A squeeze in the Korean job market has made internships in Korean companies a hot commodity for both foreign students and graduates alike. This is also being felt by Koreans, who are increasingly targeting internships as an opportunity to get a foot in the door at major conglomerates such as Samsung, LG or Hyundai.
To maximise your opportunity of landing a hotly contested internship in Korea we’ve put together the following cheat sheet to get you started.
The best time to look for an internship in Korea
The majority of internship call-outs will occur November through to December with major intakes occurring in the first 3 months of the year. However, you should keep your eyes peeled at all times for opportunities. I recommend starting to look as early as possible.
Expect the summer months of June, July and August to be the most competitive. Although the Korean university language programs run on a quarterly 10 week semester almost all year round, students, graduates and returning Korean workers coming from overseas will normally be eyeing the normal student holiday months for an internship.
Brush up on your Korean language skills
Yes Korean is a tough language to learn and you would rather be spending your nights out and about exploring Seoul’s social scene with your foreign classmates, but you’re going to need this one.
I recommend investing in a Korean language course if you are planning on an extended stay in Korea. Even a little bit of Korean can go a long way, and having a high standard will put you in box seat going up against most of the competition.
When studying, I recommend focussing your Korean language study on learning key hiring terms to help give you that competitive advantage for interviews.
Try to use non-traditional job search tools
Looking at social media, company Facebook/websites and university job boards is essential for any Korean internship search. You are much more likely to find internship opportunities with major Korean companies through these channels.
This means you can mostly ignore traditional English language job sites. The majority of hiring managers will communicate in Korean and won’t advertise through these sites to recruit interns.
Social Media websites as your first choice
Social media search is essential for any job search in Korea. Major tools include Kakao and Naver: Kakao allows you to reach out to hiring managers directly and Naver cafes are also a great source of information for potential opportunities.
Naver also has had another social media app called Naver Band, which is a collection of user groups with English options available for job seekers.
In Naver Band, one of my favourites for internship and study opportunities has been the ‘Opportunity in Korea’ group. As the name suggests the band focuses on job, internship and study opportunities for international students currently here in Korea.
Company Facebook pages and university job boards as your next choices
Company Facebook pages are also a goldmine of internships opportunities. It pays to keep an eye on Facebook to see what comes up.
I also recommend looking at university job boards. A quick search of any university in Korea will help you find a job board filled with work and internship opportunities. An example of a popular university job board is the Yonsei University Internship Board.
Other useful tools
Some of the top job portals to help you get an internship in Korea include:
Once you have your foot in the door at a company in Korea then you can expect some long hours and hard work. That said, the benefits of the internship experience in Asia will help your career later down the road as most internships increase your chances of full-time employment after study.
For further information about jobs and internships see Asia Options’ article how to find jobs and internships in Korea.
For some hints on how to write a resume in Korea then have a look on Asia Options for some Korean resume samples that will help you get the attention of hiring managers.
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