lifestyle

Write or type? Recruiter lays into laziness of young Japanese job hunters

17 Comments
By Fran Wrigley

Traditionally, Japanese resumes are handwritten on a special form. Recently, however, typed resumes are becoming more common – and one recruiter is not happy about this. Writing anonymously on Japanese website Hatelabo, the blogger, who works for a chain restaurant in Japan and is involved in recruitment, sets out his reasons for why an applicant who submits a typewritten resume should be the first to find their application on the “no” pile.

“You young people, don’t you have any common sense?” he asks of applicants with the typed resumes. “Are you crazy? In my day, this would have been unimaginable!”

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the handwritten CV.

The recruiter’s blogpost is addressed at young graduating Japanese students ("shukatsusei"). Obviously, if you’re applying for a job in the English-teaching sector, a resume in English will do you just fine, and no one’s going to ask you to hand-write it for them. But in most other situations, a handwritten resume is still considered to be superior by many. But why?

Being able to write Japanese neatly is – traditionally anyway – considered a valuable skill. The writing system’s complexity means a relatively large proportion of the school timetable is devoted to learning to read and write kanji. A handwritten resume allows the recruiter to make a judgement (valid or invalid) about the education and character of the person who wrote it. It also gives the recruiter who is sifting through an enormous pile of papers an extra way to get rid of a number of them straight away.

A handwritten resume is also supposed to illustrate just how much you want the job. Filling out the same form by hand over and over again – in pen, without using correction tape, and starting from scratch if you make a mistake – is extremely time-consuming. That’s supposed to indicate your level of commitment to the application.

As our anonymous Hatelabo blogger writes: “Which would you hire: the student who took the time to write out an individual hand-written CV, or the one who just bashed away at the keyboard for a few seconds?”

Lastly, Japanese people are supposed to write a resume out by hand because that’s just the way it’s done. Japan may have something of a reputation as a futuristic robot wonderland, but when it comes to documentation, paper is somehow considered more trustworthy than digital data.

Our blogging recruiter sees handwriting your application as a fundamental piece of common sense: “It’s not just that you won’t get the job if you don’t handwrite your resume. It’s that the person who doesn’t understand the value of writing a resume by hand is no use to us.”

The Hatelabo post has attracted attention online – it’s been tweeted over 3,000 times already – as much for its angry tone and eccentric phrasing as for its content. Commenters were weirded out by the writer’s use of language (referring to typed resumes as being made using a wāpuro – word processor – for example), with some even suggesting that the whole thing was a hoax, or had been written by a disgruntled jobseeker.

But most commenters found the whole thing ridiculous:

“I don’t understand why you’d want to hire someone who can’t use a computer.”

“I’d never hire someone who wasted their time doing such a stupidly inefficient thing as handwriting the same thing out over and over.”

“What? People who handwrite resumes nowadays are idiots, aren’t they? Well, he did say he worked at a chain restaurant…”

As the proliferation of computers and smartphones makes handwriting a dying art for many Japanese adults, it seems this is a debate that will run and run.

Sources: oreteki gemu sokuho, Hatelabo

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Don’t feel constrained by the passage of time – enjoy it instead with the Awaglass! -- That’s the Power of Music – It Really Does Bring Joy to the World!! -- Fashion advice – Almost half of Japanese women say they don’t like guys wearing tank tops

© RocketNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


17 Comments
Login to comment

Welcome to the past. Plus rirekusho traditionally have pictures on them which invites all sorts of snap judgements by potential employers before anyone is ever met. This practice should go away along with the hanko.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I've had to fill in those rirekisho a couple of times. If they were making judgements based on handwriting I would never have got the jobs as my kanji are often oddly proportioned and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Companies that still insist on handwritten forms are clearly behind the times. Or maybe they are looking for the kind of person who can carry out tedious, repetitive tasks without question and having them fill out these things is the first test.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Lastly, Japanese people are supposed to write a resume out by hand because that’s just the way it’s done.

Sums up work culture in Japan really. Efficiency is far down on the list of priorities.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Welcome to 21st century!

In olden days (over 20 years ago, in USA), I had to borrow a relative's account to use laser printer at a university for master copy of my resume and individual copies of cover letters, had multiple copies of resume made at photocopy shop on nice paper, mailed individually in large manila envelopes with stamps, to employers whose addresses I harvested from job advertisements in newspaper hardcopies. Out of over 200 resumes sent out over four or five months, got a few interviews and two jobs.

Now, everything is by email, and a lot more often the recruiters are cold-calling me based on my profile at job sites. Only reason to print resume is to hand-carry to interviews as a tradition and to scan over in the car, because interviewers have softcopy of my resume and won't want the hardcopy.

