10 tips for applying to IT jobs in Japan
The process of job-hunting has evolved overtime across the globe. With the pandemic pushing forth a new digital era, various processes have moved digital – from sourcing a job through job boards online, to video interviews and even virtual onboarding.
Computer Futures would like to keep you updated of what is new to support you in your career move. In a rapidly changing information technology (IT) industry, niche and specific skill sets will be needed to meet technical requirements of innovative businesses. At times, the roles available might also require you to possess certain soft skills.
As such, how do you prepare yourself when you begin your application to IT jobs in Japan?
Computer Futures’ top 10 tips to get you started on applying for your dream IT jobs in Japan:
1. Build your LinkedIn profile and digital brand
Before you start a new job search, there’s a few things to consider. One of the most important things is to decide how you want to portray yourself. As soon as you start applying for jobs, employers will start looking at your cover letter, cv and LinkedIn profile. First impressions count, and it’s likely the first place a hiring manager will go to find out more about you is LinkedIn. With this in mind, we have put together a few LinkedIn profile top tips to make sure your LinkedIn page shows off your best skills.
2. Write a comprehensive CV
Your CV and cover letter is the other first impression apart from your LinkedIn profile that a potential new employer would see, so it’s important to get it right. For most IT jobs in Japan, a generic CV or cover letter will not suffice; it’s important that you’re amending your CV and cover letter for each job application. A bonus tip is to make sure you highlight the skills on your CV that match the job description. You can even go beyond this – research on the company’s website and social media channels. Does your CV show them someone who would fit in well in this environment? Does your cover letter address the right skills to their hiring manager? These simple steps would be a great way to let the interviewer know that you’re a strong fit for this company.
Check out our help materials below that might help:
3. Do your research
What are the top IT sectors and what are the most in-demand jobs in Japan? It is important to know this before entering the IT scene.
Currently, Japan is home to a large IT industry. Reported by Statista, the software sector alone accounted for more than 15 trillion Japanese yen in sales and its data processing and information service sector is at a value of more than seven trillion yen. But while Japan is stated to be a technologically advanced country, it is still said to be lacking regarding its cyber security strategy. As such, talent within cyber security also rose in-demand. In addition, with the gradual adoption of Robotics Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), it is an indication that Japan has to adapt more towards potential and existing security challenges posed by the digital transformation. AI, ML and RPA jobs in Japan are also taking precedence in the IT sector with heightened emphasis across these areas.
If you are looking for what sectors might appeal to you within IT, you can also do a quick review of the latest jobs available to find out what is in-demand in the market. Looking at the job description and responsibilities might also give you a good indication of what you would be interested to do, and what your skills could be used for.
4. What to do before an interview?
Trends in tech evolve at a fast pace. With so much changing every day, it’s easy to get left behind. Before you move into a new role, it could be a good idea to take some time to self-assess, and consider how your skills fare within the current marketplace. Perhaps you need to brush up on the latest tools or software being used, or maybe you need to take some time out to learn a new programming language. Updating your skills will make you more employable, and demonstrates a pro-active mentality and enthusiasm for keeping up with industry trends. Many IT professionals also choose to work on different contract jobs or as a freelancer to gain experience in different type of projects. This could also be a great way to adopt and learn new IT skills. If you want to find out what are some skills that will be good to have, click on the button below.
5. Understand the work culture that would suit you
It could be as simple as taking a Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test online which can give you an introspective self-report on your psychological preferences. This might support you in understanding if you work better in a team or thrive in silo environments.
Nonetheless, interviewers appreciate hearing that an applicant is flexible regarding the work environment. In this case, not only do you emphasise your flexibility, but you indicate that you can work in a fast-paced environment and that you don’t mind structure. Do find out what the company’s culture is like before you suggest the type of environment you thrive in to use this to your advantage. For instance, if a fast-paced, structured environment is the norm at the company you are applying to, this answer would be appropriate, and your flexibility would be a bonus.
6. What to do during an interview?
Most recruiters or interviewers now use automation technology to sift through resumes. As such, it has become increasingly difficult to ensure that your CV and cover letter shows up in a search. This also means that it’s harder to secure a spot for an interview. This is why it’s important to match the skills in your CV to those mentioned in the job description. But if you are lucky to clinch an interview, we want to help you make the best impression possible. Take a moment to consider the context and purpose of these early interviews. If you are speaking with a recruiter, they would likely select your resume as one that would warrant an interview with the hiring manager. Typically they are only calling for identification purposes, and to confirm that you are either actively looking for a new job or alternatively don’t mind that they put your CV forward. It could also be a call to make sure that there aren’t any issues that would disqualify you as a candidate. Your goal in early interviews is to show them you are a polite and pleasant individual, and use this opportunity to gather information that will help you in future interviews.
7. What to do after an interview?
It’s possible for you to get an offer during your final interview. Nonetheless, follow ups are much more common and you can expect a call from either your recruiter or hiring manager. If you have waited for more than a week, it might be worthwhile checking in with your recruiter for status updates. While waiting for feedback, make sure you continue to network and apply to other new opportunities on the side no matter how good you feel about a first, second, or third interview. If you already received an offer, congratulations! You can click below to read more about your next steps to take.
8. Be open to trying contract jobs in Japan
Lifetime employment (Shūshin koyō) has long been the cornerstone of corporate jobs in Japan. New college graduates will apply to a company rather than to a specific position and are expected to stay with the company until retirement.
However, companies in Japan are changing their recruitment processes by hiring for specialized roles because of a shortage in the workforce and an increase in global competition. The latest OECD economic survey suggests that lifetime employment of employees in their 30s and 40s at large companies has fallen to 15% and 9.4%, respectively. Meanwhile 40% of the current labour force consists of part-time and contract workers in Japan.
Contract jobs can also be a good option for foreigners in Japan. Foreigners may find it difficult to secure a permanent job due to the culture of lifetime employment. As such, skilled jobs for foreigners in Japan could be a contract role which is easier to process, onboard and hire. This will also give them the local experience and knowledge that will be useful to have for their next job search.
9. Be aware of illegal contract practices and understand Japan’s Employment Laws
The laws in Japan governing collective labour relationships are the Labour Union Act (LUA) and the Labour Relations Adjustment Act. Regarding individual labour relationships, there are laws protecting minimum working conditions, such as the Labour Standards Act (LSA), the Minimum Wages Act, the Industrial Safety and Health Act (ISHA) and the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act.
In Japan, there are different types of terms to know across the contractual space from ‘Shokai Yotei Haken’, to ‘Gyomu Itaku’, or ‘Haken’. Be sure to find out what the differences are and how they can be helpful to you, especially if they are jobs for foreigners in Japan.
*Key tip if you are looking at jobs for foreigners in Japan
10. Learn the Japanese language
A lot of foreigners applying for a job in Japan would most likely use English as their preferred language. To get an upper hand from your competitors, take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), where you need to get to a minimum score of level 2 out of 5 levels, with level 1 being the highest attainable level. Since English is not the official language of Japan, learning Japanese could help you solve this conundrum. This might sound like a daunting task but not impossible! You will realise that the Japanese language will also come in handy for you in the future if you’re planning to stay in Japan.
Are you ready to apply for IT jobs in Japan?
Computer Futures have a long-standing reputation of supporting local and global companies expand their businesses into the Japanese market, as well as find the right jobs in Japan for our candidates. Contact us via the form below to receive advice on how you can achieve your career goals, find a job in Japan or simply to find out more about the IT landscape.