Mastering the Art of Writing a CV in Japanese: A Comprehensive Guide

Crafting a CV that resonails with the unique demands of the Japanese job market can be a challenging task for job seekers unfamiliar with its nuances. What are the key features that define a CV tailored for the Japanese job market? This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to structure and present an effective Japanese CV, taking into consideration the cultural factors, job application norms, and recruitment processes that characterize this distinct market.
Last update:
01/01/2024

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Presenting a Sample Resume in Japanese

氏名:山田 太郎(やまだ たろう)
生年月日:1990年1月1日生(34歳)
性別:男
現住所:東京都中央区銀座1-1-1
電話番号:03-1234-5678
メールアドレス:taro.yamada@example.com

【学歴】

2008年3月 東京都立銀座高等学校卒業

2012年3月 東京大学経済学部卒業

【職歴】

2012年4月 - 2016年3月 サンプル株式会社 営業部門

2016年4月 - 現在 サンプル株式会社 営業部門 マネージャー

【資格・スキル】

  • 商業英語検定1級
  • TOEIC 900点
  • マイクロソフトオフィススペシャリスト(Excel・Word)

【自己PR】

大学卒業後、サンプル株式会社にて営業職として勤務。お客様とのコミュニケーションを大事にしながら、成果を出し続け、現在はマネージャーとして部下の育成にも力を入れています。語学力を活かし、海外のクライアントとの交渉もこなします。新たなチャレンジを求めて転職を考えております。

【志望動機】

〇〇株式会社の積極的な海外展開に大変興味を持ち、自身の語学力と営業経験を活かして貢献したいと思います。また、自社製品に対する深い理解と情熱を感じ、その一員として働きたいと強く感じております。

【趣味・特技】

  • 英会話
  • マラソン
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In the following sections of this article, we will delve into the process of crafting an impeccable CV in Japanese, specifically tailored for the Japanese job market. The purpose of writing a CV in Japanese when applying for a job in Japan is not merely to translate your qualifications into a different language, but also to communicate your respect for and understanding of Japanese business culture and etiquette. It demonstrates your adaptability and readiness to integrate into their work environment. A well-written Japanese CV can significantly enhance your chances of standing out among other candidates and securing your desired job in Japan.

japanese language

Key Phrases and Translations for Crafting a Resume in Japanese


In this section, we are providing a compilation of essential terms you may need when creating a resume in Japanese, translated into Japanese for your convenience. These terminologies are fundamental to crafting a competitive resume, and understanding them may give you an edge when applying for job opportunities in Japan.

  • Resume structure: 履歴書の構造 (Rirekisho no kōzō)
  • Resume formatting: 履歴書のフォーマット (Rirekisho no fōmatto)
  • Education: 学歴 (Gakureki)
  • Skills: 技能 (Ginō)
  • Internship: インターンシップ (Intānshippu)
  • Work experience: 職歴 (Shokureki)
  • Objective: 目標 (Mokuhyō)
  • References: 参考人 (Sankōjin)
  • Certifications: 資格 (Shikaku)
  • Achievements: 業績 (Gyōseki)
  • Personal Information: 個人情報 (Kojin jōhō)
  • Contact Information: 連絡先情報 (Renraku-saki jōhō)
  • Languages: 言語 (Gengo)
  • Hobbies: 趣味 (Shumi)
  • Volunteer Experience: ボランティア経験 (Borantia keiken)
  • Personal Interests: 個人的な興味 (Kojinteki na kyōmi)

Utilizing Correct Grammar for Crafting a Resume in Japanese


In writing a resume in Japanese, it is essential to use Keigo, which is the polite form of Japanese language. This is because in the context of job application, it is important to show respect to the prospective employer. The language should be formal and respectful, and avoid using slang or casual expressions. For example, when stating one's name, instead of using "私の名前は" (watashi no namae wa), which means "my name is", it is more appropriate to use "私と申します" (watashi to moushimasu), which is a more polite way to introduce oneself.

