How can you find a job in Japan? How do you get a working visa?
If you have ever dreamt of working in the Land of the Rising Sun, this blog is here to assist you in navigating the Japanese job market and provide valuable insights into the process. As a foreigner, seeking employment in Japan may seem daunting, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can increase your chances of success. All the teachers at Toranomon Language School have worked both as educators and in a corporate role in Japan, so we bring our knowledge and experiences to this blog.
Understanding the Japanese Job Market
Japan’s economy boasts a diverse range of industries and sectors, providing opportunities for foreigners with various skill sets. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the Japanese job market to identify the sectors that align with your interests and qualifications.
Japan’s major industries include automotive, technology, manufacturing, finance, hospitality, and education. For foreigners, there are many jobs to be had in the car parts industry (exporting abroad means there is a demand for English skill), along with IT (due to a lack of talent within Japan) and tourism (obviously, foreign guests means foreign languages are required). And of course, teaching English is always an option. With the right skills and experience, any industry is open to you, though language skills required vary.
Researching Job Opportunities
The all-important question – how do you find a job?
Online job portals are an excellent starting point for your job search. Websites such as GaijinPot, Daijob, and CareerCross feature job listings specifically targeting foreigners. These platforms allow you to filter job postings based on industry, location, and required language skills. Don’t forget to create a compelling profile and upload your updated resume for better visibility to potential employers.
Networking is another powerful tool in Japan’s job market. Join professional networks like LinkedIn and attend industry-specific events and meetups to connect with professionals in your field. Expanding your network can lead to valuable insights, referrals, and even direct job opportunities. Toranomon Language School often holds bilingual networking events which even non-students are welcome to attend.
Recruitment agencies and headhunters can also be beneficial in your job search. These agencies have established connections with Japanese companies and can match your skills and experience with suitable job openings. Their expertise in navigating the Japanese job market and familiarity with cultural expectations can be invaluable throughout the hiring process. The higher up in your career you are, the more likely they are to work with you. If you come here with no experience, they may be reluctant to spend time placing you.
One of the best ways that we have found to find a job is actually to directly approach companies. Think of industries and companies that match your skillset and language skills, and email them inquiring if they may have a position for you. Many will ignore you, but you may get lucky.
Getting a Work Visa for Japan
In order to work in Japan as a foreigner, it is essential to understand the work visa system and the legal requirements associated with employment. The type of work visa you need will depend on the nature of your job and your qualifications.
The Japanese government offers various work visa categories, including Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services, Instructor, Researcher, Skilled Labor, and more. Each category has specific eligibility criteria and requirements. It is crucial to thoroughly research the visa category that corresponds to your desired job and ensure you meet the necessary qualifications.
To obtain a work visa, you will need a job offer from a Japanese employer. The employer will need to sponsor your visa application and provide relevant documents to the immigration authorities. It is advisable to initiate discussions with potential employers well in advance and clarify the visa sponsorship process. The employer will assist with your application for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) which you need to enter Japan. It takes 4-6 weeks to get this, to bear this in mind when timing your flights.
Usually, the visa you receive will last 1, 3 or 5 years. If you change jobs during this time, you must inform immigration. After 10 years, you can apply for permanent residency (or earlier if you get the special highly skilled immigrant visa which you can do with either special skills or a high salary).
If you can’t find a job to sponsor your visa, you can try coming here as a student and then switching to a working visa, or you can find a job at a less desirable workplace and change jobs when you find something new (the old job CANNOT rescind your visa).
Can You do Freelance Work?
Be careful about this. Some visa categories allow work on the side as long as your main employer gives permission, but the Instructor visa only allows very limited work, so you would need to apply for special permission to do other work at immigration.
Crafting an Effective Japanese Resume (Rirekisho)
The Japanese resume, known as Rirekisho, follows a different format compared to resumes in other countries. Understanding the structure and content of a Japanese resume is essential to make a positive impression on potential employers.
