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Job hunting tips for students in Japan

When applying for jobs through GaijinPot the two key points to remember are, write a professional and job specific cover letter and make sure that your resume is up to date and formatted properly.

Job hunting can be stressful enough in your own country!  Doing it in a foreign country may seem impossible, but follow these tips and you should have no problem landing a part time job in Japan. The best way to start is to signup on GaijinPot Jobs, as we have one of the largest listing of English speaking jobs in Japan.

When applying for jobs through GaijinPot there are two key points to remember.  Write a professional and job specific cover letter and ensure that your resume is up to date and formatted properly. Watch the video below for nine tips on writing the perfect resume.

When applying, read the job description in great detail.  Then, tailor your application and resume to show that you can fulfill the requirements.  Although some jobs may seem similar, like English teaching, each school is different.  They’re going to want someone who fits in with their goals!

Do some research on the company and look at their website if they have one.  Look at the kind of work they do and the kind of people that currently work there.  If you can show them that you understand their vision and why you would be a good candidate to work there, they will be impressed and will want to have you on for an interview.

Having a resume that shows you jumping around workplaces after a short amount of time is considered a very negative trait in Japan.

Obviously the most important thing is to find a job that will fulfill your needs and that you’ll enjoy doing.  Just taking any job that hires you is a great way to be unsatisfied and want to leave.  You don’t want a resume that shows you jumping around workplaces after a short amount of time.  It’s considered a very negative trait in Japan.  The only exception is if you worked for a specific period of time on a contract and successfully completed the term.

As a language student, it’s important for your employers to know about your class schedule and future plans.  Let them know in advance about the kind of hours you would be able to work, and if there is a possibility that your schedule will change in the future.  Also, what are you looking to do after you graduate?  Do you want to work or go to university?  Some employers may be interested in hiring you full-time in the future, or keeping you on while you are continuing to study, and may even start planning for it from the beginning, so be honest about everything!

In Japan there are essentially two types of jobs you’ll be applying for:

  • Where they want you to use English or your native language.
  • Where they expect you to use Japanese.

Fortunately, GaijinPot’s online application forms are in English and the employers will accept this so there is no need to worry about writing a resume in Japanese, which usually has to be hand-written and has very strict guidelines!  Do pay attention to how much Japanese you need, however.

Although there are too many job types to give specific information for in this article, here are some general tips on filling out the application form and writing your cover letter (or PR, as they say in Japanese):

  • Make sure the resume and cover letter is appropriate for the position
    • This is common sense, but even if your resume is impressive from an objective standpoint, you need to write it in a way that targets the position directly.  Don’t just use the same resume and cover letter for every single position.
  • Try to make it unique
    • Some positions can get hundreds of applications so it’s important to communicate your own unique characteristics and leave an impact.  Most experienced interviewers will notice right away if you’re just using a template and pass over your resume if you do.
  • List specific experiences
    • Any previous positions you have held or activities you have been a part of should try to be as relevant and persuasive as possible as to why it will help you in the position you are applying to.
  • Be professional
    • Don’t use casual expressions.  There is a good chance that the person reading your resume is not a native English speaker.  Write in a way that is easy to read and understand and don’t use overly complex jargon.
  • Mention things that you will want to talk about in the interview
    • Most of the time the interviewer will ask you questions directly from your resume, so try to think about stories you can tell about them.  It’s not their job to try and extract information from you!  Think about things you definitely want them to know about and make sure they see it right away.

Getting a job in Japan is a big step in regards to living here!  Working in a Japanese environment can give you a greater understanding of the culture.  Of course, there is also the possibility to greatly increase your Japanese level!  Keep reading our series about working in Japan to see what you should do once you get the interview!