Resume guide

The Basics On Writing A Resume (Foreigner Edition!)

When you have a career change in Japan, there are a lot of people who don’t know how to write a resume even though you need to submit. Especially for foreigners, when their first language isn’t Japanese, it’ll be very hard to prepare a resume for your interview. In this article, we are going to give you guys advice on writing a “JAPANESE RESUME”.  So, let’s get STARTED!!!

Basic Manners On Writing A Resume

A resume is a document where all your information is written down, for example, (Personal information, educational background, work experience, etc.) Unlike foreign resumes, we have a format so let’s keep the manners when writing a Japanese Resume!!


Handwritten Resume? OR PC Made Resume?

In other countries, generally, they create resumes using a PC.



However, in Japan, we create resumes in both ways, handwritten, PC but it depends on the company you apply to, but some companies find the handwritten resume better than resumes created by a PC. 



You should check which way the company prefers when you apply, and if it’s difficult to ask, you can check with your job-hunting agency.



If you choose to handwrite your resume, you can buy blank resumes at a convenience store OR download a format from the web and print it out.



You can download the template of the resume HERE!!!

<Excel Version>Download The Resume Here

 <Word Version>Download The Resume Here


Use A Black Ink Pen When Writing Your Resume

ALWAYS use black ink pen when writing a resume!! We advise people to use an oil ballpoint pen because gel ink pen’s and normal ball pens tend to blur when you rub it.



When you make a mistake writing your resume, rewrite it with a brand new one because you will be more successful at the interview if you have a CLEAN & PERFECTLY written resume. don’t be “LAZY”.



Precautions On Creating A Resume On Your PC

Use BLACK COLOR with the MING FONT明朝体 (Do not use other colors!!!) when writing a resume on your PC.



You can change the font size to fit the column space and contents on what you’re writing about.


Western Calendar & Japanese Calendar

In Japan, the notation of the era is different from other countries.



We use a specific Japanese calendar for the notation of the era.



We think it is hard to use this Japanese calendar for foreigners because it’s only used in Japan, we ADVISE people to use the ONLY Western calendar on your resume.



When you fill the date of birth, educational background, work history, and qualification column, let’s make sure you unify the Western & Japanese calendars. IF you find the Japanese calendar difficult, it is safe to write it in the Western calendar. 



Japanese Calendar: 平成2年(Heisei 2 Nen)

Western Calendar: 1990



If the method is unified in the western calendar (or Japanese Calendar), the interviewer would think that you “care about the person who’s going to read your resume”.


Precautions For Your Profile Picture

On a Japanese resume, there is a space where you can put your “Profile Picture” on.



Let’s be CAUTIOUS when you take a profile picture for your resume!!!


  • Wear a suit (Jacket)
  • Take a picture from your chest to up and must be able to see your face clearly
  • Make sure your hair doesn’t cover your face
  • The size of the photo should normally be 4cm x 3cm

The picture must be taken at a photo gallery or a photo booth. (photo booth is a little machine fitting one person and it’s usually placed near train stations.)



Do NOT put a profile picture taken by YOURSELF.



(The Great Instant Photo Booth In Japan)


How To Write A Resume 1. Personal Information

Now let’s try making a resume TOGETHER!!! We outlined the contents that are categorized into three columns. Let us go through this TOGETHER!!!




*When you’re sending your resume, write down the date when you dropped off your resume in the public postbox.


*Job Interview

*When you’re going on an interview, write down the date when you are going on your job interview.



Put a SPACE between your first name and your last name. 

ふりがな(Furigana):とぅ めいつ

氏名(Name):愉 美慈



ふりがな(Furigana):やまだ たろう

氏名(Name):山田 太郎



ふりがな(Furigana):すみす じょん

氏名(Name):Smith John


Date of Birth

Use the Western calendar.

For example, 1993/05/14


We recommend writing the date on the western calendar, so it’s is easy to understand. Please describe the age at the time of submission in the item of the full age.

Example:1985年1月23日生(Full 34 years old)


 Home Address

Write down your home address starting from the prefecture you’re in. (Make sure you write down the name of the apartment and the room number as well! Don’t Omit when you write down your address!) Be careful about the balance of the letters when you’re handwriting your resume!


 Phone Number

Write down the phone number that can be reached during the daytime.


 Email Address

Write down your email address. Do NOT write down your company email address. 



Depending on your resume, there may be 2 items to write your contacts. Fill both spaces only if there is contact information other than the current address. IF NOT, describe as (「同上」“Same”).


How To Write A Resume 2-1. Educational Background

Next, let’s go over the Educational Background!

On Japanese resumes, you must write down the last school that you attended and the one before. If you attended University, let’s write down from your high school. IF you attended a language school OR a University in Japan, let’s write those down as well!


Study abroad

Normally, if you have studied overseas for over a year, you MUST write that down on your resume, BUT if the period was less than a year, it is not an obligation to write it down on your resume.



HOWEVER, you can write that experience as your advantage point on the self-PR column on the resume.



