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Thinking about working in Japan?

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Thinking about working in Japan?

This is the first part of a series of articles that will introduce a few things you might want to know before applying for work in Japan

Kevin Chan

Kevin Chan

Published on 20 Jan, 12:00

Working abroad in an interesting country seems like a great idea to everyone at first; that is until you really get down to the nitty-gritty of actually applying for work. This is part of a series of articles that will introduce a few things you may want to think about before applying for your dream job in Japan.

Thinking about how to get work in Japan?
Thinking about how to get work in Japan?

Where do I go to find jobs?

There are many opportunities online that are just waiting to be found. A couple of websites that are worth looking into include Dave's Esl Cafe and GaijinPot Jobs.

I found my first few positions working in Japan applying from outside the country on Dave's Esl Cafe, and it regularly updates great opportunities for those looking to teach English in Japan.

For those who have some ability in Japanese (either oral or written skills), GaijinPot might be interesting for you; it has more in terms of non-teaching positions, but many of them do require some level of Japanese ability.

If you're a professional and have a LinkedIn profile, it's worth indicating that you're looking for work in Japan. Facebook and other social media pages will also have groups dedicated to offering work opportunities, and those are also places to look as well.

Don't despair if you feel that you're spending hours looking through job applications; it will give you an idea of what an average job will entail in Japan in terms of time commitment and salary potential so that you know what to expect and can prepare yourself mentally for what lies in store for you.

Glassdoor is another resource that you should look into - it provides reviews of the company from past and current employees that will give you an idea of what sort of company you're applying to enter.

What do I need to prepare before I apply?

Now that you've found a job that you might be interested in, here are a few things that you should probably think about preparing before applying:

Make sure all your documents are in order!
Make sure all your documents are in order!
  • Paperwork

This might seem obvious but it's important to have all your paperwork up to date and ready. This will definitely include having a legal, valid passport, but Immigration Japan may also have regional requirements for your country of residence or origin.

Coming from Canada, I was requested to bring a copy of my university diploma or transcript and a valid passport. It's definitely recommended to contact the Japanese embassy in your country to confirm what the latest requirements are for entry into Japan.

Money, money, money
Money, money, money
  • Finances

It's not cheap to immigrate anywhere and by applying to work in Japan, that's essentially what you will be doing, if only for a short while. You'll be asked to provide evidence (bank statements, etc) that you have the financial means to stay in the country.

When I first moved to Japan, I was asked to send a copy of my bank account balance to demonstrate that I had sufficient funds before the company sent me an offer letter (That amount will likely vary from company to company. In my case, the company asked to see a balance of 250,000 yen, for your reference).

Make sure you know what medication you need to bring over!
Make sure you know what medication you need to bring over!
  • Medications

You may find that the medication that you are used to taking in your home country is not available in Japan, which is important particularly if the medication is something you require on a regular basis.

Additionally, you'll want to investigate if the medication that you're used to using is allowed in Japan; worst-case scenario, you might discover that the medication you require is not allowed in the country, which would require some research into identifying an available alternative in Japan or would require you to reconsider applying to work in Japan.

After a few trips back home to Canada, I found that it was useful to have my family physician write out the pharmaceutical or medical terms for the medication that I needed (e.g. Not Tylenol, but paracetamol), and that really helped pharmacists and doctors in Japan identify local brands of the same medication.

In our next article, we'll look into the types of jobs available in Japan. Stay tuned!

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Kevin Chan

Kevin Chan

Kevin is a professional writer with experience in music, education, news media and entertainment. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in English before moving to Japan for work. He's lived all over Japan, spending time in Kanto, Chubu, Kinki and Okinawa.

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