Chinese government is about to release its thirteenth and final “Five-Year
Plan” for in-demand sectors in business. As the country continues to open up to
international trade, jobs are a-plenty for foreigners in many different fields.
Here we list some tips and tricks for finding a good job in your field in
underestimate the importance of your networks
interviewed several people for this article – a translator, a business
development expert and a sales manager, all of them hailing from outside of
China. They all agreed on one point: do not underestimate the importance of any
contacts you may have in the country, even before arriving. Did a former boss
hold an interesting job in China? Does someone you work with know someone here?
Whatever the connection, do like the Chinese and work your network. With one
exception, everyone interviewed found their current job through someone they
knew – either a personal connection, someone they went to school with, or a
friend of a friend. Start before you leave home; as soon as you start thinking
about living and working in China, think about who you might know in your home
country who could give you a hand. Once you’ve arrived, that goes double. China
is, generally speaking, an easy place to network in – everyone’s looking to
make useful connections, and as the saying goes, “It only takes one.”
a position online
is divided on the usefulness of LinkedIn, but regional sales manager Rogelio*
found his job in Shanghai on the business networking site. Keeping your profile
up to date is essential, and as with all job applications, make sure your CV and cover letter are tailored to the position you’re applying for.
China, local online job listings like 51job.com or zhaopin.com can also be used
– just sign up and post your resume. Be warned, though, that Chinese websites
can be hard to navigate for those unfamiliar with the layout and many are
tailored for Chinese jobseekers. Another, easier option for those looking in
the bigger cities are local expat websites and magazines, like our very own job of course! Be aware, though,
that the job ads listed on these sites usually require you to be located in the
city your job hunt is targeting, in order to ensure you are available for an
in-person interview on short notice. If you want to secure a position before
moving to China, LinkedIn is a better bet.
jobs in China from abroad
the websites mentioned above are more general, many countries have specific
ties with China and a website to go along with it. Check out your country’s
Chamber of Commerce in China as well as the job ads on your consulate’s website
– or, indeed, the consulates for countries where your language is spoken.
Spanish speakers with strong English skills have a particular advantage, and
anyone with good Mandarin (written and spoken) stands twice the chance of
someone who has yet to acquire a working knowledge of Chinese. Business
development manager Amy* was hired by a talent recruitment firm in Shanghai
without any prior experience in the field in China, mainly, she says, due to
her HSK4 level Mandarin. If English isn’t your first language, taking a refresher course can also be a good way of boosting your chances of finding a job in your field.
is of course the touchstone of any of the writing professions – and the demand
for translators working with Chinese (usually out of Chinese into their mother
tongue) is on the rise in China. Anna*, who works for a local
telecommunications company in Shanghai, says she works mainly on legal and
technical texts, and is the office’s unofficial interpreter and cultural
mediator when questions arise. For those with a passion for communication and
excellent Chinese skills (HSK6 is usually required for those working in the
translation field), this kind of job can be a good option.
and cons of Chinese management
our interviewees agreed on one point: flexibility is essential when working for
Chinese management, and that can be both a curse and a blessing. If you’re
looking for work in China, most of the opportunities are with Chinese-run
companies, unless you work in STEM or the automotive industry. This means
adapting to a different business culture. Rogelio mentioned the difficulties
that can sometimes arise from being the only foreigner in the office, feeling
isolated in the workplace. Chinese companies are also notorious for the red
tape involved in almost any process, though they are hardly alone in this. The
pros of working in China varied: some cite the travel opportunities that come along
with working in the sales and import-export industry, others said it was
gratifying and rewarding to facilitate communication between different
cultures. Everyone agreed that their work experience in China was a valuable
addition to their CV.
you search online or work your network, if you do your homework finding a job
in China is easy enough. Make sure you double check the company’s reputation
and run any job offers you get by someone with a bit more experience in your
field. If you follow these simple steps, it will all be plain sailing.