This is the discussion to support members who are studying for the Korea Business Central Professional Certification (Business Culture Specialization), which covers the following seven learning modules:
** Feel free to post questions or insights about the lessons and required content which you have read. One area we would ask for some member discretion is in asking questions after taking the exam. Comments which look like they give away too much information about the exam questions may be deleted or edited.
Thank you, Mr. Bammel. I've had my 1-st lesson and already it is clear to me that I did not understand this society earlier. Business Success Strategies are great thing to start with for newcomers in Korea. Hoping to face 2-nd lesson keenly.
Thanks for the note, Jonruh. Let me know as you go along in the lessons if there anything you'd like to ask or elaborate on. I'm eager to build on the course content with additional perspectives in these discussions.
Hi, I just completed the first lesson, it was very insightful. I have a question in regards to the Names and titles, Does this also apply when sending in a C.v for a job application? In other words would you write "Dear Human Resource Manger Kim" or are there different rules for C.v writing?
Jared - Yes, the same rules definitely apply when sending in a CV for a job application. The only thing I would change from your example is that instead of writing "Dear Human Resources Manager Kim", you can just write "Dear Manager Kim". This is far better than just writing "Dear Mr. Kim".
Got it Thanks!
I have found it extremely difficult (maybe awkward is the better term) to compose email correspondences with Korean offices. Often when writing in English, office staff will leave off their title, and sometimes parts of their name, leaving me in the dark as to how to refer to them when I reply to their emails. I'm often stranded with something like "Good morning," for introductions, knowing that I'm missing out on their rank, and sometimes gender. Do you have any tips?
Also, what should we do if writing in Korean when we are missing some of these details? What's the most generic, non-offensive approach?
Teresa - You bring up a very good point and one that's not a small issue.
Regarding emails which aren't of the very official/formal type, I find that Koreans very frequently just leave off the recipient's name at the beginning. So, a simple 안녕하세요? or "Good morning" almost always work fine and is the way Koreans generally do it too.
If it's very important, (such as an official letter to a high ranking person), it may be worth your time to call the office and find out for sure. There's nothing wrong with explaining to a secretary (or even to the person you're writing to) that you're preparing a letter and want to address it correctly with his/her job title.
Of course, if you're writing to someone who used their English name in an email to you, or just their first name, since they wrote to you in English, just use that same English name back to them. If writing your greeting in Korean but aren't sure of the Korean spelling of their name, you could even write "Jung-eun씨" or "Jung-eun 님". They'd recognize that you're writing this way because that's the name they'd used when writing to you in English.
And, if you know their job title, you would generally not even use their name at all if writing in Korean (과장님, 교수님, etc.), though if writing in English, for some reason, it seems more natural to include both job title and family name (Manager Kim, Professor Seo, etc.)
BTW, I can't think of many situations where knowing the gender of your recipient would change the way you address your letters to them.
Hi, I had a question in regards to bowing then i saw this page and I though it might be useful. I hope it's an accurate guide. A question about the 90 degree bow is that used at all? According to the guide it's become a source of comedic relief in Korea is that true?
Jared - That's a good observation. Yes, you're right. Nobody does a 90 degree bow anymore. It is certainly true that one would bow more deeply to someone of much higher status than to someone of similar or slightly higher level, but even a deep bow is unlikely to be more than 20-30 degrees, I'd say. Most bows in business more resemble a quick lunge forward of the head than anything that might traditionally be considered a full bow.
I have several questions. Firstly in terms of networking, does one network differently if they are job hunting? The logic behind the question is that if you are looking for a job you have no business cards to exchange. Would I still need to create a business card of some sort with my previous job title on it? An added dimension to that is what if I am a recent graduate what job Title would i put?
Lastly the additional reading of "Message # 2 To an associate..." was an interesting piece. Its made me re-think my entire process of job hunting in Korea. I need to think more long term than I am and that I need to be prepared to wait.
Jared - Thank you for your excellent questions to this discussion.
I have never seen Korean college students carry business cards. It's even a bit awkward to give Korean college students cards because they don't expect to receive them. So, if you're a recent grad, you've got some challenges here.
This brings up an interesting dynamic, which is that business cards are not a business tool in Korea before one is at that stage in life. Korean students, who are not yet at a business networking stage of life, expect to get their first jobs through a) pre-existing connections or b) standard company hiring processes. Foreigners are at some advantage in that we don't necessarily have to follow the Korean career track, but that's also a disadvantage in that we don't have all those pre-existing connections and can't (and don't really want to) follow standard Korean company hiring processes.
If you're not in a job currently, you're not going to get much advantage from carrying cards that list just your academic qualifications and past job experience. I would say that business networking in Korea is generally focused more on promoting one's current business than it is at getting a new job. Again, as a foreigner, you get a lot more leeway here
And yes, job hunting in Korea is a long-term endeavor for most people, except in the ESL field.
As a recent graduate (from Korea) looking for a job (in Korea), I went through the expense of making cards. Though you don't really have anything to "sell" as far as a company title, the university name generally works well in lieu. Print shops around the school campus will have the standard layout for the school's logo and colors on file. Put your degree down where your title might be, and I put a link to my resume on linkedin. That's about the best you can do, but it comes in handy at networking meetings--I'd hate to be the only one without a card. That's my experience anyway.