Are you looking for a job in a Japanese company? A resume is vital in applying for a job – it will either get you hired or rejected. Of course, you want to get the employer’s attention according to how Japanese people do. So how can you make an effective resume that will get an employer’s attention in Japan?
You might have created your own resume, but a Japanese resume is not what you are generally used to. Worry no more! We will teach you how to do it. But first, we will discuss what employers usually require from applicants regarding their resume. Of course, we don’t want you to commit the same mistake others have made, and so we have included some points that you should keep in mind.
Types of Japanese Resumes
There are two (2) common types of resumes that Japanese people use. These are the following:
Rirekisho is a document that looks like, but is not exactly the same as what some may know as bio-data (a form that you can download online or buy from convenience stores). It is considered to be the traditional type of resume usually required by companies from applicants with little to no work experience like students who are looking for part-time jobs and fresh graduates.
This type is inspired by Western countries. Many consider this as the modern type of resume where you can write the details in your own style. Japanese companies require this type of resume from applicants who have been working for several years, to best understand their acquired skills and experiences. Aside from the detailed work experience, having a shokumukeirekisho will also allow applicants to include in their resume the projects they have handled, the tools they have used, and the tasks they have experienced doing in line with the job they are applying for.
These resumes are written in the Japanese language, so the question goes as to how to write these types of resumes.
How to Write Japanese Resume
- Attached photo. Other nationalities don’t like attaching photos to their resume but in Japan, it is a requirement and it is normal for applicants to abide by what is required. This will also be helpful to recruiters to assess your application even before meeting you, according to the job requirement.
- Date. The date should be written in the Japanese traditional calendar format, known as the nengo system, which refers to traditional Japanese periods, like Heisei or Reiwa. For example, 2020 will be written as Reiwa 2. Also, the Japanese write their date in the order of the year, month, then day. So, for example, May 22nd, 2020 would be written as 2020 (Reiwa 2)/5/22. If you are to submit a copy of your resume during the interview, write the interview date instead of when you created it. There are times the creation date is acceptable, but it is best to update it on the date it will be submitted or sent.
- Name. It is usual that a name in Japan is written with your surname first and followed by your first name. You can follow the same format.
- Birth date and age. Birth date should be written in nengo system, the same with the date above. Age should be updated, your current age as the resume will be submitted.
- Home address. Write your Japan address in complete detail and no abbreviation.
- Phone number. Provide both telephone and mobile phone numbers, if you have both. If you are still outside Japan or even if you are in Japan and yet you don’t have a Japanese phone number yet, make sure to include your country code.
- Contact information. This can be your alternative home address or email address. If the home address is the same as the alternative, you can write “same as above”.
- Education. Write the year you started and the year you have completed each education you have taken and the official name of the school you went to. This should be written with the previous education first, usually starting from high school. But, if you are a student or a fresh graduate, with no previous work experience, include your elementary school as the first on the list. If you have taken a language course, include it only if it is more than six (6) months. Remember that the form has limited space.
- Work history. Include in your work history the date you were hired and the date you left, the company’s name, and your position. It is also advisable to include the number of employees of each company after each name. This will give the impression that because you have joined a big company, you are capable of doing the job.
- Under the license/qualification box, write your accomplishments which include your certifications and license, even your driver’s license.
- Motivation. This is one of the most important parts. In this area, you have to state what motivates you to apply for the job. This is your chance to sell yourself, tell the company why you are interested to join them and why they should hire you. If you are applying to several companies, you have to personalise your answer for each company on this part.
- Travel or commute time. Write down how long it will take you to go from your home to the workplace. Choose the fastest route and if you are new in Japan, this will need extensive research on your part, either online or using a mobile application. This will show a good impression of how interested you are in working for the company.
- Request/desire. You can either leave this blank or state any work-related matter such as work location, work hours, or your desired salary.
Although this type of resume has similarities with Western resumes, it is not a mere translation of English to the Japanese language. So how can you make this type of resume?
- Basic details. On top of your shokumukeirekisho, indicate the job title you are applying for at the top center followed with the submission or mailing date, your name, and contact information (may consist of either your phone/mobile number or email address or both) which are aligned to the right.
