Two Main Problems of Job Hunting in Japan for International Talents

     Because of Japanese unique job-hunting system, international job seekers who are from out of Japan and want to work in Japan, are difficult to get job offers. Japan has a unique job-hunting system in the world, called shushoku katsudo (就職活動), and it is a short way to say shukatsu (就活). Shukatsu is the recruitment of new graduates which refers to the employment of future university or college alumni. 

     Recently, the Japanese government is paying attention to international students and people who want to work in Japan because of the Japanese labor shortage in the future. A lot of Japanese firms approach to international people and hire them actively, however, their recruitment process is based on Japanese, such as interviews and tests, so some global candidates feel difficult for job hunting. It can be roughly divided into two problems for people who want to work in Japan, which are lack of understanding of shukatsu system and lack of Japanese communication skills.

     Firstly, international job seekers are unclear to understand Japanese job-hunting (shukatsu) process and steps. There are some main preparations for shukatsu.

  • Self-analysis
  • Business field research
  • Job research
  • Company research
  • Studying for employment tests
  • Prepare your resumes and Entry sheet

Student Services Organization releases a great book to explain and give details for job hunting for international students, so please check it.

Job Hunting Guide for International Students 2020

Also, here is an efficient video for Japanese job-hunting etiquette by Bloomberg.

As you can see, there are many steps and etiquette for shukatsu. People from out of Japan may feel it is too much, but actually it is real in Japan.

     Secondly, global candidates are difficult to reach business communication level in Japanese. According to Quality of Life (Japanese website), Japanese companies require global talents for business level in Japanese (44.1%), conversational-level Japanese (35.5%), and native level in Japanese (10%). The biggest problem of hiring global job seekers is that there are few human resources can speak high Japanese skills. Japanese is one of the difficult languages in the world, so international talents are struggled to learn Japanese. Japanese companies understand global candidates’ language barrier. However, they require higher than conversational-level Japanese because candidates need to communicate with their colleagues and clients in Japanese. Therefore, it is necessary for international job seekers who want to work in Japan to improve Japanese skill.

     International candidates can send application and get job interviews from firms as same as Japanese people, but it is hard to get job offers because of language barriers. Then, what is the effective way for global talents to get job offers in Japan? One solution is using job matching agents or shukatsu school.

Job matching agents, such as CFN and Mynavi, introduce a lot of companies, and all firms require Japanese and English skills. There are some Pros and cons for job matching agents for international students.


  • Can meet many Japanese companies
  • Firms want Bilingual person (especially Japanese and English)
  • Speedy and quickly
  • Some companies hold English interviews for candidates


  • Must prepare everything by yourself
  • Must write Japanese resumes and take tests by yourself

     On the other hand, Shukatsu schools are like school to tell you about how to proceed and support your job-hunting in Japan. There are pros and cons of shukatsu schools.

Shukatsu school


  • Teachers check your resume and practice interview together
  • Prepare everything together


  • Need to pay Class Fees
  • Must search companies by yourself

     Personally, I recommend that international candidates should use both Japanese job-matching agent and Shukatsu school for success. Job-matching agent gives you many chances for job interviews and Shukatsu school’s teachers are willing to help your job applications and to practice job interview. Japanese people are also struggling for this Japanese traditional wield job-hunting system, but the important point is to keep making an effort for your success of Shukatsu