Example1 year off to study in Japan. Study Abroad Destination:Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Tokyo Chuo University


School Transfers & Department Transfers

In a situation where you have transferred schools or departments, write down where you transferred from and to where.



For example: (Transferred from Nextbeat Highschool to Nextbeat 2nd Highschool)



IF this was a transfer of department, you would write (Transferred from Dept. of English Literature to Dept. of Music Technology (OR) Transferred from Faculty of Law to Faculty of Liberal Arts.)



At the end of this description, you would want to write down [Department Transfer] OR [Faculty Transfer] as well.


What If You Dropped Out Of School?

IF you dropped of school, you would have to write the education one before you dropped out.



For example: (If you dropped out of university, the education you would write down on your resume is your high school attendance.)



Once you have a gap between your career after dropping out, there might be a chance where the company will find it odd. MAKE SURE you write down why you took a break between your career.



In that case, write [Drop-Out] after writing down the school name, faculty, and the department.


What To Write When You Went Back In Education After Being Employed

When you attend a school after your employment, you MUST write it on an Education background part.


How To Write A Resume 2-2. Job History

(Write it from the bottom left to the upright)


Place a one-line gap between your education. Put “Job History” in the middle of the second line and you can start writing down the description of the job experience you have!



Now, you need to write down ALL your job experiences. (Which company you worked for, what you were doing, and for how long.)



At last, you will write down [To the present] & [Above]


If You Never Been A Full-Time

If you are employed by a contract employee, part-time worker, or other than a full-time employee. IF you are a full-time employee, please describe the year of employment. In the case of temporary employees, let’s describe both the dispatching company and the destination company!


Prize & Punishment

If you got an award in Japan or your country, you must write down what kind of award you got. (The award must be an award that EVERYONE knows.)



For example Nobel Prize, Good Design Award.



MOST IMPORTANTLY, you MUST write down if you have a history of being arrested or have a history of crime.


How To Write A Resume 3. License & Qualification


How To Write The License & Qualification

If you are a foreigner and have qualifications for a Japanese Language Proficiency Test, please list them in the License & Qualification Column. Make sure you don’t abbreviate as JLPT but write down as (Japanese Language Proficiency Test). So, it is easy to understand.



Write down ALL the license and qualifications you have!! It might be an advantage point for being HIRED!



Example on how to write it down:

2011: Bachelor’s degree

2012: Driver’s license

2013: JLPT (Japanese language proficiency test)


If you have other licenses or qualifications like your driver’s license OR English qualifications, write them down on a chronological order. Also, if you have obtained licenses OR qualifications related to the applying company, it would be a GREAT APPEAL POINT!!!


Write Down Your Skills & Hobbies Concisely 

The column for skills and hobbies are a good icebreaker between seriousness.



Don’t exaggerate!! Simply, write down what you are capable of and what you like to do in your time. REMEMBER, the point is to be BRIEF.



Try not to write down any hobbies including (Gambling, Crime related, Political matter, and Religion.)



This often gives the company an idea of the trouble you might bring to the within the company.



ONCE AGAIN, Do NOT write that down!!!


How To Write The Commuting Time

Write down the minimum time it takes for you to commute. IF you’re flexible to move, write down “Planning to move to a commuting area”.


How To Write The Dependents

This is IMPORTANT because your benefits and social insurance would be affected by this information. Write down how many dependents you have, if you’re married, and if you have kids. Complete this part by sticking to the format of the resume.


How To Write Your Motivation

There are THREE VERY IMPORTANT POINTS on how you write down your motivation.



Let’s show the company how MOTIVATED you are!!!



(1)Understanding What Skill The Company Needs & The Self-Appeal You Can Give

Know what kind of knowledge and skills the company is looking for. At the same time, LET THEM KNOW how you can use your skills and knowledge to contribute to the company.



(2)Know The Strong Points & The Characteristics Of The Company

One of the MOST IMPORTANT things you need to understand about the company that you’re applying to is what their products are, what their service is about, what their standing position in the market is, management philosophy, and the management policy.



That is how you can know what you can ACHIEVE in the company you applied to.



(3)Figure Out How Your Future Is Going To Be With The Company You’re Applying To

Try writing down your motivation with the vision on whether you can achieve your futuristic goal at the company.



By creating your VISION, it would be easier for both the company and you to paint a clear IMAGE for your career after you get employed.



How To Write Your Request

For your request, write down what you really can’t give up due to working for that company.


For example:

*Set the date on when you want to enter the company if there is a specific retirement time set on the current job.



*You want to reduce working time because you MUST go pick up your children.





Now, if you want to job hunt while you’re still employed, you must write down a contact number that the company can reach during the daytime.



Due to your employment at the company, if you don’t have any personal requests, simply write down “I will follow the company regulations



We ADVISE writing that down rather than leaving the column blank.


Fill In The Resume Completely & Prepare For The Interview



We hope that this information can be helpful at the time you are writing your resume.






There will be items on the resume that other countries don’t have, ask a recruitment agent for HELP!!! (YOU NEED SOMEBODY!!!)




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