Monday, December 07, 2009

Toast 2009 goodbye and say hello to a healthier and wealthier 2010!


Sorry for not posting my blog sooner, I was involved in revamping my company's IT system, creating a new website and other projects in the past few months.

We are now approaching the end of the full horror of 2009 and there are signs of momentum in the Tokyo job market. International companies in Japan are starting to realize that there is a limit to do “more with less” when it comes to staffing. Companies with headcount and recruiting budgets are trying to hire the best out of the hundreds or thousands of resumes they are receiving each month. Certainly there are many candidates in the job market who have been unemployed for more than 6 months and realizing that flexibility and persistence are the key elements to getting the interview and ultimately an offer. Partnering with a reliable agent with good contacts and strong channels will certainly help increasing your chances in landing a good job during this difficult times.

In terms of the big picture, the US finally showed some growth in the third quarter which was the strongest in the past few years.
Stock markets are showing signs of hope and we can see the Dow Jones hovering just over the 10,000 mark consistently. Countries like India and Taiwan which were hit hardest by the downturn are now showing signs of great improvement with nearly 10% growth. With the recent Dubai Crisis, it will be affecting markets abroad but I doubt it will have a severe global impact like we all felt in the fall of 2008 and early this year.

Al’s predictions for 2010:

The US Economy will steadily improve with a slight decrease in unemployment, the famed jobless recovery will apply here again. Talking to some analysts, they feel that the worst is over and the storm has passed but I predict it will take a little longer before we bask in the sunshine again. So, save the champagne for the third of fourth quarter of 2010.

Japan already experienced growth in the third quarter but now needs to tackle deflation. According to the Finance Minister, Hirohisa Fujii,
“ The recent price falls are not right and worrisome”. He is highlighting the fact that Japan’s economy is being severely affected by falling prices, excess capacity and a soon to be crippling deflation which may lead to more restructuring with large Japanese companies. If I were working for any of the big Japanese leading companies, I would be preparing my resume and/or my early retirement strategy as well as thinking about a second career. The wait and see attitude might not payoff this time around. I predict Japan will suffer from deflation in the coming three quarters.

This year in 2009, we saw several major consumer/luxury brand companies pull out of Japan while expanding operations in China. I believe we will be seeing more of this as Japanese consumer trends will continue to go toward the casual, less expensive, mass-produced and away from the megabrands. The Japanese have discovered H&M, IKEA and COSTCO and they’re liking it.

The IT industry will be steady with an increasing demand for contract workers with most of the jobs coming from the software, mobile and web related sectors.

Healthcare / Pharmaceutical and Medical Device will have continued growth with jobs for MRs, Medical specialists, Regulatory, Quality Assurance and related positions.

There will be continued demand for experienced engineers, accountants, HR professionals, legal specialists and sales professionals. These are the typical types of jobs that seem to be available in downturns. 2010 we will see more positions for marketing / advertising and PR specialists which we have been receiving in recent months.

Several top level Japanese executives said to me recently that Japan is finished and we are now seeing the beginning of the end. I disagree as there is plenty to boast about Japan’s technological edge in key areas, investment in R&D, political stability, educated workforce, purchasing power parity, household saving rate and with more reforms on the way. I am sure Japan will make a modest but noticeable recovery in 2010.

I wish you continued success for the remainder of 2009 and best wishes for the holiday season!!!


Al Isago Parvez
CEO & Representative Director
Advance Inc.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Japan emerges from recession

Japan's economy grew 3.7 percent on an annualized basis from April to June this year, the first time the world's second largest economy has seen positive growth in 15 months.

The announcement of preliminary figures by Japan's Cabinet Office comes after France and Germany surprised economists last week by posting 0.3 percent growth for the second quarter of the year.

The news that Japan has rebounded -- the hardest hit of the major economies because of its reliance on exports -- gives economists cautious optimism that the worst of the global recession is over.

"The economy has seen a bottoming out of global demand, which has pushed out net exports ... especially in high tech industries and basic materials, such as chemical, steel and so on because of Chinese demand," said Hiromichi Shirakawa, chief economist in Japan for Credit Suisse.

Japan's GDP grew just under 1 percent during the three-month period and trade increased 1.6 percent.

