What are current university students most interested in? A part-time job? Grades? Travel? Or love? Perhaps most students put ‘employment’ at the top of the list. Since our working lives are just around the corner, most of us spend our time at university busily preparing to join the workforce. Therefore, nowadays, the upper grade students routinely call themselves ‘job seekers’, not university students. So, to learn more about the ‘job seeker’ experience, I heard from a Class of ’15 Senior. I hope her story will help to shed some light on this process and help those who will soon be looking for a job in the future.
1. Did your journalism experience at school help with your job search?
If you do one activity constantly, you can get a good score when you look for a job because it means you`re responsible and patient. Journalism and press activities are a good chance to learn everything involved in the field such as writing, interviewing and gathering information. Joining extracurricular university clubs and organizations is a great way to demonstrate your capabilities when looking to start your career.
2. Is your major important when applying for employment?
The wall between different field of study is disappearing in the 4th industrial revolution. People from mathematics can now become an entertainment producer and people from the sports department can start careers with an advertisement agency. Advice about sticking to jobs related to your major is out of date. However, if you are satisfied with what you’re currently studying, it’s not a problem to look for work in that area. There are many institutional strategies such as double majors, adding a minor or joining an interdisciplinary program, so if you think you don`t fit well with your major, studying other majors will be good for you. There are variety opportunities such as auditing, seminar and special lecture, so, you should try to find something that appeals to you.
3. What’s the day-to-day process of looking for a job? Do you search for positions and prepare for interviews?
We usually write a letter of self-introduction after we find companies on Job Korea and Incruit. When students apply they sometimes need to complete an additional semester because they need to complete a certain specific kind of certificate or improve their language test scores. For younger students, I think preparing for the TOEIC exam and the Korean History Certificate is good advice.
4. What are you currently doing to prepare and what are the biggest challenges you’re encountering?
I’m currently learning how to do advertisement copywriting in the education center. In six months, I’m thinking about trying to get a job as a copywriter with an agency. For English, I studied TOEIC and OPIC this vacation intensively to help me get a good score.
Honestly, I think my preparation might be a bit different from others. However, I got certified in Excel and a Korean certificate for entering company like others do. It’s difficult because, while I feel like my path toward work is very similar to others, I also feel isolated too. I promised myself that I would live a fantastic life because you only live once. But inevitably I will also become just another component of this big society. However, there are still a lot of possibilities after finding a regular job like starting my own business. So, I’m not really all that disappointed. Learning the basics first will help me achieve my dream of being an independent global advertiser.
5. What can freshmen and sophomores do to prepare for employment?
Well, most junior haven’t even decided what kind of work they’d like to do in the future. That said, it is certain that whatever jobs they get in the future, that job should use languages in addition to Korean. There are many ways to pursue this such as TOEIC, OPIC, TOSS. Just learn a language. Other certificates aren`t needed. People tend to lose their focus if they try to do too many things at once. Just get focused on languages.
6. What’s the secret to getting good grades while doing other activities like journalism?
Grades are evidence which show your sincerity. I do my best because I think I wouldn`t be proud of myself in the future, if I only concentrate on writing for the newspaper and got low grades. I don`t want to make useless excuses and I don`t want to have regrets so I do my best studying. Go to class even if you’re really hungover. Make sure you have perfect attendance even if it means throwing up in the bathroom between classes. You will succeed when you have this kind of will power.
7. What should our main priority be when preparing to get a job?
Interests and skills are the main priority. Nowadays, work-life balance is getting more important. I try to focus on my interests and not on burning myself out by doing tons of overtime. It’s important to enjoy what you’re doing. If the place I work demands a lot of mechanical or uninteresting busy work, I don’t think I could stay there very long. I just want to make sure that I like what I’m doing, that will help me be the most successful in my future job.
8. What`s your Advice to freshman and sophomores who only have vague thoughts about employment?
To begin with, experience as much as you can when you are a junior student. Press corps, outside activities, supporters, I participated in almost all of these activities at university although I had limited time because of my work with the university newspaper. There are many programs such as the primary ACE monitoring, academic seminar and seeking a job group, so take advantage of what the university offers 1000%. Actually, when you are doing work on the newspaper, there isn`t really enough time to do outside activities. So, one way to overcome this challenge is to use the other activities as inspiration for writing articles. This help you to be efficient with your time and kill two birds with one stone.
Second, master one language such as English, Chinese or Japanese. It’s difficult to know exactly how well you’ve learned a language, so I recommend focusing on your language test scores at first. If you do well and really like that language, then you can pursue it further.
Third, your grades should be the foundation for getting a job. Getting good grades isn’t really that difficult. It rather easy actually. Take advantage of the knowledge of your professors 1000%. Make sure the tuition you’ve paid isn’t wasted. Have a desire to make use of your intellectual abilities and expand your knowledge.
9. What are some final words you have for other university students?
Truthfully, we have a serious unemployment crisis, but, even though I’m a senior now, I don’t think it’s a serious problem. Students who apply themselves and spend their time wisely at university (like me) will be able to get by. Because we can really do anything, we should think, “What do I really want to do and where do I really want to go?” I hope that you discover the path that really makes you happy and follow it over the next four years.
Through this interview, we learned what we must do to prepare for future employment, how to prepare for something perhaps easier, and how to prioritize our efforts. There was a lot of good advice here and many points that I hadn’t previously considered or heard of. In this era, when we call employment another kind of war, we can still get valuable information even if it doesn’t cost anything. With these valuable tips, hopefully we’ll be able to land a job with ease, or at least a bit easier than it would have been otherwise.< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >