Have you always wanted to pursue your career in the Land of the Rising Sun? The ability to speak Japanese is an absolute must if you want to find work in Japan. Learning Japanese is necessary to increase your chances of being hired and advancing in your current position.

Learning Japanese is critical to your success in the Japanese workplace, from managing day-to-day interactions to mastering business conventions in Japan. In this article, I’ll explain why understanding Japanese can help you get recruited in Japan’s competitive job market. So, let’s dive into Japanese language study and discover how to open doors to promising job prospects in Japan.

The Value of Japanese Language Skills in the Job Market

Without proficient Japanese language abilities, finding work in Japan may be challenging for anyone other than English teachers. How much impact does increasing your level have on your employment opportunities, and should you invest the time necessary?

If You Want to Broaden Your Career Prospects, Learning Japanese Is a Must

Let’s say you’re interested in networking your way into a position with a Japanese firm. With Japanese, it will be easier for you to build those connections. Sure, you could network your way into the expat scene, but if the position calls for fluency in Japanese, that will stay the same.

At the present moment, English is not a widely spoken language in Japan. According to recent studies, the country’s level of English proficiency is 53rd in the globe. In addition, the percentage of Japanese people who are fluent English speakers is significantly lower than 30%, at just 2%. So, if you want to broaden your horizons, learning Japanese is the way to go.

Therefore, you’ll need to rely heavily on your other talents if you don’t know Japanese and don’t want to learn. Therefore, you will be restricted to working with foreign firms.

Jobs That Don’t Require Japanese Proficiency Are Limited

Let’s say you graduate from college with no Japanese or professional experience. If this is the case, you should consider becoming an English teacher. It is not necessary to know Japanese to enrol in many of the larger English conversation schools.

Numerous IT positions are available for those with coding skills but minimal Japanese proficiency. Jobs in recruiting, customer service, and the foodservice industry are also available, with little to no Japanese language proficiency required.

Alternatively, you can freelance as a writer or photographer for one of the many English-language travel and lifestyle websites.

Work Constraints for Foreigners in Japan Due to a Lack of Japanese

Workplace communication is only one example of how your career options could be limited if you don’t know Japanese. Japanese coworkers may try to communicate in English, but it is not their native tongue. If you want to hear, “I thought you were going to send the email!” a lot, you better prepare.

Your job prospects will be restricted, too. You should have little trouble getting a standard instructor post because education and information technology require fewer Japanese skills than other fields. If you try to transfer to a different division, though, you may run into trouble. If you’re considering a career change into human resources or finance, you’ll need a higher level of Japanese to do your job effectively and interact with your coworkers.

This is also true for most other fields. Even if your Japanese isn’t great, you should be able to find an entry-level position, but you may want to brush up on it if you want to go up the corporate ladder.

Getting the Job You Want by Learning Japanese

You should probably hurry up with your Japanese studies if you’ve suddenly decided you want to find a job in Japan. Additional considerations include the following:

  • Identify a profession you’d like to have and the required minimum JLPT score online. Then schedule a JLPT exam to give yourself a deadline to study for.
  • Learn the language by immersing oneself in it (with new people, books, and TV shows)
  • Enrol in a class if you want to learn Japanese faster than you could by studying alone.
  • Combine your Japanese studies with pursuits you enjoy, whether going to the gym, joining a club, learning to cook, or anything else!

Why Is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Required to Work in Japan?

Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is a national standard test designed to assess the level of Japanese language competence among non-native speakers. No matter what language a person speaks fluently, they will all be given the same test. It seeks to evaluate several different skills, such as reading comprehension and listening ability.

Due to its standardisation, many companies use the test to quickly gauge the linguistic competence of candidates who are not native speakers of the target language. It may not be perfect, but passing it requires a high level of fluency in the target language. Thus, it can serve as a valuable filter for potential employers. If finding work in Japan is your priority, being certified is a step in the right direction.

Which JLPT Test Should You Take?

The test has five difficulty levels, with N5 being the lowest and N1 the highest.

Some occupations in the tourism industry, such as those at ski resorts, require at least N4, but N5 and N4 are not deemed sufficient for working in Japan.

Many professions in the restaurant industry require applicants to have at least a passing knowledge of Japanese, and N3 is often used as a minimum requirement. However, the Jobs in Japan website displays a variety of software positions when the phrase “N3” is entered.

N2 is sometimes called the “business level,” At this level, you must be fluent in Japanese if you want to work in almost any industry. While proficiency at the N2 level is no guarantee of fluency, it will allow you to carry on basic conversations, read emails and documents using a dictionary, and understand basic television and radio broadcasts. Employers will see this as a sign that you have the perseverance and aptitude to learn the language since they anticipate your proficiency will increase over time.

The highest level of the exam is N1, but its content is focused on academic language patterns that many workers may need to find more relevant to their jobs. Having this certification on your CV will get you noticed, but it will only be used as a deciding factor by some companies. The only exception is in the field of translation and interpreting, and even then, it is more common for employers to describe this requirement as a “level check” and opt instead to administer a test or conduct an interview.

Therefore, if getting a job in Japan is a priority, earning the N2 certification is a significant step in the right direction. You can take the N2 test whenever you feel prepared, as you do not need to have completed any lower-level requirements first.

Is JLPTCertification Necessary to Work in Japan?

Few occupations in Japan require JLPT certification, and it’s not a legal requirement like a work visa. The level of Japanese proficiency the employer anticipates is typically what is meant when a position specifies it as a requirement. The certification is only sometimes necessary, but sufficient fluency and confidence in Japanese are necessary. You can’t fake this; it will be checked during the interview. Therefore, it is sometimes adequate to state that you have “JLPT N2 level Japanese” on your résumé. The test is a multiple-choice format and therefore does not require candidates to demonstrate their verbal language skills. As a result, many certified individuals may not genuinely possess superior language skills. This is why it is common for employers to conduct their language tests. They ultimately don’t care if you have the certification as long as you can function in a Japanese-speaking workplace.

Beautiful landscape of mountain fuji around maple leaf tree with white cloud and blue sky in autumn season at Yamanashi Japan

Even if you miss the test window (it’s only given twice a year) or if it’s not offered in your area, you can still apply for jobs that require Japanese language proficiency regardless of whether or not you have a JLPT certificate. However, having a JLPT N2 or N1 listed as an accreditation on your resume will give you more credibility than listing “JLPT N2 level Japanese” as a skill. You may no longer use your academic credentials as a smokescreen. Expect to have your language skills evaluated formally or informally during the interview process.

What JLPT Can Do For You

There are various real-world advantages to passing the JLPT, such as:

Enhance Your Skills

If you can learn a new language, you’ve essentially “unlocked” a new set of skills. Then you can use it in school, business, and everyday life without using Google Translate. Learning a second language might expand your horizons even further.

Raising Your Income

Positions in Japan can pay handsomely. Those who can speak Japanese fluently and have invested in Japanese companies typically receive a high starting pay. It can be anywhere from two to four times greater for those who are not fluent in English than those who are. In particular, Japanese businesses will compensate workers fairly for the value they add to the company. Compensation is determined by experience and skills. 

Facilitate Deeper Cultural Immersion in Japan

Learning Japanese is crucial whether you attend university there or settle down permanently. You can interact more fluently with native speakers and in everyday situations with a JLPT certificate. The environment in Japan is quite advanced because the country is so technologically advanced. Therefore, this will be an excellent environment for people seeking growth.

Tips for Taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N2 and Getting a Job in Japan

It will take a lot of hard work and time to get to the JLPT N2 level. But the payoff is greater fluency in Japanese and a more marketable resume when applying for jobs in Japan. The following are some suggestions that should help you achieve that aim.

Establish a Routine and Keep It Up.

It is finding a study routine and sticking with it no matter what is essential, just like jogging or going to the gym. The “Sou Matome” series of textbooks facilitates this by organising material into bite-sized daily and weekly chunks.

Make Use of a Study Tool

Information is displayed at varying intervals to be studied and reviewed. Without getting too technical, it has been established that this approach is superior for learning a language. 

Get Your Voice Heard by Practising.

Since there is no speaking component to the JLPT, many students don’t bother to prepare for it. However, if finding work is what you want, it helps if you can carry on a conversation. If you cannot effectively interact with your potential employer during the interview, no amount of success on the JLPT will assist. It’s also a good idea to study industry-specific vocabulary that isn’t on the JLPT official word lists in case it comes up during the interview.

