就活 ( = shuukatsu) :Job Hunting In Japan!


:maggie-small: 「あなたの特技はなんですか?」

= Anata no tokugi wa nan desu ka?

So what are you good at?

!ase! 「ええと..、犬の散歩です。」

= 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?

!to right! 婚活 ( = konkatsu) ? If not, go check 婚活Lesson! )


*=しゅうく = shuu/tsuku: to move in, to fill (the job)


*=しょく = shoku : job

:rrrr: 就職 to be employed

*=かつかすきる,katsu/ikasu, ikiru:to move actively


*=どううごく = dou/ugoku:to move

:rrrr: 活動 = katsudou :activity


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)

:maggie-small: <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! :)

:kkk: <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

*採用 = saiyou = hiring


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,

:rrrr: 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.

•メーカー=meeka =  makers


業界 = gyoukai =  market, business world

金融業 = kin yuugyou =  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

マスコミ = masukomi = media

商社 = shousha = commercial firm, trading company

Then, after we decide, we visit a company that is recruiting personnel. Many companies offer a,

:rrrr: 会社説明会=kaisha setsumei kai, employment-explanation meetings

Students visit the companies they are interested in,

:rrrr: 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.

:rrrr: 会社案内 ( = kaisha annai) =company brochures

or they visit their 先輩  ( = senpai ) seniors

:rrrr: OB、OG訪問 OB, OG houmon

→ OB = old boys, OG = old girls

訪問  ( = houmon) visiting

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.

:rrrr: 御礼状 ( = oreijou) thank you letter

When you visit a company, you have to dress appropriately

:rrrr: 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,


:rrrr: 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


= naitei zero

=“Zero” job offerno 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,


:rrrr: 内定取り消し

= naitei torikeshi

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.


= shuushoku ryuunen

And those who graduate from the school without getting a job are called ,


= shuushoku rounin,

= graduated into unemployment

If you’re not a student and are looking for a job or looking to change jobs, we say you are,

:rrrr: 就職先を探す

= shuushoku saki wo sagasu,

to look for a job


= tenshoku saki wo sagasu

to look to change one’s current job


= tenshoku(suru)

to change the job

To do this you check,

:rrrr: 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

:rrrr: 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.


:l: <Basic Vocabulary>

会社 = kaisha=  company

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

リクルート = rikuruuto = recruit

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)

条件 = jouken = conditions

給与 = kyuuyo = salary

基本給 = kihonkyuu =  basic salary

月給 = gekyuu =  monthly salary

日給 = nikyuu = daily wage

時給 = jikyuu =  per-hour wages

賞与 = shouyo =  bonus

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

:rrrr: 有り/有( = ari) =  with

:rrrr: 無し/無 ( = nashi) =  without, No ~

:rrrr: 込み( = komi) = included

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

経理 = keiri,= accounting

営業 = eigyou = sales

総務 = soumu = general affairs

人事 = jinji = personnel

販売/営業 hanbai/eigyou = sales


When you apply for a job, you have to prepare,

:rrrr: 履歴書 = rirekisho =  resume

:jjj: <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!

!to right! (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! )




:rrrr: Picture:

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.

:kkk: Years :

平成18年 ( = heisei juuhachi nen )

:rrrr: 和暦  ( = wareki) A Japanese calendar based on the imperial year

2007年 ( = nisen nana nen)

:rrrr: 西暦 ( = seireki)  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!


:rrrr: The order of information:

You have to write your personal data in chronological order.

:rrrr: 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.


:rrrr: △△大学卒業 △△daigaku sotsugyou = Graduated from △△ University

:rrrr: 職歴 = shokureki =  employment history

:rrrr: 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

:rrrr: Typical Japanese qualifications:

•簿記 = boki =  bookkeeping

→Ex. 日本商工会議所主催商業簿記検定試験~級,

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

:rrrr: 免許=menkyo, license

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 , licensed after the license or certification’s name.

Ex. ~免許 = ~menkyo, license, 〜資格 ( = ~shikaku) , certification + 取得  ( = shutoku) , acquired, received

Rireki mouse hunting


:rrrr: Having an impressive or interesting skill or hobby like mine, is a good chance to attract an interviewer’s attention.



:rrrr: 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!


:rrrr: 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.

:rrrr: 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,

:rrrr: 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,

:rrrr: 志望動機 ( = shibou douki) statement of purpose

:rrrr: 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

:rrrr: 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.

Note: 御中 = onchu.

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.

