Ready to look for work in Japan but not sure how or where to start? In this article, we’ll cover a few different methods for your job search process, including the good old-fashioned word-of-mouth approach and job fairs, as well as some key online resources.
Please note that the information below is intended for job seekers with native level or fluent English skills that are interested in full-time career positions (as opposed to part-time or minimum-wage level jobs).
“It’s not what you know, but who you know” goes the adage, and this is true for Japan just as it is anywhere else. Personal connections, or “kone” in Japanese, can be a valuable resource for getting a company to take notice of you, or help you stand out among other applicants. Some companies may even give you priority in the selection process, opting to skip the document screening stage and invite you in for an interview.
So how does one develop the valuable personal connections that might lead to a job referral? The first place to start is your own existing network of friends and acquaintances. You may be surprised what leads might turn up once you spread the word about your job search and ask for introductions.
Beyond that, social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn can also prove very useful. Facebook hosts a wide variety of different groups, some of which feature their own job posts, or happen to be organized around industries, job types or people of certain nationalities. Becoming a member of such a group is a great way to develop relationships, network, and gain insider information about companies in Japan. Meanwhile, LinkedIn can help you search for people working at the companies you are interested in, or allow you to be scouted by recruiters.
If you’re already in Japan, job fairs are another great way to gain information and meet prospective employers. Job fairs are held throughout the year in Japan’s major cities or online, typically catering to specific target audiences such as new graduates, non-Japanese employees or mid-career hires. These events may require differing levels of Japanese ability or may focus on a specific industry, so it’s best to check carefully in advance to see if the job fair is right for you.
While the following is by no means a comprehensive list, some of the main job fairs for non-Japanese in Tokyo include the GL DOORS! International Job Fair, the CAREER FORUM, the Global Career EXPO, and JOB HAKU TOKYO.
Online Job Sites
When it comes to searching for job openings and actually applying for positions, job sites are unquestionably a key resource. There are many sites intended for Japanese nationals and are Japanese-language only, yet numerous sites now specifically cater to non-Japanese job seekers. Some of the main ones for those with English-speaking backgrounds are as follows.
- Jopus Connector
Jopus Connector is a new recruitment service that is specifically tailored for foreign nationals. The site features listings updated daily for positions available to both foreigners living in Japan or abroad. Like many other websites, prospective applicants register a profile to view available positions and be scouted by companies.
However, a key advantage of Jopus Connector is the ability to communicate with a candidate company via chat during the recruiting process and even speak directly with foreign employees at the company in English (or another language if available) through a web consultation. This gives applicants the ability to learn more about the company firsthand, discussing concerns and gaining understanding from a non-Japanese perspective. After consultation, you can then apply for a formal interview.
- GaijinPot Jobs
Gaijinpot Jobs is one of the largest recruitment websites for global talent in Japan, featuring positions oriented towards English native speakers with or without Japanese ability. Native English speakers account for over 70% of their 650,000 users that visit the site each month.
In contrast to other sites, companies post their openings for part-time and career positions, which require English skills, directly on the site. Registered users can take a more proactive role in their job search, such as by contacting specific companies via direct message and receiving job offers from them. Gaijinpot Jobs even offers a “Remote Work OK” keyword tag to employers’ postings to actively help job seekers find positions that support telecommuting.
- Career Cross
Career Cross is one of the biggest recruiting websites in Japan and specializes in foreign-owned and global companies. Geared more towards English-speaking applicants with some degree of Japanese ability, the website regularly offers more than 5,000 job postings in engineering, sales, marketing, education, administration, and other skilled professions at a variety of businesses ranging from large enterprises to start-ups.
The site also provides job hunting information and a variety of services such as creating resumes and building interview skills, on top of its scouting feature. Around 40% of their nearly 300,000 registered members are foreigners living in Japan, coming from countries such as India, the United States, China, the Philippines, South Korea, France, Taiwan, Vietnam and the United Kingdom.
With approximately 540,000 registered users from over 27 countries, Daijob is Japan’s largest career site for bilingual talent seeking new opportunities with global companies. The site lists thousands of jobs and features an advanced search option with a variety of criteria, including required language proficiency, location, and position level to make finding attractive openings much more efficient.
Like Career Cross, registered users can receive direct job offers from companies for free and gain access to useful career advice on a range of matters such as resume tips and interview skills. Daijob also features online career fairs held regularly throughout the year, making the website a comprehensive resource for job seekers.
The above resources are predominantly intended for native or fluent English speakers with varying degrees of Japanese ability. However, if you feel comfortable enough conducting your job search in Japanese, feel free to utilize sites intended for native Japanese job seekers as well, as this will significantly expand your options. Last but not least, remember that with more openings available than talent to fill them, it’s a job seeker’s market. With enough persistence, your search should turn up some leads eventually!
Please note that we are not responsible for links to third-party websites.
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