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If youfve recently arrived to Japan, looking for work can be a daunting, confusing task, and knowing in advance how to navigate your way through the particularities of the typical Japanese employment search will undoubtedly make the process easier. This guide isnft exhaustive by any means, but it contains very basic information that every foreigner needs to know to maximize their chances of finding a job.

Where to look
If you have an appropriate visa that permits you to work, you can get help finding a job from Hello Work, which are public employment security offices. They will advise you on your job search on the interview process, help you find available positions, and/or set up interviews for you by calling potential employers. You can also use the services of private employment agencies, but first, make sure that they have authorization the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. Even if authorized by the Ministry, these agencies cannot offer you certain types of jobs such as construction work and security services.

What to expect from your employer
Wages must be paid in full once or more a month on a certain day in accordance with the Labor Standard Laws. Although the minimum wage varies by region and by industry, it is revised annually and also applies to part|time jobs. Employers who pay less than the minimum wage may be fined and will have to pay the employee the difference. Part-time work in Japan is defined as less than forty hours per week. Labor-related laws apply equally to full-time and part-time employment, and working insurance, social insurance, and Workerfs Accident Compensation Insurance is available for both. Under certain conditions, employment insurance and health insurance may also apply to part-time work. The employer and employee are considered to have entered into a labor contract as soon as they reach an agreement, even if itfs only an oral agreement. According to Japanese labor laws, your employer must inform you of all the working conditions at that time. To avoid misunderstandings, itfs best to get a written contract that specifies the period of employment, job description, wage, work hours, holidays, etc. Tax, insurance fees, and pension will usually be deducted from your pay automatically by your employer, but if you have any doubts or questions regarding the amounts deduced, do not hesitate to ask them for clarification.

The Japanese Resume
Instead of the free-form resume typically used in the West, youfll need a two-page personal profile called a rirekisho in order to apply for a job in Japan. Rirekisho have a very standard layout that cannot be derived from; you can buy the blank forms and envelopes for them in convenience stores and stationery stores. The goal of a rirekisho is to show the employer not only your work and education history, but also how well you will fit into their companyfs working environment. Therefore, you must emphasize personal interests and talents that directly relate to the job youfre applying to, and should leave out things that are unrelated. Because the Japanese consider handwriting to be an accurate reflection of someonefs personality, you must fill out the forms in Japanese, in blue or black ink. If youfre unable to do this, you can have someone else write for you, but that must be indicated at the top of the form. The first part of a rirekisho contains basic information such as your address, phone number, and a picture. The picture must be 30-40 mm high by 24-30 mm wide, taken from the chest up. You should dress and style your hair very conservatively, take out any piercings, and cover any visible tattoos. The second section contains your education and work history in chronological order, starting with the oldest and ending with your current or most recent job. Then, you will have the opportunity to list any special skills, qualifications, or licenses you have. This is the place to mention a driving license, and any Japanese language qualifications you have achieved. The next sections are not as strictly-structured and will allow you to express your reasons for applying for the position, your hobbies, interests, favorite subjects, etc. There is also a blank field for any comments or requests you may have regarding working conditions. In addition, you will have to indicate whether you are married and have any dependents | employers are legally allowed to ask for this information. If you have a hanko (the stamp used in lieu of a signature in Japan), there is a designated space for it that can otherwise be left blank. If youfre applying for a job in a foreign company, a standard resume will be required in addition to the rirekisho. The standards for this donft differ from those of any other country: make sure that the information you provide is concise, relevant, and easy to understand. Youfre trying to show the employer what, exactly, makes you a good match for the position.

The Interview
Once you land an interview, make sure you know well in advance how to get there and how long itfll take! Punctuality is very important, of course, and getting lost is the last thing you want. The first impression you give the potential employer is also very important. Regardless of the type of job youfre applying for, a business suit is a must for a man. Business wear is also necessary for women, but you have the option or wearing a simple blouse and skirt rather than a full-on suit. Avoid sneakers and sandals. Again, itfs very important to cover any tattoos you have, as they carry very negative connotations in Japan. Make sure your hair (and facial hair, if you have any) is neat and well-groomed. The actual interview process can be very disconcerting, especially if you donft know what to expect. Although the questions asked are usually standard fare | basic questions about yourself, why you applied, why you came to Japan, etc. | the interviewer may remain stone-faced and silent after your best efforts to give great answers. This is to see how you react to stress and to uncomfortable situations. Therefore, relax and keep smiling! Itfs important to remember that you would not be having an interview if you werenft considered a good match for the job, and staying cool and confident will only show your ability to perform well in a potentially stressful working environment. Stay professional and give simple, honest answers, and youfre sure to find employment in no time.


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