Ex. ポップコーン株式会社御中

=Popcorn kabushikigaisha (Company name)+ onchuu

Ex.ポップコーン株式会社 人事部御中

=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

=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 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

<Job interview>

*面接 = mensetsu, interview

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


:jjj: 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,

「~大学、~学部~学科のyour name)と申します。宜しくお願い致します。」

= ~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。」( = jou de owarimasu) , “That’s all”,

you say


= 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。」 ( = shitsurei shimasu) “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

:i: <Taboos!>

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.

!to right! <Typical questions to be asked>

Q :志望理由は何ですか?

= 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.

Q :当社のことをどこで知りましたか?

= Tousha no koto wo doko de shirimashita ka?

How did you hear about our company?

Q :学生時代に力を注いだことは何ですか?

= Gakusei jidai ni chikara wo sosoida koto nan desu wa?

What did you put most effort into at school?


Q :卒論(卒業論文)はどういうことを書きましたか?

= Sotsuron(sotsugyou ronbun) wa douiu koto wo kakimashitaka?

What is the theme of your graduation thesis?

Q :自己PR/自己紹介して下さい。

= Jiko piiaaru/jikoshoukai shite kudasai.

Please introduce yourself. (try to sell yourself.)

Q :趣味はなんですか?

= Shumi wa nan desu ka?

What do you like to do?

Q :当社でやってみたいことはなんですか?

= Tousha de yatte mita koto wa nan desu ka?

What would like to do at our company?

Q :他にどんな企業を廻っていますか?

= Hoka ni donna kigyou wo mawatte imasu ka?

What kind of companies are you visiting besides us?

Q :当社に入ったらどんな仕事を希望しますか?

= Tousha ni haittara donna shigoto wo kibou shimasu ka?

What kind of job would you want if you join us?

Q :あなたの短所と長所を教えて下さい。

= Anata no tansho to chousho wo oshiete kudasai.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Q :(歴史上)一番尊敬する人は誰ですか?

= (Rekishijou) Ichibansonkei suru hito wa dare desu ka?

Who do you respect the most (in history)?

Q :最近のニュースで気になることはありますか?

= Saikin no nyuusu de kini naru koto wa arimasu ka?

Is there any news which has caught your attention lately?

Q :部活、サークル活動は何かやっていましたか?

= Bukatsu saakuru katsudou wa nai ka yatte imashita ka?

Have you been involved in any extracurricular activities or group activities?

Q :バイトはどんな仕事をしていましたか?

= Baito wa donnna shigoto wo shite imashita ka?

What kind of part time job did you have?

Q :当社の製品についてどう思いますか?

= Tousha no seihin ni tsuite dou omoimasu ka?

What do you think about our products?

Q :人生の目標は?

= Jinsei no mokuhou wa?

What is life goal/purpose?

Q :年後のビジョンを教えて下さい。

= 〜 nen go no bijon wo oshiete kudasai.

Please tell us your vision in 〜 years.

Q :給与はどの位希望されますか?

= 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

Q :どうして退職したのですか?

= Doushite taishoku shita no desu ka?

Why did you leave the previous job?

Q :最後に質問はありますか?

= Saigo ni shitsumon wa arimasu ka?

Finally, do you have any questions for us?


From the picture above:

:maggie-small: 「あなたの特技はなんですか?」

= Anata no tokugi wa nan desu ka?

So what are you good at?

特技  ( = tokugi) speciality, something you are good at, special skill

!ase! 「ええと..、犬の散歩です。」

=Eeto…, inu no sanpo desu.

=Well… walking dogs.



maggie-senseiマギー先生より = Maggie sensei yori =  From Maggie sensei


= 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!


Will you be my Patron? 

I appreciate your support!  サポートありがとう!

Become a Patron!


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  1. Maggie sensei, i really love your site. It is so useful.
    I have a job interview and a written test in a Japanese company in 3 months so I am wondering whether you give online classes or not?

    1. Hello Amani,

      I am a dog angel so I don’t give a lesson on line but my human pet, Yukari does.
      Since she has been busy she doesn’t put the information on the site.
      If you are interested, reach her through About Us page. If her schedule fits yours, she can help you.
      Good luck on your job interview! :)

  2. マギー様
    •金融業 = kinyou = finance business, bank business

    1. Thank you for your reply. I checked the About US but I couldn’t find an mail address of Yukari Sensei so I don’t know how to reach her. Can you please provide an email address through which I can contact her? Thank you in advance

  3. Hello maggie sensei. I’m looking for a graveyard shift right now, and i have to call this certain company. I am so nervous on how to start a phone conversation asking for an opening of the job since i am not really that good in nihongo. I hope you could give me an advice?

