Job hunting in Japan: Here’s everything you need to know

job hunting
Interested in working in Japan? This article will teach you how to do it!

Job hunting in Japan as a foreigner can be difficult. Luckily, Eleanor Gray has shared with me her top tips so that you can score your dream job in Japan. Eleanor studied Japanese, linguistics and Asian studies at the University of Melbourne and has been working in Japan for two years now.

What are the best ways to go about job hunting in Japan?

  • Websites

The website I used the most throughout my job hunting here was Mynavi. Mynavi has a well-established network both in Japan and overseas. They also hold direct seminars and workshops (in Japanese) at Australian universities. I would recommend Mynavi if you are looking to find jobs in Japanese companies that aren’t English teaching. Besides Mynavi, there are other Japanese websites like Recruit Online. You can also use non-Japanese job-hunting websites such as LinkedIn, GaijinPot, Facebook, or your university’s website if you are a student.

Mynavi Corporation is Japan’s largest staffing and PR/media communications company
  • Career fairs

The career fair I recommend the most is the one held by Mynavi. They have it bi-annually in Tokyo and Osaka, as well as in other countries including Australia. Usually around one hundred companies participate in the career fair. You can go to a company’s seminar, listen to them, put your resume in, sign up for an interview and get interviewed on the same day. If they really like you, then you can be hired on the day, but you can also get invited to a second or third interview.

Career Forum Network is another bilingual career fair, which bilingual Japanese students and foreign exchange students attend. With both Mynavi and Career Forum, you can sign up online and see all the participating companies. Some of the companies will have online seminars and you can even apply for an interview, so it’s definitely worth looking around the Mynavi and Career Forum websites.

Career Forum Network run job fairs (in various countries) for Japanese-English bilinguals
  • Other strategies

Recruiters can step you through the job hunting process and help you find a job that’s really suited to your talents. At the same time, you don’t have as much power to negotiate with the company if you use recruiters, so be aware of that. Another thing you can try is speaking to any Japanese friends you may have. Sometimes their company will be looking for a foreigner and if you ask them, they might be able to offer you a position that’s not even advertised.

  • If you are in Japan…

There are different ways to get a job in Japan. The most stable one is getting a job here teaching English and doing job hunting on the side. Job hunting while you are already working in Japan is the best way to find a job because Japanese companies find it very easy to hire foreigners who are working and have experience in Japan.

Many foreigners begin working in Japan at English conversation schools (Eikaiwa) or as an assistant language teacher (ALT)

If you are not interested in teaching English, you can study in Japan and search for jobs in your free time. The other possibility is coming to Japan on a working holiday visa, which can be up to a year, or a tourist visa, which is three months for Australians. You could attend career fairs in Japan and search for jobs, although this is more risky as you are not guaranteed to find a job. You could also get a job in your home country and then do a company transfer to Japan.

Although it may be more challenging than finding a job in your home country, working in Japan is not impossible — that’s the big take away. Stay persistent with your job hunting and be clear about the reason you are interested in working in Japan. If you can do that, then you have a better chance of getting the job you want!

Working in Japan can be an amazing way to experience Japanese culture and grow both personally and professionally

Thank you Eleanor for sharing your amazing tips about how to find a job in Japan. In the next ‘Job hunting in Japan’ article, Eleanor will share her experiences and advice about how to create the perfect Japanese resume.

For more information about working in Japan, check out our recent articles:

How to successfully network in Japan for a job during COVID

Living in rural Japan as a JET ALT: An Interview with Justin Temporal

Interview with JET Programme Coordinator for International Relations: Leianne Chen

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Yasmin McGarva

Yasmin is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne, majoring in Japanese and Media and Communications. She has undertaken a semester exchange at Hokkaido University and volunteered with ISA Australia as a group leader teaching English in schools throughout Japan. With a deep interest in cultural exchange, Yasmin aspires to work connecting Australia with Japan and the Indo-Pacific region.

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