Writing a perfect Japanese resume can be difficult, even for native Japanese people. Recently many employers are also beginning to expect the same quality of resume from foreign candidates as well. In Japan, if your resume does not follow Japanese norms, HR managers might think you lack cultural knowledge, or worse, have no “common sense” (常識) . It is no exaggeration to say that they will put your resume in the rejection folder before even reading it closely. On the other hand, if you submit a well-crafted one, you might have a higher chance to receive an interview than some other applicants. In this article we will introduce how to write a Japanese resume so you can get an interview, rather than being rejected before even getting your foot in the door.
If you’re looking for information on how to look for work in Japan feel free to check this article here.
What do you need to do before writing your resume?
Do you have a Japanese resume format on hand?
Have you taken a Japanese resume photo?
Unlike many foreign countries, Japanese resumes do not allow for a lot of creativity. This might be quite different from your home country, but not following the typical Japanese resume format will only hurt your application.
Things you will need to get started:
Japanese resume format
Japanese-style job hunting photograph
Japanese Resume Format
You can download our crobo resume format HERE.
The format includes a sample resume as well as a format for a Japanese CV (職務経歴書). We won’t be talking about CVs in this article, but if you’re looking to make a career change in Japan you may need it later.
You have to take extra care with your photo. It may sound old-school, but many older Japanese HR managers I know claim they can read a candidate’s personality and character from the photograph included with a resume. Just as with your interviews you’re going to want to show that you understand Japanese culture and expectations.
If for religious or cultural reasons you cannot comply with some of these rules feel free to skip them; however, you should do as much as you can to follow the general guidelines as it will reflect well on you with recruiters.
■For all candidates
- Make sure your hair and skin are as clean as possible.
- Don’t apply large amounts of make up.
- Dark blue or gray suit.
- White dress shirt.
- Simple tie in a subdued color like dark red or blue.
- Natural hair color.
- Make sure your face is clean shaven with no five o’clock shadow.
- Short hair that does not cover the eyebrows or ears and has a neckline shorter than 2 centimeters.
- Dark blue or gray suit.
- White dress shirt.
- Natural hair color.
- No bangs covering eyes. (For longer styles hair tied back with a dark colored hair band is best.)
Other rules to follow:
Face the camera straight forward.
Photos should be 3×4cm.
Background should be light blue or gray.
Never use selfie photo (Suggestions on where to take the photo below)
Do not grin or scowl. (This is pretty difficult, but try for a relaxed expression with just slight smile)
Where to take your photo.
1. Photo booth 証明写真機
You have probably already seen them, but the photo booths outside convenience stores, stations, supermarkets and shopping malls are perfect for resume photos. Many now also have an English option so select your language and follow the on screen instructions. Generally these booths cost less than 1,000 yen with some optional charges for touch up services like clearing up your skin.
2. Photo studios & stores カメラ専門店
This may sound a little crazy, but you can go to some professional photo studios and camera stores to have your resume photos taken. While a little more expensive than a photo booth (the place I went to was around 2,000 yen) the quality of the photo is much better than the machines and the photographer can help you take a better picture. You can also get the photo data instead of just prints, which means you can use these photos for other official documents as well. The biggest downside is that you probably need to speak some Japanese, but if you have the skills to
Personal information, Academic and Work histories.
This is the main section of your resume, and there are set ways to fill in your information. When writing a resume in Japanese this is the most main step, so little mistakes here are going to hurt your application a lot. However, as long as you follow some basic rules it shouldn’t be too hard to get this right.
A note about dates.
You should make your dates consistent so if you write using Japanese years make sure all of your dates follow that rule. It’s fine to use the western system for years, but just make sure you stick to one system.
Your Name 名前①
- Write your name as it is written on your residence card (在留カード).
- Don’t forget to write your furigana in the box above your name.
- Write your current address as it appears on your residence card.
- Include your postal code (郵便番号) next to the 〒.
- Write your address in hiragana (平仮名) section labeled furigana (ふりがな) for your address above the main section.
- If you have a second address where you can be reached fill it in as above in box marked ④.
- This box is not required so leave it blank if you don’t have anything to add.
Telephone Number 電話番号③
- Fill in your whole number including area code.
- If you only have a mobile number you do not need to write in a land line
Academic History 学歴⑤
- If you are a 4 year or 2 yearcollege graduate you may start your education history from college.
- You do not need to go all the way back to high school or middle school
- Write your enrollment and graduation on separate lines.
- For enrollment write 入学 and for graduation write 卒業 after your major information. (If you haven’t graduated yet write but you’re still studying 卒業予定).
- Make sure you write your university’s full name and your major.
- If graduation comes on the next line after enrollment you can simplify your entry and just write 同校 卒業
Work history 職歴 ⑥
How you write this section depends on if you’re a new graduate or if you have work experience either in your own country or in Japan.
□For New Graduates
- You may write your part-time job experience.
□If you have full time work experience
- Write only your full time work experience.
Besides the above, the rules for writing your work experience are the same no matter your experience.
- Write hired dates and quit dates on separate lines.
- Just like your academic history, if the date you left a job comes on the next line after you joined a job you can simplify by writing “同社” instead of the company name and section.
- Make sure you write the company’s full name (including 株式会社) as well as your department.
- Don’t forget to include your reason for leaving each job.
- “一身上の都合により退職” This is the most common fixed phrase that basically means for personal reasons. Use it in all cases where you can’t use a different phrase.
- “契約満了により退職” “Because my contract expired.” Use this in cases where your contract expired and was not renewed.
- “来日のために退職” Use this to explain why you quit a job before coming to Japan.
The last line of each section⑦
At the end of each section you should write “以上” on the right of the next open cell after the last entry. This shows that there is no missing information and the section is complete.
If you are still working at the final job on your resume you should write “現在に至る” instead of “以上.”
After you finish the work and academic history sections you can write in your licenses as well as your personal promotion. Qualification and license are strong selling point as well as writing a good self-promotion on resume. We will give you useful tips.
Qualifications 資格 ⑧
・Write your qualifications from oldest to newest.
・After the name of the qualification write “取得”.
- In this section you should write about why you are applying for this position and which of your skills, experiences and personality traits will help you excel at this job.
- Make sure to write a new reason for each application. You need to show each company that you are suited for their job in particular.
Commuting Time 通勤時間 ⑩
- Write how long it will take you to travel from home to the office one-way.
- If you live too far away from the company and intend to move if you are hired write in “通勤可能エリアに転居を予定しております。”
Spouse 配偶者 ⑪
- If you are currently married you should write in 有 otherwise write 無
- If you have an obligation to support your spouse financially write 有 in the box on the right. Otherwise write in 無.
Family Dependents 扶養家族数 ⑫
- If you have any family members who you need to support financially (besides your spouse) write in the number here. If not write 0.
Requests 本人希望記入欄 ⑬
- If you have a desired salary, assigned position or any other work related request you can write it here.
Why don’t you send your resume to crobo?
So that’s it. Now you know how to write a Japanese resume and are ready to start getting interviews and not just rejection emails. I hope it wasn’t too confusing.
Now that you have a working resume why don’t you send it to us here at crobo?
We have positions in hotels, restaurants, travel industry jobs and other fields. We help foreigners find jobs with visa sponsorship . The team at crobo is committed to creating a “cross border” culture. We aim to create a Japan where differences are celebrated and respected. A Japan where one’s sex, gender, race, religion or nationality does not hinder their chance at building a life here.
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