Applying for a job with a multinational company starts with your resume. In this current economic climate, a well-written resume will usually get you to the first interview at least, so it’s important that you spend time on it.

If you’re bilingual, you should always submit both an English and a Japanese resume. This way, you’ve lowered the point of resistance if the business manager is a foreigner but the HR Manager is a Japanese national (which is often the case). A note here though, if the company you’re applying to is small (the founder is the CEO) or conservatively Japanese, you may also have to submit a Japanese-style resume written by hand, in Japanese.

Why? Because there are still a lot of employers in the market who want to see what your handwriting is like. Some HR people swear that by simple handwriting analysis they can anticipate the type of personality the person has. Further, the traditional Japanese resume includes a lot of information not found on a Western style (but Japanese language) resume, such as age, and details about family. If in doubt about whether to submit your Japanese resume in Western style or traditional style – ask.

On your English resume, keep the length to no more than 2 pages. I know that some technology people in particular like to include everything that they’ve ever done. However, at the initial resume screening stage, you won’t stand out by having screeds of personal detail – instead you’ll come across as unsophisticated, or worse, as being egocentric.

Usually the best format is to have your contact details at the top, followed by your most recent 3-4 jobs and a short description of what you did at each (order from your most recent job at the top, through to the earliest at the bottom), followed by your education, and wrapped up with any professional affiliations, published papers, etc. If you have an interesting or relevant hobby you might want to include it – but otherwise I’d leave hobbies and interests off the initial resume.

If you really want a particular job, it is worth sitting down and looking at the job description and assessing what you’ve done that is relevant. You obviously don’t want to falsify your experience, but particularly in the job history and remarks section of your resume, it may be worth tailoring your comments to highlight your relevant experiences. Just remember to give the various versions of your resume a numbering system – so that later, if you need to know exactly what information you sent to a prospective employer, you do.

A cover letter is often useful to include with a resume. It should only be one page in length and include the keywords that you believe that employer will be interested in. Usually words and phrases like: energetic, self-motivated but a team player, willing to start at the bottom, reward for performance, are helpful in getting attention. Obviously it helps if you really do believe in these points and are willing to act/work accordingly.

Lastly, if you’re fresh out of university, your main assets will be your academic record and extra-curricular activities. For example, if you have an engineering degree, include any work you did for the university lab, and any awards you received for excellence. If you have language skills, clearly spell out how good they are and how you want to use these in your job. Also, as a first-time job seeker, note that the cover letter becomes doubly important, so be sure to spend some time on writing this.

If you need some advice in finding the right job, you can drop Terrie Lloyd an email for more advice at You can also see his weekly newsletter, called Terrie’s Take, at