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3 step guide to part-time jobs

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3 step guide to part-time jobs

A little help for you to start earning as a student in Japan.

Rasheeq Islam

Rasheeq Islam

Published on 19 Mar 2020, 12:00

Finding a part-time job in Japan is a struggle that every student goes through. You never know how to start, where to start and your lack of language skills doesn’t help either. The struggles and the hurdles that I had to overcome requires a separate article. But now let me take that burden off you with this 3 step guide to part-time jobs in Japan.

Every step mentioned in this article will help ease your search for a part-time job. It doesn’t matter which prefecture you live in, these are tried and tested methods. And if you read the whole article there is a bonus tip at the end.

1/ Introduction through a Senior (先輩から紹介)

Whether you love them or hate them, Seniors (Senpai) should be your best friend when you are on a journey to finding a part-time job. In Japan, the term "紹介" (Shoukai), "introduction" in English, has high importance when it comes to any kind of job search. A Shoukai is like a free pass directly to an interview for the job.

The first thing that you should do is to contact your seniors. Find out where they work, have a good relation with them and when the time feels right, ask them for a Shoukai. But, beware, not all seniors will Shoukai so easily in Japan.

Me with My Manager from McDonald's in 2017
Me with My Manager from McDonald's in 2017

Because as Uncle Ben said in Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility". With the power of Shoukai of the seniors, you are vested with a lot of responsibility. If you get the job and you are not diligent not only is it bad for you, it is bad for the senior who introduced you.

I have been on both sides of the fence. When I was a junior, I once didn’t show up for an interview and my senior received some harsh comments from the manager. On the other hand, I once introduced a junior while I worked at McDonald's. He didn’t show up for the interview twice. I still remember the manager scolded me for a month, each time reminding me that I introduced a bad junior.

2/ Magazine or Online website

The success of this method depends a lot on your Japanese language skills. If you are someone who can speak basic Japanese, then magazines or online websites are your best bet.

Every convenient store has part-time job magazines and they are free to take. There are about 2-3 companies who make these. These companies also have their websites. Either way you choose you will get direct information about places that are currently looking for part-time workers.

TownWork is one of the magazines for part time job
TownWork is one of the magazines for part time job

The part where your Japanese skill is required is when you contact them. Some places require you to call them while some places require you to apply online. When you apply online you have "Google Translate" to help you. But if you need to call and you are not confident in your Japanese, you can either follow a script or have a friend with you while you are on the speaker.

TownWork website for part-time jobs
TownWork website for part-time jobs

3/ The Direct Approach:

The third and final method is similar to cold calling. This method requires a bit of work and hustle. You need to visit every restaurant, convenient store, supermarket or hotel around you and ask if they need a part-time worker. That’s what I did.

During my 1st year, I didn’t know many seniors, so I and my friend walked around the city to ask places if they needed part-time workers. We wrote multiple resumes and just went from place to place. We failed multiple times but we did succeed in a few. This requires more work but you end up improving your Japanese speaking skills a lot.

Visit restaurants like Joyfull and ask them if they have job vacancy
Visit restaurants like Joyfull and ask them if they have job vacancy

That’s about it. These are 3 steps that will help you land your first part-time job in Japan. Go one by one and I promise you, you will end up with the job by the time you reach number 3.

Bonus Tip

If you are someone interested in English Teaching Jobs you can contact schools following step number 3. They pay a lot more and the jobs are relatively easy. If you love cultural exchange programs, you can actually get paid for participating in them.
This is a cultural exchange event I attended.
This is a cultural exchange event I attended.

Cultural exchange programs are a fun way to earn money and also know about the culture of Japan. If you want to know about them let me know in the comments below and I will write a separate article about cultural exchange programs.

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Rasheeq Islam

Rasheeq Islam

Hi my name's Rasheeq. I am an independent filmmaker currently living in Japan. I love making videos to create meaning, connection, and possibility. I am currently trying to go Zero Waste with the help of my minimalistic lifestyle! My videos are for people who believe in change.

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