You may not need a Japanese CV, it depends on what kind of job you want to get. For English teaching, or international companies, it is not necessary. But if you want a corporate job at a Japanese company it is best to prepare one, even if you speak only N3 or N2 level Japanese. If you are at N4 or below, you won’t be able to function in a Japanese environment so it’s best to find something mostly in English until you can improve your Japanese.
The Rirekisho typically includes personal information, educational background, work experience, skills, qualifications, and a photograph. It is important to format the resume neatly and accurately, as attention to detail is highly valued in Japanese culture.
When preparing your Rirekisho, emphasize relevant experience and skills that align with the job requirements. It is advisable to include any Japanese language proficiency, as this can be a valuable asset for employers. Additionally, consider tailoring your resume for each job application, highlighting specific achievements and qualifications that are relevant to the position.
It is customary to attach a professional passport-sized photograph to your Rirekisho. Ensure that the photograph is recent and portrays you in a formal and presentable manner. Remember to follow any specific guidelines provided by the employer regarding the photograph format.
Taking the time to create a well-crafted and culturally appropriate Rirekisho will demonstrate your professionalism and attention to detail, increasing your chances of catching the attention of potential employers.
Language and cultural understanding play a significant role in finding a job and succeeding in the workplace in Japan. Mostly language. Japanese skill can be crucial.
Proficiency in the Japanese language is highly valued by employers in Japan. While some multinational companies may conduct business in English, many local companies, especially smaller ones, prefer employees who can communicate effectively in Japanese. Even companies like Rakuten who state that they use English in the workplace often want Japanese skill. Usually only IT staff can get away with no Japanese. Demonstrating your language skills on your resume and during interviews can give you a competitive edge. Definitely be prepared to conduct your interview in Japanese if the position requires Japanese.
Investing time and effort into learning Japanese before moving to Japan can greatly enhance your job prospects. Consider enrolling in language classes, using language learning apps, or finding language exchange partners to practice conversational skills. Improving your Japanese language proficiency will not only make it easier to navigate daily life but also allow you to build relationships and better integrate into the workplace. If you can’t speak Japanese but you want to work in Japan, you will most likely need to find a job in IT, recruitment or education. While in Japan, enrol in Toranomon Language School and we will help get your Japanese level up so that you can find a job in other sectors.
Living and Working in Japan
Moving to Japan for work entails not only finding a job but also adapting to a new environment and lifestyle.
Cost of living and salary expectations:
It is important to understand the cost of living in Japan and manage your finances accordingly. Cities like Tokyo and Osaka tend to have a higher cost of living compared to smaller towns. Expenses to consider include accommodation, transportation, healthcare and pension, food, utilities, schooling and leisure activities. Researching average costs and budgeting wisely will help you plan your finances effectively.
When it comes to salary expectations, it varies depending on the industry, job position, and your qualifications. Conduct research to gain an understanding of the salary range for your field in Japan. Negotiating your salary, benefits, and other perks may be possible during the job offer stage, so be prepared to advocate for yourself. We recommend negotiating at the beginning, because pay rises in Japan are often quite small, so start as high as you can.
Finding accommodation and navigating the rental market:
Securing suitable accommodation in Japan can be a significant aspect of your relocation. Rental housing options include apartments, shared houses, and company-provided housing. It is important to research the rental market, understand the process, and consider factors such as location, size, and proximity to your workplace and amenities. Check the train routes from home to your office – the less transfers the better!
Real estate agents, known as “fudosan,” can assist you in finding suitable accommodations. However, be aware that they may require a guarantor, and additional fees, such as key money, deposit, and agency fees, may be involved. You basically can’t find housing until you come to Japan as you need to show your residence card, but you can start looking in advance by going through an agent. If you’re a low career level, a sharehouse might be best so that you can save up some money.
Good luck with your job hunting! If you need any assistance, feel free to contact TLS and we’ll do our best to help you.