    1. Hi Serene

      First こんにちは/おはようございます (greeting)
      Your nameと申します。= ~ to moushimasu.
      = yakin/ shinya no shigoto wo sagashite imasu. tadaima kyuujin wo sarete imasuka?

  4. I have a job interview on Wednesday and have been using this as reference for study. I am so nervous I could die. Thank you for all your amazing work. I hope if I have question’s it’s okay to ask you.

  5. I’m looking to apply for job at a Japanese next year & is starting preparations now, so this is so so helpful! thank you so much maggie sensei!!!

  6. Maggie sensei,
    I’m so happy finally I found the place to learn japanese.
    But I’m a little bit regret, why now I found your site😓.
    I want to ask you, I saw a part time recruitment at a cafe. I want to apply that job. They ask to call them first. How to call and tell them that I want to have an interview, I really want to work there. I’m worry about my japanese and afraid they get not good impression from my Japanese😟.
    Thank you so much for helping.

    1. Hi indi

      I am glad you found us here, too.

      You can call them avoiding their busy hours and say

      = Oisogashii tokoro moushiwake arimasen.
      (It literally means I am sorry to bother you in your busy time)

      先日、そちらで求人*募集を拝見してお電話いたしました。 ( * アルバイト= part time job You can change it depending on your job)
      = Senjitsu, sochira de kyuujin boshuu wo haiken shite odenwa itashimashita.
      = I saw your HR ad there the other day.

      = Gotantousha sama wa irasshaimasu de shouka?
      = May I speak to the person in charge?

      If the person who answers the phone deals with it, you can continue

      = Oubo houhou wo oshiete itadakemasu deshouka?
      = Could you tell me how to apply the job?

      1. Maggie sensei…
        Thank you very much for replying🙇‍♀️

        I will try to call them soon.



  7. Hello Maggie-sensei!! I just stumbled upon your post and it’s extremely useful! I appreciate how you outline everything so carefully :) Thank you so much! By the way, I’m looking into applying for Animation industry in Japan and looking for further advises if you have any? Some people said a rirekisho is not needed, and some said during the interview they tend to be less formal and it’s more of showing around the company. So I’m getting a bit confused. I’m planning to go Japan soon to apply and attend the interviews in person so it would be a great help if I could get more information :) Thank you!

    1. Hello 愛紗! Welcome to our site!
      You are talking about working for Japanese company in Japan as a full time employee, right? If so,I can’t imagine Japanese companies would hire someone without rirekisho or any formal interviews. They have to sponsor your working visa. In order to get a working visa, you have to have proper academic background or career for the specific job.
      The good news is the Japanese government has just changed the law and make it easier for foreign students who study in Japanese university or senmon gakkou (vocational school) to work in Japan. Check this article.

  8. this help me a lot sensei! i work as interperter here in the philippines,
    thank you for all the hardship!
    sensei can you provide also the vocabulary for benefits and commonly used
    phrases in employment. ex. salary , benefits, wages, taxes. thanks a lot in advance

    1. Hello rommel niemes,
      I am glad to hear you found this lesson helpful.
      I don’t cover the phrases but there are vocabulary regarding, salary, bonus, etc right below アルバイト. Please check again. :)

  9. いつもお世話になっておりますのでどうもありがとうございます。Hope you have an enjoyable vacation,sensei!

  10. Maggie先生お久しぶりですね。I want to ask you about how to greet 社長 when we meet for the first time since the last interview.Although I started working since last week,we haven’t met yet because he’s gone back to Japan.I also want to know how to answer if asked about the “How’s working here?” or “How am I doing in this job?”And also give some advice you think suitable for this situation,too.I’m sorry to bother you with such urgent questions frequently.You’re the only one I can turn to for such important questions.Thank you in advance for your constant help! :-)

    1. @Hazel

      You caught me the right before my vacation. :)
      It depends on what you want to tell the company president. If you want to say thank you for hiring me, then
      採用(さいよう)ありがとうございました。and if he asks you how you are doing, you just tell him what you think but may something positive.

      = Mainichi, juujitsu shite orimasu.
      = I’ve been having fulfilling days.
      = Shigoto ga totemo omoshiroi desu.
      = The work is very interesting.

      Or まだいろいろ慣れないことがありますが一生懸命お役に立てるように努力いたします。
      = Mada iroiro narenai koto ga arimasu ga isshoukenmei oyaku ni tateru you ni doryoku itashimasu.
      = I haven’t get used to many things but I will do my best to serve this company.

