How to Find Work in Japan in a Highly Skilled Position | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
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How to Find Work in Japan in a Highly Skilled Position

By Brie Schmidt Apr 30, 2021

How can you work in Japan using your unique skills and passions? This week, we answer this question! For more questions on moving to Japan, surviving daily life in Japan, and more, Guidable is here to help. Submit your own questions at the bottom of this post!

Question: How Can I Find Work in Japan in a Highly Skilled Position?

How can I work in Japan? In my home country, I have a degree and am working in a job that requires someone with a specific set of skills and a license. Currently, I’m studying Japanese. Can I get a similar position in Japan?


While each industry and job in Japan will have its own unique requirements, typically, foreigners in or coming to Japan must at least adhere to the same minimum requirements as Japanese citizens.

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For example, if your current job requires people in Japan to take a test and receive certification, you will typically have to follow the same procedures. And more specifically, you can expect to have to do this in Japan, even if you’ve completed these procedures before in your home country.

That’s because the standards and requirements for each country may be different, and typically Japan won’t recognize the documents or certification you received in your home country. While a college degree will likely be accepted, be prepared to have to prove your qualifications outside of this in order to secure similar work in Japan.

For some foreigners coming to Japan, they may assume that their skills, along with a set of language and cultural experiences different from the average Japanese job applicant, will be sufficient to work in Japan. But generally, the expectations and requirements placed on you won’t be lighter or easier simply because you’re from another country.

As a foreign national, then, how can you get started in order to work in Japan? Here are 4 steps to take:

1. Continue Studying Japanese

From licensing exams to documentation to day-to-day work, you can expect to use a lot of Japanese in your job in Japan. This is especially true in a position that requires someone with a deep understanding and thorough knowledge of a particular field. If you work in Japan, you will likely need to know those concepts and how to explain them using Japanese. And to do this, you may want to aim for reaching the JLPT N1 level of Japanese in order to feel confident working in Japan.

2. Consider Attending a School in Japan

You likely already received the education required for your field in your home country. In Japan, however, you may find that this isn’t sufficient to be prepared for work in Japan.

Let’s say you want to be a medical doctor in Japan and you already received a medical license in your home country. In Japan, you could be eligible to sign up for an examination in order to receive a license in Japan too. This means you don’t have to repeat your education again in Japan from the beginning. However, you might find, especially depending on your particular field and background, that studying again in Japan will better prepare you for work in Japan. This will also give you an opportunity to learn the necessary vocabulary for your position in Japanese.

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3. Get Familiar With Visa Requirements

This is an important step, and it varies greatly depending on each person and their situation. You can learn more about different types of visas here and their requirements and conditions here.

4. Be Flexible

Especially at the beginning of your journey finding work in Japan, remember to be flexible. You may love the highly skilled job you’re currently doing in your home country and want to find the same kind of job in Japan. However, you might find that there’s another related job that would be a better fit for you in Japan. Or you may simply find that there isn’t much demand for your old job in a new country.

Also, consider what steps are required to get to your goal: perhaps your goal is still to work the same or a very similar job to your current one once in Japan. What steps must you take to get there? During those initial steps, such as passing an examination or continuing your Japanese language studies, you may want to consider, at first, finding work in Japan in an entirely different field (assuming your visa allows it). For example, you may choose to work in a part-time job while studying, or you may try to work in a different field at first while you get accustomed to your new life in Japan.

No matter what path you take in seeking highly skilled work in Japan, remember that your new life in Japan will likely be very different from your life in your home country. Stay open to new experiences and work opportunities you may have never even considered or dreamt of in your home country!


Looking to find the perfect job in Japan? Look no further than Guidable Jobs!

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