=Anata no tokugi wa nan desu ka?
=So what are you good at?
=Eeto…, inu no sanpo desu.
=Well… walking dogs.
Hi, everyone!! It has been a long time since I posted a long lesson on here, but I have been busy posting Mini Lessons almost everyday. Hope you’ve been checking them out!
OK, today’s lesson is about 就活=shukatsu. Job hunting!
It’s an abbreviation of 就職活動=shushoku katsudou, job hunting, job searching. Shortening words is a common practice here.
(Note : Remember I taught you this word before?
婚活=konkatsu? If not, go check 婚活Lesson! )
*就=しゅう／つくshuu/tsuku: to move in, to fill (the job)
*職=しょく shoku : job
就職： to be employed
*活=かつ／いかす、いきる,katsu/ikasu, ikiru：to move actively
就活, shuu katsu
<The verb form>
*就活をする=shuukatsu wo suru(colloquial)
→就職活動をする=shuushoku katsudou wo suru,
=to look for a job
*就活に入る=shukatsu ni hairu (colloquial)
→就職活動に入る=shuushoku katsudou ni hairu
=to begin the process of looking for a job (usually while still in school)
<The reason why I wanted to make this lesson>
Unlike many other countries, there are lots of complicated formalities in Japan to go through the procedure of job hunting.
We have received resumes from all over the world and had interviewed some of them in the past. I’ve been very surprised at the resumes and interviews we’ve had. For example, many people sent us very casual snapshots attached to their resumes — a snapshot of themselves that they took at Disney Land, smiling, making the peace sign, dressed all too casually in a t-shirt and jeans or even tank top, etc. Some of the pictures used were originally taken with their friends or sweethearts. They just cut out their face and used that section. Pictures like these are unheard of on Japanese resumes.
Another thing that struck me was that many of them asked about such things as salaries, holidays or vacations almost as soon as the interview started! That is a definite no-no in Japan! That’s one of the many taboos in the Japanese job hunting world.
In this lesson, we’ll examine the most common aspects of the job hunting process, including proper manners and useful language.
Although foreigners in Japan often get their jobs in different ways and use different routes, it is always considered a plus to be polite, and first impressions matter much more than you might think in Japan.
If you are thinking about trying to get a job, at least keep some of the things you’ve learned here in mind. And for those of you who do not plan on getting a job in Japan, we hope it will be a good cultural and language study!
Here we go!
<When and how to get a job in Japan>
A lot of companies hire young people who have just graduated from the school as permanent employees.
There are actually more chances to get a proper job while you are in school. So, many University students start
就活=shuukatsu, job hunting activities in their junior year. More important to Japanese companies than experience is a young recruit’s youth, freshness and potential.
•新卒=shinsotsu, recently graduated
⇔既卒=kisotsu, already graduated
→新卒採用=shinsotsu saiyou, hiring of new graduates
→今年は採用ゼロ=kotoshi wa saiyou zero=to have no plans to hire anybody this year
(It has been getting very tough for students to find a job.)
Note: Many companies also hire mid-career employees,
中途採用=chuuto saiyou＝mid-career employment, intermediary recruitment
In this case, their experiences and abilities do matter, 経験/能力重視=keiken/nouryoku juushi, to value one’s experiences and abilities.
Now back to the job hunting by students. Each University has 就職課=shuushokuka, a section to support their students providing a guidance to get a job, employment bureau.
We have to decide more or less which direction we want to go in or what line of work we want while we are still students.
•業界=gyoukai, market, business world
•金融業=kinyou, finance business, bank business
•製造業=seizou gyou, manufacturing industry
•サービス業=saabisugyou, service industry
•公務員=koumuin, government servant
•商社=shousha=commercial firm, trading company
Then, after we decide, we visit a company that is recruiting personnel. Many companies offer a,
会社説明会=kaisha setsumei kai, employment-explanation meetings
Students visit the companies they are interested in,
会社(or 企業）訪問=kaisha(or kigyou) houmon,
to visit a company (firm, enterprise) where you are interested in working
and collect information about that company to narrow down their choices.
