Starting from scratch in a new country can be intimidating and confusing. Don’t worry though, we have the 10 best tips to work in Japan, such as:

  1. You don’t necessarily need a degree
  2. Determine your existing skills
  3. Consider all your options
  4. You don’t need Japanese – but it would help
  5. Apply to companies you think would be a good fit for you
  6. Consider using a recruiter
  7. Join communities and network
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  9. Know your worth
  10. Don’t stop growing

Japan Is Full of Opportunities

The government has recently announced new visa pathways to make it easier for high earners and top graduates to work in Japan. The country is struggling with a labor shortage and hopes to attract foreign talent to solve the problem.

1. You Don’t Necessarily Need a Degree

Although you generally require a degree to get a work visa in Japan, there are a few ways to get around this:

  • If you have 10 or more years of experience in your specific field and accept a job in Japan, you should have no trouble getting a visa.
  • If you have neither experience nor qualifications, you could take the ITPEC exam. It will allow you to work in Japan as it is based on the standard Information-Technology Engineers Examination (jōhō shori gijutsusha shiken, 情報処理技術者試験, or ITEE).
  • For other fields of work, you could apply for the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) This visa category allows you to come to Japan for technical training at a participating organization.

2. Determine Your Existing Skills

If you’re starting from scratch, it’s a good idea to think about which skills you already have. We can divide our skillset up into hard skills (for example, computer literacy, programming language comprehension, and coding) and soft skills (such as communication, critical thinking, and the ability to work in a team)

Whereas hard skills are easy to quantify with qualifications, soft skills have to be proven with time. However, both are important for succeeding at work, so take some time to make a list of both types of skills you already have.

3. Consider All Your Options

So far, we’ve discussed alternatives to technical skills and qualifications. You should thus see the benefits of thinking outside the box and considering creative solutions. If you dream of working in tech in Japan, think about what you would need to change about your current circumstances. It’s worth noting that many companies prefer to employ those already in Japan, so you could start out in another position before applying for tech jobs. Some options include coming to Japan as a student, English teacher, or trainee. If you want more information, check out our article on how to get a tech job in Japan from overseas. We also have more specific information for Nepali, Indian, and US citizens hoping to work in Japan.

4. You Don’t Need Japanese – But It Would Help

There’s no denying that Japanese language skills will make it much easier to find work in Japan. However, if you can’t speak Japanese there’s no reason to worry either. Due to the demand for foreign workers (especially in tech), an increasing number of companies and switching to using English as their language of operation. Of course, you could always start out by studying Japanese before starting your job hunt.

5. Apply to Companies You Think Would Be a Good Fit for You

Most people would like to work for a prestigious company – the best, if you will. But how do we determine what the best is? Have you ever considered what you value in a workplace? Do you want a good work-life balance or a job that challenges and fulfills you? As with your skillset, it could be helpful for you to answer these questions for yourself before starting your job hunt. If you’re not sure, you can get started with the help of the career values card sort. Next, look for companies whose values align with yours.

6. Consider Using a Recruiter

A recruiter can help narrow the gap between you and potential employees. A service like World in Pro allows you to simply sign up to speak to a career advisor who’ll be able to help you find a suitable job. Not only that, they can help you get settled in your new country and new position.

We help tech professionals

With World in Pro, you will find:

  • English-language jobs – No need for Japanese proficiency.
  • A variety of job openings – Work for top tech companies and startups in Japan.
  • International applications accepted – Find a job before arriving in Japan.

7. Join Communities and Network

A network of like-minded professionals can be a great way to get your fingers on the pulse of the industry. It’s also a great way to find out about unlisted jobs. Whether it’s an industry meetup, job fair, or tech community, there are lots of opportunities for networking. We recommend the following:

Job Fairs
Tech Communities

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

We’ve discussed the importance of communities and networking, but it cannot be overstated. Although we cannot give an exact percentage, it’s thought that up to 85% of open positions are filled through word-of-mouth referrals. Many people might feel uncomfortable asking friends or acquaintances for a referral, but the proof is in the pudding. Humans are, after all, social beings, and flourish on cooperation.

9. Know Your Worth

Outlining your existing skills and values are a great way to determine what you are looking for in a job. The next step is to determine what the average salary is for the job you’re applying for. Websites such as Glassdoor, Payscale, The Salary Project, and allow you to easily compare salaries in Japan and around the world.

10. Don’t Stop Growing

Landing that job isn’t, and shouldn’t, be the end of your journey. Give yourself time to celebrate your success, and then start thinking about your next step. It’s likely that you’ll be eyeing a promotion eventually, and it’s never too early to think about how you’ll go about achieving that goal. Perhaps it’s learning a new skill, or getting a new qualification. Our article on how to get promoted in your tech job in Japan has lots of tips and tricks.

Start Your Journey Today

Inbound Technology has a team of knowledgeable career advisors who can help you find the perfect tech job. Get in touch here or on LinkedIn.