How to Get a Job in Japan

This Monday I wrote a post entitled 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Major in Japanese (and 2 You Might Consider It). This post is a follow up to that. A lot of people want to know about the best ways to get over to Japan and the best ways to find a job there. In this post, we’ll be hearing some advice from YouTubers who have had some firsthand experience with the matter. Hopefully they can offer some insight regarding what you’d be getting yourself into if you decide to live and work in Japan. It seems like it mostly comes down to one single thing: motivation.

How to Get a Job in Japan

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This guy is all about motivation. And he’s right, you really need to be motivated and serious about finding a position in Japan to get one. You need to set goals, achieve them, and move ahead. A big thing that helped this guy find a job was that he was already living there when he was looking for one. And I agree, this is a big help, even if you’re just staying there on a 90 day visit.

Japanese companies will really appreciate the fact that you are serious enough to live and/or visit there while looking for jobs. It’ll really help you out. GaijinPot is also a great resource for finding jobs. You’re encouraged to apply to tons of places. The more places you apply to, the more likely you are to hear back from someone. You never know, you might get lucky.

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This guy is always super genki in his videos. He’s all about being excited and outgoing and exciting. This is especially helpful if you want to teach over there. They really seem to like teachers who look like they can make learning English more fun and interesting for the students.

It’s also pretty much essential that you have some sort of college degree. I don’t think I really need to explain why this would be a boon. This guy’s video is motivational if nothing else. Just go for it!

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This “no BS” guide seems more like common sense than anything else, but sometimes you just need to hear these things said out loud. He’s a bit more pessimistic about the prospect of getting to and landing a job in Japan, but again, the main theme here is that you need to be passionate and motivated to really get what you want in Japan. The same can really be said about employment anywhere, but this goes double for finding employment in Japan.

He’s pushing a book in this video, and I can’t comment on it, so just ignore that part. The important message to take away here is that you need to be both passionate and motivated.

Getting a Non-Teaching Job in Japan

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As he says in this video, this is kind of a hard question to answer simply. Like I said in my Monday post, if you’re looking for a non-teaching job, you need to have some sort of skill that would be likely to land you a job in your home country anyway. You just take those skills to Japan and find a job there. You could even get transferred to Japan from a Japanese company based in your home country.

It’s also very important, way more than a teaching job, to be really really good at speaking, reading, and writing Japanese. It’s definitely harder to find a non-teaching job in Japan than it is to find a teaching one.

Jobs for Students

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I’m sure some people are wondering what it’s like finding part-time jobs in Japan as opposed to full blown careers. Maybe you’re studying over there or you just can’t work full-time for whatever reason. There are plenty of odd jobs to be found in Japan from selling things on eBay, to working at a fast food joint, to doing English voice acting for language learning programs.

She also harps on being resourceful, having good Japanese, having other useful skills, being motivated, and being presentable. Really, these are all traits that anyone would need to find success in employment anywhere. They’re just things you really need to keep in mind as you search for ways to make it in Japan, even if you’re just trying to make ends meet. She also mentions how teaching English in Japan is really the entry level job for those seeking employment in Japan.

Success Story Interview

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This last video here is pretty long, and I wouldn’t say all of it is relevant, but it’s much more in depth than the other videos here. It’s just an interview of someone who landed a teaching job in Japan and his journey that got him there. Maybe you’ll find something helpful or insightful in this video, maybe not. Give it a watch if you have the time.

Quotes from People John Actually Knows in Real Life

fwiendsBelieve it or not, I actually have friends outside the internet, many of which who have lived in Japan and worked over there as well. Many have only held teaching positions, but others also have some experience with non-teaching jobs. Let’s hear what they have to say.

It’s basically just like finding any other job… put out a bunch of applications and hope someone hires you.

Note, this only applies to teaching English. I think for me, I just rocked the interview and looked into some basic TESL forms in order to put together a sample lesson. Interestingly enough, knowing Japanese was actually a bonus for me because they knew I wouldn’t have to rely on my co-workers to adapt to Japan. (Although sometimes that backfires.)

Other than that I applied to and sent inquiry letters to like, 10-15 different places. Only heard back from two. Also, having a visa and some prior experience will net you a job pretty fast, but good luck getting a visa without a job if you’re an American.

The visa thing is the most important. Also having a driver’s license if you’re applying outside of Tokyo. Obviously work experience helps and usually they want to see that you have some sort of multicultural experience so they know you’re not going to get homesick and leave randomly. “Screw you guys, I’m going home” is generally not a trait they want to see.

I’ve heard it’s really easy to find a job if you are already in Japan. Obviously it’s easier if you have a visa too, but I’ve heard about people getting visa sponsorship for part time jobs like tutoring, English teaching, and bar tending. Then while they have their visa sponsored, they look for full time work elsewhere. This is what I plan on doing once my teaching contract expires. There are a lot of full time jobs that will sponsor your visa, but it seems to be a lot easier if you’re already in Japan.

Of course, I’m talking about it being easier to find teaching work. I don’t have experience looking for any other type of work… yet.