会社案内=kaisha annai=company brochures
or they visit their 先輩=senpai, seniors
OB、OG訪問=OB, OG houmon
→ OB=old boys, OG=old girls
to visit the students who have graduated from the same school and work for the company you are interested in.
After you visit the company or your 先輩=senpai, “seniors“, do not to forget to send them, a “thank-you” note to thank them for their time.
御礼状=oreijou, thank you letter
When you visit a company, you have to dress appropriately
リクルートファッション=rikuruuto fasshion, business suits for job hunting
→就活スーツ(colloquial) =shuukatsu suutsu
Basically you should wear nice business suits. The color should be either, black, dark blue, or gray.
Some students change their hair color from their dyed 茶髪 (=chapatsu) brown hair to 黒髪(=kurokami), black hair, just for the job interview. If you dye your hair blond like Honda or Nakata (well known soccer players) they may doubt your seriousness. :h:
After getting over the standard hurdles of job interviews and tests, a company may want to hire you. If so, they’ll give you,
内定=naitei=informal job offer
=naitei ga kimaru/naitei wo morau
=to get an informal job offer
(The translation is “informal” but it’s actually almost an official offer)
=shushoku ga kimaru
=to get a job officially
If you are lucky, you will get more than one or two offers from different companies. Not getting any 内定=naitei, informal job offer, is called
=“Zero” job offer→no job offer
Recently due to the recession, even if you think a job is in the bag, you shouldn’t count your proverbial chickens yet. Some companies may end up turning you down at the last minute! This is called,
=cancellation of the job offer.
Since there are more chances to get a job while you are still a student, some students who get 内定ゼロ=naitei zero (no job offers) intentionally fail school and wait one more year in the hope their luck will improve the following year.
And those who graduate from the school without getting a job are called ,
= graduated into unemployment
If you’re not a student and are looking for a job or looking to change jobs, we say you are,
=shuushoku saki wo sagasu,
to look for a job
=tenshoku saki wo sagasu,
to look to change one’s current job
to change the job
To do this you check,
求人広告=kyuujin koukoku, the classified ads.
求人情報=kyuujin jyouhou, the classified ads information
(求人=kyuujinn, want personnel →employment offers)
in 新聞(=shinbun) newspaper or 雑誌=zasshi, magazines, インターネット=intaanetto, internet, or go to
職業安定所=shokugyou anteijyo, employment security office to get information.
(→(abbreviations) 職安=shokuan or , ハローワーク=harou waaku, now.)
Or go to
人材派遣会社=jinzai haken gaisha=temporary-employment agency, staffing company and register.
*人材派遣=jinzai haken, temporary staff company
*派遣社員=haken shain, temp staff
→(colloquial) ハケン=haken, temp staff.
Ex. 私はハケンです。=Watashi wa haken desu. ,I’m a temp staff.
*派遣に登録する = haken ni touroku suru, to register
Here is a list of basic “job hunting” vocabulary.
•企業=kigyou, firm, enterprise
•人材募集=jinzai boshuu, seeking personnel, recruitment of personnel
•～求む=~motomu, seeking~, looking for~
•リクルーター=rikuruutaa, recruiter, a person who are in charge of hiring new people
Note : There is a company called リクルート=rikuruuto who publishes トラバーユ=torabaayu, a major job searching magazine. (The magazine name came from a French word, travail, work. You might have heard a verb とらばーゆする/トラバーユする=torabaayu suru, for changing career in past. It is a bit old fashioned now.
;-) Click here to see this “とらばーゆ” video by Heeton (a guest sensei on Gimmeaflakeman’s “Japanese for Morons” series.) sing with him and come back!
•最終学歴(=saishuu gakureki) the latest/the last academic academic credential that you have.
•大卒=daisotsu←大学卒業=daigaku sotsugyou, a college graduate
•高卒=kousotsu←高校卒業=koukou sotsugyou, a high school graduate
•中卒=chuusotsu←中学卒業=koukou sotsugyou, a junior high graduate
They used to indicate the age limit on the ads, but it’s illegal to do that now.
Also it is prohibited to specify the gender by 男女雇用機会均等法=danjo koyou kikai kinotuhou, Law for Equal Employment Opportunity of Men and Women.
