How to successfully network in Japan for a job during COVID

A Shuukatsu Career Fair

When thinking of networking, it’s easy to go straight to LinkedIn. As a popular tool to network for jobs, it can be incredibly useful as a way to send messages to the representatives of companies, share ideas or learn insights about jobs. However, networking for jobs in Japan, unlike other countries, is not so common on LinkedIn. So if you’re someone who wants to work in Japan; learning about roles and company culture may appear hard at first. Fret not though! As your passion for Japan along with your skills could play an important part in keeping Japan afloat. The Japanese economy needs rescuing due to an ageing demographic and now the pandemic. This is where overseas candidates with in-demand skills can help!

Literally, every Japanese speaking overseas graduate.
Photo courtesy: meme-arsenal.rv

So, how do international candidates network with Japanese companies?

Career seminars

Career seminars are where you can meet representatives of your company of interest. Same as university career support, these sessions form the networking core of your shuukatsu (job hunting) journey. Individual companies may also hold them on their own. Staffing corporations excel in organising fairs and seminars where many companies take part. In such fairs, you can meet many representatives at once, without having to go travel to each office.

Job fairs are where candidates talk to reps and also give interviews. There, companies could also hire you on the spot, if they find you on the same page! But the purpose of the career sessions is to research the company of your interest. So, make sure to network with company reps and other candidates!

As per MyNavi, companies try to attract candidates by discussing goals and expectations. They want to stand out from other companies as you try to raise your profile among other candidates. As a job seeker, it can be a networking boost – with companies and other candidates. You can also practice Japanese etiquette, such as exchanging virtual business cards! To know about interviews in Japan for foreigners, check out this awesome guide by Tuna Cheung. 

Many agencies tend to divide these seminars into 3 categories:

  1. International Students
  2. Mid-career professionals 
  3. Japanese nationals

You can attend any but that could be too tiring. A session for mid-career candidates and Japanese students need Japanese fluency, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re coming in mid-career. The sessions for overseas candidates can be quite beneficial as they can in the event of being hired they can provide you with the necessary support, such as work visas and living arrangements, etc.

But aren’t seminars held in-person?

Well, yes! So if you’re in Japan, keep an eye out for these sessions (unless canceled due to COVID). You’ll need to register through an entry sheet where ever required. Big corporations with more resources, in particular, tend to advertise them everywhere. But due to COVID-19, sessions in 2020 were held online. That means you can be anywhere in the world and still be able to attend. That means saving money on travel and other preparation for these sessions!

There are so many! Where to start?

There are many sessions held directly by big corporations. If you’re focused on one company, register with them directly. However, if you’re interested in more than one, career fairs/sessions organised by staffing corporations are great! They’re free for all. As a candidate, you just have to register, research and organise a schedule.

The most popular sessions held each year are:

  1. MyNavi 

MyNavi organises sessions and fairs for overseas candidates interested to work in Japan. Boasting global alumni, MyNavi has held sessions in more countries than others. Some universities in Australia organise in-person career sessions with them too. The team for MyNavi also explains how to prepare for a job search in Japan.

Their next information session might be in April. Keep checking!

If you’re in Australia, MyNavi holds advisory sessions before the actual job fair! Companies such as Accenture, EY and Salesforce etc. participated in the ANZ fair in 2020.

In 2020, they held two sessions for interested South Koreans. 

Last but not least, sessions for Americans and Canadians!

Check out their step-by-step job hunting guide. Literally, it’s a job-hunting dictionary! ->

Here is the 2021 job-hunting schedule in Japan to get organised ->


CFN is also helpful because they too hold information sessions and career fairs. They will also be holding in-person and online sessions this year in May so it’s a good chance to find out what options are there. This is a big change from last year as CFN’s sessions in the US, UK and Japan saw candidates traveling from far to attend them. For example, Europeans could attend CFN’s London Career Forum. It was the biggest career fair for Europeans interested in finding a job in Japan!


Another multinational corporation called Pasona is also a good option as they are currently the second-largest staffing company in Japan. With branches in 10 countries, Pasona Global connects foreign talent to Japanese companies. It is more active in the APAC region than MyNavi and CFN. Hence, it’s better known amongst candidates over Asia for its annual job fair called, job haku.

One of its known branches in India even has a website where candidates can join and receive alerts. Check it out at PASONA India here ->

  1. ASEAN Career Fair with Japan 

This is an upcoming virtual fair for candidates from ASEAN countries. If you’re interested, get in quick as it’s on the 30th of Jan! In this session, you can get access to details about what companies are looking for in ASEAN candidates. As such, this might help you narrow down your skills to the role description and find the job you want to do!

But what about networking with small businesses in smaller cities?

In some cases. a few small companies may hire recruiters to represent their company to foreign talent. But it will all depend on your research as well. Contacting your choice of company in a local city might work too! Check for language requirements when sending an enquiry though. If you’re on the edge about choosing where to live, we definitely recommend checking out one of our other blogs called Japan beyond just Tokyo, Osaka and other big cities. That is because you can immerse yourself in Japanese culture and save money due to low living costs.

So, how do you prepare for a career seminar?

Let’s take a deep breath first! All organisers tend to have FAQs on their websites, schedules and guides to prepare you for the big day. So do your research, update your CV, and PLEASE REMEMBER TO REGISTER!! Register for whichever session you’d like to attend. Once that’s done, think of the career information session as a rehearsal to the actual job fair! And don’t forget to enjoy this new style of networking!


For more articles about what’s it like to work in Japan:

Wondering what it’s like to be a lawyer in Japan? Read more about Dallan Pirman’s experience working in a Japanese law firm. 

Did you know Jason Hayes (Partner at PwC’s Australia Asia Practice)  got a job on the spot with PwC’s Japan Desk? Find out how!

The following two tabs change content below.

Varsha Patil

A MEXT scholar and an ex-intern for METI Japan, Varsha is a Japan enthusiast. She pursued Japanese studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) and Asia Pacific Studies from the Australian National University (Canberra). Multilingual in Japanese and Hindi, she continues to explore Japan's affairs in the APAC region while learning Korean and digital marketing.

Leave a Comment