What full-time jobs are there in Japan for foreigners?
- English teacher
- Car export staff
- Study abroad staff
- Apartment and housing staff
- Hotel staff
- Hospital aid staff
- Relocation staff
- Tour guides
Before you jump hardcore into your research for finding a job in Tokyo, make sure to know what options you have for the Japanese work visa.
Full-time jobs in the language industry
Translator - English to your native language
One new type of job is for translators but the unique thing about this type of translation is that it does not involve any Japanese. Since most things have already been translated from Japanese to English in the housing and travel industry all they need is for people to translate those articles and content from English to your native language. This is a recent phenomenon and I have seen this type of job appear in Tokyo.
This type of position normally applies to people from European countries because there are many travelers from those countries and not many people who speak Japanese and that language. Asian languages tend to have an abundance of translators, so most things have already been translated into those languages.
The best place to look for job postings for travel companies are craigslist and gaijinpot. Here is another company that actively hires foreigners.
English Teaching in Tokyo for non-native speakers
Even if you are not a native English speaker, there are many full-time teaching opportunities for you in Tokyo. Many preschools, public and private schools, and after-school English programs are looking for English teachers and there are not enough native speakers to meet the demand. Most schools have also had great experiences with non-native teachers and so there are way more opportunities for decent paying English teaching positions.
It is hard to find positions for University and high school as a non-native but is still possible and you would have to check a website like Jobs in Japan or rely on your network to find those higher paying opportunities.
ALT Positions : Interac and Borderlink
English Teaching in Tokyo for native speakers
You will have no problems finding a full-time position unless you are a strange goose. Having worked as a recruiter and knowing many other recruiters, you really have to go out of your way to make the recruiter uncomfortable to not receive a position as a native English speaker for non-competitive full-time teaching positions. The best place to look for full-time teaching positions in Tokyo are Jobs in Japan and GaijinPot
Here are some other alternatives for full-time positions more focused on native speakers
Shane Language School
Full-time jobs in the tech industry in Tokyo
Marketing Positions in Tokyo
There were almost no marketing positions available for foreigners in 2010, but lucky for you marketing is a high demand position. In the past, Japanese companies hired Japanese to do marketing to the local market but that did not always work as well as expected. Learning from this experience, more Japanese companies are putting more effort into hiring people from their target country or region to do marketing.
From a business point of view, bringing in foreigners to do marketing at their headquarters in Tokyo has not worked as well as most companies planned, but for you, there are still many job opportunities out there in marketing. The problem with many of these small and even medium-sized Japanese and foreign-owned companies is that the management do not understand marketing and therefore no one can train the new employees on how to do marketing. They also tend not to hire experience marketers because they are not willing to spend the higher salaries needed to attract good marketers.
What often happens is they will hire foreigners who match their company culture or who they like and assign them to do marketing without any clear vision other than bringing in customers. If you ever interview for a marketing position, especially you new grads out there, always ask what is your budget for marketing. Avoid any companies who say they want you to do marketing purely through free channels and without a budget because it takes money to bring in money and doing organic marketing is very tough for a newbie.
Entry Level Marketing Positions in Tokyo
Mid to High-Level Marketing Positions
Programming Jobs in Tokyo
There are many programming positions available in Tokyo for folders do not speak Japanese. There is a huge lack of programmers in Japan right now and companies both Japanese at foreign cannot find the number of programmers they need to expand their company.
The amount of programming academies and schools designed to teach beginner level foreigners how to program has increased. The goal is to bring you up to a level where you can operate your own and find employment as an entry level programmer. These schools charge a hefty amount but provide intensive courses that you would have to quit your current job to attend. However, you are able to find alternatives that are less intensive and will take much longer but you could do it while keeping your day job.
Most schools have a connection with companies who hire entry level programmers, so make sure to consider both their ability to teach you and find you a job in Tokyo for programming. Most likely they will introduce you to companies that have received a nice investment from investors to expand their company.
Here is a list of programming schools in Tokyo
Here are some places to find coding positions
Great article on getting your first programming job in Japan
Full-time jobs in the sales industry in Japan
Export Business Jobs in Tokyo
There are many companies involved in exporting something from Japan to a country near you. The most common type of export business that hires non-Japanese speaking foreigners is the used car export industry where companies in Japan export used cars, trucks, and other vehicles to foreign countries. They are looking for staff to serve as customer support using your native language or English or salespeople to find clients in your home country who are interested in importing used Japanese cars.
These jobs are often tough because you have to learn about export law and immigration. You also have to work when your client is working, so you may be working some strange hours during the night. People who do customer support positions do not make much, but you can find places who are accommodating schedule-wise.
You can check Jobs in Japan and Craigslist for export job positions in Tokyo.
Full-time jobs in the support industry in Japan
Apartment and Housing Companies in Tokyo
Companies like Sakura House and Oak house hire foreigners for full-time positions and they even provide full-time employment to people on a working holiday visa. When I went there to see what they offered for housing I was impressed to see so many people from countries all over the world. Those employees were hired to handle general emails in English and handle customers in their native language. They did not need to speak any Japanese at all because they had a team of Japanese staff who could speak English. Since they are all receiving an influx of foreign residents, they are almost always looking for staff.