•雇用形態=koyou keitai, employment system
•社員=shain, company staff
•正社員=seishain, permanent employee
•契約社員=keiyaku shain, contract employee
•終身雇用, shushin koyou, life employment
•フルタイム=furu taimu, full time
•パートタイム=paato taimu, part time
•アルバイト=arubaito, part time (job)
(We use the word, フリーター =furiitaa, to refer job-hopping part-timers)
•基本給=kihonkyuu, basic salary
•月給=gekyuu, monthly salary
•日給=nikyuu, daily wage
•時給=jikyuu, per-hour wages
•税引(き)前=zeibiki mae, before (reducing) tax
•税引(き)後=zeibiki go, after (reducing) tax
•福利厚生=fukuri kousei, benefit package, welfare program
•~手当=teate, perquisite, allowance
•時間外勤務手当=jikangai kinmu teate, pay for the hour of overtime duties
•残業手当=zangyou teate, overtime pay, extra payment for overtime
•住宅手当=jyutaku teate, housing allowance
•家族手当=kazoku teate, dependent family allowance
•特別手当=tokubetsu teate, special allowance
•教育制度=kyouiku seido, education system
•社員旅行=shain ryokou, company trip
•休暇=kyuuka, work holiday
•育児休暇=ikuji kyuuka, maternity leave
•休日出勤=kyuujitu shukkin, work on holidays
•有給休暇=yuukyuu kyuuka, paid holiday
•交通費支給=koutuuhi shikyuu, pay for the transportation
•交通費込み=koutsuuhi komi, includes transportation fee
Note : You might see these words with the conditions
無し/無 (=nashi), without, No ~
•フレックスタイム制度=furekusu taimu seido, flexible working hours system
•入社試験=nyuusha shiken, employment exam
(入社(する）=nyuusha(suru), to join a company
•新人社員研修=shinyuu shain kenshuu, training of new company staff
•退職金=taishoku, retirement allowance
•失業保険=shitsugyou, unemployment compensation insurance
•勤務時間=kinmu jikan, working hours
•勤務地=kinmuchi, work location
•転勤=tenkin, job relocation
•職種=shokushu, types of job
•事務職=jimu shoku, clerical staff/job
•一般職=ippan shoku, general office employee
•管理職=kanri shoku, administrative position
•総合職=sougou shoku, main career track
•仕事内容=shigoto naiyou, description of job
•総務=soumu, general affairs
When you apply for a job, you have to prepare,
<How to write 履歴書=rirekisho, resume>
We have specific formats for resume. So you have to fill them out nicely by hand.
You can buy these resume forms at stationary stores.
Since you have to fill them out by hand, you have to write carefully so as to not make mistakes. I use blue ink but use black ink, and avoid using white-out!
(Again this information is to tell you how the typical Japanese job hunting procedure works so this is just for your information. The application procedure may differ from company to company. Language schools or companies who are actively looking to hire foreigners don’t expect you to do follow the Japanese way. They will most likely attempt to adopt the Western way.)
Here is my example resume. The information in my sample resume below is usually something considered super confidential, but for you, my loyal readers, I am willing to make sacrifices and share it with you today. :D
(Don’t copy the blue letters! They only work for me! )
As I mentioned above, your picture tells them what kind of person you are. If you use a casual picture, they will think you are not a serious applicant for the job. If you are a man, wear a suit and necktie. If you are woman, wear suit or plain blouse and skirt. If you are a dog, make sure to visit the dog salon first and get nice and groomed. :D And no tank tops! We usually don’t use pictures of ourselves smiling for resume pics. Avoid using instant pictures. The picture should be of the upper part of your body and head against a solid background. Write your name on the back before you seal it on the resume.
平成１８年(=heisei juuhachi nen )
和暦 A Japanese calendar based on the imperial year
２００７年(=nisen nana nen)
西暦 Western calendar
FYI 2010年(=nisen juunen) is 平成２２年(=heisei nijuu ni nen) !
Click here to convert your birth year to the Japanese system!
The order of information:
You have to write your personal data in chronological order.
