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Rirekisho: How to Write a Japanese Resume. Template Included!
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Are you looking for a new job? The resume is a necessary part of looking for a job, for both in and outside Japan. However, Japanese resumes - commonly referred to as rireki-sho (履歴書) - follow a unique format that can be a confusing and frustrating process for many. Not to worry, as we've got you covered! Use our downloadable template and step-by-step guide in this article to prepare your rirekisho and get hired in no time!

Before You Begin

In Japan you generally need two documents to apply for a job:

① A resume (rirekisho 履歴書) which shows your basic (name, date of birth, address etc.) and background (education, work experience) information

② A CV (shokumu-keirekisho 職務経歴書) which describes your past work experience and skills in detail

Your Japanese resume is used to give a quick summary of your information for companies to understand your experiences and qualifications. It is usually the first document you have to prepare when applying for a job and gives the first impression to your potential employer.

Many employers prefer handwritten resumes, but this will probably depend on the industry or type of job you are applying for. You can find blank resumes for this purpose from the convenience store. Alternatively, you can download a template to print or send digitally to your potential employer.

Sometimes, your employer or company may specify the type of resume they prefer. In this case, be sure not to use your own template, but the specified format!

In this article, we will show you how to write a Japanese resume and provide you with a template to download so you can get started straight away!

How to Write a Japanese Resume

The Japanese resume is separated into different sections. First, you have the basic, personal information with the photo, your name and address, and contact details. Next is the education and employment information section followed by the skills and qualification section. Fourth is the appeal point, commuting time and family information and finally the last section is the personal requests.

How to Write the Basic Information Section on a Japanese Resume

Let's take a closer look at how to fill in each box in the basic information section.

① Photo

Dress professionally and take a photo to include in the resume. You can find photo booths around town (in train stations, department stores) that will take pictures at the correct size, which can be easier and appear more professional than trying to take one yourself.

Make sure that the image has been taken in the past 3 months. The photo can be older, provided that it matches your current appearance. It should be a picture from the chest-up, facing the camera front-on.

Try to look as professional as possible. A suit is usually a safe bet, for both men and women. Make sure not to wear a hat, or any accessories that may stand out. A natural smile and natural style of makeup is preferred.

② Resume Submission Date

Enter the day you will submit the resume, in the order of [ year / month / day ]. Alternatively, write the day you have created the resume. Do remember, however, that this will make the resume only acceptable for interviews in the near future.

③ 氏名 – Full Name

Enter your name in the space next to 氏名 in English or Katakana. If you have a name that includes kanji, write your name in kanji. Write your Last/Family name first, then your First/Given name with a space inbetween.

Enter the reading of your name in hiragana above, inside the box labeled ふりがな (furigana). *If the box is labeled in katakana (ex. フリガナ), write the reading of your name in katakana instead.

④ 生年月日 – Date of birth (Age)

Write the date of your birth in the order [year (年) / month (月) / day (日)].

There is a space to write your current age. The kanji '満' refers to full and '才・歳' refers to age. Thus, fill the space in-between with your age. (ie. '満[Age]才')

In some templates, you may be asked to write your birth year according to the Japanese calendar. In this case, you are generally asked to choose between 昭和 (Showa 1926 – 1988) and 平成 (Heisei 1989 – 2019). If you are confused, here are some websites to helpy you convert your age to the Japanese calendar.

⑤ 現住所 – Current Address

Enter your current address. If you live in Japan it's preferable to fill in the address in kanji in the large section and the furigana in the "ふりがな" box, similarly to the format of the name section. The numbers in the address do not require furigana.

⑥ 連絡先 – Contact Information

Fill in this section only if you wish to be contacted at an address different from your current address. If you request it to be the same as that listed in your current address, write '同上' which means "same as above".

⑦ 性別 – Gender

Here, you can circle 男 (male) or 女 (female).

⑧ 電話 – Telephone number

Enter your Japanese phone number, or any number that your employer can use to easily contact you. If you don't have a Japanese number and are using an overseas number, enter the country code as well.

⑨ メールアドレス – E-mail

Input an email address that you check regularly.

⑩ 電話 – Telephone Number

If you want to write down an alternative phone number, you can do so in this section. If not, you can leave this blank, or write '同上' (=same as above).

How to Write the Education and Work Experience Section

学歴 – Education

In the center of the first line, write "学歴" to specify that you will be talking about your education first.

In the education section, list the name of the school and department in which you studied. Enter your education history from your high school graduation, then the date you entered and graduated university (and Masters, PhD. if applicable).

