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Summer Vacation, the Last Opportunity to Land Jobs

Posted July. 07, 2005 02:29,   


Summer vacation has begun for university students. However, they cannot afford to enjoy it by going on a trip or reading novels. They face stiff competition to land jobs. For seniors, the summer vacation is their last opportunity to get jobs. We took a look at 24 hours in the life of the “Arbeit Group,” who devote their entire vacation to working part-time jobs in order to gain various experiences, and 24 hours in the life of the “Spec Group,” who put in hours studying to acquire certificates of qualification and improving their English.

“Work Experiences are Important,” says the Arbeit Group.

Experiences are the best.

Kim Moo-geon (25), a senior at D university in Busan, always spends his vacations acquiring skills at work.

He wakes up at 5:50 a.m. on July 4 and starts the day with a glass of tomato juice. His first part-time job of the day is to distribute free newspapers. From 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., he piles up free newspapers onto a stand at the Kyungsung University subway station on the second subway line in Busan. He is paid 5,000 won per hour.

After finishing this, he goes to work at Carrefour, a big-box retailer near Jeonpo-dong station of the second subway line. From 9:00 a.m., prior to the opening, he checks the price tags of the goods. During business hours, he plasters flags and placards indicating discount sales in every corner of the store and walks around the store decorating the floors with stickers.

At 6:00 p.m., he returns home and turns on the computer to sell second-hand goods he had purchased on an Internet auction site. Kim puts up a wide range of goods such as movie DVDs, clothes, and books. Sometimes he makes money by buying famous brand clothing at low prices and auctioning them off online.

Kim spends on average three hours placing ads and buying and selling goods on the Internet auction site. “On days when I don’t have part-time work, I purchase goods to auction off with the money I earned. It is necessary to have an eye for goods for auction. These experiences have taught me about marketing and electronic business.”

Kim makes about 1.5 million won a month by distributing free newspapers at subway stations, working part-time, and auctioning goods online.

“Certificates of Qualification are important,” says the Spec Group.

To study is the way to survive.

On July 5, at 8:00 a.m. as the alarm clock on his cell phone went off, Park Gyeong-hyun (assumed name, 26), a senior at K university in Seoul, woke up. He had Gimbap for breakfast in the subway.

His first destination is a private institute in Jamsil, Songpa-gu, Seoul. He is preparing to study for a test to acquire a certificate of electric engineers. Park arrives there at 9:00 a.m. to find the classroom already crowded. For the test in August, the class is conducted on a tight schedule, lasting for three hours.

After class, at around 1:00 p.m. he has lunch. He goes to a classroom on the fifth floor in the human studies building at K University in order to study TOEIC with three other students.

They solve questions of listening and grammar and exchange explanations about the questions. During the five-hour study period, they rest for only 20 minutes. He said, “I am concerned about the talk regarding a change in the pattern of TOEIC questions. I have to fully prepare for TOEIC and score more than 800 points in order to pass the paper screening from the public companies.”

The group study finishes at 8:00 p.m. He has dinner and studies at a library in order to prepare for the certificate of qualifications.

Park returns home by subway at around midnight. However he is unable to sleep right away. He has to review the TOEIC studies of the day and prepare for the grammar explanation for the next day’s study session.

Park’s final daily task is to search information about employment on the Internet. In an online café that provides job related information, he checks the “spec” of those who are employed by public companies. “Spec” stands for “specification” which means the objective qualifications job seekers put in their resumes.

“Until last semester I worked hard to take credits. During this summer vacation, I will improve my TOEIC score and acquire the certificate of electric engineers and pass the second rate Chinese character qualifying test. I need to equip myself with the best spec to get a job with the target public company I want to work for.”

Se-Jin Jung mint4a@donga.com