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For many native or near-native English speakers, working as an assistant language teacher (ALT) is one of the most popular ways to get a taste of life in Japan. Positions are available across the country, numerous companies can sponsor visas, and generally no Japanese ability is required. However, before booking a flight or moving homes, it’s necessary to dazzle at the all-important interview. If you’re looking to move to Japan or simply change employers, use these 5 tips to increase your chances of getting hired for an ALT position.

1. Dress Professionally

Or, put another way, be sure to follow the Japanese office dress-code. While many offices outside of Japan may be flexible and provide more opportunities for self-expression through fashion choices, Japanese work environments prefer a more standardized approach:

Men are expected to show up to interviews, in person or online, in a pressed and fitted suit with a neutral patterned tie. Facial hair can be considered unprofessional in Japan, but should be acceptable as long as it is closely trimmed with clear boundaries. Be aware that long hair on men is rarely acceptable, with some companies offering a position contingent on agreeing to a shorter hair style.

Women should wear a neutral colored blazer, skirt, and pressed dress shirt. Dyed hair is acceptable for anyone as long as it is a natural shade. Additionally, tattoos should be fully covered, jewelry kept to a bare minimum, and strong perfume or cologne should be avoided. By following the standard dress-code prior to being briefed will indicate to the company that the applicant can easily blend into a Japanese work environment.

2. Listen Well

If you’ve made it to the interview stage, it is likely that your chances of being accepted into the company are good. This means that the school has almost enough information …continue reading