How to write a “Rirekisho” the Japanese resume

11月 17, 2021 0 Comments

In the article How to find a job as a foreigner in Japan I briefly mentioned the two types of Japanese resumes : the Rirekisho (履歴書) which shows your basics and background, and the Shokumukeirekisho (職務経歴書)which describes your past work experience in detail.

The Rirekisho is separated into different sections and has two pages. You basically just have to fill in the form with your personal information and background, but in this article, I will give you some advice so you can avoid common mistakes and make your resume look more professional. 

1.The date of submission

On the top right corner of your resume, you will find a section in which you can write the date of submission. When you apply to a company, be sure to put the date of the day to confirm that the information written is the most recent. Sending a resume you made 3 months or even 1 year ago will make a bad impression and the chances the company will give you an interview will decrease. 

2.The photo

In a lot of countries putting a photo on your CV is optional, but in Japan the picture is extremely important. I sometimes see candidates who put a selfie on their CV. You can be sure your chances to get an interview are close to zero if you do so. 

The picture should look like you during the interview : professional. Try to wear a suit (black or navy), a white shirt, and a tie for men. Women can of course put on some makeup, but try to make it as natural as possible. Avoid putting on showy accessories, however you can keep your glasses if you regularly wear them. You can also smile slightly, but don’t show your teeth. 

Since the format of the photo has some specific rules, I would recommend you to use a photobooth you can find in stations, konbinis or shopping centers.

3.生年月日 The date of birth

Depending on the country, the order is different. In Japan, you have to start with the year and finish with the day. For example, if you were born on October 2nd 1990,  you should write 1990.10.2. Another specific detail is that depending on the format of your resume, you might have to use the Japanese calendar. In that case you will probably have to choose between 昭和(Showa 1926 – 1988)and 平成(Heisei1989 – 2019). For example, October 2nd 1990 will be H2.10.2 (Heisei 2.10.2). You can find some websites which will convert your birthdate to the Japanese calendar.

4.メールアドレスE-mail address

Regarding the email address, use one that looks professional. Using a funny email address like we used to do back in our high school days will not make a good impression. 

name.surname@gmail.com is for sure the safest way to go.

5.学歴 Your academic background

You can start with high-school. If you went to high-school outside Japan, don’t forget to indicate the country. Write the year of your entrance, and the year of graduation. For college, the format is the same but don’t forget to add your department.

6.職歴 Your working experience

The education and work experience are in the same section so once you’ve finished writing your education, skip some lines and put 【職歴】(work experience) to show you will be moving on to employment history. Write the names of the company you joined with the earliest coming first.

Write the company’s official name and add “入社”(joined the company) in the first line. Then, in the next line, write your department and your position. Finally, go to the next line to indicate whether you are still in the company or if you have left it. 

If you are still working there, write “現在に至る” (until present), if you are not write the date you left the company with “退社” (left company) and the reason.

There are multiple ways to write the reasons in the resume. The most usuals are the followings:

・一身上の都合により退社 for personal reasons
・会社都合により退社 for involuntary resignation
・契約期間終了につき退職 if your contract has ended 

Japanese companies are extremely strict regarding the number of job changes (転職回数), and candidates considered as “job-hoppers” will struggle finding a company. If you have changed jobs more than once in a short period of time, be sure to write the reason and be ready to talk about it during the interview. If the reason written on your resume is always ・一身上の都合により退社 or 会社都合により退社 the company will probably thing there is a problem with your personality or your skills, so be careful about that.

7.免許・資格  Other diplomas and certificates

In this field you can write any licences or qualifications you have, including your driver’s licence. Please be sure to write the certificate’s official name and enter the acquisition year correctly. If you don’t have any, you can write “特になし” (none in particular) in the first line. 

8.志望動機、自己PR Your motivations and self promotion

Depending on the format, this field is extremely small but it is still very important. This is your chance to state what motivates you to apply to the job, what are your strengths and how they are linked to the job description. To summarize, this is the perfect field to sell yourself and show why the company should hire you.

Be careful to personalize it for each company.

9.通勤時間、扶養家族(配偶者を除く)、配偶者 、配偶者の扶養義務
Commute time, dependents, spouse and spouse obligation

・Commute time : In this section, enter the commute time from home to work. If it is around 30 minutes, write “約30分”, if it is up to 1 hour, write “1時間以内”. 

・Dependants (excluding spouse) : Write how many people are supported by your income, except your spouse. For example, if you are married and have two children, you should write 2. Note that if your children are already working, they will not be included as dependents. 

・Spouse : If you have a spouse, circle 有 (yes) , if you don’t 無 (no)

・Dependents : Dependents are the members of the family who are supported by your income. The reason for listing your depends is that the company will need to know it when calculating income taxes and applying for social and health insurance. 

従います” (I will comply with your company’s regulations). You could also write your available times for interviews. 

10.Personal requests

You can write your conditions in this section (location, salary etc.) but it’s usual to leave it blank or to write  “貴社規定に

The Japanese resume is different from what we are used to seeing in Western countries, but being able to write it correctly as a foreigner will make a good impression. Even though the Rirekisho doesn’t require you to write a lot of information, there are still some common mistakes that could reduce  your chance to get an interview. Be sure to follow the tips, and don’t hesitate to ask for the help of a Japanese person if you can. 

In another article, I will give you more tips about the other resume, the Shokumukeirekisho which is a bit more complicated to write and requires much more details than the Rirekisho

Once you are done with the two resumes, don’t hesitate to check out our job page here

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      ご入力頂きました個人情報はお問い合わせ対応のために利用させて頂きます。
      個人情報の取り扱い詳細は 「個人情報取り扱いについて」をご覧ください。

      個人情報取り扱いに同意する