How to get an entry level digital marketing job in Korea

marketing function demand

You want to kickstart your career as a digital marketer in Korea at an agency or startup. But it can be quite difficult to get your first position. The classic dilemma is that your employer expects new hires to be ready from day one, but new graduates often lack the working experience to do so. Fortunately, demand for digital marketers is the highest! What can you do to prepare for the tasks you want to do? Even though digital marketing consists of pay per click (PPC) search engine optimization (SEO) and social media (SNS), it is probably best to learn a bit of all three first and then specialize later. Read this post to get the dream job you want! This article consists of the following parts:

Certifications

To show your knowledge about digital marketing the certifications below look really good on your Curriculum Vitae. The majority of online ad spending goes to Google and Facebook. So it is important to know how these platforms work from an advertising perspective. How do the algorithms work so your ad converts? Within online marketing, inbound marketing is a discipline quickly gaining popularity. It only takes a few weeks or months to put these credentials on your resume.

  • Google Ads
  • Google Analytics
  • Facebook Blueprint
  • Hubspot inbound marketing

Google and Hubspot exams are free, whereas it costs $150 to take the Facebook test. There are several kinds of Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) certifications. They are:

  • Google Ads Fundamentals
  • Search Advertising
  • Display Advertising
  • Mobile Advertising
  • Video Advertising
  • Shopping Advertising

A big part of digital marketing is measuring results, hence the importance of Analytics. What about Naver, Daum and Korean social media? You may argue it is better to start with those, but the certifications above precede Korean platforms and thus are more advanced, have more features and can be used outside of Korea as well.

Skills

Working in advertising requires you to be imaginative and versatile. There are many facets to successful online promotion, below are the most common ones.

  • Copywriting: write captivating ads or blog articles with the right hook that call people to action.
  • Design: both visually compelling promotion and find ways how consumers can use products best.
  • Coding: from implementing HTML tags to handling technical SEO, understanding web development (landing pages) and adjusting the content management system (CMS).
  • Account management: think from the end users’ perspective, understanding their wants and needs and communicating how your product is the right fit. Sales or even telemarketing also teaches you to never give up.

You can practice these skills on Udemy.

We all know that more and more jobs are getting automated. Fortunately, marketing manager is a future proof job (#61). In your office, other skills that you need are: complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and people management. By solving (your customer’s) problems you create value.

Diverse teams are essential in today’s competitive landscape. Knowledge of cultural differences is one of the most underestimated critical success factors for companies. Five reasons why diversity and inclusion at work matters:

  1. You’ll have a better understanding of your customers
  2. Diverse teams perform better
  3. Greater innovation and creativity
  4. It’ll be easier to hire and retain talent
  5. It’ll boost your employer brand

Blogs

Digital marketing is a relatively new area and things change very quickly. How recent channels like Instagram or TikTok became mainstream. There are very few universities that teach social media marketing! To keep up with the latest news and techniques, read some of the influencer blogs below. You can use a RSS reader to easily collect feeds from different blogs. There are also many groups on Facebook, Reddit or Slack about PPC, SEO, social media marketing or web development.

Books

Besides blogs, podcasts (How I Built This) or Ted Talks (audio)books are another good way to deepen your understanding of online media. In any job your employer will expect you to have a positive attitude that makes you want to learn. There are two categories, marketing / advertising and business.

Marketing / advertising

  • Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
  • DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson
  • Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman
  • How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp
  • Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins
  • Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
  • Made to Stick by Chip Heath
  • Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
  • 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall
  • Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso
  • The Long Tail by Chris Anderson (Goodreads Author)
  • Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising by Perry Marshall

Follow the link for more books.

Business

This list of books below may not be directly related to internet promotion, they will still help you understand the principles of business without getting an MBA degree or grinding your way to success.

  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  • Grit by Angela Duckworth
  • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
  • Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
  • Blockchain Revolution by Don Tapscott
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim
  • Hackers & Painters by Paul Graham
  • Launch by Jeff Walker
  • Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker
  • Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish
  • Maverick by Ricardo Semler
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
  • Leading Teams by J. Richard Hackman
  • Give and Take by Adam M. Grant
  • Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  • Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
  • The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

If you have any suggestions for this list, please leave a comment!

