Finding work in Seoul
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Updated 4 months ago

The Hallyu Wave and the economic position of South Korea, both in Asia and globally, have made the country attractive for expatriate candidates. The number of foreigners looking for a job in Seoul, the most populous city in South Korea, is undoubtedly increasing. That being said, the hiring process can present a challenge.

With a GDP of US $1,531 trillion - according to estimates from the World Bank - South Korea ranks in the top 15 world GDPs. The capital centralises a large part of Korean public buildings and national and international corporate headquarters and also marks the country's most attractive employment pool. 

Job hunting in Seoul

In 2019, the most common way to find a job in Seoul was online, but more traditional methods should not be ruled out. 

Chambers of Commerce in South Korea

Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Seoul regularly update their websites, part of which is dedicated to job offers presented by companies looking to hire international candidates. A large number of these offers are located in Seoul. You can also consult the pages of the Chambers of Commerce of countries other than yours since the languages ​​used for work in Seoul will be English and Korean in the vast majority of cases.

Websites to help with your job hunt

International and Korean job-search websites should be of great help to you, with particular mention going to Indeed, Xpat jobs and even Craigslist, however, the latter must be considered with caution, as scams are common.

Korean newspapers & recruitment agencies

The Korea Times offers job adverts in its employment section, and you will be able to view these both in the paper version when in South Korea and on the official website.

Finally, you may prefer to go through a recruitment agency like Manpower Korea or Reedglobal and Kelly Services.

Use your network

For foreigners, finding a job that gives access to a visa is not easy, so don’t underestimate the opportunities you might find through your own personal or professional network. It’s important to participate in dedicated events or attend relevant conferences to expand your circle. 

Job hunting etiquette in Seoul

Before starting your job search, you will need a CV and a cover letter that you can send by email or on paper to respond to job offers. In the case of digital communication, consider writing your documents in basic fonts in order to avoid system incompatibilities between European and Korean computers.

Your resume and cover letter should be as specific as possible and define your career plans and past experiences. Do not elaborate on the truth, as Korean employers are likely to do all the checks and you would certainly not gain anything if they find you have falsified information. 

To maximize your chances, consider including a photo ID in your CV: it might even be wise to consider a professional photo taken in a photo studio – which many Koreans opt for. This is not essential, however. Finally, your CV and cover letter must be translated at least into English and, where possible, into Korean.

If your application leads to an interview, it’s good to have business cards printed before the meeting so that you can hand them to the recruiters (be sure to hold the card with both hands at this point). Learn as much as you can about the company and show recruiters that you know the company that is interested in you, then outline the contributions you could make to the structure. 

Your behaviour should be calm and demonstrate your motivation for the position, as well as your desire to integrate into the company. As a foreigner, adopting Korean presentation codes will be welcomed and will also demonstrate your ability to adapt accordingly. Be aware that the handshake is not common in South Korea, so unless your recruiter behaves otherwise, greetings are made with a respectful inclination of the head and shoulders. 

 Useful links:

Indeed Seoul
Xpat Jobs
Korea Times
Manpower
Reed Global
Kelly Services

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