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Everything You Need to Know About Finding a Job in Japan

GaijinPot goes over the basic requirements for starting your job search, best practices for job hunting and answer frequently asked questions.

By 5 min read

For anyone looking to start their professional career in Japan, knowing where to start can often be the hardest part. From work visas to Japanese fluency level and educational achievement, the GaijinPot team has come up with this general guide to get you started.

Basic Job Hunt Requirements

Visas

For residency status, you’ll need to have one of the following: Unrestricted work-type visas (long-term residency, permanent residency, designated activities, spouse/child of a Japanese national) are visas that allow you to take on as much work as you like. This visa is less about your ties to Japan through a job but more about a personal connection.  Specific job visas (artist, entertainer, instructor, etc.) are all about the work that you’re contracted to do in Japan. Most foreigners working in Japan fall into this category. English teachers, for example, are granted an instructor-type work visa. General visas are mainly for educational or cultural activities and come with work limitations that only allow part-time work. For full-time work, you’ll need either an unrestricted work-type visa or a specific job visa.

Educational Background

Those without bachelor’s degrees will be unable to qualify for work visas. If you have a high school diploma, you can apply for a technical school in Japan in an industry you’d like to work in. However, keep in mind that you will need to pass the JLPT N2 or an equivalent certification before enrolling. GaijinPot Study can help you find a school that fits your needs.

JLPT Level

For JLPT N1 and N2 passers, employers will assume that you can communicate in a Japanese business setting with little to no trouble. JLPT N3 passers and below may find it more challenging to enter traditional Japanese companies or work in a predominantly Japanese-speaking environment. If you’d like to increase your chances of getting hired, attending a language school is a great way to improve your skills while in Japan.

Job Experience

Your job experience (if any) before job hunting in Japan along with your Japanese fluency can be a huge advantage as you enter the job market. If you have prior job experience, looking for positions you already specialize in would benefit you. For new graduates, those who enrolled in technical courses like IT may have an easier time finding companies who will hire them regardless of the JLPT level as the demand for those fields is higher.

How to Job Hunt in Japan

Whether you’re job hunting from abroad or in Japan, there are a few ways to jumpstart your career.

In Japan

Let’s look at some ways to find a job if you’re already in Japan.

Direct Hire

If there is a certain company you’d like to work for, you may find that some of these companies have a direct hiring process. Many companies have dedicated sections on their website for job listings and applications.

New Graduate Recruitment

Recruitment for new university graduates in Japan follows a structured process with a specific job search schedule in the spring. Expect to provide structured resumes and attend extensive interviews.

Job fairs

If you’re looking for an interactive way to find your new job, a job fair in Japan is the best place to meet your potential future employers in person.

Interning

If you’re still a student at university, interning can be the first step before full-time employment. Consider interning as a gateway to your dream job.

Recruitment agency

Applying to a recruitment agency in Japan typically involves a structured and often formal process. You’ll need to submit a comprehensive resume in a specific Japanese style format.

Overseas

Don’t let being overseas put a stop to your dream of working in Japan.

English Job Sites

Several English job search websites cater to foreigners in Japan and overseas. Some English job search websites in Japan include GaijinPot Jobs as well as these sites that vary in job field and application process.

Japanese Job Sites

If you’re proficient in Japanese, here are some Japanese job sites for you to explore: Recruit Agent, En-gage, My Navi, Doda, Green Japan, Kyujin Box and Indeed.

Intercompany Transfers

If you already work for a multinational corporation, consider relocating to work at their Japanese branch. Intercompany transfers often make obtaining a work visa much easier.

Government Websites 

In Japan, there are government-affiliated job search websites:

  • Hello Work
    • Operated by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, HelloWork offers job listings, career support and job fairs in Japan.
  • JETRO
    • The Japan External Trade Organization offers information that focus on international business and trade-related positions.
  • JASRAC
    • For those interested in the music industry, the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers offers job listings in this field.
  • METI
    • The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry focuses on roles related to economics, trade and industry within Japan. It may provide international job openings for individuals with relevant qualifications.

Ultimately, while navigating the Japanese job market may sound daunting, we hope this guide can help shed light on where you should start. While there are several factors to consider when job hunting from fluency to visa status, there remain tons of avenues for you to utilize to find your career in Japan.

For more information like niche skills, how much to expect to earn on your first salary and more, be sure to watch the video above!

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