Hello again from the LIP Refugee Project team!
In our last post we began discussing the first hurdle in applying to jobs: the Rirekisho. We also briefly mentioned the Entry Sheet, which will be our focus for today’s post. Similarly, there are nuances and unwritten rules you must follow when writing your Entry Sheet. This document will act as an opportunity for you to further display your unique characteristics (referred to as “self-PR” in Japan) and your reason for applying.
◆The Entry Sheet
Many companies will ask for this document in addition to a Rirekisho. Below is a quick look at what each document’s purpose is:
Confirms basic information about the applicant, such as their name, address, and certifications.
Showcases the applicant’s personality, way of thinking, and other characteristics that are not clear just from surface-level information. Interviewers often have this during the interview as a reference point for questions.
There are two widely used Entry Sheet formats. The first is a firm-specific format, and the second is a career services website format. Firms may require you to use their format, so be sure to check their requirements carefully. However, many firms accept a career services website formatted Entry Sheet. These Entry Sheets do not require editing for each firm, allowing you to send the same document to multiple companies.
Information on your Entry Sheet and Rirekisho may overlap. It is good to think of your Rirekisho as a foundation for writing your Entry Sheet.
Before you start writing Entry Sheets, you should research the firms you wish to apply to.
First, understand what the company is doing, the working and office culture, and the types of people they hire. This information is usually available on the company’s website. You may also learn these through internships or speaking to your professional and personal connections in your companies of interest. Next, consider your personality and type of work you want to do and begin writing it down. Look at what you wrote and the research on your company and identify the overlaps. Doing so will allow you to think of relevant, unique stories to tell, allowing you to confidently answer any type of question.
To understand your personality and the type of work you want to do, you must do introspection. We will talk more about introspection in the next post.
After writing this information down, you should practice your stories. Ask friends, family, and classmates to ask you questions and review your answers. Be sure to ask for honest feedback.
When reviewing your Entry Sheet, be sure to closely check for these two things:
1) Are you answering the question that is being asked?
2) Do your answers to different questions contradict with each other?
◆Typical Entry Sheet Questions
Entry Sheet questions are like those that you will receive in interviews. Here are some examples:
①What is a strength/weakness of yours?
②How are you improving a current weakness?
③When do you feel motivated?
④When do you feel stress? What do you do when you are stressed?
⑤What is something very important to you?
【KEY POINT】Personality questions are not to check ability. Rather, these questions are meant to showcase personality and values, and make sure they align with the applicant’s experiences.
①Tell me about a time where you had a lot of fun.
②Can you give an example of when you tried your hardest to achieve something?
③When was a time you failed? How did you overcome the failure?
④What is something that you have continued to do for a long time?
⑤What is an achievement from school you are proud of? (class, activities, club, etc.)
⑥Tell me about a class/course/seminar you have devoted most effort to.
⑦When is a time you showcased leadership?
⑧What is one of your successes?
【KEY POINT】Experience questions look to see how the applicant reacts in different situations. They give an interview the opportunity to see how the applicant handles stress, works with others, and whether their motivations align with the company’s.
Career / professional motivation questions
①Why are you interested in this industry?
②What is something you value highly in your job search?
③What would you like to do at our company?
④What is your 3-year career plan?
【KEY POINT】These questions act as confirmation that the applicant’s interests align with what the company can offer you in a career.
①What is a recent news story that interested you?
②Pick one of our company’s products and sell it to us.
③If you were an animal (or fruit, cars, flower, etc.) what would you be?
④Tell us when you shined the most.
【KEY POINT】Different companies ask different questions. These types of unique questions test the applicant’s flexibility.
In this section of the entry sheet, you will pick one or two points to appeal about yourself. Be sure these align with what the company is looking for!
Format these points clearly so that they stick out. Do so by indenting or labeling these points. Typically, you want to write roughly five lines in this section, though you may need to adjust depending on the space provided.
① Overcoming adversity
② I am confident in my ability to…
③ I have this confidence because of….
④ During my internship with….
⑤ (continuation of #4) …from this experience I gained…
⑥ I can utilize this experience and skill at your company in this role
① Headline / main point
③ Reason [for having this skill/strength]
④ Real example
⑤ Result of #4
⑥ Conclusion (an opportunity to restate the strength)
◆Reason for Applying (志望動機)
Consider the 3 points below and keep your answer to this section between five and six lines.
① Why this industry / job?
② Why this company (and not a competitor)?
③ What can you contribute after joining the company?
As you write, keep your sentences concise and organized. Use words such as “First…”, “Second…”, “Moreover…”, etc. It is obvious when applicants write very general reasons for applying. Therefore, customizing this section to a company is very beneficial.
To do so, be sure you tell the company why and where you want to work. Specificity is good! You may write about recent news, or your experience speaking with people from the company, or any experience you have with the product to give more personality to your answer.
We have covered the first hurdles of the Japanese recruiting process: the Rirekisho and the Entry Sheet. Next, we will discuss introspection and how to clearly identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Author: Mayu Miyamoto
Translation: Ashton Imber