Take Mock Tests Under Real Time Pressure.

An excellent strategy to prepare for a test is to take some practice exams. Try practice tests with a stopwatch, as the strict time constraint significantly adds to the JLPT’s difficulty. When preparing for the JLPT, learning to pace yourself throughout exams is almost as crucial as learning the content.

Hopefully, the information presented here will shed light on the Japanese Language Proficiency test and its significance in securing a job in Japan. Have fun in school and your career search!

Conclusion

Learning Japanese will boost your chances of being employed and rising through the ranks at your existing job in Japan. Mastering daily interactions and business norms in Japan requires fluency in the language. The percentage of Japanese who can speak English is well below 30%, placing the country at #53 in the world in terms of English ability. Having the ability to communicate with Japanese businesses and collaborate with businesses abroad can greatly increase your employment opportunities.

There is a scarcity of employment that does not need fluency in Japanese, such as those in the teaching of English, the information technology field, human resources, sales, and the food service industry. One alternative is to offer your services as a freelance writer or photographer for international travel and leisure websites that publish content in English. However, foreigners may find it difficult to get work in Japan since their Japanese language skills are inadequate.

If you want to work in a specific field and are learning Japanese to get there, research the minimum acceptable JLPT score for that field online. Prepare for the JLPT, take a class, immerse yourself in Japanese, and learn the language in ways that interest you. The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is a government-mandated exam that measures an individual’s ability to communicate in Japanese with native speakers of the language. A high level of proficiency in the target language is required to pass the test, making it a useful filter for potential employers.

Although the JLPT is not mandated by law, it is typically required for entry-level positions in several Japanese industries. Many people who pass the multiple-choice test may not have stellar linguistic skills. You can still apply for jobs that need Japanese language fluency even if you miss the testing deadline if they are not provided in your area.

