Getting invited to the first interview in Japan can be challenging. Especially if you don’t speak Japanese or you are currently living outside of Japan. Simply applying to an online job posting is not enough to impress recruiters. As most companies in Japan prefer Japanese-speaking candidates and view non-Japanese speakers as a second-choice, you need go above and beyond!

Here are three ways you can make sure you get invited to your next interview in Japan:

1. Optimize and leverage your LinkedIn 

Update your LinkedIn

Nowadays most recruiters check both your resume and LinkedIn profile. If your LinkedIn profile is not up to date or poorly written, it will lower your chances of getting invited to the first interview in Japan. LinkedIn is important in the process of your first interview in Japan because it shows your business-savvy attitude. From my experience, however, LinkedIn is also crucial because of the Applicant Tracking Systems.

Most companies nowadays employ Applicant Tracking System (such as Workable, Lever, icims). These Applicant Tracking Systems automatically pull your LinkedIn profile and update your profile with the relevant LinkedIn fields. Since recruiters and HR are going through 100+ CVs everyday, they prefer to look at a standardise layout. In this way, they know exactly where to look for your skills, education, work experience, and more.

If your LinkedIn profile is not optimized and missing information, update it and improve your chances to the first interview in Japan.

2. Write a CV that Applicant Tracking Systems LOVE 

Going on that line, simply optimizing your LinkedIn is not enough!  Your profile needs to be “loved” by the Applicant Tracking System. Since it is impractical and nearly impossible for the recruiter and HR to review the huge volumes of resumes manually, there is often an automation implemented to ease the workload.

How does the Applicant Tracking System work?

Automations often take form of semantic matching, in which the Applicant Tracking System studies your CV and identifies certain keywords. Then it matches the keywords in your CV with the keywords of the job description and display the match rate. Recruiters will prioritize CVs with higher match rate and if your match rate is too low, you will not even be reviewed.

So, how do you write a CV that Applicant Tracking Systems love?

Your CV needs to be short, concise and employ a simple layout. Each companies uses a different Applicant Tracking System. Each Applicant Tracking System also has a different semantic matching techniques. To find out what Applicant Tracking System the company is using you can generally refer to the URL structure to find out. If the URL doesn’t show the Applicant Tracking System, you can find that information by opening up the Developer Console. Once you find out which Applicant Tracking System the company is using, research what types of CV Applicant Tracking Systems love.

3. Create an online website and portfolio

 A CV and LinkedIn profile are necessary, but you need something extra to make you stand out. That’s why you need an online Website or portfolio! Online website and portfolio does a great job at demonstrating your tech savviness and style. Moreover, it will catch the recruiter’s attention.

On the online website I recommend putting a visual storyline of your background and resume, as well as a 2-3 minute video introducing yourself. Although the content is important, emphasize on the aspect and mobile responsiveness of the website! Having a nice website will distract the recruiters and HRs to spend few minutes going over your profile. That is definitely the type of attention you need to get invited to the first interview in Japan.

If you aren’t knowledgable in coding, I recommend, which is is a drag and drop website builder.

4. Reach out through LinkedIn 

reach out

Instead of hoping that your CV has all the information to impress the recruiter, I recommend you to reach out to the company directly. To do this most effectively, I recommend you get a free trial for Recruiters Lite version at LinkedIn for 1 month, which gives you access to advanced filters that help you find who is looking at your profile.

Send an InMail (you get 30 with Recruiters Lite free trial), introduce yourself and ask if there are any concerns with your profile! By asking you will overcome any objections or concerns the recruiters and HR may have with you profile. This way, you can really sell yourself and at the worst, you get valuable feedback that helps you improve for the next company you will apply to.

5. Be creative and market yourself

Market yourself

Finally, be creative and market yourself! I already went over a few ways for you to differentiate yourself.

Approach job hunting as a marketing campaign: you are the product and you are trying to get people to buy your service by hiring you.

With the website that you created, market yourself. I recommend you start by searching for marketing campaigns credits on different platforms:

  • LinkedIn offers $100 free marketing credit for first-time campaigners
  • Google offers $70 free marketing credit for the first $30 spent
  • Twitter offers $20 free marketing credit for first time advertisers
  • Facebook offers $50 free marketing credit for first time advertisers
  • Bing offers $30 free marketing credit for advertisers

My advise is to create contents that introduces yourself with and advertise yourself with a Call to Action button that leads to your personal website. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, create a video of yourself and run a marketing campaign with Youtube. This way, you are showing your skills as a marketer, sales person, entrepreneur and a lot more! I guarantee you, this will get you invited to dozens of first interviews and can get your profile into the hands of the real decision makers, such as Managing Directors, CEOs, Presidents of companies.

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