Six qualifications that are advantageous for changing jobs at a foreign company! Essential Skills and How to Get a Job!


  • Career Advice


You want to make sure your job change to a foreign company is a success. You may be wondering if there are any qualifications that will give you an advantage at a foreign company, which requires immediate ability. In this article, we will explain the qualifications and skills that are useful when changing jobs at a foreign company.

We will also introduce how to change jobs at a foreign company and how often English is used.


6 Qualifications that are advantageous for a career change to a foreign company

Foreign-affiliated companies are looking for immediate results. However, it is extremely difficult to clearly prove one's ability before joining a company. This is where "qualifications" that allow you to demonstrate that you have the knowledge are advantageous.

The qualifications required differ depending on the type of job you are aiming for. Choose the qualifications that match the career you are aiming for and acquire them.

The following six qualifications are advantageous for changing jobs at foreign-affiliated companies.

  • MBA (Master of Business Administration)
  • USCPA (U.S.Certified Public Accountant)
  • Nissho Bookkeeping Certification
  • Certified Bilingual Secretary
  • United Nations English Proficiency Test
  • Professional Engineer

Let's take a closer look.

MBA (Master of Business Administration)

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration and is called Master of Business Administration in Japan. Strictly speaking, an MBA is different from a certification because it is a degree conferred upon completion of graduate studies in business administration.

Holding an MBA is quite advantageous for changing jobs and advancing one's career, as it is a requirement for promotion to managerial or executive positions in foreign-affiliated companies, and is advantageous for employment in positions such as consulting firms.

To obtain this certification, it is usually necessary to attend business school for one to two years. The form of study and curriculum varies from school to school, whether overseas, in Japan, or online. It is possible to study while working, so choose the school that suits you best.


Period: December 23, 2020 - January 31, 2021, Target: 234 MBA graduates from Japan and abroad
Reference: Career Incubation, "Survey Report on Post-MBA Careers" 


USCPA (U.S.Certified Public Accountant)

USCPA stands for U.S. Certified Public Accountant and is a certification for certified public accountants recognized by each state in the United States. Although it is a U.S. certification, it is popular because of its high international recognition.

Accounting standards in Japan and other countries differ. Therefore, holding the USCPA is advantageous for those who wish to change jobs in the accounting departments of foreign-affiliated companies and global companies located in Japan. In addition, since the exam is administered entirely in English, obtaining the certification will appeal to those who are able to work in English.

The USCPA exam consists of four subjects, but you can take the exam for each subject individually. In addition, the exam site is located in Japan, so it is possible to obtain the certification while working.

Nissho Bookkeeping Certification

The Nissho Bookkeeping Examination is the major bookkeeping examination in Japan, and is administered by the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). The Nissho Bookkeeping Examination is administered by the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), and is an advantageous qualification for those who wish to change jobs in the accounting field.

There are four levels: Level 1, Level 3, and Beginner's Level. Level 1 is a gateway to national qualifications such as Certified Public Accountant and Certified Public Tax Accountant, Level 2 is advantageous for changing jobs and finding employment, and Level 3 is said to be the level of rudimentary knowledge of commercial bookkeeping.

You may think, "Isn't the Nissho Bookkeeping Exam relevant to foreign-affiliated companies?" you may think, but if you do not have a foreign account qualification such as USCPA, it is a point that companies are concerned about. This is because it is easier to become an immediate asset if you have basic knowledge such as sorting.

If you want to work in an accounting-related job in a foreign company, it is better to have JCCI Bookkeeping Level 3.


*164th (June 11, 2023) Examination Results

Reference: JCCI and local chambers of commerce and industry, "Data on examinees for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry examinations".


Certified Bilingual Secretary

The International Secretarial Examination, also known as Certified Bilingual Secretary or CBS for short, is a Japanese certification administered by the Japan Secretarial Association and is primarily intended to express secretarial skills that can be used in a global context.

There are two types of exams: CBS Primary and CBS Final.

The CBS Final is a difficult exam to pass, with a pass rate of 20%, but if you obtain the certification, it will be an appealing opportunity to work immediately as a secretary in a foreign company.