The Japanese economy was buoyed by a historic ¥15 trillion ($150 billion) stimulus package in May, which included unemployment benefits, aid to struggling companies, promotion of green industries and a variety of tax breaks.The uptick marks the end of the worst recession in Japan since the end of World War II. Japan's GDP fell at a record pace during the January-March quarter, when GDP was 15.4 percent lower than the same time period last year.

"There are many times in the past when tax breaks and fiscal stimulus were offered and failed, but this time around, it worked," Shirakawa said.

Economists expect GDP to continue modest growth through the rest of the year, especially with an expected rebound in global auto sales this quarter. But whether the recovery can continue into the new year after the stimulus package runs its course remains a question.

"Japan's economy still is quite sensitive to global demand ... and for consumer demand to grow on a self-sustained basis still seems unlikely," Shirakawa said

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Market Update 8-06-2009

Greetings from Advance!

Hoping you are taking time to enjoy the Summer this year. We're busy with new positions and currently working on 50 job openings ranging from Junior level Engineers to Country Manager. Feel free to inquire with us for details.

Job Market Outlook:

The unemployment in Japan has jumped to its highest level for six years, which will undoubtedly hamper the country's recovery for the coming months. The number of workers unemployed has risen to 31% (3.5 million people) which means that job availability is at a record low of 43 positions for every 100 job seekers which was announced by the Japanese government in late July, 2009.

This means that candidates who are searching for a new job need to be more aggressive and flexible than ever. Having a well-formatted and well-written resume with bulleted points showing clear achievements, accomplishments and outlining your level of responsibility in details. If you are in advertising, consumer goods, architecture, brand management or a chef then having an impressive portfolio in addition to your resume would sure to help you make a long lasting impact during the interview.

I still meet people who still think its the 90s when jobs were plentiful during the IT boom and don't want to face up to reality that the job market and the world has changed. What you want to do and what you can do and what is out there for you are completely different in this new world. You may need to come down a step or two on the corporate ladder in order to go up once the economy recovers. Your pride and ego should be held in check and monitored while keeping your motivation and confidence up during this time. Forget about what position you had before or what you lost financially or status, it is time to move on and have a positive and realistic outlook for your future.

Feel free to check out our new job openings posted on CareerCross!

We're looking forward to hearing from you.

Have a great and productive week!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What if your interview is tomorrow?

Greetings from Advance! 

We are busy working on about 40 open positions and now actively recruiting for IT Sales, Network Engineers, Medical Reps, Regulatory Affairs Specialists and many others.  Feel free to contact us if interested.  

Here's an interesting article I read recently which has some good tips for candidates. 

Have a great day! 


What if your interview is tomorrow?

Adapted from Monster Careers: Interviewing

Even if you have less than a day before your job interview, you can outshine the competition with a little preparation. The following four tasks will take you about four hours (plus five minutes) to complete, and you'll walk into the interview confident you'll be successful.

Conduct Basic Interview Research

Find out as much as you can about the interview. Call the person who scheduled your appointment and ask:

  • Who will you be talking to? Will you meet the manager you'd work for, or will you just talk to HR? What are the interviewer's expectations?
  • What's the dress code? Dress better than suggested. Most times, it's best for men to wear a suit and women to wear a professional business outfit. You'd be amazed how many candidates show up looking like they're going to class, not presenting a professional demeanor.
  • Get directions to the office. Plan to leave early. Keep a phone number to call if you get stuck on the bus or in traffic. If you arrive late and stressed, the interview will not go well.
  • If you don't have a detailed job description, ask for one.

That's a five-minute phone call.

Learn About the Company Online

Do some fast Web research, which will give you something to talk about in addition to the job description. Go to the employer's Web site, or search the Web for information such as:

  • How big is the company in terms of annual sales or employees?
  • What does the company say about its products or services?
  • What recent news (such as a new product, a press release, an interview with the CEO) can you discuss?
  • If the company is public, the boilerplate at the bottom of its press releases will tell you a lot.

Basic research should take you about an hour.

Think of Some Stories

Write down and memorize three achievement stories. Tell about times you've really felt proud of an achievement at work or school. These stories demonstrate all those hard-to-measure qualities like judgment, initiative, teamwork or leadership. Wherever possible, quantify what you've done, e.g., "increased sales by 20 percent," "cut customer call waiting time in half," "streamlined delivery so that most customers had their job done in two days."

