Question from a reader: jobs that AREN'T teaching English?

A reader writes in with a good question:

I'm teaching in Korea right now, and I would like to stay here beyond my current year contract, but in addition to thinking about getting a new teaching job, I want to look for other non-teaching jobs, since I'm a writer. Do you have any advice as to where to find English job listings from places looking to hire English speakers? Thanks!

As cosmopolitan as Korea tries to be, there isn't yet a huge supply of jobs for non-Koreans outside of the English teacher field. Part of the problem is the obvious issue of applying - and getting - a visa from Korea. What the average teacher doesn't see is a number of steps that the employer has to take to keep you legal. Opening and operating a business as a foreigner is even harder, although Seoul has been trying to make it easier of recent.

A few places to look for non-teaching jobs in Korea:
Beyond websites and standard applications comes the same advice that works everywhere else in the world - network, network, network. If you have a name-card (business card) exchange it with people you meet. Make one up on your computer, or have them professionally made up at any number of places.

It should be noted that your ability to speak Korean is often a major qualifier (or disqualifier) for most non-teaching jobs in Korea - you have to communicate with your co-workers after all, and English usually isn't their first language. Your skills and education are also important, but you have to show you're the best person for the job - and considering the recession, there's plenty of applicants for each job.

As with finding jobs in other parts of the world, there's something to be said about emphasizing your skills, and how well they match up with the ideals of the position. There's also something to be said about personal connections - who do you know that can help you in your job search? Anyone currently employed by a company of choice is a possibility. Knowing a hiring manager or someone in charge is a great resource - use them, but respect their professional judgment.

Nnote that many part-time or temporary positions require an F-2 or F-4 visa (the sort you get if you're a long-term resident of Korea or an overseas Korean, respectively). The F-5 visa (permanent resident) visa is usually accepted as well; if the company has to sponsor your visa, expect it to be a little more difficult to get things finalized. By contrast, the E-2 visa only works if you're a foreign language teacher - other jobs require other visas.

I'm sorry to report that the number of English translator / editing positions is fairly slim, and that the English teaching market isn't shifting from the 'employer' side of things any time soon. There are jobs to be had, if you're the person the company is looking for. Until then, Korea is still a land where finding a non-teaching job can be difficult for foreigners.

Do you do something other than teach English here in Korea? Comment away - how did you find your job, any advice for someone looking for a similar job, etc.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe - 2009