I would like to say that unless you are with JET, coming here and teaching English is a horrible idea. Unless you plan on doing it as a stepping stone to another job outside English, but this doesn’t happen that often since most people come here with degrees in stuff that no one needs. I have met two people so far who broke out, one had a degree in economics and the other in law, they were English teachers only for the work visa and then left mid contract.

I think this is all really good advice. It’s something to think about at least. Also, most all the YouTubers up above are people I actually subscribe to, so I know they’re good reliable sources. Feel free to check out their other videos too. They’re good people.

In conclusion, the takeaway from this is that if you really work at it and stay motivated and do all that you can, you’ll make it in Japan. Making it is kind of a broad term though, and how well you “make it” will depend on your employability and your skill set. But just keep at it, and eventually you’ll find your way.


And I know I asked for it my last post, but if you have any additional advice, or have a success story to share, let us know in the comments! You’ll help out someone else and helping people will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Promise.

  • Jess

    That’s true! Sometimes I wish I was white than blending in as a chinese…

  • StevenLightning

    If you want to get a teaching job in japan, you can apply, interview and be hired right here in the states (or australia, canada, england, etc.). I went through ecc but just apply to all of the big eikaiwas (idk if nova’s around anymore but there aeon and gabba too). all you need is a college degree and to be a native english speaker. once you apply and make the interview, look up a good children’s lesson plan, because they’ll ask you to do a sample lesson at the interview. one of the major schools is bound to hire you (unless yr a total ass). then they sponsor your visa and even provide you with a place to live (i promptly found my own apartment because ecc’s living turned out to be filthy). more often than not, you get sent where you request, as well. (i requested and got tokyo).

    sure, teaching english isn’t the greatest job. but for an excuse to get to and hang out in japan, it’s perfect. i hated teaching kids but didn’t mind the adult lessons. I was in my 20′s at the time and they don’t work you more than 30 hours a week and pay you well enough, so it’s the perfect job to party and shop and just travel around and enjoy the country. it was one of the greatest times of my life. if you choose to get serious about the language and move on to something else from there, that’s up to you. i knew plenty of people who became recruiters and translators, and even one person who went into marketing and another into banking. the point is: don’t be intimidated by the process. it’s one of the easiest (and best) things i ever did.

  • Julie

    I really want to find a full-time job in Japan after I get my degree (hoping in the scientific field). Language barrier and cultural differences aren’t a problem since I intend on majoring in Japanese and doing a student exchange program for a year, but I was wondering whether I should start looking for jobs immediately after I graduate, or find a job in my home country first and once I have enough experience for a few years or so, go look for a job in Japan?

    Also, if I end up sticking to my plan (finding a job in Japan), is it better to actually move there first or find a job? It seems a bit risky to move first in case I don’t find a job.

  • Julie

    Another quick question, I wanna find a part-time job in Japan while I’m on the student exchange program, is it only possible to do this if I have a work visa?

  • Esther

    This comment is just what I needed. I’m currently studying for an English BA but what concerns me is that those teaching jobs don’t actually go on forever and ever the way they do in Western nations. I’ll just supplement with journalism or becoming an author.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Mcdowell/1071311934 Joshua Mcdowell

    actually, english teaching jobs over there can go on for as long as you like. i knew some teachers that had been doing it for 10 or even 20 years. the problem is that the pay doesn’t grow with your experience like it would at a more “normal” job. unless you move into the administrative offices of your eiakaiwa/school. as a result, i knew a lot of people who found creative ways to supplement their income. for example, one girl bought japanese records and sold them overseas on ebay. and another guy started his own business buying and reselling japanese cars.

  • massu

    What about Technical jobs? Like in the IT industry?
    What is the scope there?

  • Esther

    Yeah, I read about that on another blog. A teacher from Canada stayed as long as 19 years in Tokyo and Osaka just teaching English lessons. HOWEVER, I would imagine your day gets repetitive very fast. Plus, after staying there for so long you’d have to have mastered quite a bit of the Japanese language too, although some people manage to live overseas for many years and barely know anything. It really depends. Chinese was my first language so I’ll be taking on Japanese as a third.

  • Brandon

    That guys arm in the last picture scares me.

  • adel khoder

    hi sid,have the pleasure writing to you introducing my self am adel khoder45years old from egypt married and have 4kids ,am looking ls for awork in japan as you know the situation in egypt is very diffecult can you pls help me to move to japan to work to work there to feed my childeren?
    best regardes
    adel khoder

  • adel khoder

    hi all.eny one want help please am from egypt 45 years old am looking for a work in japan ,it does not matter what about work .

  • Jan

    Great post, like the youtube style.
    There is another great blog-post on how to get non-teaching jobs in Japan.
    http://globalechos.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/getting-a-job-in-japan/

  • UrbanSurvivor13

    There might be a company that is interested in hiring Egyptian teachers….I was surprised to learn that there people learning Swedish, Bulgarian, and many other “not-common” languages…so there might be a place for you…try a company like Berlitz, or ECC..Good lick my Egyptian friend!!