In terms of verb tenses, the past tense should be used when describing past experiences, achievements, or roles. It is also important to use passive voice, as it is considered more formal and polite in Japanese. For example, instead of saying "私はプロジェクトを成功させました" (watashi wa purojekuto o seikou sasemashita), which means "I made the project successful", it would be more appropriate to say "私はプロジェクトを成功させられました" (watashi wa purojekuto o seikou saseraremashita), which means "The project was made successful by me". In terms of person, the resume should be written in the first person, as it is a self-introduction and description of one's own experiences and skills. However, it is important to avoid using the first person too frequently, as it may come across as self-centered or arrogant. Instead, phrases that imply the subject, such as "〜により" (ni yori), meaning "by", can be used.

In summary, a Japanese resume should use polite and formal language, with past tense for past experiences and roles, and should be written in first person but with careful avoidance of excessive use.

Understanding the Significance of Structure and Formatting in a Japanese Resume


Kickstarting a career in a competitive market like Japan can be a challenging yet exciting adventure. A key component in this journey is a well-structured CV that can open doors to promising opportunities. A meticulous and well-organized CV layout not only showcases your qualifications and skills effectively but also reflects your professionalism and attention to detail. It could be the first impression you give to a potential employer, thus it should be crafted with precision. By presenting a well-structured CV, you are setting a positive tone for your career goals and showing your readiness to take on new challenges. Remember, a compelling CV layout can be a game-changer in your career path in Japan.

Besides our Japanese Resume Template, we also offer other similar templates you might find useful.

Mastering the Art of Formatting: Crafting a Winning Japanese Resume

  • Fonts: The preferred font for a Japanese CV is the MS Mincho (MS 明朝) or MS Gothic (MS ゴシック), which are standard typefaces in most computers in Japan. These fonts are selected for their readability, simplicity, and professional look. Serif fonts like MS Mincho are often used for printed documents, while Sans-serif fonts like MS Gothic are used for digital documents.
  • Format: The Japanese CV format follows a reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent employment or academic experience. This allows the hiring manager to see your most relevant and recent experiences first. The format should be clean, organized, and void of excessive design elements to ensure professionalism.
  • Margins: Maintain a 1-inch margin on all sides of the CV. This is a standard practice that provides a clean, organized look and makes the document easier to read.
  • Bullet Points: Use bullet points sparingly in a Japanese CV. Unlike Western CVs, Japanese CVs focus more on narrative and continuity, so bullet points should only be used when listing skills or responsibilities under each job role.
  • Separators: Use horizontal lines or small spaces as separators to distinguish different sections in the CV. This helps to make the document visually organized and easier to navigate.
  • Advice: Be mindful of the color scheme in your CV. In Japan, a simple black and white color scheme is preferred over vibrant colors, as it projects a more professional image. Color should only be used sparingly to highlight important sections or points.

Mastering the Art of Resume Structure for Job Hunting in Japan

japanese language


When creating a CV for the Japanese job market, it is important to stick to the traditional structure and format that Japanese employers are accustomed to. Here are the main parts of a CV in Japanese:

  • Personal Information: This should include your name, date of birth, address, and contact information. Unlike in some Western countries, it is common in Japan to include your photo and marital status.
  • Education: Detail your academic qualifications starting from high school. It is the norm to list the educational institutions in reverse chronological order, with the most recent first.
  • Work Experience: Similar to the education section, you should list your previous work experience in reverse chronological order. Make sure to detail your role, responsibilities, and achievements at each job. The Japanese job market highly values longevity so try to avoid highlighting short-term jobs.
  • Skills and Qualifications: This section should detail any specific skills or qualifications that are relevant to the job you're applying for. For example, if you're applying for a job in a Japanese company that deals with international clients, mentioning your English language proficiency and intercultural communication skills would be beneficial.
  • References: Japanese employers generally expect to see references included on a CV. This could be from a previous employer or a professor if you're a fresh graduate.
  • Hobbies and Interests: This might seem unnecessary, but in the Japanese job market, employers often use this section to gauge your personality and how well you would fit into the company culture. For instance, if you're applying to a company known for its team-building activities, mentioning your involvement in team sports could be a plus.
Remember, a CV is your professional advertisement. It should be clear, concise, and tailored to the specific job and company you're applying to.