By the way, nonwork achievement stories are good too; if you volunteer for the local food pantry, write down a time you overcame a big challenge or a crisis there.

Achievement stories make you memorable, which is what you want. There's an exercise inMonster Careers: Interviewing called "Mastering the Freestyle Interview," which helps you develop these stories into compelling sales points.

Take the time you need -- at least three hours on this task.

Pick Your Outfit, and Go to Bed Early

Lay out your interview outfit the night before, get a good night's rest, and always get an early start. The last thing you want is to arrive at the interview flustered and panicked because you couldn't find a parking spot.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Our updated job posting on CareerCross!

We just updated our job postings on CareerCross! Feel free to contact us with your inquiries and you may send us your resumes to: 

Thank you and have a great week! 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Meet JAL’s cafeteria-eating CEO

I thought I should share this article from CNN with you of a great CEO. He is truly an inspiration. AL
Posted: 905 GMT

You don’t really notice Haruka Nishimatsu when he passes you in the hall. A middle-aged man in a suit, he blends into the working crowd at Japan Airline’s headquarters in Tokyo.

JAL President Haruka Nishimatsu, center, shares a light moment in front of a jet engine.
JAL President Haruka Nishimatsu, center, shares a light moment in front of a jet engine.

“Why should I stick out?” Nishimatsu says out loud to me.

“Well, you are the CEO and Chairman of this multi-billion dollar international airline,” I replied.

“So?” says Nishimatsu. “That doesn’t make me special.”

That philosophy, that he’s just like everyone else trying to make it through Japan’s recession, is why he takes the city bus to work, eats in the cafeteria with his employees and strolls through the operations room at the airport. When the company looked to cut costs, he eliminated every single expensive perk of his job. He took away the corner office and chauffeur. Then he slashed his pay dramatically, so that in 2007 he made less than his pilots.

JAL can use every penny it saves. This fiscal year, the airline expects to lose $34 million dollars after passenger traffic fell 20 percent and cargo loads fell 40 percent. It’s a global company that lives and dies by the direction of the global consumer and economy.

“I understand there are different conditions in terms of the economy for each country, but I think these economic issues need to be solved globally, rather than solved country by country,” says Nishimatsu. “I hope the G20 will give a clear direction to the global economy.”

Nishimatsu also believes the solution must begin with the financial institutions and continue to tighter regulations.

But he points to corporate culture as the long-term solution. Like the AIG bonuses, Nishimatsu says, “shocked” him. “It’s like they’re from another planet,” he says.

A lesson of this recession, he hopes, will be that corporations don’t solely pursue profit and instead focus on the long-term financial health of the company and employ people and help society. Together with shared sacrifice, he believes, the global economy will recover — but only if everyone from the CEO to the entry-level employee works together.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Our new job postings on CareerCross


Please visit our page on CareerCross and check out our new positions!

Al Isago Parvez
CEO & Representative Director 
Advance Inc. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Japan's Unemployment rate 4.4 percent in February

TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Japan's unemployment rate jumped to 4.4 percent in February, reversing a decline seen the previous month, the government announced Tuesday.

Japanese unemployment, had declined to 4.1 percent in January from 4.3 percent in December. Several analysts considered that a fluke, however, since other economic indicators were in sharp retreat.

The ratio of jobs to applicants fell in February to 0.59, meaning an average of 100 people were seeking 59 available jobs, according to new data.

By comparison, January's figure was 0.67, making February's decline the worst month-to-month drop since 1974.

In addition, household spending fell 3.5 percent from the previous February but was a slight improvement from January's 5.9 percent decline. Consumer spending on furniture, clothing, medical care and food were the sharpest declin

Tuesday is the end of the Japanese fiscal year. Analysts say that is likely to mean more job cuts and more unemployment.

Japan's economy officially entered a recession in November.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I found this interesting article and wanted to share it with you. I think there are some good tips and advice here for all job seekers.  


Advance Inc. 

Spring Cleaning for Your Resume

Spring is in the air. It's the time of year when you wipe off the winter dust and let the sun shine in. Before you get all excited (yeah, right) about tackling the filth in your home, grab your resume and a pen. The first cleanup project this year should be your resume. 