      OK I will be gone for one week. Good luck, Hazel!

  11. 先生のおかげさまで 今日内定を 貰いました。来月の 一日から仕事を初めることに なりました。それに九月の終わりに 北海道へ 出張する予定です。そちらはとても 寒いと言われた。初めての外国 旅行ですから 緊張しています。この間 いろいろお世話になっておりますので 本当にありがとうございました。

    1. お仕事決まりましたか?
      おめでとう!!! 私も本当に嬉しいです。

  12. 先生 から返事を貰って本当にありがとうございます。申し込んだ仕事は日本へ 働きたい人たち のために仕事を捜すサービス 代理店でN5とN4の試験を受けようとしている 生徒たちに日本語を教えるのです。でも そのほかに 生徒たちといっしょに日本へ 行ってそちらのtraining centre に1ヶ月とか 3ヶ月とか サポートして欲しいと 言われましたので 自分も今までには 海外へ 行ったことは 一度もないので どうすれば 信頼できるように 見えますのか 知りたいです。特には その仕事を 任せられたら 力を入れていて 頑張りますのを 伝えたいです。どんなものを 準備していると 知らせたら 宜しいでしょうか?日本のことはアニメとかドラマとかいつも見てるですけど 本当の日常生活に 住もうとは 一度も 考えなかったので 実は 少し怖いですよ。それでも 諦めずに 頑張って見たいです。偶然に 先生のページを見て とてもよかったと思うわよ。私のような 多くの人たちが 居るのを 見て 私も 頑張ったら できると 思います。私たちのために こんなところを 創造して 本当にありがとうございます。I really admire the efforts you put in to explain things easier for us.It’s very kind of you to post those valuable and helpful lessons.Thank you so much!

    1. @Hazel

      そうですか。 それではN4とN5を教えるというために研修で日本に数ヶ月行き、実際に日本人がどれだけのスピードでどんな表現を使って話すか実地で吸収するのにいいチャンスになるので是非行かせていただきたいです。一生懸命努力します。とやる気をアピールするといいですね。Hazelが コメントに書いたことを言えば大丈夫ですよ。

  13. Maggie sensei のおかげさまで初対面がうまくできました 二番目の面接のひは来週に知らせしますので 今何を準備したらいいですか 面接者が日本にときどき通うするのはできますかときてパスポトを準備して今のアルバイトもできる限り早く通知してくださいとおしゃたが私は今でも 面接がうまくできるのか とても心配しています もし何か誤りをしたらどうしますか 私絶対に頑張って見ますから アドバイスしていただけませんか先生のこの ページから多の 注告を 貰ったのでどうもありがとうございました

    1. @Hazel


  14. Hello Maggie Sensei😄😊
    I don’t know if it’s too late or not but I’m soooo happpy to found out your page and really exciting to learn each of your lesson.
    Thank you for your hardworking, this page so incredible 😆

    1. @Inez

      こんにちは、 Inez! 尊敬語は難しいですね。日本人でもよく間違えますよ。😁

  15. 優しいマッギエ先生へ



    1. @Herina Naibaho


      Please check this lesson to see the difference between に and で → Lesson link
      You add は to show the contrast or emphasize the meaning.

      日本では+introducing some activities/actions 日本ではそんなことはしない。
      日本には+ talking about some existence. 日本にはたくさん温泉があります。

      Let me fix your sentences.


  16. とても勉強になります!ルールが多くて、すごく厳しそうですね!


    1. @Saw

      こんにちは、 Saw!

  17. Hi Maggie-sensei !

    I have been studying Japanese for more than 5 years now (and I’m still afraid to write in Japanese because of the mistake I would make …), and I just beeing introduced to your website by a friend very recently. I found it soooo helpful ! Thank you for your hard work !

    I just had a quick question about interviews in Japan.

    Would it be considered unapropriate or too cocky to ask “what would be the reason you would not take me for this job ? (もし、御社に入社させていただけませんの理由はその理由を教えていただけませんか?)”
    I usually ask this question (in western job interview) in order to being able to clarify some weak points they wouldn’t get as much as I wanted to.

    Thank you again for all your help !

    1. @サブリア

      Hi サブリア
      Feel free to practice your Japanese here. Making mistakes is the best way to learn languages.