学歴=gakureki, academic credentials
Write the name of the school you went to, including the year + the month you (entered and) graduated from. Some people write their elementary school name as well. I omitted the year and month I entered school but some suggested that you should write them from high school and up to your latest school.
△△大学卒業=△△daigaku sotsugyou, Graduated from △△ University
職歴=shokureki, employment history
The name of the company and the section where you worked including the year and the month you joined or left. Also briefly describe what kind of work you were responsible for.
•入社=nyuusha, to join the company
•退社=taisha, to leave the company
•一身上の都合で退社=isshin jou no tsugou de taisha, to quit a job for personal reasons
→very convenient phrase used to keep the reason you left an company vague like I actually left the company because I had a big fight with a cat.
If you leave a company too soon (like me!) or you have been changing job too much, they may think you are not responsible person.
資格=shikaku, qualifications, certifications
Typical Japanese qualifications:
Nihon shoukou kaigisho shusai shougyou boki kentei shiken ~ kyuu
•英検〜級=eiken〜kyuu ←実用英語技能検定~級,jitsuyou eigo ginou kentei〜kyuu,
STEP test ~ grade＝Society for Testing English Proficiency
(Pretty common exam in Japan to certify one’s English ability)
•漢字検定〜級=kanji kentei〜kyu, kanji test〜grade
•中型自動車第一種運転免許=chuugata jidousha daiisshu unten menkyo,
driving license for a mid-sized car
→Having a driver’s license is a job qualification in Japan!
Note : You add 取得=shutoku, received after the license or certification’s name.
Ex. ~免許＝~menkyo, license, 〜資格=~shikaku, certification+ 取得=shutoku, acquired, received
Having an impressive or interesting skill or hobby like mine, is a good chance to attract an interviewer’s attention.
志望の動機= shibou no douki, The reason I apply for this job.
In this section, you can write what you like about the company or job you are applying for and express how suitable you think you are for that job — referring to any experiences and/or abilities that you acquired in your previous job. Be sure to express how motivated you are!
本人希望記入欄(=honnin kibou kinyuu ran)
In this section you can write your desires or job expectations. Technically you could write your desired salary, work location, and whether you want to be transferred or not, etc. But unless there are special circumstances (for example, you have to take care of you sick family member, etc.), I wouldn’t recommend you write anything too demanding.
If you decided not to write anything here (although you have tons of wishes ;-) ), you can write something like like I did.
貴社規定に従います。=kisha kitei ni shitagaimasu, I will conform to this company’s regulations.
貴社=kisha, is another honorific way to refer the company as 御社=onsha.
(Note: By the way, when speaking with clients you should refer to your own company as 当社=tousha or 弊社=heisha, our company, to be humble. You should not say 御社=onsha, or 貴社=kisha.)
:rrrr:This section is not that hard to fill out. They’ll want to know how much time it will take for you to get to the office and also they can calculate how much money they have to pay for your transportation. They’ll also want to know if you have any dependent family members or not.
There used to be a section where you would write about 家族構成=kazoku kousei, family information, with their names, ages, occupations, etc. of all of your family members. But I haven’t seen that kind of form for quite a while.
Traditionally many companies prefer to hire people who have been introduced by someone who was powerful or good connections with executive officers in that company or . So having a good コネ, kone, connection used to be a strength. Also many people have gotten their jobs through nepotism. I would say there are still lots of companies who hire people who have these kinds of connections.
→コネがある=kone ga aru, to have pull,コネがない=kone ga nai not to have pull
When you send or hand in your resume, you should attach a cover letter.
Some company requires you to enclose,
エントリーシート(=entorii shiito), the specific cover letter for each company to apply for the job.
You have to fill out,
志望動機(=shibou douki) statement of purpose
自己PR(=jiko biiaaru) a self introduction designed to sell you to the company
(PR=public relations, but this is “Japanese English”)
<How to send or hand out the resume.>
When you buy the forms of 履歴書=rirekisho, resume, they usually come with a plain white envelope that says
履歴書在中=rirekicho zaichuu, enclosed resume
in a frame. (If it is not already written on the envelope, you can just write it in by hand.)