It is a big timesaver for employers to have me enter application data in their forms or to browse jobseekers profiles automatically at jobsites. Save time = save money. If no need to save money, though, as happens at big companies especially, then no need to save time, too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

...why in this day would anyone hand write a resume? what company still uses hand written forms? and how do they stay in business with that sort of waste?...i'd rather have a productive worker who is computer literate and business savvy...a person with great handwriting is a bonus but not critical in this modern age...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The bloggers argument is based on anachronistic values and he pulls argument from a thin air. Handwriting is important skill and be it as it may, it may become increasingly obsolete skill as the Information Age progress.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Being able to write Japanese neatly is – traditionally anyway – considered a valuable skill. The writing system’s complexity means a relatively large proportion of the school timetable is devoted to learning to read and write kanji. A handwritten resume allows the recruiter to make a judgement (valid or invalid) about the education and character of the person who wrote it.

Bull. It started from the Chinese system of written examinations, and was a way of enforcing the caste system. Only the upper class learned to write calligraphy, and there were even different alphabets based on caste.

Frankly it should be outlawed as an illegal labor practice as it clearly dates back to an outlawed caste system, and in the modern workplace (where 99.9% of communication is electronic) it has absolutely no relevance.

... on a side-note, most women have much nicer hand writing than men, and I idly wonder why more women aren't getting positions if handwriting really is so vitally important. I strongly suspect that the real reason behind this all is that they just enjoy their petty power over job applicants, because even a single tiny error in a 2 page application document means they have to tear it up and start again. This petty little despot is just wailing because he's lost one of his ways to torture others.

HollisBrownOct. 08, 2014 - 06:44PM JST Does dyslexia exist in Japan?

Yes, it does. When I first started working in Japan my first major workplace conflict was with a Japanese co-worker who wanted to classify a child as mentally deficient, but I took one look at the questions the child got wrong on the psychometric test and simply said, "Dyslexia", they were all errors caused by transposing or re-sequencing numbers or letters. ... where the row started was when my co-worker (who like almost all Japanese "counselors" holds no license or post-graduate qualification) stated flatly that Japanese people didn't get dyslexia, and it was strictly a Western problem. This is the size of the problem facing children in Japan, the amazing ignorance of the people who are supposed to be caring for them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No idea what happened to my post above - half of it is missing! Try again:

Does dyslexia exist in Japan? (Rhetorical Q). If so, it would seem (if this man's views and actions are held by most) that a large majority of dyslexic people are probably unemployed. I wonder how this 'recruitment blogger' takes into consideration such things. (Again rhetorical - he clearly doesn't give a passing thought to them).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I still believe that good handwriting has great value. But this blogger, who works for a chain restaurant, is ludicrous.

HollisBrown "Does dyslexia exist in Japan? If so, it would seem that a large majority of dyslexic people are probably unemployed. I wonder how this 'recruitment blogger' takes into consideration such things."

Yes, it does exist here, people with it write the parts of kanji wrong, etc. But awareness and support is still almost non-existent as far as I can tell. Quite a number of years ago I learned about a Japanese woman who after much trouble realized her son was dyslexic and started a group to lobby the education ministry, educate the public, and support others with the condition. I've been meaning to look for her group or any others on the internet because I sometimes see evidence of what is probably dyslexia in my composition students but our university has no resources for them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just because something was a tradition or always done that way, doesn't make it right, useful or relevant. I Love writing kanji. I am American, Caucasian and in fact started learning only 4 years ago. I find it fun and even relaxing and helps me learn tango. But I would never handwrite anything of relevance, in Japanese or English. I can still type in both languages at 80 wps with better accuracy and in my skilled industry, resumes are sent by the dozen by email. So I have to disagree with the article. If someone handed me a written resume, I would not bother reading it. I would not have a place to store it and I would question the sanity of the writer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Handwriting................. really, as I have said lots of times, Japan= primitive & this is an example.

I mean how much do we write, when was the last time you wrote more than a few sentences on paper............I bet my hand would be sore after trying to write say a page & messy to boot haha!

Hell I had/have terrible writing, I worked on it as a kid growing up but never could write WELL, while others it was effortless............

0 ( +1 / -1 )

While hand writing will always remain valuable...birthdays, letters to grandma.

BUT, it is just simply too inefficient for business today. Personally I would take someone competent in Office software over the most beautiful handwriting. More often than not at the university level I have met kids that simply have no clue how to do the most basic formatting...THOSE are life skills in the here and now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I love it when Japanese translate their word for "blindly following every other Japanese over a cliff" as "common sense".

As a moustached man might say:

<> http://ofmusingsandwonderings.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/you-keep-using-that-word1.jpg

Personally, I feel that real, genuine common sense is a prized commodity, imported in small quantities, due to high taxes on " dangerous foreign products".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In my day, this would have been unimaginable!” and here lies the problem. bosses and companies that cant change with the times dont deserve to hire young minds. handwriting resume etc is just a plain waste of time. im not hiring a person because they have beautiful handwriting. id take a smart enthuisiastic applicant with messy writing over the opposite way around

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In my day, this would have been unimaginable! Yes! in your day not ours.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Someone call Kono pronto....resume writing is in serious need of reform here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does dyslexia exist in Japan? If so, it would seem that a large majority of dyslexic people are probably unemployed. I wonder how this 'recruitment blogger' takes into consideration such things. .

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites