Once you have decided to start your internship in Japan through Zentern, we will ask you to send in your cover letter. A cover letter is your resume’s best friend. It is a letter that provides additional information on your skills and work experience. Writing the first few cover letters is not easy but at one point in life (after you have had a few jobs), writing cover letters is a piece of cake. So using this internship experience is great to also practice how to write your resume and cover letter. Our team will be assisting you with any revisions needed.
In Japan however, writing cover letters is not very mainstream. But because your internship will be confirmed before your arrival to Japan, a cover letter is a good way for the company to understand who you are.

We get a lot of questions on how to write cover letters to your future internship company in Japan. Below are a few questions with their answers:

  • What keywords should I use? Should I use some mentioned on the internship description?
    Yes, you definitely should. A cover letter is a great tool to explain your resume and thus your skill set including the reason why this internship in Japan is perfect for you.
    Remember that an HR-manager has seen many letters so we have to make it as easy as possible for them. Including keywords from the internship description means you understand what the company is looking for and the responsibilities that come with it.
  • Do you really have to customize the letter for each internship or job?
    Yes, or at least tweak it just a little bit. A simple explanation: Have you ever seen the exact same job description but for a different company? (If so, you’re lucky!) Most likely not so why should it make sense to send the same cover letter? I know it is a lot of work but try to be original and this will result in an internship you love doing. (And we can assure you, you will love living in Japan!)
  • How do you make sure the letter has a good layout?
    A cover letter is easy; it’s just an introduction, then the part where you explain why you’re the right choice and end it with the conclusion and a thank-you. Just make sure the whole letter flows well and is easy to read.
    Use conjunctive adverbs and paragraphs. 
  • Should you tell a personal story or keep it professional?
    Personally, I like getting to know the person because lots of people are not very good at expressing themselves on paper. A personal story allows you to break the ice and creates a (small) connection. However, make sure to keep it short. Just 1 or 2 sentences maybe explaining your reason why you choose to intern in Japan or where your passion for a certain field comes from.
  • Can you show a little personality? Are emojis ok?
    Yes, you can show personality but make sure to show it in a way that you can contribute that personality towards the internship company. Do not use emojis for a cover letter. This might be considered as unprofessional and means you will not take the internship seriously.
    You have to understand that the internship company is also making an investment in you by providing you with work responsibilities, a supervisor and the chance to be hired full-time afterwards!
  • How long should the letter be?
    One page would be perfect!
  • How do you make sure you don’t have any typos? Do you guys to spelling-check?
    We trust online tools and Word’ auto correct perhaps a bit too much. Once finished writing, wait for a couple of hours or so and re-read it. Usually you will find any grammar or spelling mistakes yourself or realize you would like to add or rephrase something. At Zentern we do preform a spelling check.

Some of our tips & tricks:
– The environment and company style of the internship
Lately we have seen a big difference between internships in mid-size / big-companies compared to small companies and start-ups in Japan.
It is important for start-ups to have a good synergy and that everyone gets along well because usually the team is small. For these types of companies, a formal and non-personal cover letter might not work. They want to get to know you and see if you have the same motivation as the rest of the team.
Whereas if you apply for big companies or more formal industries such as finance, they appreciate it if you showed more of your knowledge and experience about the internship position you are applying for.

– Use numbers, samples and results to leave an impression
When explaining yourself through a cover letter, use samples and several performance results. For example, if the internship placement is looking for someone who can increase new clients in Japan and overseas you can say: I have excellent communication skills as a result of my part-time job at abc restaurant where I had to communicate with the customers everyday to ensure a smooth dining experience.

That’s it! Those are a few questions we receive frequently. Still not too sure on how to write a cover letter? Just send in your draft and we will assist you. Usually we discuss your cover letter and resume through a quick online meeting so that you exactly know what to improve on. Most of the time only a few minor tweaks are needed :)!

For more information on internships or life in Japan, you can always reach out to us through our Contact Page.