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How To Find A Job In Korea - Step By Step Guide

Working In Korea May Seem Like a Daunting New Adventure, We Hope This Guide Helps Give You An Idea Of How To Start!

Hyejoo Ro
2 years ago

BTS representing different jobs with their clothes

Many foreigners seem to be allured by Korean culture and making the move to Korea. It is definitely great to see more diversity in Korea! 

One of the quickest ways to become familiar with local Korean culture is through work. There are an increasing number of foreigners working in Korea, even outside of foreign language teaching jobs! 

Working abroad may seem daunting at first, especially if you are moving to somewhere with a new language. So, we've compiled some tips and resources to help serve as a guide to getting a job in Korea.

cat gif working on a computer


WHY WORK IN KOREA?


There are many benefits to moving to Korea, we even have a separate blog that lists all the different perks of living in Korea

subway in Korea

In short, Korea has cheap and convenient transportation, is safe, and is a vibrant place to live! 

Working in Korea can be a novel and exciting experience. As with working in other places abroad you can learn more about that culture and societal norms, therefore expand your view points and perspectives. 

This can also apply to Koreans, it seems like Korean society is becoming more open and liberal, and could be correlated with the increasing numbers of different cultures represented. 

nightlife in itaewon

bar in itaewon

We feel that the sentiment "work hard, play hard" applies fairly well in Korean work culture. 

Although hours may be long, the pay offs can be worthwhile, since there is plenty of activities in Korea you can do during your downtime!  

An added bonus of working in Korea is that some companies will sponsor your health care! Some companies may even require you to get a check-up before starting any work. 

Before you officially dive into looking for jobs, you may want to consider the average salary in Korea in 2021 and cost of living in Korea. As this may impact what type of job/career you decide on!

gettting a job cartoon gif


LANGUAGE BARRIERS 


The biggest question that may be on some of your minds is, can I still find work if my Korean is not that great?

The short answer is probably, but it may be challenging. It also greatly depends on the type of job or company that is hiring. 

TOPIK scoring breakdown

Some companies may require that you submit Test Of Proficiency In Korean (TOPIK) scores or proof of attendance to a Korean Language Institute (어학당). 

With other companies, you may be able to get away with a certain degree of professional conversation. 

For jobs like foreign language teaching, you may be able to connect with a student better if you are more bilingual and able to provide explanations in Korean.  

However, it will be beneficial if you have some foundations of Korean. It may imply that you are flexible, and adaptable to the Korean workplace customs. 

hyeri studying in reply 1988

For some study tips, you can refer to our learn Korean by app, or podcast blogs! 

Of course, it is expected that your Korean language abilities will only grow with continual usage, especially in a professional setting (which can be seen as another benefit of working in Korea!)


HOW TO FIND A JOB


Okay, now that we've covered some overview about working in Korea you now may be wondering, how do I go about finding a job?

Maybe you've seen our blog on the highest paying jobs in Korea. Or the flip side, the lowest paying jobs in Korea. Either way, there are many professions to choose from here in Korea.

cartoon of a group people networking

Directly networking seems to be the best method of finding a job in Korea. But lets start by getting your foot in the door, and making connections. 

With the influx of foreigners, there seem to be more opportunities to search for jobs online!


TYPES OF JOBS


Here we will list common job types for foreigners, and sometimes even Koreans!

series of pictures of teaching in Korea

Language Teaching Jobs - This is a job market that will always be present in Korea. Many Koreans are very education focused and will want their child to become bilingual in order to be competitive for college or jobs later in life.

There are schools that hire foreigners to teach, but it is said that schools have little pay and can sometimes be fairly grueling.

Another option is hagwons. It is said that hagwons are more flexible in terms of teaching hours. Hagwons are private academies students are enrolled in to serve as a supplement to their schooling.

potential worker at an interview for office job

Office Jobs - Office jobs seem to be the epitome of the middle class in Korea. Many Koreans also tend to go for office jobs especially with big name companies like Samsung, LG, Hanwha, Hyundai, etc. 

Main opportunities for foreign workers are language-related positions, or translation jobs, therefore it will be extremely helpful to be at an intermediate to advanced stage of Korean for these types of jobs.

housekeeper in korea working

"Blue-collar" Jobs - These jobs are mainly for people with specialized skills for factory work, farming, or cleaning. There seems to be the least amount of language concerns with these types of jobs.

foreign performers for a parade at lotte world

Performing Jobs - Some of the theme parks in Korea will hire foreigners to perform as part of shows, or parades. There also seems to be more representation of different Asian cultures in Kpop bands!