United Nations English Proficiency Test

The United Nations English Proficiency Test, officially called the United Nations Official English Proficiency Test, is administered by the United Nations Association of English Proficiency Tests. The United Nations Association of English Proficiency Tests (UN Eiken), officially called the "United Nations Official English Proficiency Test," is sponsored by the United Nations Association of English Language Proficiency Tests (UNEAT), a public interest incorporated foundation.

The topics covered include world peace, economics, human rights, and other current international affairs, so it is necessary to have comprehensive international communication skills, not just language skills.

There are six levels, from E to SA (Special A), with the A level consisting of a second round of international current affairs discussions with native examiners, and the SA level consisting of discussions with former ambassadors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and university professors, in addition to native examiners, requiring high English proficiency.

Statistics from FY2008 to the 1st examination in FY2010, based on the questionnaire on the back of the mark-sheet.
Reference: United Nations English Proficiency Test "Persons who passed each level Other English Proficiency Test Qualifications".

Professional Engineer

It is not only qualifications that are advantageous! 5 Skills You Need in a Foreign Company

To change jobs at a foreign company, it is not absolutely advantageous to have only qualifications. In addition to qualifications, there are other skills that are required.

There are five skills required by foreign companies.

  • Communication skills
  • Appealing skills
  • Flexibility
  • Self-management skills
  • Professionalism

We will explain one by one.

Communication skills

Moving to a foreign company means working with people who have grown up in a variety of cultures and lifestyles. What you will need is a high level of communication skills.

The ability to communicate clearly and concisely is especially important when working for a foreign company. Because you will be working with people who speak different languages, come from different cultures, and have different ways of thinking, vague communication can be a source of trouble.

In addition to the ability to communicate, it is also necessary to be able to understand and listen to colleagues with different backgrounds, to make them feel comfortable to speak, and to sympathize and be there for them.

Appealing skills

If you don't show yourself, you will be buried in the crowd at a foreign company. Being "humble" or "I don't need to tell them how good I am or what my skills are to be understood" will not work in a foreign company. You will be taken over by colleagues with similar skills, and you will be perceived as not contributing to the company.

The same applies to job interviews. When changing jobs at a foreign company, there is a good chance that not only Japanese but also non-Japanese will be trying to fill the same position. To get a new job at a foreign company, you need to be able to put aside the "modesty" characteristic of the Japanese and show off your skills and accomplishments.


Flexible thinking is also important when changing jobs at a foreign company. Because you will be working with people from various countries with different backgrounds, Japanese common sense will not necessarily apply.

Take schedule management, for example. In Japan, deadlines are generally adhered to, but in foreign-affiliated companies, there are people from countries with a loose concept of time. Under such circumstances, it is necessary to be flexible on how to proceed with the schedule. To give yourself some leeway, try to be creative, such as telling them to move up the deadline the next time.

Also, foreign-affiliated companies are more likely to change their policies than Japanese companies, which tend to think and act with caution. It is necessary to have a flexible mindset to respond to new things, not to stay in the past forever.

Self-management skills

In foreign-affiliated companies, autonomy is valued more than in Japanese-affiliated companies. Instead of being given detailed instructions, you are given a certain amount of discretion in your work, so you must decide how to adjust your schedule and proceed with your work on your own. Results are more important than process, and personnel evaluations and annual salaries are determined based on the results of work performed by the employee.

The high degree of freedom requires self-discipline. Self-management ability to think and act on your own to achieve your goals is important in a foreign company.


Foreign-affiliated companies are basically looking for specialists. Unlike Japanese companies, which create generalists by transferring employees to different departments over the course of several years, foreign-capital companies prefer people who have expertise in their field of expertise and who can work with an overwhelming amount of knowledge.

When changing jobs at a foreign company, it is also necessary to demonstrate that you have specialized knowledge that will make you an immediate asset. You should tell them that you have achieved this much in a single career in sales, that you have experience as an engineer, that you can handle VBA as an Excel specialist, and so on.

