Working in Japan should only be a part of your job search

What do you do if you do not find the job of your dreams on Here are some tips to get you on the right track.

While is the best place to find open positions in your area, there are still some opportunities that don’t end up on even the best job board listings online. In the extremely rare case that you are looking for a job not already on, you’re going to want to do a bit of extra legwork to have a chance at the positions that fall through the cracks.

To get ahead of those who stick to the job boards, you’re going to want to utilize your Google-fu, your email writing skills, and a whole lot of patience (in addition to your usual Jobs in Japan activities of course!).

Assuming you already have a top-notch resume and CV (and after applying to all relevant jobs on Jobs in Japan), just running a Google search for companies in your desired field and location will often produce some great leads.

For example, let’s search for an International School Position in the beautiful city of Kobe.



The front page alone yields a variety of places we can contact about job opportunities.

The first step is to go to the school website and look for any “Job Opportunities” or “Careers” tabs or links. These are rare, but when you see them use them as they are a great way to “jump the line” ahead of people waiting on job boards.


If any particular company doesn’t have a convenient “Work Here” tab, Google the school’s name and along a word like “job” or “opening.” This can sometimes lead to past online job listings. While we obviously can’t apply to those now-filled jobs, it will reveal some potential names, emails, and phone numbers for our next step.

What you want to do after finding the correct contact information is call the company to get some more information and some “face” time.

As I’ve never heard of anyone being successful with the “ask for a job on the spot” method, what I recommend is asking if you can ask some genuine questions about the company/school. Looking over their website can usually lead to some natural questions.

(Emailing is fine as well, but remember how much easier it is to ignore an email than it is a phone call.)

You’ll also want to make sure that within the first 3-4 minutes, you ask about their hiring process. Make sure they know what your endgame is. You can explain how you found their website online and didn’t see any employment opportunities at the moment; they might stop you right there and say they actually do have jobs available. In the event that doesn’t happen though, here are some suggestions of questions you might ask:

  • I see you utilize the Montessori teaching system; do you require any special education or training for your teachers?
  • Does your company expect any specific employment experience from prospective teachers?
  • Do you hire teachers directly, or do you work through a specific recruiter? And is this recruiter someone I can contact?
  • Would it be possible to deliver my resume and cover letter to you or another person at your school/company, so that I might be considered for a future position?

While the first two questions will vary depending on the field, the last two questions will not. Learning how they hire is crucial if you want to get ahead of the game when they do have an opening, and if they already have your resume when an opening arises, even better.

If they hire directly, ask if there is any way that you can be notified when there is an opening. If yes, awesome. If no, ask for the URL where the job will be posted and bookmark it.

If they hire through a recruiter, most recruiters have an alert system that you can easily set up to be notified when a position opens up. You should already have these set up for your field anyways, but if you don’t, now is as good a time as any to do that. And you can set up a specific one for this location, now that you have a specific contact there.

Carrying out this process will help you build up a pool of possible employers, and in the luckiest of circumstances, you might find an opening along the way. Also, just by getting in contact with companies in your area and field, you are putting yourself on their radar for the future.

At its core, networking is just coming into contact with as many people as you can, and this is a great way to do so in a natural and possibly job-finding way.

Good luck on your quest.

I'm Charlie and I've been in Japan since 2012. I started Live Work Play Japan to help foreigners in Japan to find their own version of success. I also wrote "The Smart Guide to Teaching English in Japan" which you can get on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle book.

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