ONLINE RESOURCES


filling out job application template online

screen shot of homepage of seoul craigslist

Craigslist - This is a common website in the U.S for people to sell used items, or announce garage sales. But in Korea, you can use it to find jobs. Also the all postings are in English. 

The postings are organized into categories, so you can kind of filter jobs based on your interests! 

screen capture of homepage of korean job board PeoplenJob

PeoplenJob - This website is in Korean, but some of the job postings are in English, and there is an option to change the language setting to English! This site seems to be popular amongst foreigners on finding jobs in Korea! 

There seem to be a lot of marketing, IT, and accounting (i.e. office jobs) posting on this list. 


Indeed job page with search engine modified with text translation

Indeed - This is a common job search platform in the U.S, there is also a version in Korean! Although the page is in Korean, don't fret! 

You can enter a job title in English into the first search bar, and location in the second search bar like you would in the English version of Indeed. 

home page of korean job board saramin

Saramin - This website is primarily in Korean, but companies will post job openings here. 

There is also an app version, where you can create a profile, and upload your resume, and people can contact you if you seem like a good fit for their job!  

homepage screenshot of JOBKOREA website

JOBKOREA - This is the biggest job platform in Korea, therefore, this website is primarily in Korean. If your Korean abilities are great, then this job board may have the most opportunities. 

english teaching program in Korea (EPIK) logo)

EPIK - EPIK stands for English Program in Korea. This is specific for foreigners looking to teach English in Korea. It was established by the Korean Ministry of Education. 

This program is just one of the many programs, that place people from native-English speaking countries around places in Korea to teach English.  


GETTING A VISA 


visa stamps for entry to south korea

There are many different kinds of visas to choose from. Most of the time, the job posting will list if the applicant needs a specific visa. 

Generally you will want to ensure a sufficient amount of time to collect the required documents and allow for about two to three months for visa processing.

screen shot of the homepage of ministry of foreign affairs of Korea

For more information on Korean Immigration policies, you can refer to the Korean Embassy website, or consult your home country's embassy.

In this blog we will introduce you to some of the more common work visa types

E-1 (Professor Visa)
This type of visa, as the name implies, is issued for those who will be teaching at a college or university.

E-2 (Foreign Language Instructor)
This is the most common visa for foreigners looking to teach in Korea. Holders of this visa can work at hagwons, schools, and language institutions.  

E-5 (Professional Employee)
This is another common visa type. Holders of this visa will be able to work the majority of the office jobs in Korea. 

F-4 (Overseas Korean)
This visas are for Korean-Americans, or Korean-Canadians. With this visa, you have the same rights as Korean citizens, therefore there is a lot of flexibility for jobs. 


DEVELOPING A RESUME


One of the most important feature you may want to include on your resume is a picture. Be sure this is a nice photo of yourself this is may be your potential employer's first impression. 

It is common to take these photos at a professional photo studio.

The general resume format is similar across many companies, you can even probably Google search some templates.

JOBKOREA, a site mentioned previously, also has examples of resumes you can use as a template. 

example resume/template from JOBKOREA webite

You will want to include your name, contact information, education history, and work experience. 

Even if you don't have direct experience, get creative and relate skills you picked up and how they can reflect upon your work ethic. For example, if you did volunteer work, baby sat, or even got a good grade in a class.

Those all can be pitched to employers in a manner that reflect your ability to be a good worker. 

Some jobs may even ask for a cover letter/ self-introduction letter (자기소개서). This letter is where you can go into more detail about yourself and why this job is a good fit for you. This letter should be more detailed than your resume. 


INTERVIEWING 


stock image for job interview

When you applied for a job, and invited to interview, here are some tips.

Look nice! First impressions are fairly important in Korea, so you'll want to interview in neat clothing. 

Both men, and women will generally wear business-suit attire to office jobs.

business attire for work in korea

Granted, the appearance you give varies on the type of job you're applying for, but the general rule of thumb is to look presentable. 

Some common questions you can prepare for are "한국말 할 수 있나요?" Which means "can you speak Korean?" Or "자기소개를 해보세요, which means introduce yourself.



We hope this guide serves as a good starting place for finding work in Korea! We wish you the best of luck on your Korean work endeavors! 

As the Koreans would say when it is time to buckle up, "FIGHTING!" 💪


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