Nov 12 2020 Japanese resume: 5 questions every foreigner seeking a job in Japan might have

Many companies (particularly tech startups) recognize the need for English as a language of communication and would be comfortable with alternative forms of CV / resume that you are familiar with, but in many cases, a working knowledge of the Japanese resume can prove to be of strategic advantage.


#1. Can I send English resumes to companies that are open to accepting multilingual applications?

  • You can always use your English resume for companies who are open to accepting English ones but in addition, it is also useful to have a Japanese resume because ultimately you will be working for a Japanese company
  • Though we are definitely seeing an emerging trend towards the acceptance of English resumes, a lot of employees in these companies only speak Japanese which results in certain positions requiring at least an intermediate Japanese speaking ability. Hence it is always a good idea to keep a Japanese resume handy which additionally demonstrates your keen interest in the designated job role you are applying for.
  • Having a Japanese resume will not only show that you know basic Japanese job-hunting practices but also you are willing to adopt this method.
  • A standardized Japanese resume works as an effective document to allow Japanese Companies to clearly understand your experience and skills.


The ideal way to go about this will be to provide a resume both in English and Japanese. There are multiple templates available on the web for doing so or you can secure one from a local convenience store. You can also check our free resume generator tool. 


#2. Is it a must to send a Japanese resume?

It is a common misconception that a Japanese resume is a must for job applications:

  • Most new-age tech startups which promote diversity in their workplace don’t adhere to the requirement of a Japanese resume.
  • A lot of companies like Rakuten have converted to English as their official business language
  • In some cases, the brand is undergoing a slow transition with some teams like development or engineering are prone to communicating in English while other teams might still be working in Japanese only. We can see these hybrid mixes in terms of language.


Having said that, there are still some roles which exclusively require adept knowledge of the local dialect and the ability to read and write in Japanese will provide you with an upper hand, but with the changing global landscape and the increasing diversity in the Japanese job market, many companies are gradually transitioning away from the traditional rulebook.


#3. How to identify whether to send a Japanese resume along with an English resume to a company?

  • In most cases, the recruiter or consultant who has contacted you would tell you about the necessary prerequisites.
  • The consultant would inform you of the job description accordingly and whether or not there is a requirement of a Japanese resume and they would suggest so if needed.
  • Most companies clearly disclose their language requirements and there are many positions which don’t require any Japanese at all.


However as we mentioned before, it would always be of strategic advantage to send a Japanese resume along with your English resume.


#4. What is the standard Japanese resume format?

The standard format of a Japanese resume known as a ‘Rirekisho’ is usually two A4 pages (A3 in size). The resume is split into two parts with a solid line separating the two.

Traditionally, you are supposed to hand write your Rirekisho. Companies believe they are able to discern a candidate’s personality and match for a position based on your handwriting.

However in the current times, many companies accept Rirekisho made in Word/Excel


#5. Where do you find the traditional Japanese resume format?

  • There are a lot of online resources available for making a Japanese resume, including Active Connector’s Resume Generator Tool.
  • There are some online formats available for the same but in that case candidates have to provide some information in Japanese.
  • At Active Connector, we happily help candidates to create or proofread their Japanese resumes.

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