Thanks to good exposure on the Internet, I regularly get enquiries from people asking for additional advice about their personal situation. I welcome the email, but would ask that people follow some simple rules of engagement:

1. Please always send your resume (not photos) with your first email, so that I can evaluate your experience in giving you an answer. Let me know what your requirements on confidentiality regarding your resume are. Some people are happy for their resume to be shown to all potential employers, while others – usually high-profile local businesspeople – want me (or my consultants) to call them before EVERY employer approach.

2. Please always state in some detail your situation and why you want to be in Japan. Include your visa status, your language skills, and your nationality, and your marital status (with kids or not). Why marital status? Quite simply, for some job types, having a family in Japan is not practical nor economic – unless you want to send your kids to a Japanese school, which would be pretty tough and radical for them.

3. If you don’t speak any Japanese, and your skill set is not at a superior level by international standards, then honestly speaking, there is very little that I can help you with. So if you’re really set on coming to Japan, either start studying the language intensively (doing it in Japan is by far the best way), or make sure that your technical skills are of the highest level internationally. Please don’t ask me to recommend schools, someone with the dedication to learning Japanese can do so almost anywhere.

4. Please do your homework. You should have already talked to the Japanese embassy in your home country, checked out whether your employer has positions available in Japan, talked to your local chamber of commerce about other member companies with offices in Japan, gone along to meetings of your local Japan Society, looked on the Internet for job opportunities, and generally be aware of what those opportunities are.

5. If you’re coming to Japan with a Japanese partner, do yourself a huge favor and have her/his family look after you for a minimum of 6 months before going out and getting set up with your own place. This will give you an environment for “intensive conditioning” – both for language and for scouting out the work situation.

6. Please indicate to me whether you’d be willing for me to excerpt some of our email conversations for use in future columns. Since I don’t charge for giving out advice, this becomes payment “in kind”.

Once you have all the above issues taken care of, the only other thing to understand is that since I do run a recruiting company, eventually all enquiries will go through the company – For example, if you ask if I can introduce you to any potential jobs (which most people do ask, and if you speak Japanese or have a high-level technical skill set, I can certainly help you with), then I will actually pass your resume and details on to one of the consultants, who will try to do a match with both our published and also our confidential jobs database. If a match comes up, that consultant will contact you directly to set up a meeting with the potential employer.

As always, my contact details are simply: Looking forward to getting some enquiries…