Mastering the Art of Crafting a Powerful Header for Your Japanese Resume

japanese language


The header of a Japanese language resume is paramount as it should be prominent and comprise all the necessary contact information to facilitate the employer's communication with the candidate. To create an effective header, begin with your last name followed by your first name, ensuring that it is clearly written. The subsequent line should contain your profession and discipline, this gives the employer an immediate understanding of your area of expertise. Following that, write your mailing address which should include your house number, street, city, state, and zip code, this is important for formal correspondence. Next, include your phone number with the right country code and area code, this allows for quick and direct communication. Finally, don't forget to provide your e-mail address, ensuring it's professional, as it is a common form of communication in today's digital age. Remember, each piece of information should be clearly separated and visibly organized for easy reading.

苗字、名前: 山田 太郎

職業と専門分野: ソフトウェアエンジニア、コンピューターサイエンス

郵便住所: 〒100-0001 東京都千代田区皇居外苑1-1

電話番号: 080-1234-5678

Eメールアドレス: yamada.taro@example.com


Smile for Success: The Crucial Role of Photos in Japanese Resumes

In the Japanese job market, it is a common practice to include a photo in your resume. Most Japanese resume forms, or 'rirekisho', come with a space for a photo, and not filling this section can make your application appear incomplete. The photo should be a professional-looking headshot, taken in a photo booth or studio. Casual or selfie-style photos are not acceptable. The standard size is 4cm by 3cm. The photo should be recent, ideally taken within the last three months. The applicant should be alone in the photo, looking directly at the camera, with a neutral facial expression and a plain background.

While it may seem unusual to include a photo in a resume from a Western perspective, it's important to note that the Japanese job application process often emphasizes personal characteristics, including appearance. However, discrimination based on appearance is prohibited by law. The photo's primary purpose is identification, so it's crucial to ensure the picture accurately represents the applicant's current appearance.

Highlighting Your Experience: A Crucial Aspect in Japanese Resumes


Crafting the Experience Section of Your Resume for the Japanese Job Market

The experience section of a Japanese CV holds immense significance as it provides recruiters with an overview of the applicant's professional journey and achievements. It specifically highlights an individual's suitability for the job by showcasing their relevant experiences and skills.

  • Chronological Order: Listing job experiences in reverse chronological order is a standard practice. The most recent job should appear first, followed by earlier roles. This allows recruiters to quickly identify the most current and relevant experiences.
  • Contract Dates: It is crucial to mention the start and end dates of each job. This transparency not only helps to verify the duration of experience but also shows any gaps in employment, which can be explained in the interview.
  • Job Title: Accurately stating the job title is crucial as it provides insights into the level of responsibilities and roles the candidate has handled.
  • Bulleted List: For clarity and ease of reading, use a bulleted list to enumerate job responsibilities. This helps recruiters to quickly scan the important tasks and achievements.
  • Job Description: Provide a brief, yet comprehensive description of the job roles and duties. This helps to showcase how past job experiences align with the requirements of the new role.
  • Use of Key Words: Incorporate key words related to the job in the description. This would help the CV to get picked up by applicant tracking systems and make it stand out to recruiters. However, avoid overusing jargon and keep the language simple and clear.

職位:マーケティングマネージャー

雇用者:株式会社ABC

期間:2018年4月 - 2020年12月


  • 新規プロジェクトの立案と実行に関与
  • デジタルマーケティング戦略の開発と実行
  • マーケティングチームの管理と指導
  • クライアントとの関係構築と維持
  • KPIの設定と達成状況のモニタリング

japanese language

Addressing Lack of Experience While Crafting Your Japanese Resume

Navigating the task of filling out a CV in Japanese with no prior experience can be daunting. However, the process can be simplified with some easy-to-use tips. The following guidance is designed to help those with no experience in creating a CV in Japanese, providing a smooth and effective approach.

