How to be Successful in your Job Search in Japan!

  • HOW TO
  • Jobs in Japan may include: Administrative/Clerical positions, Business and Sales, Engineering and Technology, Teaching English, or labor works such as working in a factory, pretty much the same types of jobs available in your own country. Finding employment in Japan can be easy or hard for some.

    The following list might be a common-sense no-brainer but you should review them just in case, especially if you are planning to search for a job after arriving in Japan.

    1. Proper Visa Status

    If you are entering Japan with a Temporary Visitor’s Visa or a Tourist Visa, you’re lucked out. Seriously, even if you submit your resume to your prospective employer, they would eventually know the details of your current visa status and might not be interested in taking time with your application. There might possibly be a small chance for visa sponsorship if your background is interesting and you have high qualifications, even if you have a Temporary Visitor’s Visa or a Tourist Visa, the employer you are applying to might sponsor you a working visa.

    One should at least have a proper working visa, Working Holiday visa, a Long-Term Resident visa, or obtain a Student visa for part-time work. Either way, to stay in Japan longer than 90 days, you must have the proper visa status.

    2. Polish your CV and construct a Cover Letter

    Prepare your curriculum vitae in English and as well as Japanese resume (rirekisho). Keep all of the information within two pages and the Character References should be in the third page. In Japan, you may use a 4×3 (in centimeters) photo size on the right upper corner of your CV, and the paper should be A4 size. In the modern job market, resumes are chosen by employers and recruiters based on specific criteria, so be as detailed as possible, as most companies’ HR use an applicant tracking system.

    Things you should include in your Curriculum Vitae:

    • A header (Full name, Address, Contact number, and E-mail address)
    • Career objectives (keep it short)
    • Educational Background
    • Personal Information (such as birth date, visa status, nationality)
    • Work Experiences or Internships (include the company name, position, department, duration, and responsibilities and achievements)
    • Volunteer Work Experience (if applicable)
    • Qualifications (Seminars/Workshops attended, Key skills, and other notable achievements)

    Lastly, construct a cover letter indicating your optimism in applying to your prospective company. Choose your words carefully and of course, this should be in the most polite form of Japanese when applying to a Japanese company.

    3. Be involved in Volunteer Work

    Some may say that volunteer work is useless, but I think it is not the same with Japan. Volunteer work may increase your leverage and could make an impact on your resume. This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of work experience. It can give the impression to the employer that you are open in taking on new experiences. Be involved in your community and show your willingness to take part in world change. Here is the list of organizations in Japan that you may be interested to participate in:

    4. Take the TOEIC Test (For ESL – English as Second Language)

    If you do not come from a native English speaking country, the TOEIC test (Test of English for International Communication) is essential in Japan as this is used for measuring the English skills of people working in an international environment. The main test is composed of two sets: Listening (1 hour) and Reading (1 Hour). Most Japanese companies require a score of 800 and above. There is also an optional TOEIC Speaking and Writing test to boost your capabilities. You could include this in your resume under the qualifications area. The TOEIC score can give the job seekers or the employees a competitive edge and boost your confidence in the workplace. Register to an accredited TOEIC test center near you!


    5. Make Connections

    Everyone needs a friend or a professional acquaintance for networking. You could also try to meet people when you participate in a volunteer work, home stays, or when you are enrolled in a language school. It would give you an edge and you could have someone to rely on.

    6. Consider Teaching English

    You should consider a teaching position once you enter Japan. Teaching English to Japanese learners is one of the top jobs in Japan. It’s not hard to find job offers for English teaching position, just take a look at any Japan job website or apply directly to one of the major English conversation schools in your city (e.g. AEON, GABA, Interac). Aside from the English Native speakers in Japan, teaching positions for people who are ESL (English as Second Language) is quite competitive. Even though most of the companies who hire English instructors don’t require you to have a certification or a background in teaching, you should know that it is better if you acquire some background in teaching English. One option is try tutoring on your own by asking to teach others and by spreading the word.

    Obtaining a TESOL or CELTA certification would be a great way to start. As we all know that this would require a large amount of money, most recommend that you attend seminars or workshops in your home country, or if you are already in Japan, you could try registering to IIEEC Teacher Training Center which is in partnership with Oxford University Press for their Teacher Training Certificate Program which has a total of six workshops for 24,900 Yen. After attending the six workshops and completing a final self-assessment component (six reports and feedbacks) you are eligible to receive a Certificate of Completion from Oxford University Press and from the IIEEC Teacher Training Center (2 certificates). This workshop takes place every Summer and autumn only.

    Oxford University Press
    IIEEC Training Center

    7. Improve your Japanese Ability

    Lastly, the most important part in job hunting in Japan is your Japanese ability. If you’re in Japan, for sure you can’t avoid feeling inferior if your ability is not up to par. Some may feel that they need to keep pace in this country, and that’s the important thing! If you’re job hunting in Japan, and specifically in a Japanese company, you should be at least in a conversational level of Japanese and above. Some may not require this as they offer mentorships and training, but again, this could give you the edge! Think about the things you want in Japan and why you want to live and work in Japan, as this would be your driving force in studying Japanese.

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