Unless you have been living under a rock for the past ten years, you are well aware that China is the economic growth story of our generation.
For this reason, hundreds of thousands of expatriates and students have flocked to China to learn Mandarin, find internships and jobs, and launch businesses in this dynamic market and ancient civilization.
If you are seeking an extraordinary career abroad in a high-growth juggernaut economy, you should definitely be considering China. However, once you begin conducting your China job hunt from outside of China, you’ll realize that you face some serious difficulties in your search.
Career Hacks For China Job Seekers
Here are three major problems job seekers will face in their China career launch and solutions to counter these obstacles:
The first, and most obvious issue, is that you likely do not speak Mandarin. However, how are you supposed to compete in the job market without speaking a word of Chinese? How are you supposed to become fluent in Chinese without having lived and spent time there?
If you are serious about launching a career in China, it is worth investing in a semester/year abroad or doing an independent language study program at an institution like Tsinghua in Beijing or Jiaotong in Shanghai. If you are immersed in Chinese language and culture then you will progress rapidly. Even if you do not reach total fluency, reaching intermediate proficiency will make a significant difference in your local job hunt.
This will also make you, overall, a more formidable internationalist.
An added benefit of doing a language exchange in China is that it will give you a long-term student visa. You will then be able to spend more time building a network in your chosen city, practicing Mandarin in a range of situations, and sourcing interview opportunities.
2. Work Visa And Experience
Another major issue that China job hunters face is how to secure a work visa. The only way to get a work visa is to get a job offer and have the company sort this out for you. How can you deal with this quandary?
As an expatriate hire, you will be more expensive to hire than a Chinese national because sponsorship of foreigners requires registering with the government. In addition to this, it’s inevitable that you will demand a higher salary than a Chinese national in the same position. How will you convince the hiring manager that you are worth your stated salary price and the work required for the visa?
We suggest that you take on a part time or full time internship position while you are conducting your language exchange and education period in China. The benefit of this is that you will gain practical China-specific work experience in a setting that is low risk for both yourself and the company for who you are interning. If you perform well over a period of 3 months, then you might source a full time offer.
Alternatively, if you do not want to accept an offer at that company and want to explore other options, you can source a linkedin recommendation from your manager. This will give you instant credibility as someone who has China-specific work experience and a solid foundation upon which to source new interviews.
This is a potent cocktail for launching an extraordinary career in China.
You probably don’t have a network in China to rely on – at least not yet. International careers will frequently depend on your ability to work through your network to land interviews at your target companies.
How do you build a network from scratch in China? How are you going to convince a hiring manager in Beijing that you are worth his time and energy?
Building a social network from scratch in a new country is more of an art than a science.
The first place you can start is by searching your university’s alumni association chapter in that city. Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong are the cities that are most likely to have alumni based there. Invite them out for a bubble tea and catch up on your university days.
In addition, you can search Linkedin and Facebook for university alumni who are based in your new city. This is a great place to begin in terms of both building a social circle and also potentially sourcing job opportunities down the road.
Finally, you should explore web communities like Meetup, Internations, and Toastmasters. Experiment by showing up at the weekly or monthly events that these organizations hold and build relationships with people with whom you have mutual interests.
The amazing opportunities available internationally in places like China will never cease to amaze, surprise, and excite you.
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