  • Start with Personal Information: Write your name, contact details, and address in Japanese. Use the correct honorifics and polite language.
  • Objective Statement: Clearly state your career objective or goal. Make sure it aligns with the job you are applying for.
  • Highlight your Education: If you don't have any work experience, your education is the most important section of your CV. Include your school, major, and graduation date. If you've studied abroad or mastered Japanese in your course, be sure to include these details as well.
  • Include Internships or Volunteer Experiences: If you have any internships or volunteer experiences, these can show your skills and commitment. Describe what you did, your responsibilities, and what you learned.
  • Showcase your Skills: List any relevant skills you possess. This can include language proficiency (especially if you are proficient in Japanese), computer skills, or any other skills relevant to the job.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Include any clubs, organizations, or activities you were part of during your studies. This can show teamwork, leadership, and other valuable qualities.
  • Include Certifications: If you have any certificates (like JLPT for Japanese proficiency), include them in your CV.
  • References: If you have any references from professors, internship supervisors, or other figures of authority, include them.
  • Use Polite Language: Use polite and formal language throughout your CV. Avoid using slang or casual language.
  • Keep it concise: Try to keep your CV under two pages. Use bullet points and short sentences to make it easy to read.
  • Proofread: Make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors in your CV. This is especially important when writing in a language that is not your native language.
  • Use a Professional Format: Use a CV template or follow a professional CV format.
  • Customize for each Job: Tailor your CV for each job you apply to. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job.

Understanding the Significance of Education in Crafting a Japanese Resume


The education section in a Japanese CV holds a significant importance as it provides potential employers with a comprehensive insight into a candidate's qualifications, skills and capabilities. This section allows employers to gauge the academic background, the intellectual level, and the potential of the applicant. In Japan, a strong emphasis is placed on educational background, which is often seen as a reflection of a person's discipline, commitment, and ability to master new skills and knowledge. Therefore, presenting a well-structured, detailed, and impressive education section can considerably increase a candidate's chances of securing a job in the competitive Japanese job market.

Prioritizing Educational Information in a Japanese Resume

In a traditional Japanese CV, the education section typically comes first, following the personal information. This format is particularly emphasized due to the importance placed on educational background in Japan's society and job market. A job applicant's university, academic achievements, and any additional pertinent education information are usually prioritized. For example, if you graduated from a prestigious university like Tokyo University or Kyoto University, placing your educational background at the top of your CV could significantly boost your chances of getting the job.

However, exceptions can be made depending on the specific job application or the applicant's career progression. For instance, if an applicant has extensive and impressive work experience in the field they're applying for, it might make more sense to prioritize this section over education. So, in instances where work experience significantly outweighs educational qualification, the rule of placing education first may not apply. Regardless, tailoring one's resume to the specific job requirements and company culture is advised.

教育歴:

2016年- 2020年: 東京大学、経済学部、経済学科、学士

2015年 - 2016年: 東京外語大学、日本語コース、修了

2013年 - 2015年: 大阪府立大阪高等学校、卒業

2010年 - 2013年: 大阪市立中学校、卒業

2004年 - 2010年: 大阪市立小学校、卒業


Highlighting the Significance of Skills in Crafting a Japanese Resume


japanese language


Skills are of paramount importance on a Japanese resume because they showcase the potential value a candidate can bring to an organization. Japan has a unique work culture that highly values specific competencies such as attention to detail, punctuality, respect for hierarchy, teamwork, and communication skills. Additionally, technical skills related to the job, language proficiency (especially in English and Japanese), and IT skills are highly sought after. Highlighting these skills on a resume can significantly improve a candidate's chances of securing a job in Japan.

