How to write a Japanese Cover Letter – Ultimate Guide

Posted by on December 26, 2019 – Japanese Study

Coming to Japan to look for a job? Or you just finished taking one of our Japanese language courses and would want to apply for a job in Japan?

Stay tuned as this would be your ultimate guide to give your boss a first good impression through black and white!

First and foremost, before your employer decides to read your resume, he or she always goes through your cover letter first. Writing a good cover letter is a stepping stone for you to get your employer to read more about you. With that said, how do you write a good cover letter?

Writing a good cover letter is an important aspect of job hunting. The motive of writing a good cover letter is to persuade or convince your employer to spend time interviewing you. Your cover letter should be a very detailed biography or just a recommendation letter full of praises.

Some key information to include in your cover letter would be:

  • Introduction
  • Name of position and expressing interest
  • Reasons for leaving your current job
  • Reasons for wanting to join
  • Request for response
  • Sign-off

There are a total of 4 sections you would need to remember!

First section – Introductions

An introduction is normally made in Japanese with 採用ご担当様 (saiyou go tantou sama) which means Dear Hiring Manager.

After you have greeted your hiring employer, you introduce yourself by giving your name, the name of the position you are applying to and express your interest. When doing so, include phrases such as ぜひ一度、お話を伺える機会をいただければ幸いです。(I’d really appreciate being given the chance to speak to you further about this.)

or something like “・・・・新聞で貴社の募集広告を拝見し、応募いたしました.” (I wish to apply for the post of…which you advertised in…on…)

To end your first section, give reasons why you are interested in this job. Include phrases such as “私は特にこの仕事に興味があります。なぜなら・・・・” (I am particularly interested in this job, as…)

or “・・・・として御社に勤務したいと考えております。” (I would like to work for you, in order to…)

Second section – Reason on leaving current job

In your second section, you would need to give or tell your employer the reason for leaving your current job. As you are giving the reason for leaving your current job, you should sound positive instead of negative. Even though your employer would want you to be honest about this part, this would reflect you as a person if you would backstab people.

Your reason should sound like you have learned something from your previous job. For example, you can add in a phrase which goes “現在の○○の経験を活かし、さらに規模の大きいプロジェクトを担当したいと考えたためです。” which means “I would like to make the most of my experience in….., and take charge of larger-scale projects.”

Or an opening sentence like “現在私は・・・・で・・・・の担当として勤務しております。” which means “Currently I am working for… and my responsibilities include…”

Third section – Qualifications/Skillset

After you mentioned the reason why you had left your previous job, you would want to give the reason why you want to join the company you are applying for.

You would want to describe your related work experience and skillsets and explain why you are qualified for the job you are applying for. Phrases for your skills would be like “・・・・として・・・・年働いてきた経験があります.” (I have …years experience of working…) or “・・・・を使いこなすことができます。” (I am an experienced user of…)

Here a tip for you! Try and match your skillsets required by the company for the job opening. You would increase your chances.

Vocabulary

To help you, here are some skills vocabularies you can incorporate into your cover letter!

Excellent Communication Skills: コミュニケーション能力・komyunikeshon nouryoku
Deductive reasoning: 演繹的推理力・えんえきてきすいりりょく・Enekiteki suiriryoku
Logical thinking: 論理的思考能力・ろんりてきしこうのうりょく・Ronriteki shikou nouryoku
Good interpersonal skills: 対人能力・たいじんのうりょく・Taijin nouryoku
Analytical skills: 分析能力・ぶんせきのうりょく・Bunseki nouryoku
Negotiation skills: 交渉能力・こうしょうのうりょく・Koushou nouryoku
Presentation skills: プレゼンテーション能力・Porezenteshion nouryoku

Not only that but also talk about the company and your career objectives! Include phrases such as 貴社の○○の実績を拝見し、○○の分野において、今までの○○のスキルを活かした仕事が可能だと考えました。また、○○という社風にも大変魅力を感じております。(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.)

Fourth section – Closing

This is the section where you sign-off politely but also reiterate your interest in the position you apply for and also the company. Here is a phrase commonly used in Japanese when it comes to signing off お忙しいなか恐縮ですが、どうぞ宜しくお願いいたします。(Sorry to bother you when you are busy and thank you for your consideration.)

Common phrases such as “貴社の一員となり、思う存分自分の力を発揮したいと考えております。(I am highly motivated and look forward to the varied work which a position in your company would offer me.)

or お時間を割いていただいてありがとうございました。お目にかかれる日を楽しみにしております。私には・・・・を通してご連絡ください。(Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to the opportunity to personally discuss why I am particularly suited to this position. Please contact me via…)

Depending on how you started your cover letter, you would have to pair your opening with the closing.
For example, 拝啓 (opening) is paired with 敬具 (closing). 前略 (opening) is paired with 早々 (closing).
You must not mix and match the words!

Yours faithfully, (Formal, used when the recipient name is unknown): 敬具・けいぐ・Keigu
Yours sincerely, (Formal, widely used, used when the recipient name is known): 敬具・けいぐ・Keigu
Respectfully yours, (Formal, not widely used, used when the recipient name is known): 敬具・けいぐ・Keigu
Kind/Best regards, (Informal, between business partners who are on first-name basis, not recommended for a cover letter): 敬具・けいぐ・Keigu

The final step is to end your cover letter with a short and simple closing by thanking them for their time and consideration when reviewing your application or cover letter. Do include a follow-up note such as will call or would be expecting a call. After sending your resume for about 2-3 weeks in, you are able to do a follow-up by letter, email or phone.

Bonus!

Things to be mindful of when you write your cover letter!

Things to Do:

  • Write clearly and accurately
  • Use full sentences
  • Use correct grammar
  • Be confident
  • Keep the length of cover letter to 1 page or lesser (it is a summary of your resume)
  • Let a native Japanese or a Japanese of yours read your letter and give you feedback on how to improve
  • Use correct industry jargon, but do not overuse it
  • Show that you have done a little research about the job which you are applying for

Things not to Do:

  • Do not use haughty words, this would give the impression of being arrogant or prideful.
  • Do not start all your sentences with “I”. Makes you look like a one-man show
  • Do not use contractions such as I’m, don’t, He’s or she’s. You are writing a formal letter, not casual.
  • Do not try to be overly funny. It’s a job application letter…
  • Do not use exclamation marks.
  • Do not say negative things or backstab about your previous employer. It does not leave a good impression on you.
  • Do not use short forms or text speak. It would reflect a lazy or sloppy behavior on yourself.

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