An Excellent Strategy For Finding A job In China
As you well know, there are plenty of online articles on “How to find a job in China” and usually, they just give you a list of well-known websites and recommend to use “guanxi”. Extremely helpful and to the point, right?
While there are some good online job boards that we will provide you with, there is more to finding a job. Yes, having “guanxi” (connections) is important in China, but the information we are going to share with you may help you find a job without them or, at the very least, teach you how to develop connections. This is not the sort of article that promises magical solutions; it’s realistic and in accordance with the employment reality in China.
What You Can Do
Let us imagine that you are a young foreign specialist, aspiring and willing to develop your career here, in China. For starters, there are a couple of things you can do:
- Start looking for a job before arriving in China because, honestly, this process can take a while;
- Find an employment agency that will discover the right job for you (if you are a highly skilled specialist you can get their service for free, but for those with little work experience their services could be pricey);
- Get into China with a student visa (for example a visa for studying Mandarin in language school) and look for job here, during your free time;
- Get into China as an English teacher and find a job here, during your free time;
What are your next steps?
If you have decided to search for a job before arriving in China and have found it, congratulations are in order. The same, if your employment agency has discovered the right job for you, then all you have to focus on is developing your career. But if you have chosen either one of the last two options (student visa or English teacher), you still have a little bit of work ahead of you.
I. Firstly, you should create and update your account on Linkedin/ Glassdoor and on the three most popular China online job boards:
- Echinacities.com (there is a multitude of TESL jobs, but still a lot of foreigners found their current job by creating their account there)
- Laowaicareer.com (not as much TESL jobs and always a couple of opportunities offered by companies)
- Jingjobs.com (there are many jobs from startups located in China, and, if you are not afraid of hard work you should try it)
Don’t forget to mention your type of visa in China, your Chinese contact number and email. Remember that Gmail is banned in China and, even if you use VPN, there is always the risk of not receiving an important message in time. Try use a different email provider instead.
II. Secondly, you should download Wechat on your phone and join groups related to job opportunities in the city you are living. Don’t forget to greet all the group members when you sign up by saying who are you and what type of job you are looking for.
III. For those who located in Beijing, you can go to TheBeijinger website and post your own ad to job ads section.
IV. Check MeetUp for networking professional events in your city. Remember the part about guanxi? Yes, networking events are not free to attend, but they offer you the opportunity to get connections and make friends with the right people. The best you can do is to prepare your own business card before going there or, at least, be ready to add all the people you need to your Wechat friend list.
V. If you are a student, the best way to get a job in China is to do an internship. Nowadays, many Chinese companies have doubts about hiring international young people as full-time workers. They firstly prefer to try your skills, so an internship is not only a way for you to gain international working experience, but also a probation period. Don’t be surprised when you see ads created by internship providers that offer you internship placement (not for free). No, it’s not a scam, they just use their own guanxi to make business, which is perfectly normal in China — to pay for connections. But there is still a chance that you can find placement on your own using the knowledge we shared with you in the above section.
However, if you find it to be too difficult on your own, you can try an internship provider of your choice, as long as you don’t forget to mention that you are mostly interested in companies that can consider you as a full-time worker after the internship is over. Usually, internship providers can’t guarantee employment, but at least, they will know which companies are open to hiring foreign people.
VI. And finally, the most important thing that you are not going to like at all is to lower your expectations. If you are a young specialist, don’t expect to have a high salary at first. The times when your international statute was enough for a company to pay you a high salary are over. Now there are a lot of young multi-lingual Chinese that know the golden ruled of success. Firstly, gain their trust, then make yourself irreplaceable, and, finally ask for raise. If you master this practice, you will succeed.
If you choose to begin your Chinese adventure as an English teacher and then start to think about changing your career path, never expect to get the same amount of money from beginning. Yes, English teachers in China are in high demand. Really high. And yes, the salary of young engineer would be much less than the paycheck of an English teacher. So if you are here for the money, you should go and teach English. But if the career is your focus, then you have to be ready to learn and be modest.