Label each school with "卒業" (sotsugyo), which means graduation as well as "入学" (nyugaku), means enrollment. If you left your school before graduating, you can write "中途退学" (quit school mid-way) instead.

If you want to be more specific, or if it is unclear from the school name, you can add the country name before the school name.

If you are still in school, add the year and month of your expected graduation, and write "卒業見込み" (expected graduation) after the school name.

職歴 – Work History

Below your educational background, write "職歴" in the center of the row to indicate that you will now be sharing your employment history.

Write the names of any company you have been a part of, in order from oldest to newest.

Start with the date you entered your first company and after the company name write "入社" (joined company). In the next line write the date you left the company with "退職" (left company) after the company name.

If you are still employed, in the next line write "現在に至る" (currently still employed).

You can continue over to the next page if you need more room.

When you have completed detailing your employment history, in the next line write "以上" (end) to show the end of the section.

How to Write the Qualifications Section

In this field, you will write any licenses or qualifications you have. This may include language proficiency tests like the JLPT or TOEIC, a driver's license (be careful to specify whether for car or bike), or any other specific qualifications (for example for architecture or accounting).

  1. If you own a driver's license, be sure to write this on the first row, and write your other qualifications afterwards in order from oldest to newest.
  2. Ensure that the date is correct, and use the qualification's official name.
  3. Add a space after the qualification name, and write '取得' (obtained) for any qualifications, licenses or scores, and '合格' (passed) if it is a pass/fail type of test.
  4. After you have written all of your qualifications, write '以上' again to indicate the end of the section.

If you do not have any qualifications, you can write '特になし' (none in particular) on the first line.

Jiko PR: How to Write the Hobbies, Appeal Points, Commute Time, Family Situation

① 志望の動機、特技、好きな学科、アピールポイント - Skills and Appeal Points

This is essentially the Jiko PR (自己 PR, self-promotion) part of the resume. Make sure you fill in the 志望の動機、特技、好きな学科、アピールポイント with something that will catch the eye of the employer.

  • 志望の動機 - Talk about your motivations for applying for the job and the company.f
  • 特技 - What are your strengths and skills? Ideally, mention the ones that suit the job you are applying for.
  • 好きな学科 - Here, talk about your favorite subject of study: again, try to connect this to the job details.
  • アピールポイント - What makes you best suited for the job? What can you offer to the company? Appeal your skills and experiences to the company.

For more details on how to write this section that makes your resume stand out, check out this article.

② 通勤時間 – Commute Time

Enter how long it takes to commute from your home to the workplace. Round the number to the nearest 5th: for a 44 minute commute, round to 45 minutes, for a 28 minute commute, round to 30 minutes. If possible, you should also include the methods of transportation you will be utilizing (bicycle, bus, train, etc;).

③ 扶養家族(配偶者を除く)– Number of Dependents (Excluding Spouse)

Here, write how many family members (excluding your spouse) are supported by your income. This is important information as it is necessary for your company when calculating income tax or social insurance.

For example, If you are a family of 4 with a spouse and 2 children you support you would write 2 here. Even if your spouse is supported by your income, they are not to be counted in this section. If your children already have jobs of their own and are able to support themselves do not include them in this number.

④ 配偶者 – Spouse and 配偶者の扶養義務 – Spouse Obligation

配偶者 – Spouse

If you are married and have a spouse, circle "有" (yes). If not, circle "無" (no).

配偶者の扶養義務 – Spouse Obligation

Circle "有" (yes) if: 1. Your spouse is not working, and you plan on supporting your spouse with your income. 2. Your spouse is working, however they earn less than 1,300,000 yen per year (about 110,000 per month).

Circle "無" (no) if: 1. Your spouse is working 2. They earn more than 1,300,000 yen per year.

How to write the space for personal requests on a Japanese resume

The final space is the "本人希望記入欄", designated for personal requests. If there is something important you would like your employer to know, for example regarding your salary, preferred job type, or workplace, you may write them here. However, most requests are often best discussed in the interview.

If you have no particular requests, it is common to write "貴社規定に従います" which means "I will comply with the company's regulations".

Are You Ready to Write Your Japanese Resume With the Template?

Congratulations! You now know everything there is to know about a Japanese resume. Do you feel prepared to get started on yours? Before submitting your resume, it's always a good idea to have it checked by a Japanese friend, especially if it's your first time writing one.

If you have any questions or issues filling in your Japanese resume, let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page!

If you're actively looking for a job, you can apply to many opportunities on our website, Guidable Jobs.

Good luck, and we hope to see you there soon!

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