How to write a Japanese resume by standard? Here is an A-to-Z guide

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  • Do you know that a Japanese standard resume is the first step to getting the job you want?

    Even if your Japanese ability is not very high, and your work experience is not very extensive, a curriculum vitae (“rirekisho” (履歴書) in Japanese) in the standard Japanese format will help you land a direct interview with the company you want to work for. Whether you pass the interview or not, you still will have accumulated a lot of interview experience and be able to face the recruiter without too much “butterfly-in-your-stomach” feeling. So, rirekisho is the very first tool you need to equip if you want to start finding a job in Japan.

    This article is a complete guide for you to write the most common Japanese standard resume! If you have finished reading the article and still do not feel confident enough to complete a rirekisho, please refer to some useful mobile applications here to tailor your rirekisho.

    Parts of the rirekisho

    Rirekisho has 8 parts:
    1. Basic personal information「基本情報欄」
    2. Education and working experience「学歴・職歴欄」
    3. Licenses and certificates「免許・資格欄」
    4. Interests and special skills 「趣味・特技」
    5. Reasons for applying「志望動機」
    6. Motivation「本人希望欄」
    7. Awards「賞罰欄」
    8. Commute time「通勤時間欄」
    9. Spousal support「扶養家族欄」
    10. Rirekisho photo「証明写真」

    1. Basic personal information


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    Date of application
    – Fill in the date of submission or the previous day (in case of mailing)
    – Fill in the date with the interview date if you bring a printed out rirekisho to the interview
    – Unify all dates in the rirekisho by Japanese era name (for instance, this ear is 令和[Reiwa]! )

    Full name
    – Write your full name in the correct order as in your passport or your Japanese residence card. It should be written in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
    – Depending on the rirekisho sample you use, write the transcription name as follows:
    + 「ふりがな」= write in Hiragana
    + 「フリガナ」= write in Katakana

    Date of birth
    Write your date of birth with the Japanese era name, calculate the age accordingly to the date of application of the rirekisho.


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    Current address
    – Fill in the address as it is on your Japanese residence card, do not miss the prefecture or postal code.
    – Fill in the name of the apartment, the number of the room even when you are living in a sharehouse or a dormitory.
    – Fill in the furigana transcription
    – Only fill in the “Contact” section (連絡先, renrakusaki) if your current address is different from the address on your residence card (在留カード, zairyu cado).

    Phone number and email
    – Write your mobile phone number to make it easier to contact you
    – Absolutely do not use company or other people’s phone number or email address
    – Do not use email addresses with too childish, cheesy or funny words in it. It looks unprofessional.

    2. Education and working experience


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    The first thing to note is that all dates must be recorded in Japanese era name (Heisei, Reiwa etc.). In addition, try to translate your school name and your major name as clearly as possible. If your school name is a place name, it is not necessary to translate. Company names don’t need to be translated either, but if the companies you had worked for have official names in Japanese (such as the abroad branch of a Japanese company, or a company having a lot of Japanese customers, etc.), you should write that name. If not, leave the company name in English.

    Finally, the words 「入学」 (entering school), 「卒業」 (graduation), 「入社」 (start working), 「退職」 (quitting) should be aligned straight from first to last.

    – Fill in starting from high school or vocational school, it is not necessary to include elementary and secondary schools.
    – The name of the school should not be abbreviated, for example, the high school must be written as「高等学校」(koto gakko), not abbreviated as「高校」(koko).
    – Write down your field of study/major so that the employer can figure out what you have learned.
    For example:
    – Rogers New Technology High School
    Rogers 新技術高等学校
    – University of Grenoble Alpes, major in Mechanical engineering
    Grenoble Alpes 大学・機械工学科

    Working experience
    For those graduating soon and have no working experience, you can leave this part blank, or include your internship if you have any. If you have working experience, please follow this guide below:
    – After the name of the company, write more about their business or industry and the number of employees to emphasize the scale of the company
    – Emphasize the content of work done related to the content of the job being applied
    – If the company name changes due to a merger or acquisition, enter the new company name and the date of the name change
    – If you have already informed your current company about your date of resignation, please fill in that date
    – If you are still working and have not announced your resignation, do not forget to write 「現在に至 る」 (“currently working”) and write 「以上」 (“end”) at the end of the right corner.
    – If you find that the “working experience” blank space is not enough for you to write down all of your experience, you can prepare a separate “Working Experience Table” (called「職務経歴書」, shokumu keirekisho) and only have to write in the rirekisho that「詳細は職務経歴書記入」 (details are written in the Working Experience Table).

