How to Apply for Work in Japan (Even Without Experience)

Many people hesitate to look for jobs abroad for several reasons. Some of them may be personal while others feel that having no work experience or travel experience in the past puts them at a disadvantageous position when applying for work overseas, especially in countries like Japan. 

ALSO READ: Employers Prefer Filipino Workers in Kyushu, Japan – DOLE

However, as with all kinds of rules, there will always be exemptions. This means that even if you do not have any work experience at all, it is possible for you to still apply for work in Japan. Interested to find out how? Continue reading the following sections to learn more.

Disclaimer: The information published is based on the experience shared by the vlogger/YouTuber. The information provided may change without prior notice and may differ in actual scenarios. Let this article serve as a guide only.

Here is the video guide shared by a Pinoy OFW in Japan, Kathrina Jaron a.k.a OFW Kath on YouTube. If you find her tips helpful, you may check out her channel to catch more interesting content about her work and life as an OFW in Japan.

Applying for Work in Japan With No Experience? No Problem! Follow These Tips

If you’ve asked other people what it was like applying for work overseas, especially in Japan, you might get answers like: “It takes a long time to get hired,” “It’s expensive,” or “It’s very strict.” Well, that is based on their experience, so we can’t say that those aren’t true or accurate.

However, if there’s one thing you need to know about the process, especially when it comes to applying for work in Japan, it is that nothing is set in stone. This means that you can have an entirely different experience compared to what the others may have had in the past and this will all depend on a variety of factors such as your agency, potential employers, your performance, and luck – yes, call it what you want, but some people are simply lucky to get the opportunity easier than others. 

But in this guide, we will not put your luck into the test (yet) because we will focus on the things you need to do first to increase your chances of getting hired for work in Japan – even without any prior or relevant work experience. 

To start things off, you need to have the following, even before you start to apply for work in Japan. 

  1. Determination. Expect to get a lot of “No’s” when you take the path to working abroad. It’s just how it is. There’s no easy way to find work abroad, especially in Japan. So don’t even look for shortcuts because this might even get you in a more difficult situation, which brings us to the second point.
  2. Patience. Toughening it out when applying for work abroad is just the first step, the next one will require you to wait, wait, and wait. And because there’s no other way for you to apply for work in Japan except through an accredited agency, expect that the process will be long and rigorous, so you need to be very patient with the process and of course, with yourself.
  3. Critical Thinking. You want to find work abroad so bad – we get it. But this does not mean that you’ll be reckless and impulsive when it comes to making decisions. Remember, applying for work abroad will require you to shell out some (or even a lot of resources) and if you have a limited budget, you’ll be cautious enough to make good use of the amount that you have. Otherwise, you might not even get to the point where you can still afford to fly abroad. That said, you need to weigh your options and decisions critically. 

And if you have all the above things, plus your resolve to live on your own without friends, family, and a comfortable life then you can start the application process by doing the following things. 

Step 1: Do your research and find all the accredited POEA agencies to send your application for work in Japan.

Tip: After you’ve gathered all the information you can get on the Internet, organize your list and cluster them according to location. This way, you can better plan and budget your trips when sending out your applications as this will cost you a lot of money especially if you’re coming from places outside of Metro Manila. Unfortunately, most of the accredited agencies to apply for work in Japan are based in Manila, so you need to be organized and plan your applications wisely.  

Step 2: Prepare all the requirements for work overseas (i.e. resume, passport, birth certificate, etc.) except your certificate of employment if you don’t have any prior work experience (i.e. fresh graduate).

In Kath’s case, after she has prepared all her documents for the application, she was advised by her agency to undergo a medical test right away (even before her interview) because, at the time, a Japanese representative was going to visit their office to hold interviews, which means a higher chance of getting shortlisted for work in Japan – this was where the luck part came in. 

Usually, applicants are not required to undergo a medical exam until they have been shortlisted after the interview. However, knowing that the recruiters from Japan will only have a limited time to process applications while in the Philippines (usually 1-3 days only), if the people they have shortlisted are found to be not fit to work, then you might just get the spot that they’d have to give up because they did not pass the medical screening part. This is where your critical thinking comes in. 

Step 3: After you have been shortlisted for the interview, you need to imagine how you would answer the recruiter’s question as if you were already working in Japan, and your answer must be related to the work your applying for. 

For example, if you’re applying for work as a fruit picker, then relate your answer to their question as if you have already been working as a fruit picker in Japan. 

So, with a question such as “What would you do with the money that you would earn in Japan?”, you can have an answer that would be related to farming or supporting farmers in your area – but of course, your answer must be factual and relevant to your background. Never make up stories to gain the favor of others, most especially when applying, as you’ll find out that recruiters also perform a background check before considering your application. 

Step 4: After you’ve gone through the interview, and everything goes smoothly, the next part would be signing a contract to continue with your application for employment in Japan. 

Step 5: Signing a contract does not mean that you’re done with your application process. Since you don’t have any work experience, you will need to find a way to get a certificate of employment (COE) first. 

Tip: If you’re applying as a fruit picker, then consider looking for DTI-accredited companies that are in the same field (e.g., farming, fresh produce). You will need to negotiate and request for their help to get you a COE so you can continue with your application for work in Japan. 

Step 6: After you have secured a COE from a DTI-accredited company, you will need to undergo the Japanese language training next.

As this training is based in the Philippines and will run daily for a month, you will need to pay a fee for the instructor as well as your lodging, regardless of how close or far you live from the training center. So, in Kath’s experience, the total amount she had to pay was around Php 22,500 (Php 21,000 for the Japanese training and Php 1,500 for her accommodation). However, this was back in 2017, and the rates may have changed, so it’s best to consult with your agency, so you can prepare accordingly. 

Step 7: Once you have passed the language training, you will be given a certificate of eligibility for work in Japan.

Step 8: The next step would be to get another medical exam (worth Php 1,500 at the time) before you can proceed to the next step.

Step 9:  The next step will be undergoing the pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS), which will be conducted at the OWWA training center. The seminar will teach applicants about the culture and what to expect in living in Japan.

Step 10: After you have completed the PDOS, which, for Kath, has been four months in the making, you will be given your plane ticket (hooray!) and are now ready for deployment abroad.

However, before you fly out to Japan, you need to undergo another medical exam (yet again), but this will be the third and last one to take while in the Philippines. This means, that there are still a couple of more exams to undergo once you are in Japan.  

During this time, you will still continue taking Japanese language training (for about 6 months) until you are regularized by your company to work in the country as per contract. 

Don’t worry, because you will have your training allowance during this period (back then it was ranging from Php 25,000 to Php 35,000) as stated in your contract.

Finding work in Japan certainly is not easy, especially if you do not have any relevant work experience, but it most certainly is not impossible. 

That said, Kath urges her fellow OFWs to exercise the three important things mentioned earlier which are: determinationpatience, and critical thinking, coupled with your faith and trust in the Lord to help you succeed in this process. Laban, kabayan!

ALSO READ: Around 50K Jobs Await Filipinos in Japan – PH Ambassador

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