Foreigners Describe Korean Resume Requirements as “Shocking”


Some may be surprised to learn that there are requirements in some Korean resumes that would be considered shocking in other countries.

Many companies require a photo, height, weight, and even family backgrounds of the applicant as part of the application process.

The photo taking is a huge stress to those looking for a job. Park Eun Mi, a young applicant, said, “It costs a lot of money, since you would probably get your hair and makeup done professionally for those photos. Even as I’m getting the photos taken, I think I wonder why exactly I have to do this.”

On the Internet, tips as to how to take a good photo just for application purposes are everywhere.

Of course, this type of resume is hard to understand for many foreigners. American Santana described the practice as ‘shocking,’ saying, “In America we don’t put our picture or our birthday, things like that on our resumes. It lays the groundwork for discrimination whether it be on age, gender, or appearance.”

Since 2007, the Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor is recommending a standard resume that forgoes pictures and family backgrounds to try to stop employers from focusing more on looks than skills; however, not many companies have adapted the standard resume.

In fact, motion to make photos and physical appearance requirements illegal on resumes was made, but it has not gotten much attention and has been on the back burner for three years.

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