What problems might you face when job hunting in Japan?

The language is tough

Japanese people sometimes struggle with language usage and unfamiliar characters when studying a foreign language. The same can be applied to foreigners in Japan, many of whom are spoon-fed the nuances of the Japanese language and its many strokes of characters that make it difficult.

The Japanese language can be divided into four major character groups. A race of people who are proficient in all four scripts is a rarity in the world, and even in China, which has the world’s largest population, only Chinese characters are used for writing.

Even if one learns how to use the characters, trendy words, abbreviations, and coined words appear constantly. It is no wonder that foreigners find it difficult to use the Japanese language, which is difficult even for Japanese people to use correctly.

Recently, more and more universities are offering all lectures in English, and the number of foreigners who study abroad without knowing Japanese is also increasing. However, if you want to work in Japan, you will need to have a certain level of Japanese language ability, so there is no better way than to study.

The resume/CV is different than what you are used to

Did you know that the “resume” and “curriculum vitae” that are essential for job hunting differ from country to country?

Japanese resumes must be filled out with various items such as date of birth, gender, photo, and reason for applying. However, Japan is the only country where so much information about the individual must be included in the resume. In the multinational U.S., basic information such as name, address, and telephone number is required to verify the applicant’s identity, as in Japan, but the photo and motivation for applying are omitted.

The method of filling out a resume differs between Japan and the U.S. In the U.S., handwritten resumes are not allowed. In contrast to the U.S., where computerized resumes are the norm, Japanese people prefer handwritten resumes. Recently, more and more companies are accepting computer-based resumes because they are easier for applicants to read and less burdensome, but many companies still require handwritten resumes. To learn how to write a Japanese resume, search the internet for “how to write a Japanese rirekisho”.

It’s hard to know when to start looking for a job

The timing of Japan’s job hunting period may vary depending on the Keidanren, which encompasses many companies. In such cases, the specific date will be announced approximately one to two months before the lifting of the job hunting ban. For the 2017 job hunting season for new graduates, the flow of entries to companies will be from March, and interviews can begin in June of the same year.

In previous years, it started in January, and the fluctuation in the timing of job hunting activities was a significant burden on students as well as companies.

International students should be aware of the date of the ban before starting job hunting. The schedule for new graduates hired in batches is the same as above, but there is currently no schedule established for foreign nationals. Therefore, job hunting activities must be conducted by the schedule for Japanese nationals.

In the case of job seekers, unlike new graduates who are hired in batches, there is no specific recruitment period, and job openings are posted on company websites and job search websites.

Recently, an increasing number of companies are recruiting year-round. While there are ways for those who have missed the job hunting season to be introduced to companies by employment advisors, understanding the trends of the companies you wish to work for before you start your job search will make it easier for you to succeed in your job search.

If your college major isn’t related to what you do at your place of employment, you won’t get a work visa!

International students are required to change their visa status from “college student visa” to “work visa” to find a job in Japan. Of course, a “working visa” is also required for working adults.

Work visas are divided into various fields, such as highly specialized, legal, technical, humanities, and international business. Highly specialized professionals must pass an evaluation based on a defined advanced human resources point system. These include technology (IT engineers), humanities (marketing, management consulting), and international work (interpreters and translators, designers, creators, language school instructors, trade, public relations, advertising, and product development).

When considering hiring international students, an important point to know is that there must be a connection between the major in your study abroad program and the nature of the work you will be doing at your place of employment. If there is no relevance, you will not be able to change to a work visa, which means that you will not be granted a work visa.

How do international students find jobs?

Now, let’s check how international students are conducting their job search.

In major cities, job fairs and company information sessions for international students are on the increase. The most common route to gather information on such job fairs for foreign students is through job-hunting service companies and recruitment agencies. For this reason, many foreigners, including international students, seem to be registering with job hunting support agencies and recruitment agencies that cater to foreigners.

In particular, the language and customs barriers and legal aspects such as visas are major concerns for foreigners who want to find a job in Japan. In addition, many foreigners are confused by Japan’s unique recruitment and selection process and style, which are quite different from those in their home countries. For this reason, the support and follow-up of recruitment agencies are recognized as highly useful.

Thus, even though the media and categories are different, it seems that the same job-hunting activities as those of Japanese job seekers are becoming more widespread. Recruitment agencies and the holding of fairs and information sessions for foreign students are one solution to the problems that job seekers face in that “it is difficult to find a job because I am a foreigner” and companies face in that “I am looking for a job, but it is difficult to reach me”.

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