The Look 

Whoever says looks don't matter hasn't been out on the job search battlefield lately. You have to use every possible advantage to compete in today's job market. 

Make sure your resume looks polished. Be daring. Make your achievements stand out with bold type. Looks do count if you want to be picked for an interview. 


Does your resume look old and withered? Has it grown to three or four pages over time? Do you still list your first job after college graduation? Give your resume a facelift by condensing your background. Take some years off your resume by limiting your job history to the past 10 years. Summarize the rest of your experience with one general paragraph. A lighter, more updated look should open more doors. 

Today's Terminology 

Does your resume still refer to the affirmative action plan you wrote back in the 1980s? Do outdated terms and acronyms appear throughout your resume? 

Terminology changes from year to year, so be sure your resume reflects current trends. For example, today's employers are searching for HR people with diversity experience. Your experience with a company's affirmative action plan may fall in that category, but if an employer searches its database using the word "diversity," you won't make the cut. Update the terminology on your resume so you don't miss opportunities. 

Scanning Is Here to Stay 

In the old days of manual resume screening, it was important to fill your resume with action words such as "created" or "managed." Today, resumes are typically scanned into resume databases. Action words are out and nouns are in. 

If you dust off your resume every year or two, you can avoid the unpleasant task of doing a time-consuming major resume blowout. Get it right this year, and next year you might be able to spend the time shopping for a new spring wardrobe.

        By Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What to Wear for Job Interviews

What to Wear for Job Interviews

You have a job interview in five minutes. You've learned everything about the company, you're prepared for any questions they ask, and you even arrived a few minutes early. You couldn't be more ready.

But when you stop in the restroom for a last look in the mirror, your mind starts racing: "Am I dressed the way I should be for this interview?"

"In an interview situation, you're marketing yourself as a product, and so you want and need to have the best image possible," says Amy Glass, a trainer and coach at Brody Communications Ltd. of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, and an expert on presentation skills, business etiquette, professional presence and interpersonal communication.

Presenting a professional image is more about doing your homework than spending money. So as you prepare for your interview, keep these wardrobe tips in mind.

It's OK to Ask What to Wear

In many traditional industries, like finance or accounting, business professional dress will be appropriate: A conservative suit, shirt and tie if you're a man, or a conservative suit if you're a woman, with -- perhaps -- personality shown through your shirt or jewelry, Glass says. In other industries such as advertising, public relations, graphic design and information technology, what to wear might be less clear. If that's the case, Glass says, ask about the company's general dress policies when you're first contacted about an interview.

"You can say to the person you speak with, 'I want to make sure I understand your company culture and dress appropriately,'" Glass notes. "It's not a bad thing at all. In fact, it shows respect."

If in doubt, err on the conservative side. "I've been overdressed at times, and that can be uncomfortable," Glass says. "But that's much better than being underdressed."

Shop Smart

You don't have to buy several suits for different interviews at the same company. In many instances, you can get by with one suit combined with what Glass calls a "capsule dressing" strategy -- varying what you wear with the suit each time.

"If I'm a young woman and I invest in a nice black pantsuit, I could use that one suit for interviews, but change the shirt, jewelry or scarf each time," says Glass.

You Don't Need to Spend a Fortune

Visit higher-end stores, like Nordstrom's or Neiman Marcus, to look at interview wardrobe possibilities, Glass says. But when you're ready to buy something and money is tight, head for the outlet stores.

When considering your purchasing options look not so much at the specific price tags on various garments, but at the "cost per wearing," suggests Glass.

"Suppose you see a suit that's $150. If it's a trendy cut and it wasn't made of great fabric, you might be able to wear it once a month for two years. So your cost per wearing is fairly high. If you buy something for $300 instead, in a cut that will last longer -- not trendy but not old-fashioned either, and not screaming the year it was made -- your cost per wearing goes down dramatically. So don't look at the original price so much as how long the piece will be useful to you."

Don't Neglect Accessories

If you have leather shoes, Glass says, make sure they're shined. If you have suede shoes, make sure they're brushed. And if your shoes are five years old, have the soles redone at a shoemaker. If you have a leather briefcase and it's still in good shape, now's the time to use it. If you don't, a nice portfolio binder will do just fine.

