Japan is a very image conscious country and how you present yourself can make the difference in getting the job interview or not.
Putting a photo on your resume may seem strange and is often overlooked by job seekers but many Japanese companies place a lot of emphasis on the photo and by adding your photo it shows your understanding of the Japanese job culture. However not just any photo will do and having a bad photo can actually work against you when applying for a job.
The general rule of thumb when taking a photo for your resume is think of a passport photo. The more professional and presentable you look in the photo, the greater your chances are of being called in for an interview.
Guide to Japanese Resume photo:
- plain solid color background
- clear photo of head and the top of your shoulders
- no visible tattoos
- earrings and other jewellery should be kept to a minimum
- professional appearance – business suits are preferred
- solid eye contact and look directly into the camera
When taking your photo no matter what position you are applying for, even if it seems like a friendly, relaxed school, it is absolutely vital that you dress in professional clothing; a suit and tie for the men and a plain business outfit for women. For the men, be sure to tie your tie properly and button up your shirt to the very top and for women, conservatism is key, so cover up as much as possible.
You resume should speak for itself and your clothing will show that you can be serious when needs be. An engaging, happy face is far more likely to catch the eye of your future boss than a stern glare so don’t go over the top and grin madly, just a subtle tilt at the corners of your mouth should do it.
Once you have your clothing sorted there are some other mistakes that many people make. Perhaps most obviously is that men should be clean-shaven for the photo. You may be attached to your ‘stache but for your resume’s sake, chop it off. Women, use make-up in moderation, if the untrained eye can’t tell if the photo is all natural or not, you have struck a perfect balance.
Your hair is also a strangely important aspect; women, tie your hair back so that the employer can see your whole face. Men, the “just out of bed” look may be your style of choice, but smarten up for this picture. It may sound like common knowledge, but you would be surprised how many people wear hats for these photos; a hat is a big “Don’t Hire Me” sign, so put it away.
The resume photo is one that many foreigners stress over but if you follow these guidelines your photo will help you in presenting the best image of yourself to potential employers.
Click to add your photo to your resume in the GaijinPot Job System