Instructions to Find Job in China
1/ Officially, in order to work in China, a foreigner must possess an employment work permit as well as what's commonly referred to as a "Z Visa." Although some companies in China (specifically local, smaller Chinese firms and some English schools) may hire foreigners without a Z visa or work permit, you should always insist they provide one. Both your work permit and Z visa can only be secured by a company sponsoring you for employment within China.
2/ Finding a job in China can be helped by the value and quality of your personal network of contacts. In China this is referred to as "guanxi;" the personal relationship between people is a key component of how business is conducted. Unlike in the U.S. where you can send an unsolicited resume to a company or pick up the phone and cold call for an appointment, in China, time must be spent to develop a relationship and trust with a company representative and only then can you leverage that relationship to network for a job. The best way to start building guanxi is to spend several weeks on the ground in the Chinese city in which you plan to work (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, etc.) and just work hard to meet as many people as you can (locals, foreigners, etc.) This is where your business cards come in handy -- just make sure that your card has been translated so one side is English and the other is in simplified Chinese. You can also start building an informal network through social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn and join discussion groups specifically focused on China business or job opportunities.
3/ The growth of China's Internet usage means that job boards are well used and many positions are now advertised on these sites. The most common nationwide job boards in China are 51Jobs.com, Zhaopin.com and ChinaHR.com. However, the majority of the job postings are in Chinese (although each board does have an English version). There are also specific job sites that foreigners can register with that will match them with job opportunities in China as well. Still just like in the Western countries, job boards should be used to scan for job leads and then through your network ("guanxi") you should try to develop a relationship with someone inside the company who can help introduce you to the hiring manager for an interview. In addition to the job sites, scan the foreigner message boards on sites such as That's Beijing (or Shanghai) and other online media publications and magazines which specifically list job opportunities available to foreigners. Also reach out and build your relationships with search firms and headhunters in China. Some of the largest and well known firms include MRINetwork, JobNet, BriTay International just to name a few. These search firms tend to focus on managerial and above openings and many of their searches are focused on specifically hiring foreign talent. However, just like your business cards, you should have your resume translated into simplified Chinese as well and submit both versions when applying for positions.
4/ Many long-term, successful foreigners living and working in China today got their start many years ago by teaching English. While the pay for these positions is minimal and will just cover your basic living expenses, the opportunities they provide are invaluable. Teaching English gives you a chance to network with students, many of whom are business managers themselves for companies that may be hiring. During your non-work hours it also provides you time to build your relationships around town and look for greater opportunities. Some teachers spend part of their summers or vacations in China teaching English and then return to their home countries to work their normal jobs. This is a great interim first-step solution to get your feet wet as you learn more about China and start building your career there, to find a job in china.
5/ The other option that is becoming more popular with college students and younger adults is to enroll in a Chinese university and then seek out an internship with a multinational or Chinese company. This is a great option because as a part of your studies, you will enroll in immersive Mandarin Chinese language training and in as little as one year most students can develop decent language fluency. This is also a great way to learn more about the country, society and other cultural influences through the university school system.