It can be a maze navigating a job search in one’s own home country, which can make the task even more intimidating when halfway across the world in a completely different one. Go! Go! Nihon helps students to get a student visa for Japan as well as match them with great schools. A student visa legally allows for part-time work, which not only helps the wallet, but also makes for a great opportunity to practice everything in those Japanese 101 textbooks. But how do you start looking for part-time jobs in Japan?
How long can I work each week?
It all depends on the type of visa you are holding.
Student visa holders are allowed to work up to 28 hours a week. When school is on break or holiday, that requirement gets more permissive, allowing you to work up to 8 hours per day, up to 40 hours per week. When classes restart, it’s back to 28 hours a week. That being said, in our experience if students work the full 28 hours, their Japanese studies tend to suffer due to less time and energy to study and do homework.
Working holiday visa holders have no restriction to the number of hours they can work in a week. Some companies know this, and may ask those visa holders to work much more as a result, so it’s up to each person to know where to draw the line.
Tourist visa holders are not allowed to earn income in Japan, period.
Common part-time jobs for foreigners
Teaching English is the most common part-time job for an English native speaker. Besides, as a student of Japanese, what better way to give back than to teach your own native language? Of course if you are a Spanish, Italian, French, German, Swedish etc. native speaker, you can work as a teacher of your own language. On average, the pay is ¥2,000 to ¥5,000 per hour.
Working in a restaurant
Waiting tables can be very good for a student’s class schedule. Students can study and go to class during the day, then work at their local restaurant (居酒屋, izakaya) in their free time. Average pay is ¥950 to ¥1,000 per hour, and in addition to practicing Japanese with customers and colleagues, students also have the chance to learn about Japanese working culture! This has been mentioned as being one of the best and most interesting experiences. Izakayas are a very unique and fun part of Japanese culture. After work ends, much of the Japanese workforce floods out into izakayas and the rowdiness begins. Being a waiter at an izakaya means catching a glimpse of it all and being a part of the Japan that fires up at night.
Whatever their preference, be it food, fashion, or anything else, students get the chance to practice their Japanese every day as shop assistants. Some examples include: convenience stores, clothing companies, and grocery markets. On average the pay is ¥1,000 to ¥1,800 per hour, and with a wide variety of companies, students can pick the industry they wish to work. Remember though, there are prohibited types of work, such as the adult entertainment service sector (snack, hostess bar, cabaret, etc.) or gambling establishments; so if in doubt as to whether the job is okay, check with your school.
A whole other category of part-time work in Japan is light work. This type of work is typically more physically demanding, and usually consists of short contracts of a few days. Some examples of light work include cleaning, moving inventory in a warehouse, or wrapping products. These types of jobs usually require an open schedule because they come and go quite fast. The good side is that oftentimes they do not require much Japanese to pick up.
How to apply for a part-time job in Japan
Once a job opening is found, submit the application. If the application asks you to visit the store, it is best to call ahead of time and arrange a meeting with the manager. You should also submit your resume in person if the shop has posted a Staff Wanted sign. Look for the Boshūchū (募集中) sign, which means the place is currently taking applications. Make sure to be dressed to impress, and brush up on your formal Japanese skills. Don’t forget that most Japanese language schools provide support in one way or other: oftentimes, they will be more than willing to help you write a Japanese resume, and even help you practice for the interview!
When searching online for a part time job, employers may ask you to contact them via e-mail. Write a neat and professional e-mail, making sure to attach your resume and cover letter along with any further information the company may request.
Keep in mind that jobs that involve working with the public will more than likely require at least some level of Japanese skills. It is for this reason that some language schools recommend students to wait a few months before starting to look for part-time work, especially if they are complete beginners. Those who wish to find a part-time job right away will be limited to positions that make use of their native language.
Don’t know where to start?
If you are looking for some extra help in finding part-time jobs you can do, or don’t know where to start, Go! Go! Nihon can definitely help you out. We have partnered with a recruiting company called Inbound Technology, and together with them, have created a Facebook page called “Jobs in Japan with Go Go Nihon“. There, you can see new job adverts for part-time and full-time jobs posted each and every day. Due to the ads being posted via a recruiting agency, oftentimes the information is kept short.
If you’re interested in any job posting, don’t be afraid to send a message to our Jobs in Japan page! Someone will usually get back to you within the day. You can do that even if you are not interested in any specific job: if you just want help finding part-time work, send them a line! A word of warning though: this page posts ads targeted exclusively to people currently in Japan, and as a result, the page may not be accessible from outside Japan.
The internet is not the only place where you can find a part-time job. Look around! Plenty of shops display signs that they are looking for staff all year round. Train stations that have small shopping malls tied to them also have billboards where the shopping center’s businesses advertise job openings, so keep your eyes peeled! Businesses looking for staff will display signs that bear the kanji 募集 or 募集中 (hiring).
It takes a little effort to get a part-time job in Japan, but with a student visa and a little bit of elbow grease (and maybe some help from our friends at Inbound Technology), the experience pays off tenfold. It is one thing to learn in the classroom (and it’s still very important!), but it’s another to actually use those learned skills in the outside world. Making the connection between the two is what really solidifies those Japanese skills, all the while making life much more colorful.