Japan Resume and Rirekisho Writing Guide

Overseas career sounds like an adventure to many people. However, it requires thorough preparation, starting with a successful application. Working in Japan requires more than just the obvious Japan resume or Rirekisho and Japan cover letter writing and translation because you need to pass a Japan job interview. You will face issues that did not even cross your mind when you become interested in employment in Japan.

Do not underestimate the influence a Japan resume and Rirekisho can have on your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, job application procedures, selection trends and the management culture.

In Japan, the term resume is used instead of a CV. In short, the resume is a Japan-style CV, which details the most recent job first and highlights the main aspects of your career. It is less structured, in a narrative style and more brief than a CV. It is also more subjective.

Prepare yourself - before writing your resume research the company you want to work for. Such information will help you to adapt your resume more effectively to each specific job and use proper examples illustrating your achievements.


When applying for a job in Japan, you may submit a “Rirekisho” in Japanese with no cover letter, or a two-page American style resume with a job cover letter in English.

“Rirekisho” is a Japanese traditional resume in a standard two-page form. It is more of a personal profile than a way to show your talents and what you can bring to the job. Rirekisho needs to be completed, preferably in your handwriting and in the Japanese language.

Based on handwriting the Japanese recruiters can learn a lot about a person - this same as graphology used in France. If you are unable to do this, then ask someone else to write it for you. You must indicate this on the top of the form.

Rirekisho requires your nationality, marital status, age, sex, etc. Your photo should be attached.

Japan Resume

You can turn your updated CV into a resume by shortening some descriptions of your educational and professional experiences.

Present your Japan resume in reverse chronological order - most recent activity first.

The aim of your Japan resume should be to persuade recruiters to invite you for a job interview. Therefore, your resume is a marketing tool, which needs to be customized to the market in which you intend to use it.

Start the Japan resume with your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. Often resumes are kept on file for lengthy periods, so any contact details you give have to remain accurate in the long term. A daytime phone number, with the international access code and e-mail, are most important.

If you are submitting an English resume only, it is helpful to duplicate in Japanese your name, contact address and company names (if you already have some local work experience), unless you are certain that the recipient of your resume is an English speaker.

In one or two lines, write the “Summary of Qualifications”.

List in “Academic Background” all schools you attended, dates of attendance and diplomas or degrees. Add honours received and special skills, such as fluency in specific computer applications and standard language test scores

The “Work History” lists the companies' name, location, position and job title, dates, responsibilities, skills utilized and any accomplishments.

Make your resume more effective by providing examples to illustrate your achievements. Use power words and action verbs such as contributed, organized, demonstrated, trained, managed, developed, coordinated etc. Bullet points these at the start of a sentence for maximum impact.

Occasionally hobbies and interests may complete your resume.

Close the resume with personal information on your sex, age, nationality and marital status. Carefully consider what to leave out of your resume and exclude anything that might give prospective employers a chance to discriminate against you.

Do not put anything besides the truth in your resume, your future boss will find out the truth eventually.

You can either include the names of referees with the job title, address, telephone number and email or state “References are available on request”. Either way, references should include one personal and one work or school reference. Referees should have known you for a minimum of two years. Because references are usually verified, inform your referees in advance.

It is common in Japan to apply for a job through the Internet. However, you should be aware that an electronic resume does not look the same as a standard resume. Employers often scan resumes, so make your resume scannable by avoiding for example lines or italic fonts etc.

Check the spelling and grammar of your Japan resume. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and language usage errors in Japanese or other languages or if you need help in organizing your resume, send it to a professional for assistance.

Remember that your Japan resume must be targeted, scannable and generate hits. If you have difficulty with your resume writing, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use resume samples and resume templates.

We recommend that you send your resumes together with cover letters. If you have difficulty with your cover letter writing use a cover letter sample and cover letter template.

In recent years it becomes increasingly popular to join the LinkedIn or Facebook social networking websites for professionals, where you may search for jobs and have your keyword-optimized, rich content profile with a current resume. Hiring managers use them more frequently to consult your profile and supplement or check against the resume you send along. If you do not have an account, create one and include your social media link(s) on your resume.
However, you should manage your online presence. Eliminate any photos and statements that could reflect poorly on you. From an employer’s point of view, someone who emphasizes partying on a social networking site is not focused on jobs and those who post complaints about work or colleagues are less desirable candidates. Online resume should not include sensitive information as it could show a lack of respect for confidentiality and discretion.

Other Japan Resume Info

To be successful in your Japan job search and get the job you want, you need to prepare a Japan cover letter and Japan resume which you must email instantly to the prospective employers selected during a job search in Japan.

When you receive an invitation to the Japan job interview, you may apply for a Japan visa and a Japan work permit. Then prepare yourself for a job interview and take a look at Japan dress code because how you dress is one of the most important attributes in being hired.

Check the job interview dos & don'ts and other job search skills pages. Find out why people are not hired for available jobs.

In addition, on the international info, job search, visa, work permit, cover letter, CV & resume, job interview and dress code pages you will find many useful tips for overseas job seekers.

Good luck with your Japan resume or Rirekisho!