Working in Japan

How to Find a Job in Japan with a Recruiter

Here you will find all you need to know about using a recruiter to find a job in Japan. If you’re looking for a job in Japan, a recruiter can help you find a job fast.

First of all, what is a recruiter? Due to the aging population of Japan and growing industries, Japan has a very competitive job market. The unemployment rate is extremely low, and most graduates find a job with relative ease. What this means is that companies are willing to pay money to find good staff. From this market, a large industry has spouted. Recruiters are payed a commission by companies for any recruits they introduce that are subsequently hired.

So, should you consider using a recruiter to find a job in Japan?

Yes! It’s a win-win situation, as you get something akin to a manager doing the leg work for you. A good recruiter will also potentially help you get a higher salary, by emphasizing your talents and skills. They know their industry in Japan far better than the average new arrival ex-pat, and as such they will help you build an impressive resume, and steer clear of below average jobs. Recruiters are also (at least the better ones) bilingual, so they can navigate the Japanese information for you, if that’s not one of your strong points. Finally, many jobs are simply not advertised publically. Companies actually prefer to go through a recruiter, as it saves them time sorted resumes, as well as writing job postings and so forth. By using a recruiter in Japan, you are opening yourself up to another hidden job market.

What type of recruiter should I use.

Specialized recruiters exist for many industries in Japan, such as Information Technology, Health Care, Finance, Translation services and so on. It’s a good idea to find a recruiter that knows your industry. Recruiters that have a history of success in an industry will have a network of contacts in that industry, thus giving them potentially exclusive access to jobs. Recruiters exists as both members of firms and private in house independents. The firms are a good choice for new recruits, or less specialized job hunters. If you fit into this category, a recruiting firm may be a good choice for you.

Independent recruiters are generally more specialized. These guys often come from the firms, and have broken out independently because of their experience and networks. They aim for high commission, so are more interesting in experienced and specialized job hunters. If your resume aligns more with this, an independent recruiter might be able to find you a higher level position. This is not to say that the firms can’t do that also! Another thing an independent recruiter might be able to do for you is keep their ears open for better positions. If you are already employed, leaving your details and current contract conditions with a recruiter might lead to upward mobility through a different company or position.

Would a Recruiter be Interested in Me?

Naturally a recruiter is not a silver bullet. They will do their best to find you a job in Japan, so long as your resume meets a certain standard. Recruiters live of commission, so they will not spend time on a job hunter that isn’t very promising. Let’s take a look at some points that will make you desirable to a recruiter, and ultimately employers in Japan.

The Basics

First of all, you will need a higher education degree, either from a Japanese University, or your home country. This is because it is almost impossible to get a work visa without one.

As for a visa, some recruiters are open to finding jobs for people outside of Japan, who naturally don’t yet have a visa. This however is limited to the very specialized and skilled, or very large recruitment firms. Generally, most recruiters will prefer that you already live in Japan and hold some form of working visa. If your working visa does not match your targeted industry, for example you have a working holiday visa or instructor visa, and want to move into IT, this is not a large problem. It is far easier to change visa type than to get one, and employers know it.

A Good Resume

What makes a good resume in Japan. More or less, the same things that make a good resume in your home country! Some experience in your industry will make recruiters and employers take you seriously. Fresh graduates can find jobs in Japan, but putting a few years under your belt in your home country will improve your prospects immensely. Essentially, if you do not have experience, you are on the same level as fresh Japanese graduates. They however have the advantage over you as both native speakers, and familiarity with Japanese culture. However, there are other things besides experience that are highly important in Japan. The most obviously being Japanese language skills. Some jobs do not require this, but many more require at least JLPTN2. JLPT, or “Japanese Language Proficiency Test” is a standardized Japanese test. You can study for and take this test in Japan or in your home country, and it’s an excellent way to improve your resume.

Another point that will improve your prospects is a steady employment history. Though this is changing, japan is very much a lifetime work culture. Employees often work from graduation until retirement at the same firm. This has left a strong cultural impression that resumes with many short stints (less than 3 years) are unimpressive. Additionally, gaps in your resume are almost taboo! Gaps include periods of not working or working for long periods in unrelated industries. Working as an English teacher is a good way to get a foot in Japan, but staying there too long can actually hurt your resume, should you wish to transition back to some other career.

Finally, your physical resume. For obvious reasons, most companies will expect your resume in Japanese, not English. This does not simply mean a translation either. Japanese resumes follow a very strict format, and usually include a photo. Though there are templates online, if you use a recruiter they will build or help you build it from your English resume. This ensures your resume doesn’t look odd to employers.

How to Find a Recruiter in Japan

There are literally hundreds of recruitment firms operating in Japan. Many can be found with a simple Google search with keywords such as “Japan recruiter Information Technology”. Naturally if you search in Japanese, you will get more Japanese native or fluent speaker focused agencies.

Here are a few examples of firms.

G Talent Information Technology
Next In Japan Broad
Tsubusa Broad
Japan Dev Information Technology
Gloval Navigation Broad
Tokyo Dev Information Technology
Robert Half Finance

A Few Final Tips

Just like a car salesmen, recruiters can be pushy. They too earn their salary on commission, so it’s to be expected. You don’t ever need to accept a position or recommendation that a recruiter finds for you. Also keep in mind that a recruiter generally doesn’t officially work for the company, so even if they are enthusiastic for a position, the final say will always be with the employer. Having said that, a recruiters job is to help you find a job in Japan! Use them and it’s a win-win for both of you. You don’t need to be exclusive with a recruiter either, you can simultaneously continue your own job hunt with, at job fairs, or through you own contacts.

Currently living the good life on my little farm in the mountains of Japan. I grow my own rice and vegetables, and try to avoid doing things I don't enjoy! I figure this is the best way to live life. I enjoy writing every day, sometimes songs, sometimes bedtime stories for my daughter, and sometimes articles about Japan.

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