Recruiters in Japan are not just looking for candidates who possess the right skills, they are also seeking individuals who can seamlessly fit into their rigid work culture. They appreciate candidates who demonstrate the ability to adhere to strict business etiquette, show willingness to work long hours, and have a sense of loyalty towards their employer. Moreover, as Japan is a homogenous society, understanding and respecting Japanese culture and societal norms is also a crucial factor. Hence, showcasing these skills and traits on a resume can impress Japanese recruiters and increase a candidate's chances of getting hired.

Below, we will present a sample list of both soft and hard skills that can be beneficial when crafting a resume in Japanese.

Soft skills:

  • Communication skills: コミュニケーション能力
  • Teamwork: チームワーク
  • Problem-solving: 問題解決能力
  • Adaptability: 適応能力
  • Leadership: リーダーシップ
  • Time management: タイムマネジメント
  • Work ethic: 職業倫理
  • Creativity: 創造性
  • Critical thinking: 批判的思考力
  • Positive attitude: ポジティブな態度

Hard skills:

  • Computer skills: コンピューター能力
  • Language proficiency (Japanese / English): 語学力(日本語 / 英語)
  • Project management: プロジェクト管理
  • Data analysis: データ分析
  • Sales expertise: セールスの専門知識
  • Marketing strategy: マーケティング戦略
  • Financial management: 財務管理
  • Graphic design: グラフィックデザイン
  • Technical writing: テクニカルライティング
  • Coding/Programming: コーディング / プログラミング

Adding Essential Sections to Your Japanese Resume


Additional headings in a Japanese CV can be beneficial to showcase a unique set of skills or experiences that might not be covered in the traditional sections. They provide an opportunity for candidates to highlight their distinctive attributes and stand out from other applicants. By including additional categories such as languages, hobbies or interests, certificates, driving licenses, references, and IT tools, one can demonstrate a broader set of competencies and attributes. The two categories chosen for this explanation are Languages and IT Tools.

The "Languages" section is crucial, particularly if you're applying for a job in a multinational company or a position that requires interaction with international clients. In this section, you can highlight your language proficiency levels. For instance, if you're bilingual or multilingual, this could be a significant advantage for certain roles. Furthermore, language proficiency is often associated with cultural competency, which is a valuable soft skill in today's globalized world. Therefore, a "Languages" section could significantly enhance your appeal to potential employers.

The "IT Tools" section is equally important, especially in this digital age where most jobs require some level of computer literacy. This section allows you to list the software, systems, and digital tools you are familiar with. Whether it's proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, programming languages, or knowledge about the use of specific industry-specific software, this information could set you apart from other candidates. In the modern workforce, digital literacy is not just an additional skill but a fundamental requirement in various industries. Therefore, detailing your IT skills can significantly boost your employability.

Honing Your Skills: Enhancing Your Japanese Resume


Improving your Japanese CV requires a unique approach that caters to the expectations and norms of the Japanese job market. Here are some tips to help you enhance your Japanese CV:

  1. Use a Rirekisho: In Japan, a traditional CV format called Rirekisho is used. It's a two-page form that requires specific personal information and employment history. Make sure to follow this format to show your respect for Japanese customs.
  2. Include a professional photo: Unlike western CVs, Japanese CVs often include a professional passport-sized photo. Ensure the photo is high quality, professional, and recent.
  3. Highlight language skills: If you are proficient in Japanese or any other languages, make sure to highlight this in your CV. This can be a significant advantage in the Japanese job market.
  4. Be precise and concise: Japanese employers value precision and brevity. Avoid irrelevant details and focus on your qualifications and experience related to the job you're applying for.
  5. Handwritten CV: Some Japanese companies prefer handwritten CVs. If your handwriting is neat and legible, consider this option as it shows your dedication and effort.
  6. Show respect for hierarchy: If you've worked in Japanese companies before, make sure to mention your superiors' titles and how you contributed to the team. This shows your understanding of the importance of hierarchy in Japanese culture.
  7. Use Keigo: If your CV is in Japanese, use Keigo (polite Japanese language) to show respect and professionalism.
  8. Proofread: Make sure to proofread your CV for any errors. If possible, have a native Japanese speaker review it to ensure language accuracy.

Key Elements to Include in Your Japanese Resume


japanese language


As you put the finishing touches on your Japanese CV, remember that each detail can make a difference. It's crucial to understand what Japanese employers value in a CV, as it's quite different from Western standards. Here are some final key points to keep in mind:

  1. Stick to the traditional Japanese format: Use a Rirekisho template which is typically two pages long and follows a specific order, starting with personal details and ending with educational and employment history.
  2. Personal details are important: Unlike Western CVs, Japanese CVs place a big emphasis on personal details such as age, marital status, and even a passport-sized photo.
  3. Be brief and concise: Japanese employers appreciate brevity and directness, so try to convey your qualifications and experience as succinctly as possible.
  4. Use polite language: It's crucial to use Keigo, which is a form of the Japanese language used to show respect.
  5. Physical appearance matters: If you include a photo, dress as if you are going to an interview. A professional, clean-cut look is preferred.
  6. Avoid writing in red ink: In Japan, red ink is associated with corrections or negativity and is considered inappropriate for a CV.
  7. Handwritten CVs are appreciated: Although not all companies require this, a handwritten CV can show your dedication and effort.
Remember, these tips are specific to the Japanese job market, so be sure to adapt your CV accordingly. Best of luck with your job search in Japan!

Crafting an Effective Cover Letter in Japanese for Your Resume


Including a cover letter with your Japanese resume is vital when applying for a job in Japan as it provides a personalized introduction of yourself to potential employers. A cover letter allows you to elaborate on the skills and experiences outlined in your resume, and articulate why you are a suitable candidate for the position. It enables you to demonstrate your understanding of Japanese work culture and your ability to assimilate, which can significantly enhance your chances of securing a job. Furthermore, a well-crafted cover letter in Japanese can show your language proficiency, a trait highly valued in Japan's professional setting. Therefore, a cover letter is a critical component of your application that can distinguish you from other candidates.

Frequently Asked Questions about Crafting a Resume and Job Applications in Japanese

1.Is it necessary to write my CV in Japanese if I'm applying for a job in Japan?

Yes, it is typically expected to present your CV in Japanese when applying for a job in Japan. It demonstrates your effort and respect towards the Japanese business culture.

2.What is the standard format for a Japanese CV?

The standard format for a Japanese CV is a two-page document called 'Rirekisho', which includes personal details, education, work history, and reasons for application. It also leaves a space for your ID-sized photo.

3.What should be included in the 'Personal Information' section of a Japanese CV?

In the 'Personal Information' section of a Japanese CV, you should include your name, date of birth, gender, marital status, and contact details. It's also common to include your nationality if you're a foreign applicant.

4.Are there any specific cultural norms to be aware of when writing a CV in Japanese?

Yes, there are several cultural norms to consider. These include using polite language, avoiding overly self-promotional language, and attaching a professional ID-sized photo. It's also important to handwrite your CV as it is seen as a sign of sincerity.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Crafting a Resume and Job Applications in Japanese

1.Is it necessary to write my CV in Japanese if I'm applying for a job in Japan?

Yes, it is typically expected to present your CV in Japanese when applying for a job in Japan. It demonstrates your effort and respect towards the Japanese business culture.

2.What is the standard format for a Japanese CV?

The standard format for a Japanese CV is a two-page document called 'Rirekisho', which includes personal details, education, work history, and reasons for application. It also leaves a space for your ID-sized photo.

3.What should be included in the 'Personal Information' section of a Japanese CV?

In the 'Personal Information' section of a Japanese CV, you should include your name, date of birth, gender, marital status, and contact details. It's also common to include your nationality if you're a foreign applicant.

4.Are there any specific cultural norms to be aware of when writing a CV in Japanese?

Yes, there are several cultural norms to consider. These include using polite language, avoiding overly self-promotional language, and attaching a professional ID-sized photo. It's also important to handwrite your CV as it is seen as a sign of sincerity.

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