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Finding Jobs in China


5 Tips for Finding Jobs in China


In China, the traditional option (matching resumes to newspaper job ads, etc), may not even exist for many of us. There are always jobs out there, if you haven't found your target position, either you are using the wrong method to find it, or it isn't advertised. If most of jobs in the global market may be unpublished, we can only imagine how many jobs are hidden in China.

As vacancies often exist before there is any published notice of the job - it is your job to find out where. Your first task is to be very clear about what you are seeking – to make it easier to find it. Your target position may be still in the HRD's, or hiring manager's headcount pipeline, or the idea of your ideal job may not yet been fully developed and you must shape it.

Understanding the psychology of your potential employer will help you plan a better job search. In China, where we know that recruitment agencies may not be our savior, logic tells us that it's the who you know that becomes key.

Research says a combination of up to 4 proven strategies will maximize your chance for job hunting success, given that Guanxi (or relationshps) are so important in China, here are just some of the networking focused channels you may choose to access your hidden job.


1. Targeted Mail Contacts:

The key to find jobs in china is to have done effective research to ensure there is a potential match between the company's needs and your experience and skill sets - and that your letter is addressed to a particular hiring manager, two or three levels above you, and clearly demonstrates the match between their needs and your skills. (Use – or purposely and strategically expand - your network to find the contacts you need for targeting and follow up).

You will get names from web sites of your target companies, annual reports, and also membership directories, which you can sometimes check for free. The larger organizations (like Amcham ) publish regular updates of new members, so if you have the funds to join, or know a member, be sure to get yourself a copy. Use Google to find a Chamber that matches your needs, and also try Googling Shanghai chapters of industry groups, you'll be surprised what exists out there. (See Resources page)


2. A New Way to jobs in china Network:

A few basics first: to be really effective you should first concentrate on be “informational interviewing” with the right people in your target industry to find out more about what they do and what their needs are, rather than trying to promote your needs. The goal is, initially, to gain referrals and information, not jobs. Based on the 1:50 principle, you expand your network exponentially using social online platforms and use a powerful approach letter. Create your “personal career brand” and “elevator pitch” beforehand and follow up by phone to double your response rate. Always send thank you letters to anyone you meet at any stage of your job search who has helped you (Shanghai can be a small place!). Apply these core principles to all the methods you use and be disciplined. Keep records and always follow up.

To quickly boost your confidence in public speaking and introducing yourself, try joining a social group that will help you practice such skills , the sooner you master effective networking and speaking skills, the sooner your job search is likely to show results in China. It could also be a great way to build connections to find jobs in china…Try theShanghai chapter of Toastmaster's where you can get valuable public speaking and presentation skills experience.


3. Make your Job to Find You:

Utilize online social media (e.g. LinkedIn) to optimize your chances of being “found” by your target employers and to meet your target people. You will need to research how each platform works and how you can use it to your best advantage, to ensure you are visible to your prospective employers – both HR and hiring managers. Identify who these employers are, how they will find you, and then make it easy for them. Identify those who can help you most and incentivize them to help you - by helping them. Let everyone you meet know what you are looking for to optimize your chances of being referred, but don't make the mistake of blanketing your resume to every recruiter you meet – see our previous article – this will only bring down your perceived value and impact you – and your morale –negatively.

It is not uncommon for a candidate to persuade a company to tailor make a job to perfectly meet their needs, I've seen this happy many times, even with some foreign applicants. You will have to be very clear about what you can offer, how you can fill a particular company's needs that you have identified, learn more via informational interviewing and persuade them (via a proposal) that you could do the job for them. Use your online and physical network to create a “personal buzz” and get you noticed in front of the hiring manager before your meeting. As part of a stellar online personal brand identity a Webfolio (an online interactive, or visually enhanced, CV) or web/blog site, professionally designed to showcase your unique selling points more effectively, is a top strategy. Blogs are very search engine friendly and your web site can indisputably prove your past performance and signature


4. Homework:

To find jobs in china, research your target industry and be aware of any changes that could indicate potential changes that may result in job openings. Keep in mind: “What job opportunities could this lead to for me?” Think TOP issues: T rends, O pportunities, P roblems/ P rojects.

Firms that ….

have just raised capital

are making acquisitions (M&As)

have higher sales/ profits

just reorganized

announced new products

planned expansions

…..could all have opportunities.

Follow up at your target firm with a letter addressed to a key decision maker, using the principles above. Don't ignore Organizations with Problems: Reorganizations are frequent in Shanghai where many of the Asia Pac HQs are located and they usually spell opportunity for those at the next lower level, and then changes ripple through the organization.

Subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter from Shanghai Business Review to get listings of industry updates, new market entries, M&As and new JVs etc. and keep abreast of trends via your network of course.


5. Use the "Ripple Effect" to Pinpoint Opportunities:

When you read about a company that may be hiring at an above-average rate, use "ripple-effect thinking" to think about all of the changes that may be occurring up and down the line and across many functions. You may also get some good ideas about using information that you read about one company to find job opportunities at different points in the supply chain that you might not have considered, i.e. with their suppliers, customers and even their competitors.

The Shanghai Daily 's business supplement can be a very good source of this type of local information and check out their monthly e-magazine, Insight, which you can subscribe to online.

For a more global perspective on what's happening in the China business world, you can easily obtain The Financial Times or Wall Street Journal in China, or read them online. gives you good corporate overviews (and lists jobs).


6. Expand your Network:

To find jobs in china, Attend targeted and specialist networking events and find out what people with your expertise could do (ask the speaker), research conventions, trade shows and exhibitions, join Chambers of Commerce (see below) and get membership directories, subscribe to trade magazines and newsletters. All can help you make contact with hard to meet people and find more firms to target. In China, where networking and card collecting is fast becoming a national sport, you may have more luck by searching out specialist organizations that are a closer match for what you want than the usual Chambers of Commerce which can be large and daunting for the uninitiated newcomer to the job market, they also don't work well for the unemployed.

Check online to research upcoming China conference and exhibitions at:

You can offer make appointments to be meet exhibitors online in advance, but remember to be open about why you want to see your target and be respectful of their time, ask for a short time, say 15 mins, and stick to it – they are also there to meet prospects.

Check local publications (like That's Shanghai ) and Chambers of Commerce to see if there are any specialist groups/committees for your target industry or function that you can join or serve on – if you can't find what you're looking for consider starting one. Alumni groups, expat social groups and groups for those of a particular nationality, for example, are also a great resource for getting referrals and inside information from friendly people.


Other good resources for networking for a job search or to raise your profile and practice delivering your personal brand statement are listed at:




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