Work in Japan Advice Board

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4. Cover letter

A cover letter is required when submitting an English resume. During the first stages of the application process, a cover letter is not likely to be the deciding factor. However, as we approach the final interview, the number of cases where the letter is read by the hiring staff and your potential immediate supervisors is increasing. Cover letters should be written with the basics of English writing in mind and are meant to summarize your career so far and help you show your skills and relevant experience.

(1) Writing Points

point 1 Unify fonts (Times New Roman or Arial)

There are two main types of fonts used in business documents. For Japanese we have Gothic and Mincho and for English there are Serif and Sans Serif fonts. For Sans Serif, Arial would be the go-to font. As for Serif fonts, it is better to avoid Century and go with the classic Times New Roman. *""Serifs"" are the small details on the ends of strokes in some fonts.

point 2 Show your enthusiasm

A CV does not include your motivations for applying for a particular position. Briefly describe your experience and emphasize how this experience makes you a perfect candidate for the position that you are appplying for. In addition, by using the English letter format correclty, you can show off your business English skills and also present your enthusiasm to work for this particular company.

(2) Basic writing

The cover letter generally consists of three parts. First, the reason why you are writing this letter. This is where you describe the circumstances that led to your application. The next part is where you showcase your experience and let the reader know why you are a great fit for the position that you are applying for. Finally, you should write about your goals if you were to joing the company, encourage the reader to want to get to know you more and request the chance for an interview.

① Paragraph 1: Background to the application
  • Describe the position for which you are applying.
  • Show that you know what this position consists of.
  • Explain why you are interested in the position.
② Paragraph 2: Experience Summary, Appeal for the position
  • Describe why you are a great candidate for the position. (Why the company should hire you and what you could bring to the company)
  • Specify the skills that you possess and that the employer seeks. For example, if the one of the requirements is ""CAD skills"", write about how you are skilled an expereinced in this area.
③ Paragraph 3: Request for an Interview
  • Write the time period in which you are available for further discussions.
  • Mention the preferred method of communication (telephone number, e-mail address, etc.).
  • Don't forget to thank the reader for their time and consideration.

(3) Cover Letter Collection

This is a collection of phrases and sentences commonly used in cover letters.
We have summarized sample texts that might help you show your enthusiasm and experience which make you a great candidate for the position that you are applying for. Please feel free to refer to them when writing a cover letter.

Paragraph 1

Dear ○○company,
As a seasoned ○○ engineer, I am very interested in submitting an application for the advertised position.

Paragraph 2

Example 1
The position described is exactly the opportunity I am looking for. I believe my seven years’ experience as a sales manager, coupled with my drive and enthusiasm, would enable me to make a significant contribution to your organization.

Example 2
With a broad range of web development experience with Java and C# working with the latest trends of different fields with my ability to work with fellow engineers, I am confident that my skills will be a huge benefit to your company.

Example 3
I am a highly ambitious bilingual digital marketer with over 5 plus years of experience in Advertisement industry with wide domain of FCMG and cosmetics. With regard to my ability, I believe I may meet the requirements of this job.

Paragraph 3

Example 1
I will be in Tokyo from next month with a working holiday VISA and available on weekdays for the interview. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Example 2
I am interested in working with you and am looking forward to hearing from you soon

(4) In case you need a Japanese cover letter

While writing a Japanese cover letter is not common, the rise of Japanese job boards has made it an increasingly important aspect of job-hunting.
Rather than giving you a general idea of what a typical cover letter should contain, this article will specify some key information that you should include and some typical phrases to use when writing a cover letter in Japanese.
Finally, no matter how fluent in Japanese you consider yourself to be, it’s always a good idea to have your cover letter checked by a native speaker, just to be on the safe side.

The basic structure is usually the same as in an English Cover letter, so please refer to (2) Basic writing.

Paragraph 1

It is then common to give the name of the position you are applying to and express your interest. Phrases along the following lines are pretty common.

Dear Hiring Manager : “採用ご担当様”
Followed by your name: “○○と申します。”

I applied having seen a job advertisement for your company:
I’d really appreciate being given the chance to speak to you further about this.:

Paragraph 2

The next section should focus on the reason for leaving your current job. As with any other cover letter, try to show a positive reason for leaving as opposed to a negative one (e.g. wanting more responsibility as opposed to sour relationships with previous team members). Also, state your reason for wanting to join the company you are applying to. Try to match your skills with the skills required by the company in the job posting, as well as expressing agreement with the direction the company is heading.

I would like to make the most of my experience in….., and take charge of larger-scale projects.:

Having seen the achievements of your company, I thought that I would be able to take up a position in the field of ○○ which utilises my ○○ skills.:

Paragraph 3

Finally, you should sign-off your cover letter politely. Here is a phrase commonly used in Japanese.

Sorry to bother you when you are busy and thank you for your consideration.:

(5) Download a sample