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Foreign chambers offer advice on how to get jobs

‘Global firms look for responsive, creative, trustworthy candidates’

With Korea’s youth unemployment rate hovering at 6.7 percent, foreign chambers of commerce here have offered advice and guidance on ways young people can break into multinational or foreign companies.

During the annual career development forum last week, the foreign business chambers discussed the persistent youth unemployment issue in Korea.

“We are doing this as a (corporate social responsibility) activity from all the chambers,” said Simon Bureau, CEO of Vectis Corporation and former chairman of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s difficult to find a job and at the same time we want to tell them that there are many interesting global jobs out there,” said Bureau.

In 2009, foreign-invested companies provided 8 percent of all workers in the country and with more free trade agreements starting to take shape, foreign chambers are noticing record interest from foreign companies looking to open up operations here.
Nearly 900 young people listened to presentations by key businesspeople at the Interchamber Global Career Forum in Seoul on Feb. 9. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)
Nearly 900 young people listened to presentations by key businesspeople at the Interchamber Global Career Forum in Seoul on Feb. 9. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)

In the forum, KAIST professor Betty J. Chung suggests to those who might be nervous about working in a foreign environment to embrace the challenge, not be intimated by the differences and enjoy those differences because they can be fascinating.

Rob Edwards, British Chamber of Commerce chairman, recommended knowing oneself before embarking on a career path with a foreign company.

He added that potential candidates should strive to be courageous, responsive, international, creative and trustworthy ― all attributes international firms are looking for in candidates, whether they are assertive, focused on detail or extroverted.

Parth Sharma, vice chair of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and head of retirement services at ING, explained that global companies are looking for people who recognize and aim for diversity for greater performance; are socially skilled with a strong personality; show ambition and are enterprising; are models of professionalism and integrity; are strong communicators with a global mindset and are quick to adapt to changes.

Sharma added that many global companies are looking for people with diverse educational backgrounds and, as in the case of ING, offer master classes and programs to better settle the new recruit into the company.

Sony Korea president Kimihiro Itoki suggested identifying the country a young jobseeker is interested in, then finding the global companies that operate there.

He added it is important to know the culture of the country from which the company originated.

Kim Young-jong, second year biomedical engineering student at Konkuk University, echoed the sentiments of most of the 900 participants by saying that the forum was “interesting and constructive.”

“This is information I can use because I want to mix business and my field of study,” she said.

Ewha Womans University sociology student Kim Ji-young feels that it is generally difficult to interact with new people but found that the forum gave helpful advice on ways to develop her career path, while fellow student Che See-ra believes that the tools given at the forum will help her in her future endeavors to work as a flight attendant.

By Yoav Cerralbo (