How to write a resume in Japanese

How to write a resume in Japanese

A resume is the very first thing or maybe the most complicated thing for someone who is looking for a job in Japan. Because Japanese companies look seriously at how a resume written, whether the format right, and the neatness of Kanji or overall alignment in a handwritten case. Most recruiters are prone to think an applicant much more reliable who can write a resume clearly, well-balanced and consistently aligned.

To make a resume may be much more difficult for foreigners, as you know little about the rules. This article will try to help you understand the rules for resume in Japan.

Introduction of a Japanese resume

In America or other countries, different resume styles can be accepted by companies, while generally there is only one style in Japan. You can buy a template from convenience stores with 200 yen for handwriting, or download a pdf or word template from the Internet to fill out by computer.

There are a photo sector and mainly 6 written sectors on the resume:

-Personal contact information including name, date of birth, gender, age, telephone number, address and stamp space.

-Education and work history

-Awards and Certificates (Accomplishments)

-Reasons for applying/Motivation


-Miscellaneous/Other including commuting time (from home to office), marital status, number of dependents. Note that this information is not completely necessary and it's ok to not provide it.

If you are newly graduated and have little experience, a resume with the above template will be enough. But an applicant with work experience are expected to apply for a job with an extra shokumukeirekisho (職務経歴書) document. A shokumukeirekisho gives a deeper insight of the applicant's professional achievements and related abilities. Also a template can be bought or downloaded.

Attentions for writing a resume

Before start writing a resume, you should keep these things in mind.

Keep it easy to read

Your resume may be read in less than one minute by recruiters. You should write it in a concise way and make sure recruiters can understand how competent you are quickly. Actually you have no need to write whole sentences and some key words may be enough.

Make sure no spelling or grammatical errors

Spelling errors will give a very bad impression to recruiters that you'd better avoid. Review your resume twice and third, and try asking someone else to look over it before you submit to an employer. Each time of your submission, make sure to check it again.

Keep date current

Always keep the date on the resume the same as the day it proposed, or you may be thought showing no respect to the company.

If hand-writing

Write with a black pen or ballpoint pen. If you made a mistake, please write a new one instead of using the correct pen.

About the photo

Different from America, a professional headshot is a compulsory part of a Japanese resume. The more professional and formal you look in the photo, the greater your chances are for an interview. So wear formal suits for the photo and paste it to the right place as best as you can to give a healthy and clean impression.

Writing a resume

Now we begin to write a resume. There are also some points that you should pay attention.

About the format

-Personal contact information

Name should be written in reverse order with the family name first and the first name last. For foreign names, use Hiragana or Katakana. Dates are supposed to be in Japanese nengo calendar. And the address should be also in reverse order with the Prefecture first. Notice that though age and gender are thought to be private and not shown on a resume in America, it is commonly needed to be provided in the personal contact information in Japan.

-Education history

The education sector in a resume is used to show when and where you have been educated. The education experience from high school to most recent should be listed one by one, and each entry should contain the school name, department name, department name without omission. The date of admission and graduation should be displayed in chronological order and standardized to either Japanese nengo calendar or the Christian era.

-Work history

The work history sector in a resume is used to show when and where you have worked for a full-time or a part-time. Same as the education sector, work history also needed to be listed one by one beginning with the first relevant position to the most recent. Each entry should contain the official company name but not a commercial name, department, position title, full or part time. The date of joining and ending a company should be displayed in chronological order and standardized to either Japanese nengo calendar or the Christian era. And keep in mind to write all your work accurately even if you only work for a short time.

You are expected to write why you left a company, but if it's something private it is ok with a reason like "一身上の都合により退社". You don't need to include duties or responsibilities when listing previously-done jobs, however, you should create an extra shokumukeirekisho (職務経歴書) for the details.

About the contents

It may be a general knowledge that you have to highlight the most relevant experiences on the resume. Especially for applicants who have been working in a particular field for a few years, "Work History" section will be a big check point and should be the main of the resume. You are expected to show what skills you have and built by how, and how they are relevant to the job you are applying for. It's also important to show that you can immerse yourself in the company's culture well.

Check the job requirement details carefully, filter out your experiences related to the job, and try to write them down in a way which looks like that you match the requirements perfectly and suitable for the job. And the company's culture and rules should also be investigated, and try to list those experiences matching the job best.

If you still have no work experience, you can show recruiters how hiring you would benefit their company and demonstrate your value. Try to list any soft skills you have or you can that required by the company. For example, if someone with team leadership is wanted for the job, you can write down any experience related to leadership like holding community events in college.

Handling a resume

So finally you have completed a resume in Japanese, now you can use it to find a job. Let's introduce the rules for handling a resume in Japan at last. Make sure the date written on the resume latest once again. Keep yourself a copy of the resume before sending it in case of a later interview.

By mailing

If you send a resume by mailing, in order to show when and where this letter sent from, you should put a cover letter up above your resume files into the envelope. Information like the date of sending, destination address, your address, and contact information should be written on the cover letter, and also from where you got the job information. It will be better to demonstrate your appeal points, such as your motivation and skills.

Of course the importance of an envelope shouldn't be overlooked. Check whether there is a manner violation or omission carefully before submission of the envelope. Make sure the address written correctly, and you have put all the documents in. As important documents are enclosed and in order to indicate that, write "履歴書在中" or "応募書類在中" on the left side of the envelope.

By email

If you send your resume by email, there are many rules in order to make sure that recruiters who receive a lot of emails everyday won't misread your email. Write the title briefly with the purpose included, and avoid those words that make the email look like a spam mail.

If you want to send the resume as an attachment, convert it into PDF format so that the recruiters can print it. Set a password to the resume to prevent leaks. Then create a new email to send the password without copying or diverting the one with resume attached.

By hand

There are many cases you may be required to bring resume documents on the day of the interview. Put your resume documents in a clear file folder and a plain envelope and make sure it not stained or crooked. There is no need to write the company's name on the envelope but "履歴書在中" or "応募書類在中" on the left side of the envelope and your name, address at the back side.

Notice that when handing over the resume documents directly to the interviewer, it is a violation of manners to submit the documents in an envelope. Take the files out, stack them on the envelope, and hand them over to the interviewer in a way easy to read. But you need to keep the files in the envelope if you are asked to submit application documents at the reception desk.


Writing a resume in Japanese may seem complex at first, but if you do according to the rules it will become easier. Luckily there are a lot of templates and examples in the internet, try to search them and understand the rules before writing. We believe that you can make a good resume in Japanese with this article.