Write an effective cover letter

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While writing a Japanese cover letter is traditionally not common, the rise of Japanese job boards has made it an increasingly important aspect of job-hunting.

Rather than give you an idea of what a typical cover letter should contain, this article will specify some key information that you should include in your letter and some typical phrases to use when writing a cover letter in Japanese.

A typical Japanese cover letter will include the following.

Introduction

Name of Position and Expressing Interest

Reason for Leaving your current Job

Reason for Wanting to Join

Request for Response

Sign Off

An Introduction will be commonly made in Japanese using the phrase:

“採用ご担当様” saiyou go tantou sama

(Dear Hiring Manager)

Followed by your name:

“○○と申します”

My name is….

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:

貴社の求人概要を拝見し、応募させていただきました。

(lit. I applied having seen a job advertisement for your company)

ぜひ一度、お話をお伺いする機会をいただければ幸いです。

(lit. I’d really appreciate being given the chance to speak to you further about this.)

The next section should focus on the reason for leaving your current job. As with any Western cover letter, try to show a positive reason as leaving as opposed to a negative (e.g. wanting more responsibility as opposed to sour relationships with previous team members).

Here is an example phrase you may wish to use:

現在の○○の経験を活かし、さらに規模の大きなプロジェクトを担当したいと考えたため。

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

Next, 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.

貴社の○○の実績を拝見し、○○の分野にて今までの○○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。

(lit. 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.)

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

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.)

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.

Good luck with your job search.