The very first step of applying for a job in Japan is to send your CV or resume, just like in any other country. However, there are two Japanese resumes you need to submit every time you apply. Let's learn what Rirekisho and Shokumu keirekisho are and how to make stunning ones to land you the job.
Rirekisho is a basic CV. It contains general background, such as education, work experience, date of birth, picture, and contact information. It has a specific and standardized format, so the space in this resume is very limited. You can't write in detail about your position or experience.
Rirekisho is commonly used anywhere. High school and university students also apply for part-time jobs in the same format. Therefore you can easily get the printed blank rirekisho in convenience stores for around 100 yen.
How to Write Rirekisho
There are 4 sections in the standard two-pages-long Rirekisho:
1. Basic information
Fill this section with your name, date of birth, age, nationality, gender, address, e-mail, and phone number. Attach your ID photo (3x4) to the top right. Make sure it's a formal image like what you use in your ID and passport. This information and photos may seem too personal for some people, but all of them are necessary for a Japanese resume.
2. Education and work experience
List your education and work experience in chronological order, with the most recent mentioned last. You can put all of them on the same table, but leave some space to separate academic and working backgrounds. Write 学歴 in the first line before the educational history and 職歴 before listing your employment history.
For education background, write your two highest educational institutions. For example, a bachelor’s degree holder must write their high school and university enrollment year and month. Don’t forget to put the employment starting date for each company and add information such as 現在に至る (still currently employed there) and 以上 (finished). Simply input the institutions’ names without describing your duty.
3. Licenses, certificates, and qualifications「免許・資格欄」
Licenses and certificates are essential skill indicators in many industries. Make sure to include every qualification related to the company you want. If you have a JLPT certificate, you can write it in the table. If you do not have any licenses or qualifications, write 特になし (none in particular) on the first line.
4. Reasons for applying dan more personal information
This section allows employers to see if you’re a suitable candidate for them. You can appeal to the company by writing why you want to work there. Feel free to be creative and mention your skills, interests, and plans if accepted into the company. Avoid writing very basic answers. This section also contains more personal information, such as residence status, health condition, hobby, commute time, the number of dependents, marital status, and legal guardian status, if applicable.
The last part of Rirekisho is the personal request column. Fill this space with if you have specific needs, such as working hours and work location. You can also write your expected salary here.
Shokumu keirekisho (職務経歴書)
Since you can’t write more about your work experience and skill in Rirekisho, you have to send a separate document to recruiters in case of a mid-career switch. This document is called Shokumu Keirekisho, where you can put your career history in detail. The format of Shokumu Keirekisho is similar to the work experience section in an English resume.
How to Write Shokumu Keirekisho
Shokumu Keirekisho is usually 1 to 3 pages long. There is no strict format, so you can start writing on blank paper or download the template.
1. To begin, put 職務経歴書 as the title at the top in a bigger size font.
2. Write the date of submission and your name under the title in the right-aligned format.
3. Give a summary or overview of your working experience and your strong point in 200-300 characters.
4. Brief information about your position, company, and working date.
5. Describe your language skills.
6. Qualifications, special skills, etc.
Similar to Rirekisho, you can list your qualifications and relevant skills in this section. However, you can also add supplementary information, like describing the level of each skill listed, tools and software you used, and such. For example, 3 years of managing sales or advanced Figma user.
7. Persuasive section
The last section is for appeal. You can point out your strengths, your motivation to work in the company, and what you can bring to the table. If you are inexperienced, you may want to let the recruiter know your passion and attitude.
8. Here is the most important part of your resume. List your detailed working history in reverse chronological order. Here are what you can include in the description of each company:
Duration of employment
Department (your position)
Number of employees
Business content and clients
Tasks (your roles and scope of work)
Results (achievements, evaluations, awards)
These details are necessary to make recruiters grasp what kind of work you do and how difficult it is. Use proper nouns and numbers to make recruiters easily understand. You can also match the words you use to the job posting's requirements to make you seem the best fit.
Sending great Rirekisho and Shokumu Keirekisho is crucial to create a strong impression. Please don't be shy to ask Japanese friends to read your resumes and correct them. Remember to bring out printed Rirekisho and Shokumu Keirekisho during a job interview to be safe. Happy job hunting!