their competition for jobs in that field.

If you’re old enough to need a job, though, many would say you’re old enough to have outgrown frilly-costumed vocal units. Some experts even argue that not only is going on at length about your hobbies in a job interview unprofessional, if your specific leisure activities rub the interviewer the wrong way, you might be pigeonholing yourself as someone whose personality and values wont mesh with those of the company at large.

Still, at least one music industry professional thinks the experiences of idol otaku give them a set of advantages over other job hunters. Nico Nico News reports that the unnamed insider went so far as to say, “I’d like them to make clear that they’re idol otaku during their interviews.”

We’re guessing he means you should mention the names of the groups you like, not show up for the interview wearing your special concert-going happi coat over your suit jacket.

But just what can young job seekers learn from their love of idols, aside from the exact timing of where to shout “Kyun!” during their stage performances? For one, the anonymous music professional says they have a unique understanding of how to drum up sales, even in a slow economy.

Part of the reasons the most popular idol units’ sales are so high is because the industry figured out a way to convince fans to buy multiple copies of the exact same CD. Recently, it’s become common practice for groups to hold sweepstakes for the chance to shake hands with the members of the troupe, or for fans to have a Polaroid snapshot taken with their favorite member. When promotions like this are going on, each extra CD a person buys gives them one more chance at being chosen for these enviable honors, therein encouraging the most dedicated fans to snap up as many copies as they can.

This is also why shortly after the winners of these contests are determined, used CD shops get flooded with idol CDs. By that point, though, the record label’s already got its sales, and being able to unload their extra copies gives fans that much more cash for, you guessed it, the band’s next release.

From a pure marketing standpoint, it’s a pretty ingenious system. We suppose it’s possible that after so much exposure, hardcore idol fans are more likely than others to see the potential upsides of such tactics, even though we’re not entirely sure this makes them any better at developing their own.

The second thing that purportedly makes idol otaku more employable is their familiarity with unique and modern ways of spreading information and getting a company’s product into the public consciousness. The music exec describes idol fans as being on the “cutting edge” in this field, pointing to how fans search Twitter for the latest info about their favorite groups, or how free CDs are passed out for up and coming idol units at the concerts of more established performers.

Again, though, while these are all great brand-building strategies, we’re not sure that years spent on the consuming end will inevitably translate into being able to produce the same success. For example, we enjoy a cold beer as much as anyone does, but that hardly makes us qualified to open our own brewery, seeing as how our understanding of the brewing process is hops plus barley plus magic equals fun.

Most ironic of all, though, is the theory that idol otaku have latent yet powerful social skills. The popular image, after all, of hardcore fans is that they’re mumbling, awkward types for whom eye contact is about as frequent as alien contact.

However, the music exec once again points to handshake events and other opportunities for fans to meet idols face-to-face. It’s no secret that many idol otaku harbor romantic feelings for their favorite singer. For many, being selected to shake hands is a rare 0.000000001% chance of forming a personal connection, and they’re not going to let it go to waste.

While some may go to laughable extremes, this comfort in putting themselves out there and attempting to do something that makes them more likely to be remembered can be a huge asset when it comes to interviewing for a job. The largest companies in talk with hundreds of applicants every year, and even in comparatively conformist Japan, an increasing number of recruiters are expressing frustration at candidates’ inability to distinguish themselves from each other.

All else equal, being “the guy who really likes idols” might be enough to help a person stand out and get called back for the next round of interviews.

Sources: Jin, Nico Nico News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Elitism divides otaku culture as the popularity of Japanese pop idols expands -- How to date an idol: A guide to the highly improbable -- Restaurant combines delicious sushi with live performances by J-pop idols


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Um, ok. Don't know about anyone else, but I'd rather be hired because I'm the best candidate for the job, not because I'm a Kotoko fan. Besides, I'm 6'5", I don't think I have any trouble standing out.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Is it really a good idea to write on your resume something akin to "I am obsessed with underage girls dancing in bikins"?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why are they so restricted to winter and spring for recruiting staff? Bit blinkered if you ask me. people leave, work increases, there will always be openings for new staff throughout the year. Daft.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Never having problems in getting a job I wouldn't know how to respond to this article.

However, if I think myself as a "recruiter" or someone who has to evaluate a person for his performance, I can see how saying something like this would help a recruit, I mean, otakus and idol fans have some ideal characteristics for some jobs, like when you need someone who is clean and neat at classification, or someone who is has to deal with strong personalities, having such a "hobby" makes them more concentrated and not prone to conflict... besides, it seems to me that many applicants use some formulas and standard answers so it is difficult to distinguish them...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Meh. I'll stick with listing myself as the 2006 Time Magazine Person of the Year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Including "hobbies" are sometimes OK on a resume. However, it's fair game to ask in the interview "so what is it about ____idol that inspires you?". Chances are the candidate will say some inane comment about their "cuteness" which is utterly uninspired and boring. Fail.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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