Experience

You are still in school but you want to boost your CV. How? Here are some things that you can do:

  • Internship: quite obvious, you may have to send 100 emails before you get one interview, though.
  • Volunteer: for your favorite cause! It shows personality and character. They may even offer you a part time job if you have chemistry.
  • Networking: join a group on Meetup and perhaps you meet someone who needs your skills.
  • Part time job: even working in a restaurant or bar shows that you have a good work ethic and experience with customer service.
  • LinkedIn: put as much info on this network as you are comfortable and try to connect to as many people as possible. A lot of companies, their managers and recruiters are on it daily. You may want to hide your email to minimize your spam intake.

Always make sure you have a resume available in PDF and a (customized) cover letter that suits your potential employer. If you are not sure, hire a (freelance) designer for your curriculum vitae, let someone (professor) proofread your CV and cover letter and hire an agency that ghostwrites or edits essays. If you really want to grab the attention of your new supervisor, build a website or start a blog!

Job titles

The top 3 types of entry level marketing jobs from the infographic below are:

  1. Marketing coordinator
  2. Marketing analyst
  3. Marketing specialist

The top 3 most common marketing jobs are:

  1. Digital marketing manager
  2. Marketing manager
  3. Digital marketing specialist

Remote

Being in a creative, informal and progressive industry, your future workplace is likely to allow flexible working times and remote working. If you want to be even more independent, freelancing or being a digital nomad is the thing for you. There are many gigs out there where you can practice your skills, just be careful of people who want to use your services for free. (Do note that when starting your career working for little money may be a good way to get expertise.) If things go well you can start your own agency! Follow the link to read about getting a Korean business registration certificate.

Visas

To find office work in Korea you need the right visa. But many Korean companies only hire foreigners with TOPIK level 5, TOPIK is an indication of the applicant’s knowledge of the Korean language skills. Getting a TOPIK level 5 will greatly increase your chances of your future employer sponsoring your working visa.

Which working visas are available for job hunters?

  • C-4, Short Term Employment Visa
    • People who wish to engage in a temporary work of fewer than 90 days are granted this visa. The kind of work could be related to music, painting or arts.
  • D-7, Corporate Resident/ Company Assignment (Intra-company Transfer)
  • D-8, Foreign Investment Visa
  • D-9, Trade Management Visa
  • D-10, Job Seeker Visa
  • D-10-1, Job Seeker Visa
    • A person who plans to engage in a training or find a job in a field qualified for a visa of Professor(E-1), Foreign Language Instructor(E-2), Research(E-3), Technical Instructor/Technician(E-4), Professional(E-5), Artist/Athlete(E-6), and Foreign National of Special Ability(E-7); The activities not only include a job seeking or on-the-job training (including short-term paid internship) at an organization or company in ROK; The activities related to Artist/Athlete(E-6) status only includes pure art or sports, and excludes adult entertainment businesses.
  • E-4: Visa for transfer of technology
    • This visa is for people who have been invited to South Korea to give their technical expertise in the fields of technology or natural sciences or in the particular fields that lack experts in this country.
  • E-5, Professional Job Visa
    • Sojourn period of not longer than 2 years. Employers you can work for with an E5 Visa: Public relations firms and corporations.
  • E-7, Specific Job Visa
    • Sojourn period of not longer than 2 years. There are many requirements to get this type of visa, for example a labor contract and:
      • A Master’s degree or higher in the relevant field
      • A Bachelor’s degree and at least one year of work experience in the relevant field
      • At least 5 years of work experience in the relevant field (if you don’t have a degree)
  • E-8, Training Employment
    • Foreign nationals can apply for an E-8 visa after successfully completing a year of training and proper education. Once the training is complete, the trainee (D-3 holder) may apply to have his/her visa changed to an E-8 visa and become eligible for 2 years of employment in Korea.
  • H-2, Working Visitor
    • Foreign nationals looking for employment opportunities in Korea with an H-2 visa must complete an education/training course at institution designated by the Ministry of Labor. After notifying the Immigration Office of their status as an employment seeker, they can then contact the employment support center. H-2 visa holders can only work at places with a special employment possibility certified designation given by the Minister of the Ministry of Labor. Furthermore, upon finding employment, an H-2 holder must notify the Immigration Office of this change within 14 days of commencing said employment.

Follow the link to find a list of all available visas for foreigners, including the working holiday visa.

Conclusion

For jobs with Korean companies many require TOPIK level 5. TOPIK stands for Test Of Proficiency In Korean and the most advanced level is 6. If you want to reach level 5, just buy the TOPIK books and try to do the (mock) test as many times possible. Once you have dipped into digital marketing certifications, skills, blogs, books and updated your CV and cover letter you are ready to send out those emails! Some Korean job boards are:

Watch the video below about getting a job in digital marketing.

Good luck and stay gritty!

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