Korea is one of the most active labor markets in Asia. Its economy is growing at a rapid rate, and the country is one of the top producers of electronic appliances in the world, with world-famous brands such as Samsung and LG dominating the marketplace.
Due to this booming development, Korea is in dire need of skilled workers from all over the globe, and they are willing to pay a high price! Good news for us!
Table of Contents
Working In Korea
If you are looking to work in this lucrative labor market, you will need not only a great skillset but also a pristine resume that will impress your potential employer.
Asian cultures value prior experience and corporate loyalty greatly, so they will scrutinize your resume very thoroughly when they are considering you for a position in their company. Trust me, I know!
This is why your resume must be well-written and in a very particular format, unique to Korea. It must succinctly contain all of your prior employment history as well as highlight your strengths (but you can leave out your weaknesses!).
As a foreigner, knowing where to start with your resume is hard, which is why we have pulled together this detailed guide on how to write a killer resume, guaranteed to catch your future employer’s attention and land you your dream job!
Types of Korean Resume
Unlike in Western countries, a creative and personalized Korean resume is not that common. Instead, they tend to follow the same (dry format).
Although there are technically three different types of resumes, in general, they are actually quite similar to one another since they often follow the same general structure.
The Three Different Kinds of Korean Resumes
The type of resume you use really depends on the role you are applying for and the company you are applying to.
Standard Resume (이력서)
When to use this? Suitable for most applications
This the most common kind of resume in Korea. It gives a concise and brief look at your employment history, as well as your strengths and weaknesses, so it can be used with almost any job post. However, it does not offer individuality since this kind of resume strictly follows a preset structure. That is why this kind of resume will not score high in specialized positions or managerial positions. Templates of this kind of resume are widely available to download online.
Resumes for Public Servants and Teachers (공무원 이력서)
When to use this? When applying for jobs with the Government, or official departments
For administrative jobs, Koreans will use a specialized resume that adds more details on prior teaching and administrative experience. This kind of resume can also be bought at the bookstore.
Individual (customized) Resumes
When to use this? When you’re applying to work in tech (think Google or Apple)
This is the resume that you create on your own. Naturally, it offers a much more personalized and detailed look on your entire career and your skillset, making it the best choice for high-value positions. Employers also value individualized resumes much more. Let your imagination run wild and showcase your individuality!
What Does A Korean Resume Look Like?
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that a Korean resume looks extremely different from any Western resume. In fact, Korean resumes are much simpler, and you could often describe them as boring, or lacking in personality.
Because of this, there is very little room for selling yourself or your skills. Besides, Korean employers tend to focus on your educational achievements, spending very little time reading the other pieces of information.
The Format Of A Typical Korean Resume
Well, it doesn’t take a genius to work it out, but you’’ have to include information regarding your educational background and your employment history.
You must include your scores and academic achievements in the resume, as Asian cultures value these achievements greatly.
The Ideal Layout Of Your Korean Resume:
- First page: This page includes your personal information as well as your education history. In the personal information section, you will fill in your name, your marital status, and your gender, along with any hobbies you have. This might sound like a weird thing to include in a resume, but Koreans believe that your hobbies tell a great deal, so you could use this to your advantage. Just don’t be too honest here if you like a little something out of the ordinary!
The next is the most important part of the resume, as it will detail everything regarding your educational background. You have to list out all schools you have attended since high school, along with the GPA for each grade. Then, there will be space for you to fill in your work experience as well as your language skills.
Finally, don’t forget to include a picture!
- Second page: We know we know. A 2-page resume – the horror! I don’t know about you, but I have had it drilled into me that anything worth saying can be said in one page. Anyway, the second page will be a lot shorter than the first, but the fields are no less important.
On this page, you will have to detail your IT skills as well as your past achievements. Keen observers will notice that the reference section is missing from the resume. This is actually intentional because the HR departments in Korea will actively seek out your previous employers to gain more information about you. Thus, you won’t need to fill in references.
The Differences Between A Korean Resume And A Western Resume
As outlined above, there are some fundamental differences between a Korean resume and a Western-styled one.
Korean resumes tend to look the same, and they leave very little space for you to add explanations or detailed descriptions of your skills and your previous projects.
Korean resumes also don’t have the references section that almost all English resumes do. In short, a Korean resume is much shorter and straightforward than an English one.
Things To Include In Your Korean Resume
Here are the key pieces of information that you can’t forget to include!
Smile! Ensure to include your most recent photo in your Korean resume.
Although this practice might seem strange in other countries, it is actually commonplace in Korea. When taking your picture, you should dress professionally and smile as much as possible to impress your employers. It might be a good idea to find a professional photographer who can help you with this since they will know how to bring out the best of you.
This is a tough one since the Korean language does not use the Latin alphabet. As a result, you will have to transliterate your name into Hangeul, the local alphabet.
There are, in fact, a lot of transliteration rules that you have to follow while you’re at it, so it might be a good idea to ask your Korean friends to help you, or to use an online Korean name generator for help.
This piece of information is a must-have for any job seeker. The mobile number will be the principal way through which employers will contact you, so make sure that you don’t write the wrong one.
Korean employers care a lot about your GPA, so you must include this information. However, some Western school systems are different from Korea’s, so the scores might not be convertible in some cases.
You could either estimate your GPA following the Korean scale or ask the local embassy for professional help.
This is the part where you will list out your previous jobs and projects. Korean resumes do not leave a lot of space for you to go into detail about each position, so try to make it as concise and as brief as possible. You will have plenty of time to give a presentation about yourself during the interview.
This is a very important field, so make sure you prepare it correctly. Oh, and we shouldn’t need to remind you, but don’t overstate your language skills!
Although Korea is a modern country, most people would prefer to speak Korean to English at workplaces. For this reason, it’s much easier to find a job if you can at least speak some Korean.
Ideally, you’ll have a certificate to prove your abilities, with TOPIK being the most prestigious. If you have already earned a certification, remember to add it to the resume as proof of your language ability.
The references section is missing from most Korean resumes, mainly because Korean employers will call your previous employers and cross-check your background by themselves.
While this certainly can be pretty terrifying, as long as you’re honest, you’ll have nothing to worry about here. In my experience, Korean employers won’t dig too hard because of the high costs of calling overseas! But no promises!
This is the section where you list out the most important tools in your skillset. If you can use a particular program or if you are familiar with a platform, don’t forget to write them down. Do note that in Korea, knowing how to use Excel and Office counts as a skill as well!
Activities / Achievements
If you have had the chance to volunteer or to take part in side projects, this section is where you will detail those ventures.
You should, however, include only relevant achievements to reduce clutter.
Useful Websites For Job Seekers
When searching for a brand new job in Korea, the obvious place to start is online. Thankfully, online recruitment is reasonably advanced in Korea, and you have several job portals at your disposal.
Two of the most popular websites are:
JobKorea is one of the largest and most popular job boards in Korea. It features a tonne of jobs across all industries, and you can find pretty much anything listed here.
The downside is that you need to understand Korean to use it.
Glassdoor rarely fails! Although Korea isn’t Glassdoor’s most active region, there are still plenty of jobs for you to consider. The best part is that the website is in English, so you won’t have to know a lot of Korean to use it.
Are You Ready To Find A Job In Korea?
Finding a job in Korea is not going to be a piece of cake, but it will definitely be well worth your effort.
Korean employers value their employees highly, so once you are on board, your position will be more or less secured!