- Summary. This is a summary of your professional experience. Make this brief but clear. Introduce yourself in a manner that will make your application appealing to the recruiters when they read it and will give them the reason why they should consider you for the position.
- Work history. This is not just a list of the companies you have worked for. Unlike in rirekisho where you only get to write the basic details of your work history, such as the name of the company you worked for, your job role, and the date you were with them, you also have to write in shokumukeirekisho the industry of the company, the number of its employees and its annual profit. Under each of that background, include your responsibilities and what you have achieved. For IT developers, you have to include the projects you were involved in, your role in the project, project overview, and the tools you have used.
- Skills and certification. There are some jobs that require applicants to be professionally certified like programmers, engineers, and medical personnel. You also can include the languages you know and your proficiency, especially in the Japanese language.
The Dos and Don’ts
Rirekisho is usually asked from applicants who have no work experience, like students and fresh graduates, or by companies with a few employees or small businesses. Big and populous corporations, or non-Japanese companies, would either require just a copy of your shokumukeirekisho or a rirekisho with shokumukeirekisho attached to it. Sometimes, it depends on their instruction stated in their job post.
- To attach a proper photo. Bear in mind that the photo you will attach in your Japanese resume should look professional and trustworthy and realistic. This means that your photo should be unedited, how you look in your photo will show how you will look in person. Wear a dark suit and light-colored undershirt, and keep your hair from covering your face. The background should be plain, would show just yourself, with no one in the background (some would submit a photo that was cropped from a group picture). Its size should be 4 x 3 cm.
- Do keep your resume page up to two (2) pages or three (3) as the most. Recruiters will lose interest in seeing 3 pages or more unless you have a lot of projects handled in your field.
- Do write your resume in the Japanese language, unless the job advertisement was written in English and the instruction did not include writing it in Japanese.
- Don’t submit a crumpled or messy resume. Make it neat and clean, easy to read. Don’t fold or bend it, instead, put it in a big folder, according to its size. A tip to make your resume neat is to write points in bullets and in proper order. Also, it can be unavoidable to commit a mistake in writing your Japanese resume. If you do, rewrite your resume and don’t submit a copy with an erasure. An effective way to avoid mistakes in writing your resume is to keep yourself from any distractions, write it where you can be alone.
- Do use a single black pen when writing your resume. Handwriting a resume is more effective as it shows your diligence.
- Do write the date correctly. Though it was mentioned above, never forget to write the dates in this format: year/month/day.
- Don’t be rude or impolite. When you write your summary or request, do it politely and respectfully.
- Don’t photocopy your resume and submit to different companies. It implies laziness, a characteristic that the Japanese don’t like. Personalize your application for each company. This involves knowing more about the company and why they are hiring for the role you are applying for.
- Don’t be dishonest. If you can’t speak or write in Japanese, be honest. Don’t also lie about your address and the type of visa you have. It will give a negative impression on yourself when you are invited to interview and the recruiter will find out the truth. Though it will give you a chance to get noticed, once the company finds that you did something wrong, you will be blacklisted.
- Don’t include unnecessary things not related to the job ad. Don’t also say that you want to learn or gain experience from that company. This can be interpreted that you are pursuing your own interest rather than that of the company.
For a hassle-free creation of your rirekisho or resume in Japan, we recommend visiting the Yagish website. Yagish is for free that enables you to input your details over the web. After you created your resume on their website, you can download the file and print it at any convenience store in Japan. Printing is available at over 58,000 stores nationwide. Aside from that, you can choose from different templates such as for no experience resume, resume for part-time, resume for changing jobs, no photo resume, etc. You can edit your resume whenever your free and wherever you go. Again, this website is free, but the printing is NOT free of charge.
You have learned the different types of Japanese resumes and how they should be written. Always remember what should be done and not. If you follow these tips, you will be fully equipped in finding the right job for you and your application will surely be successful. But how can you find a job in Japan? We have listed some recruitment agencies that may help you.
Are you ready to apply for jobs in Japan? The “How To Get Part-Time Jobs in Japan?” article provides helpful steps to make your job search journey in Japan successful.