Will all the effort and expense you put into looking the part during your interview make any difference? Absolutely, Glass says. In fact, it's essential.

"Your image matters because it shows your attentiveness to detail and gives recruiters an idea of how you'll represent their company to clients, both internally and externally," Glass concludes. "The visual message you send makes a big difference in how you're perceived and, ultimately, whether or not you get the job."

Monday, March 09, 2009

Pet's Portrait Campaign

We are collaborating again with the famous photographer, David Stetson and the French Conceptor, Francoise Lions in a photo shoot for you and your pet. Please see the details below. 
I will be getting my photos done on March 15th! Please contact us or David Stetson if you'd like to make an appointment. 

Hope to hear from you soon.

Advance Inc. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Career Camp 2009


We had the great opportunity to participate in Career Camp 2009 which is an online forum organized by Douglas E. Welch of Career Opportunities Podcast / Website:

Here's a link to our space on the forum:

Thanks for listening. 


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Special Portrait Campaign in Tokyo - Feb.10th~Mar.18th 2009

Advance Inc. proudly partners with the French Producer/Conceptor, Francoise Lions and renowned British fashion &  portrait photographer David Stetson in their campaign in Tokyo. David Stetson has spent his career photographing top models and celebrities for the world's leading magazines.  His impressive portfolio includes thousands of photographs of people of all nationalities and walks-of-life.  From February 10th through March 18th, you can have the opprtunity to have a great portrait taken for for JPY 25,000(including tax) for two portraits.
Please call 03-6416-8262 or our office at 03-5795-0866 to commission a portrait of yourself or that special person or your company employees to make an ever-lasting impression.  Please mention that you were referred by Advance Inc. when scheduling an appointment. 

Location:  Stetson Studio/Gallery 1-45-13 Tomigaya, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0063 
Closest station: Yoyogi-Koen Exit#3 (chiyoda line) 03-6416-8262

Happy Valentines!

Al Isago Parvez
Advance Inc. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Open position list update 1-26-2009

The new year started off quite well for us despite the economic crisis and the continuing hiring freezes with a number of clients.  We are still active in the IT sector with positions for software engineers, project managers, sales and a few marketing positions which are keeping us quite busy.  

Here is a list of open positions, feel free to inquire for details: 
  1. 3G and Radio Access Engineer (RAN) 
  2. HR specialist - Payroll 
  3. Marketing/PR for software 
  4. Security software engineer 
  5. LINUX engineer 
  6. Country Manager - Telecommunications related firm (part-time) 
Luxury Brand/Consumer goods
  1. Visual Merchandiser 
  2. Shop/Boutique Manager 
  3. Watch Technician 
  4. Sales Promotion Specialist 
  5. PR Specialist 
  6. Stage/production designer 
  1. Executive Chef - Oita, Kyushu
  2. F&B (food & beverage) Manager - Oita, Kyushu
  3. Golf Resort / Hotel GM - Hokkaido
  4. Hospitality Sales Manager - Tokyo
  1. Accountant- Assistant manager of accounting 
  2. Junior Accountant 
  3. Bookkeeper 
  4. Financial Controller 
  5. Financial Analyst 
The Advance Team has always a high sense of urgency, sincere to the needs of our clients and candidates and always keeping a watchful eye on good job opportunities. So, keep your spirits high, your feet on the ground and stay focused during this turbulent time. Call us anytime for free consultation by phone or make an appointment. 

We look forward to receiving your updated resume and welcome you to register with us. 

Best wishes for the New Year!


Al Isago Parvez
CEO & Representative Director 
Advance Inc. ( Now celebrating our 11th year) 

Update on the Japan Market as of 1-26-2009

Economic data and events this week once again pointed to a sharp deterioration in the economy and unusual financial conditions. Trade statistics for December reveal a continuing, historic nosedive in exports, while the Senior Loan Officer Survey indicates that key capital markets remain dysfunctional and banks are tightening lending standards. In this context, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) decided to assume more credit risk in order to support corporate financing, while revising down its growth/inflation outlook substantially. However, we are skeptical that the BoJ’s “credit easing” will have a meaningfully positive impact on overall financial conditions.