A giant leap for one man - part 6

Writing a resume is a painful, difficult and necessary process for any job application, be it at home or in Japan. However, the Japanese have found a way to make it even more cumbersome.

The Japanese resume, called a "rirekisho", is usually a two page form, purchased at your local corner shop. You fill these in by hand, as apparently handwriting offers a window to the soul and personality of the appliciant. The information on these resumes is fairly basic, covering your personal information, educational background and work experience. Education is still held in high regard in Japan, so any formal degree you have will help impress your future employer.
A photo is attached to the first page, but these too have their own little rules. Preferably you'll be wearing a suit and tie (or similar formal clothes for women), you stare straight ahead into the lens and you do not smile. A mug shot is what it is, really.

Apart from the photo this information will be asked for frequently, on forms and those pre-application application forms on recruit websites mentioned in the previous "Giant leap" post. It would be a time saving device to write this all down in Japanese in a separate document so you can cut/paste it whenever needed.

The good news is that, as I've mentioned before, that Japanese development companies are usually a little more modern minded than your usual institutes and corporations. Especially as a foreigner you can get away with sending out US or European style resumes, typed or digital.
There are some preformatted Word documents out there that follow the Japanese resume design. You could, as I do, have separate English and Japanese resume documents you send out together for each application.

When it comes to content of resumes and cover letters follow the same rules as back home: keep it simple, short and to the point. Artists: do not "design" your resume. At this point your employer just wants to learn about your background and not be wowed by your DTP skills!

There is a reason to send in a "rirekisho" though. You should imagine your potential employer is still a little nervous about hiring a foreigner; you are an unknown and, well, we all know how all foreigners are bash troublemakers and such. Sending in a traditional "rirekisho", even though you may need the help of a wife or girlfriend to write one, at least shows the employer you are trying to understand and fit in with Japanese standards; you are not expecting special treatment.
Though I often think there is a lot wrong with Japanese game development and working practices you are not going to help fix things by being aggressively Western. You will need to compromise some and play their game to an extent. You will be in a much better position to change things for the better if your employer likes and trusts you, and one way of doing that is to respect and follow the Japanese rules as much as you can.
Writing "rirekisho" by hand for every application may be too much of a chore, but at the very least you could write a digital version of it to attach to emails. Every little helps.

Some digital "rirekisho" formats can be found here.

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