  • Daria

    I’m from Romania, so I have to ask, will it help me to find a teaching job at a junior high school as english teacher being a non-native english speaker?

  • Sarah Fong Jin Min

    WOW! You’re living my dream.. to work in a game company in Japan. I’m also looking at English teaching jobs as a first entry into Japan but I’m Singaporean and it’s really true, they favour caucasian or african looking people over asian looking people to teach English. I know so because I’m Chinese and though I’m a native English speaker, I hardly have any chance for an interview at all. I also know it because one of the recruiters from a private school told my fiancee (Caucasian from England) that the reason why I almost never hear back from anyone even though I apply to the same schools with my fiancee, is because the parents of the students or the students themselves, prefer to see someone who looks like a native English speaker to teach the subject. As a Singaporean Chinese, I look Asian, and can be very easily mistaken as just a Japanese/China Chinese trying to teach English in the school (if they don’t know better). So it’s not entirely the school’s fault, I can understand, but doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. haha.. It doesn’t matter that I have about 2 years experience and skills to do the job better than my fiancee who have zero experience. They care about the looks because the people who are paying for the courses/schools, cares about it! He did say that positions for government schools would be better but truthfully, not really. I’ve been applying for hundreds of jobs now. I only ever had a POSSIBLE chance once. oh well.. がんばってみなさん!

  • Hector Quintanilla

    Hi, if you don’t mind me asking, would it be possible to know the name of your school or pm me it? I am currently looking for English teaching positions in Japan. I am a native English speaker; Hispanic background. Your post made me feel that there’s still hope for me. Thanks a lot!

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    Hi Hector.
    I’m not working for that school anymore, but I know that they’re currently not looking for a new teacher.
    Don’t worry. I’m not a native speaker of English myself and yet I managed to get a job.

    You just need to send a lot of applications, also to the jobs that say “native speakers only”.

    If you have a passport of an English-speaking country, then obtaining a work visa also shouldn’t be a problem. Good luck! ^^

  • Hector Quintanilla

    Thank you so much for your fast reply. I will, then, apply to thousands of jobs. At least one should contact me…hopefully. Thanks!

  • Babes

    my husband an American want to work in Japan and yes his passion is all about Japan. My kids specially my daughter is even more passionate of Japanese culture and stuff.

  • S p singh

    hi

  • S p singh

    some can help me how can i get job in japan please thanks

  • David Nathaniel Hoyte

    I am from The Bahamas.
    I am seeking work.(242)441-5776
    I am a Composer & a Composer of Steel Drum Music.
    Yoú. Can find me on face book.
    Hmmbalpy@gmail.com
    Thanking Yoú in advance.

  • http://lazuli-in-paradise.com/ lazuli

    “It’s definitely harder to find a non-teaching job in Japan than it is to find a teaching one.” dang seems I like to do it the hard way…wish me luck please XDD

  • Masamunya Dokugan-ryū

    Hello!I’m russian, but i have a question, can i work as english/russian teacher or tutor without experience and pedagogical education, but with knowledge of japanese lang?

    or really find a work with skills of designer long hair, manicure/pedicure, massages,cosmetologist?(in this sphere of work i will have experience)

    in both case, i mean only jobs with visa support:)

  • Tepikb

    Aren’t there any regulations on teaching English in schools in Japan? Such as being graduated from some major associated with languages, if you are not a native English speaker.

    I have been worried about applying to these kinds of jobs all along and I have been having second thoughts about it. My native language is Turkish, I am speaking business level English and Japanese. I currently live in Turkey but I have been in Nagasaki for one year before.

    I don’t have any working experience but I’m still trying to get my masters thesis done so I haven’t really had any time to actually “work”.

    I graduated from Fisheries Technology Engineering which referes to the “people come here with degrees in stuff that no one needs.” LoL. I ask myself often what I am actually doing, spending my time doing a some no-good-for-anybody research and not being actually productive…

    But still, I love fish, I love researching about them, I love the scent of the laboratory… But I also love learning Japanese and English, I knew Japan was my dream-land, and I veryfied that in that 11 months that I lived in Japan. I also love teaching and I love having a diciplined life but having fun at the same time…

    Well, clearly I’m really confused for the time being. I don’t know what to do.

    I don’t even know if any of these makes any sense or anybody even cares… :)

    Sorry for the disturbance. :)

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    As long as you have a passport of a country that has English listed as an official language, you don’t need any other qualification related to English. You need at least a BA / BS degree, but that’s about it.
    Those are the visa requirements for teaching positions – and most schools only care about that. As long as you look “foreign” and your English pronunciation sounds good, that’s usually enough.

    For us non-native speakers it’s much harder.
    It’s almost impossible to get a visa if you don’t have some kind of qualification in the English teaching field.

  • Arif

    I m arif, From Bangladesh.
    i want to a good any job in Japan.
    my Exprence
    Mobile Repairing, Auto car driving, House waring but very simple

  • Arif

    i m 5 feet 11 inche