Write the company name and 人事部御中=jinjibu onchuu = to personnel department
If you know the name of 人事採用担当者=jinji saiyou tantousha, the recruitment officer, write their name with 様=sama, Mr./Mrs.. When you write their name, do not write 御中 after the name of the department above.
It is a written honorific expression for the company (or department). It means “in /inside of (the company/department)“
When we write the address of a company and we mail it to certain company or company section (not a specific person) we write 御中(=onchuu) right after the name of the company or section. We don’t use it with a person’s name.
=Popcorn kabushikigaisha (Company name)+ onchuu
=Popcorn kabushikigaisha(Company name)jinjibu, personnel dept. (department/section name) + onchuu
Ex. ポップコーン株式会社 人事部 山田マギー様
=Popcorn kabushikigaisha(Company name) jinjibu, personnel dept. (department/section name) Yamada Maggie (person’s name) + sama
Ex.ポップコーン株式会社 人事部 山田マギー部長
=Popcorn kabushikigaisha(Company name)+jinjibu , personnel dept. (department/section name) +Yamada Maggie (person’s family name)+buchou, department director (job title )
→When you write a job title, you don’t need to put 様=sama after the person’s name in the end)
•We write the address and names vertically on the envelopes because it is a formal letter.
This is the first step.→第一次審査=daiichiji shinsa
If they like your resume, they will contact you.
Some companies may ask you to take various exams to see if you are a qualified candidate or not.
•採用試験=Saiyou shiken, employment test
•筆記試験=hikki shiken, written test
•常識問題=joushiki mondai, general knowledge test
(Note : In this test, they test your knowledge of kanji, history, current news, politics, math, etc.)
•性格テスト=seikaku tesuto, personality test
•適正検査=tekisei kensa, aptitude test
There are mainly two kinds of interviews in Japan.
*グループ面接=guruupu mensetsu, interview in a group
*個人面接=kojin mensetsu, individual interview
個人面接の受け方(=kojin mensetsu no uketakata), how to have an individual job interview:
I consulted various manuals on interviews in Japan. This is pretty common procedure, but, of course, it varies depending on the company and even expert opinions vary. But I think I’ve gathered enough information for you to be able to get a general idea of how the process goes.
OK, let’s get into the interview room!
1) Knock the door twice lightly. (Some suggests knocking three times.)
2) When they say, 「どうぞ」(=douzo), Please come in!, you open the door a little and look at the interviewer’s eyes and say 「失礼します。or 失礼致します。」(=Shitsurei shimasu./Shitsurei itashimasu.) “Please allow me to come in.” and come in the room. Don’t show your back to the interviewer when you close the door.
3) Bow lightly to the interviewer and say 「宜しくお願い致します。」(=Yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.)
(*This is one of the many “set phrases” in Japanese that are hard to translate. This one means something like “Thank you for your time / your work/ this opportunity in advance.)
4) Go right next to the chair where you are supposed to sit. (Do not sit down yet!)
5) When they ask your name (and university name) you say,
＝～daigaku, ~ gakubu, ~gakka no (your name) to moushimasu. Yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.
=I am (your name) from ~university, ~faculty, ~department. Thank you for your time. (Thank you for this interview..)
6) When they say 「どうぞお掛け下さい」, douzo okake kudasai, “Please sit down”, you should say 「失礼致します」=shiturei itashimasu, “Thank you.” and sit down.
7) When you sit down, don’t sit back. Don’t cross your legs. Lay your hands on your lap lightly.
8) When they ask you questions, try to answer clearly and make eye contact with the interviewer.
9) When they say「以上で終わります。」ijou de owarimasu, “That’s all”, you say 「本日は有り難うございました。」, honjitsu wa arigatou gozaimashita.,“Thank you you so much.” and stand up next to the chair and bow lightly. Then you say 「失礼致します。」“Excuse me.” “Thank you.” and leave the room.
10) Right before you leave the room, bow to the interviewer one last time.
Oh, my GOD….Does that sound like too much?
Good luck! !Vsain!
<How to appeal yourself>
第一印象=daiichi inshou, the first impression is very important in any interview. Some say they can tell if they want to hire you or not in the first three seconds when they see you.
