If you are an IT specialist, nurse, or university professor, work visas have never been easier to get due to the growing demand for international labor to fill the gap of an aging population. And with each passing year, it’s becoming easier to find work in your expertise if you have a resume to back it up and some moderate Japanese language skills. Even if you don’t have either, finding employment in Japan is not impossible. Keep reading to find out where to start job hunting in Japan and how to improve your chances of getting a callback!
Where to start Job-Hunting in Japan
Japan Job-Hunting Sites
Of the myriad job-hunting sites, two stand out. GaijinPot and Daijob hold listings for thousands of jobs and cater to slightly different markets, so it’s well worth having updated profiles on both sites.
Gaijinpot focuses mostly on teaching jobs, with the occasional hidden gem in other fields. Daijob is a more career-focused site for those looking to continue working in their current field of expertise while in Japan; however, note that the majority of postings on Daijob require some fluency in Japanese.
Recruitment is big business in Japan. While recruiters have historically focused on management positions, many have started branching out. If you sign up with a recruiter like Robert Half, Hays, or Michael Page, they will do a lot of the hard work for you. They maintain their own private databases with Japanese companies that avoid public facing sites, giving you a greater chance to find positions outside the main job-hunting sites listed above.
For this reason alone, recruiters are great for finding work in Japan, but the real benefits come from communicating with the recruiter themselves. They will present work that they feel fits your resume, giving you valuable insight into how you are presenting yourself. You get to learn more about yourself and the Japanese job market, while having the potential for finding a job in the process. Just be sure to stay in contact, as active clients are given priority.
Teaching English in Japan
The easiest path into Japan is through teaching. With recent changes to the English language curriculum and the upcoming Olympic games, demand for English teachers has never been greater.
Generally speaking you have two options: teaching in the public-school system or teaching at a conversation school (eikawa). Eikawa tend to offer better salaries but are run entirely for profit. This means that your schedule will likely include working on Saturdays and, like the rest of Japan, personal days are more of a suggestion than a guarantee. You may even have to stand on the street and hand out flyers to drum up local interest. The “big four,” you’ll find being debated on most forums are AEON, GABA, Berlitz, and ECC.
Public schools offer lower salaries but more free time to explore Japan. Depending on the environment, these jobs can also be more rewarding as you get to know the students through daily interaction over a long time in a traditional learning environment. The well-known JET program is a great place to start looking for these jobs, but more and more prefectures are turning to recruitment companies. These positions are usually advertised on job-hunting sites as “ALT,” or assistant language teacher jobs.
The First Thing You Need to Land a Job in Japan
A local phone number is essential when living in Japan. Recruiters need one, and almost all the job-hunting sites have a mandatory field for a local contact number. Even direct hire positions require one, because in a country where there are more phones than people, it’s expected of a potential employee. This is needed even before you try to rent an apartment or create a bank account, both of which require a phone number too. It’s worth noting that many teaching jobs require a video call as part of their interview process, but phone interviews are still the fallback in case something goes wrong.
How to Get a Phone Number and Data Plan in Japan
If you’re new to Japan and want to begin applying for jobs quickly, the best option is to go for a SIM card rental, available as a voice + data package, or data-only plan. For long-term stays, you may want to book a voice + data SIM card, which you can pick up directly at the airport. If you plan to stay in Japan for less than 3 months, then a data-only SIM should be enough to cover your entire stay, especially since VoIP services (several of which now offer local Japanese numbers) are a great workaround and can be used even if your SIM card is limited to data only.
Start Your Japan Job Hunting off Right with Sakura Mobile
Sakura Mobile offers both SIM options — each customized to fit your needs. Our voice + data long-term SIM plans come with generous data allowances, so checking your e-mail and keeping current with job listings is easy, no matter where you are. If you haven’t gotten your residence card and Japanese address yet, but plan to be in Japan for more than three months, we’ve still got you covered with our data-only long-term SIM plan, which offers all the same benefits minus a phone number. And whichever plan you choose, you’ll love staying connected on Docomo’s reliable 4G network, which offers exceptional speed and great coverage in all major cities.
Sakura Mobile services are available from start to finish in English, with all instructions and customer service available in English as well. If you’re unsure whether your phone is compatible with a Sakura Mobile SIM card or you have other WiFi-enabled devices, Sakura Mobile also offers long-term mobile WiFi router plans that run on SoftBank’s 4G network, with batteries that can last up to 20 hours.
Creating and maintaining all of your job-hunting accounts and profiles takes time, but with a Sakura Mobile you can work on them whenever you have downtime. Whether you’re on the train, at home, or at a coffee shop, you can see new job alerts immediately, and respond quickly, giving you an advantage over competing candidates.
No matter where you are, job hunting in Japan is difficult. Whether you are updating your profiles, searching through listings, or arranging interviews, it’s important to stay current. A Sakura Mobile voice + data SIM will let you do just that, giving you the best possible odds of landing your dream job in Japan.