Japan, with a population of over 127 million people, stands as the 3rd largest economy in the world. Not only is it an economic hub in East Asia, but the country has also influenced the world with its rich history and exotic culture. Japan attracts numerous expats with its robust economy and prestigious corporations such as Toyota, Sony, Mitsubishi, and Nissan. Due to a huge labor shortage caused by its shrinking population, the country is actively searching for foreigner jobseekers. Hence this is the moment! If you are interested in finding a job in Japan, continue reading these 3 tips to succeed in your job hunt.
- Potentials – Adaptability and Sociability.
What is the most critical quality that Japanese employers look for in their employees? Excellent GPAs? Internship experience? Extra-curricular certificates? All of these are beneficial but they are not the most crucial factors that increase your employability in Japan. Japanese employers are looking for employees with a large potential, who are adaptable and willing to fully integrate themselves into the team and substantially contribute to corporate growth. Dedication, loyalty, and sociability are highly valued. Therefore, when writing your cover letter and resume, do not boast about your remarkable skills and amazing achievements, rather, focus on the social activities you’ve taken part in, such as volunteer work, participation in a school club or part-time jobs. Mention the adversities you have experienced while working within a group or a team. Elaborate specifically on how you managed to overcome those difficulties. Employers admire candidates who can adapt fast to new social environments and who can easily resolve conflicts that arise from those social relations.
- Learn Japanese – Definitely a plus!
If you are looking for a job in the IT-industry or multinational corporations, Japanese proficiency will not be a big concern – proficiency in English is more valued than Japanese fluency. A high level of Japanese is always appreciated but basic Japanese would still suffice.
However, Japanese companies do require an advanced level of Japanese – a minimum level of JLPT 2 (level 1 being the highest) for fluent communication. Some Japanese companies expect you to write formal and complex documents in Japanese. In this case, you need to gain the level of JLPT 1. And remember – the better you are at Japanese, the more opportunities you will have!
- Ace the interview. Mind your manners.
Sincerity and courtesy are the two most important things to consider when doing an interview. Interviewers are very strict and they ask detailed and specific questions. It is necessary to be fully aware of your behavior and how you answer questions. Interview rehearsals with friends are highly recommended! Formal attire is always the best choice when attending a job interview. Once inside the interview room, bow to your interviewers and briefly introduce yourself by stating your name. Do not sit on the assigned chair unless you are instructed to. Say ‘Excuse me’ before you sit down. When the interview starts, answer the questions sincerely and honestly. Never exaggerate, lie or boast when answering questions. Be moderate and respectful. Articulate your ambitions and potentials in a calm and candid manner. Questions about recent social or political issues in Japan are often asked to test your affinity with current-day matters, so be sure to do prior research to be able to give clear answers.
Finding a job in Japan can be demanding and challenging. You may get rejected several times, even when you thought you had aced the final interview – emotions are difficult to read in Japan! However, do not be discouraged – It is not that you are underqualified but it is just that you and the company are incompatible in terms of goals and expectations. Keep knocking on doors and eventually, you will find a company that meets your interests.
Ha Eon Baek
Special thanks to our former colleague Tim Wuisman for the photo and the tips!