It is essential to conduct a “self-analysis” before you get started with job-hunting. Here, we lay out some detailed information about how and why you need to conduct a self-analysis.

What is a self-analysis?

A self-analysis is a technique you can use to clarify your own aptitude and desires: thinking about what kind of work is suitable for you or what you consider worth doing. You will conduct this through looking back on your past experiences and activities. Once job-hunting begins, you will be busy going to job fairs and job interviews, so it will become extremely difficult to find the time to think about yourself sufficiently. Therefore, you need to clarify your future plans by conducting a thorough self-analysis before you get deep into the job-hunting process.

Why is a self-analysis important?

Why is it important to conduct a self-analysis in order to get a job? We will highlight three main reasons:

  1. To carry out job-hunting efficiently.
  2. It’s useful when preparing for a job interview.
  3. To avoid joining a company that’s a bad fit.

Carrying out job-hunting efficiently

In Japan, there are over 4,000,000 companies and, among them, the number of listed companies alone is 3,600. Inevitably, it is practically impossible to look into all these companies closely; therefore it is crucial to filter down the number of companies you want to apply for by focusing on what you want to do and what is suitable for you. A self-analysis would help shed light on the industries that you would really like to work in, or the kinds of occupations you would like to do, which will help you narrow down your list of companies to a number that you could more easily manage to research and eventually apply to.

Being useful when preparing for a job interview

Whenever you go to a job interview for a Japanese company, three common questions you will probably be asked are:

Why do you want to work in Japan?
Why do you want to enter this industry?
Why do you want to join our company?

When offering convincing answers to these questions, it is important to back up your reasons using examples related to your past experiences and background. By conducting a self-analysis, you can formulate and consolidate your own answers to these questions, thus being an effective tool when preparing for a job interview.

Avoiding joining a company that’s a bad fit

If you join a company without an accurate understanding of what you want to do or what kind of positions you are suitable for, you might find that it’s a bad fit further down the line. Needless to say, in reality, there are lots of things you will never know until you actually join a company, but it is vital to know which jobs you are suitable for or not by conducting a thorough self-analysis to avoid these kinds of cases of incompatibility after joining a company.

How to conduct a self-analysis

Now that you understand the importance of a self-analysis, the next step is to find out how to conduct one. The basic method of self-analysis is to focus on two time frames: up until now (past) and from now on (future). We will explain the important points of each respective time frame.

  1. Finding similarities in past experiences
  2. Considering the future with the key words: “want”, “have” and “be”

Finding similarities in past experiences

Think about past events and experiences in your life and start writing down around 10 to 20 episodes from your childhood up to the present day which fall into the following categories: “enjoyable experiences”, “hard experiences” and “experiences you have put a lot of effort into”. Next, examine any similarities in those examples you have written.

This helps you deepen your understanding of yourself; what you enjoy, in what circumstances you do your best. The key for finding similarities is to keep asking yourself “Why did you feel that way?” when thinking about these memories.

Through continuously asking yourself “Why?”, it can make it easier to understand that there is perhaps a correlation at the root of these life episodes, even if there initially seemed to be no connection between them.

Considering the future with the key words: “want”, “have” and “be”

We recommend that you consider and organize your future using three key words: “want”, “have” and “be”.

  1. Want: What do you want to be doing?
    For example, do you want to work where you are creating something, or do you want to work where you are involved with people?
  2. Have: What do you want to have in the future?
    For example, have money, a house, a family?
  3. Be: What kind of life do you desire to be living?
    For example, a life where you have a lot of freedom, a more stable life, a challenging life?

You can make your ideal future envisioned more clearly by setting out your future hopes by using these three key words. After formulating some ideas, ask yourself how you came up with these aspirations. The answers may be found again in your past events and experiences.

Finally, if you can find a consistency between your past experiences and your future hopes after repeating this process carefully , your self-analysis is probably on the right track.

Utilize self-analysis tools

Recently, you can find numerous easy-to-use aptitude tests which can facilitate your self-analysis. Some websites for job seekers provide their own aptitude tests for job-hunting students. We can highly recommend the following aptitude tests, so if you are interested, please feel free to try them out.

  1. 16 Personalities
  2. Enneagram (Personality) Test
  3. Mynavi: self-analysis tool “MATCH (Mynavi Aptitude Test & Chart)”

Think about how you are connected to Japan

When you as an international student are looking for a job, you will tend to be asked in interviews what attracted you to come to Japan, and why you want to work here.
Therefore, rather like in a general self-analysis, we recommend that you similarly organize your experiences that are related to Japan into two timeframes, past and future, with the following questions:

  1. Past : What attracted you to Japan or made you interested in the country?
  2. Future : How do you want to get on in Japan? How do you want your relationship with Japan to be? Why you think this way?

Having clear ideas for these could be useful later in the job-seeking process.


Self-analysis is the first step to getting a job. Fundamentally though, conducting a self-analysis is a really good chance to reflect deeply about who you are, and we strongly advise that you take sufficient time to do this thoroughly before moving onto the next stage, and getting yourself out there in the job market.

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