There are four main aspects you need to be aware of when filling out your resume and they are Objective, Experience, Qualifications and Skills. Follow this guide to craft a resume that stands out and lands you the job!
For your objective, be clear and focused. A vague objective that can apply to a variety of jobs may seem like an ideal way to cater to different employers, but it won’t impress anyone. If you tell them of your aspirations to become an athlete, author or astronaut, they may question how seriously you will take your position at their school. To spark their interest, be sure to tell them what you want to achieve at work, be it gaining experience teaching, meeting a variety of people, promoting the culture of your home country or having a job that you enjoy, whatever you put down, be sure that it is an objective that is achievable at that specific position.
When writing up your work experience, it is important to keep it relevant and focused; if for example you worked for a music label back home, putting them down as experience may have the employer dubious about your desire to become a teacher. If you have worked in Japan before, be sure to list what schools you have worked in, what level/age-range that particular school was, your position, length of employment and daily duties. These explanations should be brief and to the point, no longer than three sentences in total. If you are able to obtain a reference from each of your positions that would show that you left the school on good terms and should therefore be a trustworthy employee. If at all possible, these references should be native Japanese residents, but a foreign reference is far better than nothing.
Once you have listed your experience, be sure to dutifully write out your qualifications. Many positions require a Bachelor’s Degree from each of their applicants, so be sure to write out the full name of the institute you attended, what years you studied there and what your major was. For your highest qualification, be it a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD, write a little something about what you studied and how it may be connected to your teaching at their school. Most Japanese schools will be familiar with the American style of grading degrees, so if you attended a British school, you may be required to explain that a “2-1” is a rather good grade.
Besides your time at university, listing any other qualifications is always a great idea. Those that will help you get a teaching job in Japan fall into two main categories; those listing your teaching ability and those stating your proficiency with the Japanese language. The first can come in a variety of forms, some unique to your home country, be sure to mention them even if they may not be officially recognized in Japan; very few teaching positions actually require a teaching certificate, but having proof that you have studied the trade will be a great benefit to you.
As for speaking Japanese, most schools prefer that you don’t speak a word of Japanese in the classroom but having a JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) qualification is important for a number of reasons. Firstly and perhaps most obviously beneficial is that larger employers like Interac and Altia Central actually have schemes in place that financially reward teachers with a JLPT qualification, the higher your proficiency, the better the reward. Secondly, by studying and mastering Japanese, you are showing the employers that you are keen to stay in Japan for an extended period of time and won’t be returning home half way through term.
On your resume, you will have the chance to list your skills. Try and avoid simply bullet-pointing these and instead explain why they would be beneficial to you at work. For example, it may seem strange listing your passion for a particular sport, but this could help with ALT positions, as it shows that you would be willing and able to join in with the sports clubs at school, a massively important aspect of Junior and High school life. If you are musical, this could aid your chances of landing a job teaching children and if you are comfortable with a variety of computer programs, this could help you with a business English application. As always, only list the skills that are relevant to the position and keep it concise and interesting.
The key to a good resume is to keep it relevant and concise. Recruiters only have so much time and you want to make sure that the information in your resume is directly relevant to the job that you are applying for. Doing so will make sure that your resume is the one that gets considered for a follow up interview.
Get started on your resume today by logging into the GaijinPot Job System.