• A resume is valued greatly when you apply for jobs in Japan
  • There are templates and you can find them online and at stores
  • You can write directly on a resume or type on a computer and print it out

How important is a resume in Japan?

When you apply for a job in Japan, you are almost always required to submit your 履歴書 (rirekisho), or resume. A resume shows your education, work history, skills and experience. Many Japanese jobs, especially part-time jobs, decide whether to hire you only by reading your resume without interviewing you, so writing a great resume is crucial for job seekers in Japan.

Also, since a resume has great importance, the more beautiful your handwriting is, the better. If your think your Japanese is not so good, you should consider typing your information on a computer and print your resume out. If you print a template out, make it size A4 or B4. 

What is on a resume?

There are some templates for Japanese resumes and you can easily download them from online or purchase them at supermarkets or convenience stores. There are a few differences between the templates, such as the number of questions and whether there is a section to fill in your physical conditions. If you are not sure which one to use, choose the JIS resume, the most common template. In this article, I am going to explain a resume based on the JIS template.

  • The nengo style of dates

First of all, all the dates should be written in the nengo style on a resume. All dates, including the current date, your birthday, graduation years, and work history dates, are needed to be written in the nengo. The nengo is the Japanese way of counting years and the year is based off the reign of the current emperor. For instance, 2017 is converted to 平成 (Heisei) 29. You can use this online converter to find out the proper nengo to use.

  • Personal photo

 You are required to paste your photo at the top of a resume. It might be inappropriate to include your photo on a resume outside of Japan, but it is a normal thing to do in Japan. You can find photo booths at major train stations and shopping malls. You should look professional in the photo, so wearing a suit when taking the photo is a good idea. When asked which size of photo to print out, choose the 履歴書 size, or 4cm×3cm.

  • Basic information

The first section you are going to fill out includes your basic information: your name, birthday, age, sex, address, email address, and phone number. In Japan, the name order is the opposite of the western style. Your family name comes first, then middle name, and then your first name. You are encouraged to write your name in Japanese. In the furigana sections on top of your name and address, write hiragana letters that indicate the pronunciations of your name and address. As for your sex, circle 男 (otoko) if you identify yourself as a man, and 女 (onna) if you see yourself as a woman.

  • Education and work history

Below the basic information section is for your education and work history. Here, schools you have attended are written in chronological order. You are supposed to write both the dates of entry and graduation, so this means that there should be two lines used for each school, one for when you entered the school and the other for when you graduated or you are expecting to graduate from the school. Underneath the school information, write each workplace you have worked, also in chronological order. Like the education history, put in the dates both you started and left each job. Also, if your schools and jobs are outside Japan, put the country name at the beginning. 

  • Licenses and certificates

In this section, write your accomplishments in chronological order. Write the name and title of the license or certificate. Surprisingly or not, you can write your driver’s license in this section. 

  • Skills and reasons for your application

You can be creative here and try to appeal to companies. Write passionately and logically why you applied for the job. You can also write about any skills and experiences you have that you think would help you work in the position you applied for. 

  • Commute time, nearest station

Write down how long it would take to get to the workplace from your home, as well as the closest train station to your house. 

  • The number of dependents and your marital status

Write in the number of dependents and circle 有 (ari) if you have a spouse and 無 (nashi) if you don’t.

  • Hopes about work hours, salary, and place for work

The last major section is for your hopes and desires about the jobs you apply for. If you have anything you want to talk about in terms of your salary or working shifts, you can mention it here. Also, if you don’t know which branch or store you are going to be working at, you can write about a desirable location.

  • Guardian’s information

At the bottom of a resume, there is a blank section to fill out your guardian’s information. If you are not an adult, which is 20 years old in Japan, put the information in.

The chance to show your best self

Even if you have impressive skills and experiences, if your resume does not look great, they will be more likely to turn you down. Here, “great” means such things as that you look clean and sincere in the photo and your handwriting is beautiful and easy to read. Take a good amount of time filling out your resumes to show the best of yourself!