I have not done extensive research, but some of these housing companies tend to offer discounts on your housing for employees.
This type of position also applies for the study abroad industry in Tokyo where companies are looking to bring in foreigners to study Japanese in Tokyo at a Japanese language school full-time. As long as there are people from your country coming to Japan to study Japanese, there are companies that are looking to find these students and introduce them to Japanese schools. If you find the right company, they may even send you to your home country to attend a school fair to attract students.
There are also jobs out there for real estate sales positions in Tokyo where Japanese is actually not required. You will only be targeting foreign individuals, companies, and investors who want to purchase property in Japan. Some of these people will be purchasing for personal reasons while others are doing it mainly for investment purposes.
Relocation consultant jobs in Tokyo
Do you know what a relocation consultant is? A relocation consultant is someone who manages a large chunk of the moving process to an executive or high level person of a large company. The companies normally pay the relocation costs and these companies support with everything from getting a phone, gym membership, moving companies, utilities, the paperwork for visas and registration and anything else that is involved with moving.
The time of these high-level people is extremely valuable and so they want their mind focused on the company both before and from the moment they arrive in Japan. They want to make the process of moving to Japan as simple as getting on a plane and having someone pick you up at the airport and taking you to a fully set up apartment.
Moving companies help you move and are normally a one person operation and do not hire foreigners full-time. Relocation companies organize all aspects of the move and therefore need to hire full-time staff to manage the process. I have searched online for these positions and they pop up from time to time but are not consistently posted.
Full-time jobs in the health care industry in Japan
Hospital Aide or Caregiver Positions in Tokyo
I am very neutral and accepting that Japan has its way and is often not foreign friendly. However, despite that, I am unable to recommend the hospital aid position unless you really need the money or visa.
A hospital aid is someone who does work that does require the formal education of a nurse to accomplish. This will involve more of the care aspects of health care like carrying and washing the patients. You will be working in an all Japanese environment and your Japanese will not be good enough where you will be able to operate on autopilot and you will slow down your Japanese coworkers and they will get frustrated.
I am not saying that yelling at a person is fine, but when you conflate a stressful situation which is the unfortunate environment of healthcare in many first world countries with communication issues, you will have a lot of conflict and anger issues between staff. The Japanese staff are under pressure and they take out that frustration on the hospital aids.
Recruitment industry in Japan
Getting a recruiter or a headhunter position in Tokyo as a new graduate is quite difficult unless you speak both Japanese and English fluently. Many recruitment companies in Tokyo are resistant to hiring some young guns because the pressures of meeting sales quotas are too overwhelming for young adults.
Young guns in the recruitment industry are normally in their late 20s and have multiple years of professional experience, preferably in the area they will specialize in. When you join a recruitment company, you will be assigned to the biotech, finance, or some other field and you will specialize in head hunting executives and employees in that field for your clients. People in their late 20s and early 30s usually have a clear idea of what they want to do for their career or they have dependents they have to take care of.
Recruitment companies feel less anxious hiring someone who has a strong and clear vision of their future because that vision will help them survive and continue in the competitive recruitment environment in Tokyo. If you have never done a sales position, it can be a nightmare or a blessing, it is one of the hardest positions to do because you’re constantly being rejected by people whom most do not want to speak with you because you are wasting their time in most cases. From time to time, you find the right person at the right moment and help them find the position that provides the challenge or responsibility they are not getting in their current company.
The recruitment industry anywhere has a very high turnover rate because you have sales goals and your performance is black and white. Recruitment companies have to pay your salary and if you are not bringing in clients and money, you are not paying for your own salary. In the beginning, they will pay for your salary and train you as an investment for the future, but they have to use the sales income brought in by other recruiters support your development until you can pay for yourself. Obviously, they cannot wait forever and you will receive pressure to perform.
If you are good at networking and making connections, you can make some very good money in the executive recruitment industry. However, most people cannot endure the stress and the pressure of meeting your sales targets and the need to do it again and again month over month is extremely tough for people just entering the field.
Companies that prefer several years of professional experience
Companies that hire fresh grads and sometimes non-native speakers.
There are over 100 executive search companies in Tokyo, so there are tons of options.
Tourist industry in Japan
Hotel Staff Jobs in Tokyo
There are a good number of hospitality jobs in Tokyo and around Japan. Some higher end hotels in Tokyo hire foreign staff to assist with their international guests. Some hotels ask for Japanese abilities, but in general, they seem to be fine as long as you have conversational Japanese skills and business level or above English language skills. Hotels positions outside of Tokyo are usually seasonal with winter positions in Niseiko and summer positions in Okinawa.
The challenge with these positions though is that hotels use different names to describe the position, so you will have to search for them all. Here are some of the names we saw: Front Staff / Hotel Staff / International Reservations Consultant
Full-time hotel positions
Mainly part-time positions
Tour Guides and Travel Planner Jobs in Tokyo
Similar to hospitality jobs in the hotel industry, there are also a decent number of tour-based full-time jobs in Tokyo and Kyoto. Many require that you have conversational Japanese, but nothing more than that. Positions in the tourism industry can range from travel guides to travel coordinators. Travel coordinators manage the whole process of a trip from pre-arrival to return flight making sure that everything goes right for the customers who are paying to having everything managed and taken care of for them.
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