*to show how much you want to work for the company and show how motivated you are.
*to answer questions or ask questions clearly and briskly.
*to look into 面接官=mensetsukan, interviewer‘s eyes.
(Many Japanese people tend to avoid direct eye contact because traditionally it is considered to be aggressive to stare at someone’s eyes.)
*Japanese companies value team work. So show how much you can cooperative and like to work as a team player by bringing up your experiences and extracurricular activity.
*to show how responsible you are.
*to sell yourself. You have a short window of time to sell yourself, but at the same time try not to sound like you’re bragging. If they think you are overly confident, they may think you are cocky.
*Be sure to use proper 敬語=keigo, honorific expressions. When you refer to the company, you always use 御社=onsha, your company
As I mentioned above, avoid asking about salary,vacation or overtime work right away. It is considered to be very rude and will give them the impression that you are JUST thinking about the benefits. Usually you can see the basic salary in the classified ad.
（基本給=kihonkyuu, basic salary, 賞与-shouyo, bonus)
You may be surprised to hear but there are lots of people who decided to work without knowing exactly how much is the salary until their first paycheck. If you really want to know, do not ask them not in the beginning. Wait for the best time. Or wait until when they ask you if you have any questions at the end of the interview.
<Typical questions to be asked>
=Shibou riyuu wa nan desu ka?
=Why did you apply for this job?
Q : 当社を選んだ理由についてお話し下さい。
=Tousha wo eranda riyuu ni tsuite ohanashi kudasai.
=Please tell us why you chose our company.
=Tousha no koto wo doko de shirimashita ka?
=How did you hear about our company?
=Gakusei jidai ni chikara wo sosoida koto nan desu wa?
=What did you put most effort into at school?
=Sotsuron(sotsugyou ronbun) wa douiu koto wo kakimashitaka?
=What is the theme of your graduation thesis?
=Jiko piiaaru/jikoshoukai shite kudasai.
=Please introduce yourself. (try to sell yourself.)
=Shumi wa nan desu ka?
=What do you like to do?
=Tousha de yatte mita koto wa nan desu ka?
=What would like to do at our company?
=Hoka ni donna kigyou wo mawatte imasu ka?
=What kind of companies are you visiting besides us?
=Tousha ni haittara donna shigoto wo kibou shimasu ka?
=What kind of job would you want if you join us?
=Anata no tansho to chousho wo oshiete kudasai.
=What are your strengths and weaknesses?
=(Rekishijou) Ichibansonkei suru hito wa dare desu ka?
=Who do you respect the most (in history)?
=Saikin no nyuusu de kini naru koto wa arimasu ka?
=Is there any news which has caught your attention lately?
=Bukatsu saakuru katsudou wa nai ka yatte imashita ka?
=Have you been involved in any extracurricular activities or group activities?
=Baito wa donnna shigoto wo shite imashita ka?
=What kind of part time job did you have?
=Tousha no seihin ni tsuite dou omoimasu ka?
=What do you think about our products?
=Jinsei no mokuhou wa?
=What is life goal/purpose?
=〜 nen go no bijon wo oshiete kudasai.
=Please tell us your vision in 〜 years.
=Kyuuyo wa dono kurai kibou saremasu ka?
=How much salary would you want?
<前職について> zenshoku ni tsuite, about your previous job
=Doushite taishoku shita no desu ka?
=Why did you leave the previous job?
=saigo ni shitsumon wa arimasu ka?
=Finally, do you have any questions for us?
From the picture above:
=Anata no tokugi wa nan desu ka?
=So what are you good at?
特技=tokugi=speciality, something you are good at, special skill
=Eeto…, inu no sanpo desu.
=Well… walking dogs.
=Kihonteki ni moshi watashi no kaisha de hatarakitakattara fukusou ya nouryoku yorimo doredake oishii mono wo watshi ni kureru ka, osanpo ni kichinto tsurete itte kueru ka ga taisetsu desu.
Basically if you want to work for me, more than how you dress or your ability, I value whether you will feed me yummy food or take me for a walk regularly or not.
=Minna gannbatte oubo shitene.
Apply for the post! Good luck everyone!