Dear Non-Teaching Job Seekers in Korea,
Dropping my Korean skills from an advanced intermediate level to a merely simple conversational level was already a huge bummer in my job searching journey. The very first time I attended a JOB Fair made it clear to me that one has to be fluent in Korean to actually get the attention of the person manning the booth. More so,
the conversation will always start with, “한국말 할 줄 알아요?” – if you couldn’t even read or understand that phrase, do not even bother selling yourself to them.
Fortunately, a list of experiences which involves a Korean company may give you a slight chance for that job. It precisely delivers the idea that you are familiar with how the Korean Working Culture, well, works – and that is very important to them
perhaps simply because they want to impose their superiority on you.
Prior to my graduation, I have asked the help of my seonbae in writing my cover letter in Korean. Several blogs have reminded me how a Korean resume and cover letter is preferred over other styles. The 빨리-빨리 palli-palli culture of Korea may have influenced this format – a list of schools you’ve attended including your GPA, a list of your skills (i.e. MS Word/PPT/Excel etc) which must be proven with a certificate from a certain academy, a list of your language scores (TOPIK/JLPT/TOIEC/etc), and more facts paired up with figures. I, personally, do not agree with this because in this modern-age kids learn how to cook just by watching YouTube.
The cover letter, on the other hand, is your space for redemption. From what I have learned, a Korean cover letter is not necessarily written in a letter mail format; instead, it is a page where you have to provide a paragraph or two to these questions/topics.
- 성장 배경 background – narrate your family background, your family’s upbringing of you, (for example: my parents are musically-inclined people and they influenced me to attend a piano academy OR my family is a devoted Christian which…. blah blah)
- 성경의 장단점 your strengths and weaknesses self-explanatory
- 화창시절 및 특히 사항 – talk about your expertise, your achievements, your experiences, your skills this is where you could explain briefly how great of a Web designer you are without enrolling in an academy – tell them about your clients and the number of projects you have successfully launched! not everything is proven by a certificate, this is just the space to defend yourself – but don’t overdo it! and finally,
- 지원동기및 포부 why they should hire you. again, self-explanatory.
Put much time and effort in preparing these two as they are your sword to this battle of unemployment. First impressions matter in Korea; therefore, do not just randomly download a photo from your Facebook and paste it in your resume. Also, take note what type of visa the job requires and if the company is willing to sponsor your visa (more about this on my next post!).
Prepare yourself physically, emotionally, and psychologically for this challenge.
Good luck and keep posted for the next part – what to do with your resume and cover letter!
PS. Many of the available non-teaching jobs in Korea involves social-media management or translation services; therefore, perk up your social accounts and brush up your writing skills. Do not be ashamed of your 10k followers in Instagram or your spamming attitude in Facebook. This may not sound like the career you wanted but you can always earn the badge of having worked in a Korean Company after! So, do not lose hope 😉
We all have different opinions and experiences, comment down below how you wrote your resume or cover letter! Or share to us your job-searching experience in Korea as well 🙂
This post is written from the perspective of a Korean Government Scholar (if that actually makes an impact) who just graduated from a Korean University with an M.A. degree. This will be written in series as there is so much to consider and talk about the job-searching process here in Korea. So this is. no. 1.