3 Ways to Get a Job at a Foreign Company


Now that you have the qualifications and skills, it's time to move to a foreign company! What are the options for changing jobs?

Here are some of them

  • Use your network of contacts
  • Participate in job forums
  • Using a recruitment agent

There are three ways to find a new job.

Use your network of contacts

Often, people in foreign companies change jobs through referrals from acquaintances. When a position opens up or a new headcount becomes available, a supervisor may ask team members if they know of any good candidates. In other cases, a staff member may ask his/her supervisor if he/she can increase the head count because he/she knows someone who would be an asset to the team.

If you know someone who works for a foreign company, you should let them know that you are thinking about changing jobs with a foreign company.

By using an acquaintance to find a new job, you can learn about the company culture, the team, and detailed job descriptions in advance, which has the advantage of reducing any mismatches after you join the company.

Participate in job forums

There is a way to get a job at a foreign company by using job change forums. There are various types of forums, ranging from those where you can meet directly with recruiters and ask questions to those where you have a direct connection to the selection process, giving you the chance to have an interview or receive a job offer on the day of the forum.

You can apply to participate in a Career Change Forum online. The duration of the forum is as short as one or two days. To avoid missing the forum, check it out as soon as you think about changing jobs.

Using a recruitment agent

There are many foreign companies that recruit personnel privately for reasons such as keeping their movements secret from competitors. Using a recruitment agent is a very effective way to get access to these undisclosed positions.

Also, if you are looking for a new job alone, you may be too busy to obtain sufficient or detailed information, but by using a recruitment agent, you can gather information efficiently.

A recruitment agent who has accumulated know-how about changing jobs at foreign companies will be a reassuring ally, offering advice and consultation.

How often is English used? Check before changing jobs at a foreign company!

When changing jobs at a foreign company, in addition to qualifications and skills, it is important to check the frequency of "English" usage. What is the actual level and frequency of English usage?

English proficiency is required for foreign companies, but frequency of use depends on the company and department.

I'm going to work hard in English! but in reality, you may find that you hardly use English at all.

This is because the frequency of English use at foreign companies varies depending on the company and department you join. In many cases, English is required because of the English language skills required for the emails from the head office and documents required when joining the company, but there are also workplaces where English is not a problem as long as you are not allergic to English.

For example, if the office is all Japanese or the clients are Japanese companies, there are few situations where English is used. If you are not good at English, it is a good idea to experience such workplaces to improve your English skills.

If the office is all Japanese, but the department has a lot of communication with the head office, then emails in English will be the norm. Reading and writing English is essential, but English does not appear much in conversation.

If your boss is a foreigner, your coworkers are non-Japanese, and your business partners are overseas, you will need a high level of English in both speaking and reading/writing, such as a TOEIC score of 800 or higher.

In rare cases, the boss may be a foreigner but speak and hold meetings in Japanese because he/she is fluent in Japanese, and English is not used as much as expected. If you want to make use of your language skills, it is a good idea to check in advance how often English is used in the company or department you are interested in working in. If it is difficult for you to check by yourself because it is an internal matter, you can use a recruitment agent to check for you.

Advanced English language skills are essential for career advancement.

Even in departments where English is not widely used, a high level of English proficiency is essential if you want to advance in your career. This is because meetings at the manager level and with the head office are conducted in English. At this time, you must not only participate but also understand what is being said and actively express your own opinions in English. Even if you are not at the manager level, it will be difficult to be selected as a member of the team for participation in global projects or overseas business trips if you cannot speak English.

Some foreign-affiliated companies require their temporary employees to take the TOEIC test once a year to check their language skills. Keep in mind that improving your English is essential if you want to advance your career at a foreign company.

Contact United World for your career change to a foreign company!

If you are considering a career change to a foreign company, please contact United World.

Our dedicated career counselors will carefully support you during your job search and provide advice on skill development and future career plans.

Gathering information on your own can be time consuming. Our company will keep in close contact with companies and resolve your questions in a short period of time.

We will introduce you to global job openings that suit you from a variety of industries and occupations, including not only foreign companies, but also start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, and major corporations. Let United World be your future workplace.

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