      Would it be considered unapropriate or too cocky to ask “what would be the reason you would not take me for this job ? (もし、御社に入社させていただけませんの理由はその理由を教えていただけませんか?)”
      The polite way to ask the question is

      It depends on the company or interviewers but I’d say it still sounds demanding or pushy for traditional Japanese companies.

  18. I just found your website! Thank you so much for all the lessons! (*^▽^*)

    Maggie-sensei, I was wondering if you could give me tips on looking for internships in Japan? At the moment I’m in my second year of artschool (I study 2d animation) and next year I will have to do an internship. I would absolutely love to do an internship in Japan in the animation industry if possible.

    My japanese languange skills are at beginner level. Would you still recommend me to use the Japanese format for my resume? And if so, would it be better to submit it in japanese or in english? I’m afraid that if I fill it in in Japanese it will create the impression that my Japanese is better than it actually is.

    Thank you!

    1. @Kani

      Hi Kani,
      Welcome to our site!
      It depends on the company where you want to work. Some companies requires Japanese resume but for example if you work for a language school, English resume is just enough. But if you want to work for an animation industry, I’d say you should prepare Japanese resume.
      The best thing is to ask them the format of your resume.

  19. まーぎせんせいのおかげさまで、以上の大切なことばとコツをいかしてめんせつに合格しました。おせわになりました。どうぞよろしくおねがいします。

      1. お返事をいただいてどうもありがとうございます。

  20. Thank you so much for this lesson!
    I was wondering, would it be an advantage to ask questions for the interviewers??
    I wanted to ask “what is your turnover rate?” but perhaps that is too rude for Japan?

    1. @kay

      Hi Kay,
      What is your turnover rate? in Japanese is 御社の離職率はどのぐらいでしょうか?(=Onsha no rishokuritsu wa donogurai deshou ka?)
      But I wouldn’t ask that question. They will think you are already thinking about quitting at the interview.

  21. Wow this is a really helpful guide to job hunting! I’m still a student so I’ve never hunted for a job before.
    I was just wondering, Maggie-sensei, if you know anything about medical jobs (doctors) for foreigners in Japan? I am currently a 4th year medical student in Ireland and it’s my dream to work in Japan. I’ve been studying Japanese for 3 years now too.
    Thank you:)

    1. @Lava

      Hi Lava,
      I am glad to hear you find this lesson helpful.
      OK, what I know is in order to be a doctor in Japan, you have to pass 国家試験(National exam) in Japanese and get a license and it is very difficult to be a doctor in Japan.
      However Japanese government has been trying to change the law in past few years and they said we should accept more foreign doctors in future.
      I found this article. It might give you an idea.

      1. Thank you!
        That exam seems really hard, since I’m aware that the medical terms are not in latin. I hope maybe one day I’ll be able to go.
        Thanks for all your help:)

  22. I was looking at concise guides like this one, but I found yours to be so well thought out and informative. Thank you for taking the time to write such an excellent guide.

    1. @Yoshiyuki

      Hello! Welcome to our site! The link is pretty good! What you have to do is gather all the useful information for you. がんばって!

  23. 今回、初めてこのブログに入りましたが、とても良い日本語知識を教えてもらって、本当に有難う御座いました。

    1. @Hang Thuy Le

      これからもぜひこのサイトに来て下さいね。 :h:

  24. Maggie, I just applied for a job and there was an age requirement! You mentioned that is illegal but it said from 20 to 35 years of age.

    1. @Vonn

      It is illegal but I guess many companies still have the age limit. And even if they can’t tell the applicants that they would hire younger people, they would find other excuses not to hire them. That’s a shame…

  25. Hi Maggie. I know this is two years old but this is very relevant to me as I will go to to the Boston Forum and perhaps the Tokyo Forum. I have been applying for jobs to various agencies in New York City (where I live at the moment) and I have used about 80% of the vocabulary on this page. It is great to read thoroughly and polish my way of writing/talking to employers and recruiters. I do know it is considered rude to ask about wages and etc, but I have encountered many instances that if I do not ask, I would be hired to do a certain job without knowing the very details. In such cases I ask… It’s rather complicated. As for the rirekisho, many large scale Japanese companies have been lenient on what should be on a rirekisho. In some instances 志望動機 is removed or replaced with 大学で学んだこと・専攻内容詳細 (assuming you’re 新卒). I have a phone interview tomorrow so this page will come in handy!!