    3. Licenses and certificates


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    – Write the name of the license or certificate first, then the level you have achieved.
    Example: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N2 = 日本語能力試験 N2
    – If you have many certificates, it is preferable to mention the certificates that are more relevant to the job you are applying for.
    – If you have few certificates, you should fill in the courses or examinations you participated in during classes.

    ◯◯試験を受けるため、現在勉強中 (currently studying for the exam ◯◯)
    ◯◯の取得にむけてセミナーを受講中 (currently participating in the seminar to get the certificate ◯◯)
    ◯月の△△試験合格に向けて勉強中  (currently studying to pass the exam △△ in month ◯)
    – How to distinguish 「取得」 (shyutoku, achieve), 「合格」 (gokaku, pass) and 「認定」 (nintei, certify)
    + 「取得」(shyutoku, achieve): Use for qualifications that you can’t work without. For example: Doctor, nurse, tax accountant, driver, etc.
    + 「合格」(gokaku, pass): Use when you have mastered certain things according to a certain standard. For example: TOEIC English exam, Japanese language proficiency test, Chinese exam, etc.)
    + 「認定」(nintei, certify): Use when you acquire knowledge according to a certain standard after a course or lesson. For example: Bartender, Microsoft system engineer etc.

    4. Interests and special skills


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    – Do not leave this blank because it can be a topic to talk about during your interview
    – Fill in what you’re really good at or have a deep knowledge of
    – If you have a lot of hobbies, prioritize which hobbies can be useful for company events, or interests that clearly show your personality.

    5. Reason for applying

    – Always remember to confirm the following points:
    [1] Do you know well the position that the company wants to recruit for and are you really suitable?
    [2] Did you mention some working experience that matches your current position?
    [3] Do you understand the strengths of the company you are applying for? And can that strength develop your career?
    [4] Is the strength consistent with the future vision and the direction of your career development?

    6. Motivation


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    – It is best to write the sentence「貴社規定でお願いいたします」(according to the company’s regulations) because you need a job. Once you have passed the interview and the probation period, you can negotiate the salary and other benefits.
    – In case the company is recruiting for many positions, you should specify the position you want to apply for.
    – If the working time is specified, such as customer service work, you should add that you are willing to adjust to the schedule that the company arranges, to express your will to work for the company.

    7. Awards

    – Fill in national (either in your home country or Japan) or international awards, and the rankings you have achieved, or merit certificates from organizations, local authorities, etc.
    – If you do not have one, just write「賞罰なし」

    8. Commute time

    – Usually 90 minutes is acceptable.
    – If you have to commute more than 90 minutes or the company asks you to move, you should write「内定後速やかに転居可能」(can quickly move after receiving naitei)

    9. Spousal support
    Mẫu đăng ký người phụ thuộc với Cục thuế và Cơ quan bảo hiểm


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    – Be honest about this point because it can affect your family’s benefits as well as your dependents’ taxes and insurance.
    – 「配偶者」is “wife or husband”, if you are married then choose「有」
    – 「配偶者の扶養義務」can be translated as “Spousal support obligation” so if your spouse has annual income of less than 1.3 million yen, you have an obligation to support them, then circulate「有」. On the contrary, circle「無」.
    – 「扶養家族数」can be understood as the number of your children, who have no income or income below 1.3 million yen per year.

    10. Rirekisho photo


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    You can use photo capture software and print cheap photos – it is explained in more detail in the article about useful mobile applications for making rirekisho. You also need to know some rules about the photos as follow:
    + The size of the photo is 40mm x 30 mm
    + Photos have to be taken within the last 3 months
    + The best background color is a simple green, gray or white


    Hope you will no longer feel afraid to write or update your rirekisho, as you have a guide to help you. Wish you success in the process of finding the ideal job in Japan!