How to Write an Effective Cover Letter
While writing a Japanese cover letter is traditionally not common, the rise of Japanese job boards has made it an increasingly important aspect of job-hunting.
Rather than give you an idea of what a typical cover letter should contain, this article will specify some key information that you should include in your letter and some typical phrases to use when writing a cover letter in Japanese.
A typical Japanese cover letter will include the following.
Name of Position and Expressing Interest
Reason for Leaving your current Job
Reason for Wanting to Join
Request for Response
An Introduction will be commonly made in Japanese using the phrase:
“採用ご担当様” saiyou go tantou sama
(Dear Hiring Manager)
Followed by your name:
My name is….
It is then common to give the name of the position you are applying to and express your interest. Phrases along the following lines are pretty common:
(lit. I applied having seen a job advertisement for your company)
(lit. I’d really appreciate being given the chance to speak to you further about this.)
The next section should focus on the reason for leaving your current job. As with any Western cover letter, try to show a positive reason as leaving as opposed to a negative (e.g. wanting more responsibility as opposed to sour relationships with previous team members).
Here is an example phrase you may wish to use:
(lit. I would like to make the most of my experience in….., and take charge of larger-scale projects.)
Next, state your reason for wanting to join the company you are applying to. Try to match your skills with the skills required by the company in the job posting, as well as expressing agreement with the direction the company is heading.
(lit. Having seen the achievements of your company, I thought that I would be able to take up a position in the field of ○○ which utilises my ○○ skills.)
Finally, you should sign-off your cover letter politely. Here is a phrase commonly used in Japanese:
(Sorry to bother you when you are busy and thank you for your consideration.)
Finally, no matter how fluent in Japanese you consider yourself to be, it’s always a good idea to have your cover letter checked by a native speaker, just to be on the safe side.
Good luck with your job search.
Japanese Cover Letter Writing Guide
Work in abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, work in Japan needs more than just the obvious Japanese cover letter and Japanese resume writing and translation - it requires thorough preparation. You will be forced to solve issues that probably did not even cross your mind when you decided to go for Japanese jobs.
Do not take to lightly the huge impact the Japanese cover letter can have on the outcome of your adventure! For instance, you will experience the unusual immigration rules and practices, strange job application procedures, interesting selection trends and exotic to you management culture.
Your Japanese cover letter is the very first thing an employer will see. A personalized, targeted, well-written cover letter is your chance to set yourself apart, pique the employer's interest, and draw them in for a closer look at your resume.
Depending on the company and your fluency, you may use either Japanese or English language, when applying for a position in Japan. Stick to one language once chosen. However, you need to accept that not knowing the Japanese will put you at real disadvantage from the local job seekers.
When applying for a job in Japan, you may submit a “Rirekisho” in Japanese with no cover letter, or a two-page American style resume with job cover letter in English.
If you are submitting an English cover letter, it is helpful to duplicate in Japanese your name and contact address, unless you are certain that the recipient of your job application is an English speaker.
A Japanese cover letter is an integral part of your job application process. It should refer to your present and future plans, showing your prospective employers what you want to do now and what you will do for them in the future.
Always address your job cover letter to an individual. Take the time to research every employer's organization and personalize each cover letter for a specific company with a real person’s name and title. Such personalization would increase retention of your application.
Explain in “precise” terms how your background, education and skills relate to the position offered in this particular company. By quoting examples, emphasize how you can add value or contribute to the growth and profit of prospective company.
A typewritten job cover letter always accompanies the Japanese resume or Rirekisho. Begin your letter with your name, nationality and contact information including your address, phone/fax and e-mail. Often cover letters and CVs are kept on file for long periods, so any contact details you give have to remain accurate in the long term. A daytime phone number with international access code and e-mail address are most important.
The Japanese cover letter should be composed in a short and professional style using power words and action verbs. Usually it contains three or four paragraphs and never is longer than one page. Be concise and get to the point as quickly as possible. Break any paragraph, which is longer than seven lines, into short easily understandable one.
- The desired position you applying for
- Where/how you learned about the position/company
- Your interest in the position/company
- Describe related experiences and skill sets
- Explain how and why you are qualified for the position
- Identify something significant about the prospective company
- Draw comparison between the company and your career objectives
- Repeat your interest in the position and company
- Include follow up (I will call…; expect call)
- Thank for their time and consideration
Check the spelling and grammar of your Japanese cover letter. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and Japanese, English or other language usage errors or if you need help in organizing your cover letter, send it to a professional for assistance.
If you have a difficulty with your Japanese cover letter writing, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use:
Other Japanese Cover Letter Info
We hope that your Japanese job search has been successful. So, if your Japanese cover letter and Japanese resume - Rirekisho are ready, you may email them to your future employers, apply for Japanese visa with Japanese work permit and start preparing for an Japanese job interview.
In addition, on the international info, job search, cover letter, visa & work permit, job interview and dress code pages you will find many useful tips for overseas job seekers.
Good luck with your Japan cover letter!