    1. @Sebastian

      Thank you for your comment. Good luck tomorrow and hope you get the ideal job for you! がんばって! :)

  26. if possible drop me a line I live in Tokyo and many Outhers foreigners need assistence for some applications in city Hall or direct in company .
    アンドレ コスタ

  27. Dear Maggi Very nice explanations. think this ill help many peoples.
    But I d like ask you to write about
    profission that foreigners work in Japan like
    factory jobs like LCD kensa
    Maguro Industry
    Recycles jobs
    Bus drivers ..
    how to work as sagawa or post Ofice tayukubin ?
    how to find Farms Jobs in Japan?
    How to get jobs at Airport ?
    Constructions many profissions
    and how to get the above jobs in Japan.
    how to write a simples cover letter ?
    wishing get the jobs ?
    have a pleasent day

    1. @andretokyo

      Hi, Andre
      Thank you for visiting this site. As for your request, I would like to help people who are interested in working in Japan but it is difficult for me to write all about those different professions you listed and how to apply for those jobs because I need to provide all the information which I don’t have. Hope you understand this site is to help people learn Japanese and I am not able to make a lesson “How to get a job”
      However I will work on a lesson about some of the procedure at a ward office or immigration office sometime. !happyface!

  28. Thank you so much for this! I am planning on participating in the Boston Career Forum this November. You have no idea how nervous I was (and still am!)

    All of this information is giving me much more confidence in the entire process.

    Again, I want to say thank you for all of your hard work! I know this must have taken you forever to complete!

    1. @Kingssd3

      Thank you for your comment! I made this lesson a while ago but I do remember I tried to put lots of information.
      Good luck on your job hunting! いいお仕事が見つかります様に!まずは、Relaxしてね! :)

  29. わぁ~、このレッソンを作るため、非常に時間がかかりますよね。お疲れ様でした!



    1. @Cygnus
      正確に言うと給与の中に給料が含まれます。給与 = wage in general includes 給料 which is salary that employers pay to employees.
      (A little correction for you : 作るため→作るのに / かかりますよね→かかりましたよね (past tense)/ 話は変わって→話は変わりますが(formal)/変わるけど(casual))

  30. Maggie sensei,

    Yes that’s for sure! Thanks for your advice~~ :)
    I will work super hard on your lessons too, please keep teaching us!

    1. @saki

      Oh you are coming to Japan. How exciting! Hope you get a perfect job for you!! Good luck!
      Don’t forget your smile when you have an interview, OK?

  31. Maggie sensei, 質問です!

    Does the above situation and information the same as アルバイト/バイト?

    Is it impossible to find a job for knowing little Japanese?

    1. @saki

      You still need to submit a resume to apply for a part time job. If you are a student or under 20 years old, your parents needs to sign the resume to approve. The procedure will be more simple (Ex. no paper test and group interview), and they don’t require much qualification or experiences as full time job.
      But still they would hire a person with better attitude, nice manner and personality, etc.

      It would be definitely plus to know some Japanese unless you work for a foreign company or language school who don’t expect you to speak Japanese.

  32. Hi! Great lesson–also useful for teachers of Japanese people who are looking for jobs in the US, so we can understand their perspectives. :)

    I think one reason Americans (in particular) attach such unsuitable photos is that in the US, it’s totally against the rules to request photos for jobs (other than acting, etc.). It’s so far out of our experience that I guess people just don’t stop to think. I would expect common sense would tell them to use a professional photo, but…I guess not! Things like including your sex (male/female), age, and marital status are illegal, too, so it can lead to some real confusion for both Japanese applicants in the US and American applicants in Japan. It’s good to educate yourself before you apply!

    Thanks for your detailed article. Great site!

    1. @Clarissa
      Thank you for your comment. Very interesting! Asking your sex, age or marital status should be illegal. In that sense, the format of Japanese resume is still way behind.
      There are selling many books about how to have a proper job interview. Japanese people depend on this kind of manual too much. It is a part of our culture “We have to follow the way other people do.”
      I have also checked your site. Very nice!
      It is so nice to get to communicate with a real teacher. You teach Japanese students there. How are they adopting American culture?

  33. 履歴書を提出しないで、dog treatsを送ってもいいでしょうか?笑

  34. Your 履歴書 advice is fantastic! I filled out a 履歴書 form once a couple of years ago but didn’t understand how to do it properly and it must have looked very strange. I later learnt the correct way of doing it at night school. I’m sure your examples and explanation are going to be really really helpful to people applying for jobs with Japanese companies.
    The interview tips are really interesting too! Thank you. :)

    1. @Amanda
      今日は!いつもありがとう♥ I will be very happy if this lesson is useful for people who are actually looking for a job in Japan and I hope it won’t scare them away.

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