Content Summary

  • Have you always wanted to pursue your career in the Land of the Rising Sun?
  • The ability to speak Japanese is an absolute must if you want to find work in Japan.
  • Learning Japanese is necessary to increase your chances of being hired and advancing in your current position.
  • Learning Japanese is critical to your success in the Japanese workplace, from managing day-to-day interactions to mastering business conventions in Japan.
  • Without proficient Japanese language abilities, finding work in Japan may be challenging for anyone other than English teachers.
  • Let’s say you’re interested in networking your way into a position with a Japanese firm.
  • At the present moment, English is not a widely spoken language in Japan.
  • According to recent studies, the country’s level of English proficiency is 53rd in the globe.
  • So, if you want to broaden your horizons, learning Japanese is the way to go.
  • Therefore, you’ll need to rely heavily on your other talents if you don’t know Japanese and don’t want to learn.
  • Alternatively, you can freelance as a writer or photographer for one of the many English-language travel and lifestyle websites.
  • Work Constraints for Foreigners in Japan Due to a Lack of Japanese
  • Workplace communication is only one example of how your career options could be limited if you don’t know Japanese.
  • Japanese coworkers may try to communicate in English, but it is not their native tongue.
  • If you’re considering a career change into human resources or finance, you’ll need a higher level of Japanese to do your job effectively and interact with your coworkers.
  • Even if your Japanese isn’t great, you should be able to find an entry-level position, but you may want to brush up on it if you want to go up the corporate ladder.
  • You should probably hurry up with your Japanese studies if you’ve suddenly decided you want to find a job in Japan.
  • Identify a profession you’d like to have and the required minimum JLPT score online.
  • Learn the language by immersing oneself in it (with new people, books, and TV shows)
  • Enrol in a class if you want to learn Japanese faster than you could by studying alone.
  • Combine your Japanese studies with pursuits you enjoy, whether going to the gym, joining a club, learning to cook, or anything else!
  • Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is a national standard test designed to assess the level of Japanese language competence among non-native speakers.
  • It may not be perfect, but passing it requires a high level of fluency in the target language.
  • If finding work in Japan is your priority, being certified is a step in the right direction.
  • The test has five difficulty levels, with N5 being the lowest and N1 the highest.
  • Some occupations in the tourism industry, such as those at ski resorts, require at least N4, but N5 and N4 are not deemed sufficient for working in Japan.
  • Many professions in the restaurant industry require applicants to have at least a passing knowledge of Japanese, and N3 is often used as a minimum requirement.
  • N2 is sometimes called the “business level,” At this level, you must be fluent in Japanese if you want to work in almost any industry.
  • While proficiency at the N2 level is no guarantee of fluency, it will allow you to carry on basic conversations, read emails and documents using a dictionary, and understand basic television and radio broadcasts.
  • Employers will see this as a sign that you have the perseverance and aptitude to learn the language since they anticipate your proficiency will increase over time.
  • The highest level of the exam is N1, but its content is focused on academic language patterns that many workers may need to find more relevant to their jobs.
  • Having this certification on your CV will get you noticed, but it will only be used as a deciding factor by some companies.
  • Therefore, if getting a job in Japan is a priority, earning the N2 certification is a significant step in the right direction.
  • You can take the N2 test whenever you feel prepared, as you do not need to have completed any lower-level requirements first.
  • The certification is only sometimes necessary, but sufficient fluency and confidence in Japanese are necessary.
  • Therefore, it is sometimes adequate to state that you have “JLPT N2 level Japanese” on your résumé.
  • Even if you miss the test window (it’s only given twice a year) or if it’s not offered in your area, you can still apply for jobs that require Japanese language proficiency regardless of whether or not you have a JLPT certificate.
  • However, having a JLPT N2 or N1 listed as an accreditation on your resume will give you more credibility than listing “JLPT N2 level Japanese” as a skill.
  • Expect to have your language skills evaluated formally or informally during the interview process.
  • If you can learn a new language, you’ve essentially “unlocked” a new set of skills.
  • Then you can use it in school, business, and everyday life without using Google Translate.
  • Learning a second language might expand your horizons even further.
  • It will take a lot of hard work and time to get to the JLPT N2 level.
  • But the payoff is greater fluency in Japanese and a more marketable resume when applying for jobs in Japan.
  • It is finding a study routine and sticking with it no matter what is essential, just like jogging or going to the gym.
  • Information is displayed at varying intervals to be studied and reviewed.
  • Without getting too technical, it has been established that this approach is superior for learning a language.
  • Since there is no speaking component to the JLPT, many students don’t bother to prepare for it.
  • However, if finding work is what you want, it helps if you can carry on a conversation.
  • If you cannot effectively interact with your potential employer during the interview, no amount of success on the JLPT will assist.
  • It’s also a good idea to study industry-specific vocabulary that isn’t on the JLPT official word lists in case it comes up during the interview.
  • An excellent strategy to prepare for a test is to take some practice exams.
  • Try practice tests with a stopwatch, as the strict time constraint significantly adds to the JLPT’s difficulty.
  • When preparing for the JLPT, learning to pace yourself throughout exams is almost as crucial as learning the content.
  • Hopefully, the information presented here will shed light on the Japanese Language Proficiency test and its significance in securing a job in Japan.

FAQS About Learning Japanese Language

What Level of Japanese Do You Need to Get a Job?

If you want to work in Japan, most Japanese companies require JLPT N2 as a minimum level of your Japanese. With the idea that your Japanese will consistently improve once you are hired. Some companies may even require N1.

Is Learning Japanese Worth It for a Career?

The more experienced you are in a language, the better. But, even just knowing a little bit gives you something to talk about and makes it easier to approach native Japanese speakers. This can lead to improvements in your networking skills, which can lead to more job opportunities.

Can I Master Japanese in 6 Months?

However, many experts believe it takes between 4 to 6 months of dedicated study to reach a beginner level. On the other hand, you can expect to spend at least 3 years studying to become fluent in Japanese with near-native level accuracy.

Is N5 Japanese Enough?

N5 is the most basic level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and just requires you to understand some basic Japanese. The N5 level basically ensures you can understand basic sentences and typical expressions written in hiragana, katakana, and basic kanji as well as from spoken conversations.

Can I Be Fluent in Japanese in 2 Years?

The average length of time to learn advanced Japanese is 2-3 years. At the intermediate level, you can understand most of what your teacher says, and you can follow along with TV programs. When it comes to using the language with other Japanese speakers, however, you still have some limitations.

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