Job Hunting in Japan & Where to Look


First, off the bat, you need to decide what kind of job you are looking for. English teaching, non-English teaching? Those kinds of questions.

To be warned though, unless your Japanese level is N2 or above, most companies won’t be too interested in you. N2 is business level Japanese, which is needed for most jobs outside of English teaching. Hey, if your goal is English teaching though, then you’re almost there.

Recruiting Agencies

Good places to look for jobs as a Foreigner are recruiting companies like Hays, who are pretty well-known in Japan.

There is also EN world, another recruiting agency.

And lastly Wahl & Case

Job Sites for Foreigners

When going to specific kinds of job sites, you need to be wary of some of the offers, because a lot of offers on sketchy sites will offer you to become a recruiter! It never really works out well, because the job isn’t very fruitful.

Gaijinpot is a great job listing site to look at too while you’re at it!

Another one that I personally have used is Daijob, they have many areas that are looking for people and the process of the site is pretty easy to use.

Why You Should Go to an Agency

Job Hunting in Japan

Another amazing reason to use a recruiting agency is that they are usually free! Yes, you read that right. Free!

The agency then takes your resume and they essentially apply for jobs for you. Plus, if for whatever reason there is a flaw in your resume, or you have short work time on an old job because you quit; the agency will explain for you why that is so. It’s kind of a white lie, but they are trying to get you hired while painting you in the best light they can.

A downside to agencies is that usually help those with experience and skills that are in demand more than those who are just entering the workforce. The new people just aren’t as big a priority, which is a little annoying.

You may still be wondering why the services are free. The reason being is that if you do get hired thanks to that recruiting agency, the company that hired you pays the agency a fee. Usually it’s about one or two months what your salary would be.

What’s Your Ideal Type?

Now that you have a general idea of who or where you can go to apply for jobs, let’s take a step back and go over what kinds of jobs you could apply for as a foreigner.

As a foreigner, the most common job we apply for is to be an English teacher. It is one of the most common jobs to be found and most desired in Japan. Most places will require that you have a Bachelor's Degree and a valid Work Visa. That isn’t the only option though! With my Spouse Visa and my approved application to engage in activities outside of what is listed on my visa, I can work part-time! If you do this, you cannot work full-time, you can not work more than 18 hours a week, and cannot make more than half of your spouse's income.

Some teaching jobs can be relatively easy going, and some can make you want to crash under all the work and pressure they put on you. Yet, if you find a place that will hire you to teach children, without a degree, you just found a lucky coin.

Yet there is always a more difficult side to every coin. It is also extremely difficult for non-native English speakers to get an English teaching job. Their visa requirement demands at least 10 years of an English education.

For more information on how to get a job in Japan as a non-native English speaker, click here.


Craigslist is a creepy place to go to no matter where you are in the world. Let’s face it. It still has jobs that are posted every day though, you just need to wade through all the scams and seedy/sketchy stuff first.

Also, you need to realize that most places are not going to sponsor your work visa for a minimum wage job like working in a restaurant or a bar. Work visas are able to be sponsored by companies mainly.

Yet there are some mildly prospective places on Craigslist. Some well-known companies even put out ads on Craigslist as a last resort kind of attempt to reach people. Not all agencies can find people in their databases and are willing to accept your job so putting them out on different markets such as jobs hunting sites and so on is a good strategy to get as much media-saturated foot traffic as possible.

So the long-short of this is, if you decide to apply for a company you found via Craigslist, be sure that this company is real, legit, safe, and can actually sponsor your work visa. Especially because of where you found it. Don’t jump on everything that looks interesting as a potential job, it could not work out the way you want. So work hard, and be smart.

What To Expect

Job Hunting in Japan

In the Japanese job market, people are very serious. If you get that call or email for an interview, you better go dust off that suit and blazer; and polish up those shoes. Interviews are very formal, you need to bring your A-game. Hairbrush nice, suit and tie, pencil skirt and blazer, mild perfume and a pleasant smile and attitude. If you show up in skinny jeans and flats with messy hair? You won't be getting that job I assure you.

What also gives you an additional leg up? Hmm, how about already being in Japan! Most jobs will require you to ALREADY reside in Japan. If you’re already here, that’s one-third of the battle. If you don’t have your visa yet, this will definitely boost your chances.

Now after applying to what feels like a dozen jobs, you are most likely going to hear back from all of them! That’s right, all of them. In Japan, they will tell you if you made their cuts or not, politely of course. Whereas in America, they will never call you, making you feel like an idiot for waiting so long when you could have been onto another lead.

They also tend to respond to your application
within three days of applying, guaranteed it wasn’t during the weekend or a holiday.

All Caught Up

Now that you’re moderately caught up on where to look with a couple helpful nudges in certain directions, you should know what job sites you could go to. All while also having a couple agencies in your back pocket in case you need a little help. Don’t forget if you ever get a little desperate, or curious, Craigslist has a unique plethora of options to choose from. Remember though, most of them will not sponsor your work visa, and those that do, still need to be checked out. Just to make sure they aren’t sketchy, always do a little background research on the company that you are applying to.

Many friends have worked for certain English teaching companies and absolutely hated it, because of the unrealistic expectations they put on them as teachers! The workloads too much for them to do by themselves every day, the hours are harsh and unforgiving, and the pay? Not too good either sadly. So if you do choose a company, make sure you know what you’re diving headfirst into alright?

So with all this in mind, and a bunch of spare time you more than likely have if you read this article, exercise those thumbs. Update that good ol’ resume, get a new 3 cm x 4cm photo (in a suit, professional appearance) for your CV and start looking! There are many opportunities out there waiting for you, just get out there and look.

If you want to know more about finding a job in Japan, we have three more articles that go into detail about finding a job.

Until next time, stay curious, and if you’re curious- poke it with a stick. Poke it hard!

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