Introduction: We are looking forward to working with you in various fields.
What are you planning to do for your career in the future after graduation (if you are a prospective college graduate). Go back to your country to get a job? Or remain in here Japan to try to explore a new path? I think many of you are in the latter group, and I’m glad I am a little help for you to develop your career by giving some advice about job hunting activity in Japan. If you are a student from overseas, you will be able to take advantage of experience you have got and a variety of contacts you have made through your college or graduate school life here.
General process in job hunting activity in Japan
First of all, choose companies you wish to work for. Send or e-mail for brochures of the companies or attend their employment information sessions in order to get as many figures and facts about them as possible. Attending a career fair where employment recruiters from several companies gather for new prospective workers is also one choice you can make. Either way, you can get a better grasp of what jobs are suitable for you through these activities.
Once you have narrowed down to a few companies you would like to apply for, now it’s time to visit them. For example, visit some employees actually working there, and you will be able to get their real (or maybe a little watered-down) opinions of their workplaces. You can also apply for an internship which will be a good way to have simulated experience of your target job field. But if you are thinking of an internship option, you will need to make yourself look professional enough to pass for a working adult, even though you are still a student and don’t have much knowledge of and experience in the field you want to work in.
Next, it’s time to prepare a good-looking resume for submission. In Japan, many kinds of “履歴書用紙(printed resume paper format)” are available in stationery stores or even convenience stores. You can also download the same kinds of format from your PC. They are designed in a way that is easy for you to be able to write your academic backgrounds and work history in a chronological order. I have a friend from the US. She was thinking of working for a local Japanese company. To make her first impression as good as possible, she asked me to translate her self-typed English resume (on as many as four A4 sized sheets) into Japanese. I think that was the longest CV that I have ever read and translated in my life. I don’t intend to deny a “big data” resume, but keep in mind that to write a simple and well-organized resume will make your prospective employers impress you as a capable person. Just a single document about yourself might decide your future career path. So keep the content easy to read.
Other documents to prepare for job hunting activities than resume
Now you have your resume ready, have a certificate issued from the college you belong in: Certificate of Graduation (to prove you officially graduated from the college) or Certificate of Enrollment (to prove you were in the college for a certain period as a foreign student). Actually both of the documents mentioned above are not necessarily required for submission. Ask the company you are going to apply for if these documents are required to be submitted or not.
The most important item to get in preparation to work in Japan: A work visa
If you are a foreigner who wishes to work in Japan and visit Japan for the first time, of course, you MUST get a work visa. Different countries have different agreements in diplomatic relations with Japan which may decide how long you can stay in Japan. So contact a Japanese embassy or consulate in your country for more details on visa eligibility you wish to be registered under.
You have to remember that immigration authorities must keep information on foreign residents of Japan and that if you are going to apply for a work visa, you have to prove you have or will have decent income source to obtain your target status of residence. If the company you are applying for will take care of your visa application procedures, you can ask people familiar with visa things in the General Affairs of the company. Probably your passport, your residence card (if you need to renew the status of residence) or documents for application to change your visa status will be required for submission to the company.
Incidentally, here are application forms required to obtain a work visa for Japan. The following information are cited from June advisors Group, a visa-related consulting agency.
・Contract of Employment
・”Tokibo-Tohon” Registry Certificate of the company that employs you in Japan
・The company’s Balance Sheet
・The company’s Withholding Tax Report
・The company’s brochure
・Certificate of Degree/Certificate of Diploma
・Documents to prove your previous working experience
・Portrait photos of fixed size (3cm×4cm)
If you are already working here and thinking of changing jobs for some reason, that means you will have to change your visa status. As I mentioned, getting an appropriate income source is one of the important work visa eligibility prerequisites. Quitting a job means your status of residence are not temporarily under the category of work visa. So make sure to find a new employer as soon as possible definitely before the renewal of your visa status. The immigration law stipulates that a visa applicant has to work under an employer who will serves as the applicant’s visa “sponsor”. This means your former employer is supposed to issue a document which informs Immigration that you have left the company and that if you find your new employer, they will take over your visa sponsorship. (Otherwise, it is almost impossible to get all the chores about visa-related things by yourself!) Just one mistake in the procedures of your visa application or renewal might result in such serious situations that you can’t regret enough. To avoid the worst scenarios such as facing deportation or other severe penalties for overstaying, make sure to prepare for your visa application well in advance. Never take chances with visa things.