Helpful advice to jobseekers

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Helpful advice to jobseekers

I am writing to offer advice that may help readers, especially job seekers, to find a job successfully in Korea in these times.

Have a resume strategy.

When writing your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) you should always remember that you are trying to convince the employer that you are the best person for the job.

Your resume is your personal sales letter. It must be written from the perspective that [to borrow a famous quotation] it is not what the employer can do for you but what you can do for the employer.

In addition to technical skills and competencies related to the job, most employers want transferable skills. These skills, while not necessarily achieving immediately observable results, do contribute to the overall effectiveness of the organization. Mentioning and demonstrating your transferable skills are as important as highlighting your technical skills.

What do most employers want?

Good written and communication/interpersonal


Ability to listen and follow instructions, apply


Willingness and ability to work with others

Administrative/computer skills

Time management

Personal management skills

Problem solving

Ability to find and use information

Compose a resume. Here’s how:

Analyze the job description

Generate a list of accomplishments

Identify relevant skill areas

Write descriptive phrases

Choose a format

The resume should be clear and concise, use action verbs, contain job and skill-related keywords, and focus on the employer’s needs rather than yours.

If you get called to a job interview, strategize. Learn to anticipate most of the questions that will be asked. Job seekers must have a fail-safe answer for even the toughest question, including making a presentation.

Remember the axiom, “Fortune favors he who is prepared.”


The interviewer is the customer who is buying a

service (your labor). Always consider your answer from the interviewer’s point of view.

The hiring process largely focuses on two criteria, ability (Can you do the job?) and motivation (Do you want to do the job?).

The resume largely addresses the issue of ability. Interviews largely emphasize motivation. Not having the right preparation reflects motivation as well as ability.

Do not focus on what you want. Focus on what the interviewer wants. Wait until you are hired before asking about salary and benefits. You will be in a stronger negotiating position if you wait and you can always turn the job offer down.

Before the interview

? Develop a clear answer to the question, “Why should we hire you?” Keep this in mind when answering any question.

? Develop a strong sense of your strengths and weaknesses.

? Anticipate questions likely to be asked, particularly frequently asked questions.

? Practice the grammar tense of your English answers, especially the past tense.

? Dress and appear professional.

? Research the corporate culture and style (and follow it).

? Learn the route to the interview and give yourself plenty of time getting there. Don’t be late!

At the interview

Beware of your body language. Keep your behavior professional. Moderate your tone and gestures. Look alert, focus on the interviewer and sit up.

Exhibit motivation by asking questions.

Keep your answers focused on the question. If you do not understand a question, ask the interviewer to rephrase it.

Ask the interviewer if there are any remaining doubts concerning your motivation or ability.

Do not ask about salary, perks, vacation, etc.

After the interview

Thank the interviewer for his or her time.

Send a thank-you note within a day of the interview.

Use the thank-you note to reiterate your strengths or amplify weak answers.

Joseph Hong,,

teaches employment English classes

at a university in Seoul.
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