Don’t rush into finding a job in China, make sure to do your research and you’ll uncover a vast treasure trove of hidden job opportunities in China.
How to Find the Hidden Job Opportunities in China You Don’t Know About
It’s that time again. Time to find a job. This time though, you’re not going to settle for the first thing that comes along. You’re going to China, and with that move comes the opportunity to change more than just location.
If there’s anywhere in the world where starting a new career is a definite possibility, it’s in China. As the financial markets and economy of the country continue to grow, so too do the opportunities. We’re talking about finding something which you just didn’t think you would have been able to land before; jobs which you’ve always dreamed about doing.
This guide (of sorts), aims to take you through that process. Starting with figuring out what’s actually available.
Figure Out What You Want to Do
The first step on any job seekers path to employment is figuring out what, exactly, they want to do. Now, many of you reading this article probably already have a good idea of what it is you’re looking for. Some of you are probably thinking about teaching English in China, a couple might be looking to break into the IT industry.
Don’t limit your options just yet though. China’s job market is still relatively young for foreign talent, and if you have some of it (talent that is), it’s possible to get nearly any job you desire. You need to be reasonable, of course, but there are a lot of opportunities in China which you probably do not have back home.
Explore the different opportunities you come across and don’t just limit yourself to the first thing which comes into your head (or email inbox). There are real opportunities to find positions which will set you in good stead for the future. It’s always better to find a job in China which involves work you’re passionate about; just like anywhere else in the world.
Jobs in China which are easier to get than you might think include:
IT Jobs in China
IT jobs in China are relatively commonplace, especially in large companies like Alibaba and Tencent. As long as you have a degree in a form of programming, you’re somewhat of a shoe in. Chinese employers are especially interested if you can show them projects you have worked on in the past, or if you share suggestions as to how to improve their systems. Make sure to mention this in your cover letter.
Writing and Marketing Jobs in China
Back home it might take a couple of internships before you’re able to secure a full-time writing job. In China, you can usually find one pretty quickly. China’s expat publications are always looking for writers to join their teams. Alternatively, tech companies like Huawei are usually seeking copywriters and translators to help put together ad copy and technical writing for their products overseas. If you’ve got an intermediate level of Mandarin, even better.
Sales Manager Jobs in China
With Chinese products increasingly being sold overseas, and with Chinese brands starting to find themselves with name recognition, international sales are becoming increasingly important. Chinese employers are thusly looking for someone who is able to help them manage those sales. That’s where you come in. Make sure to brush up on your understanding of Chinese business customs and etiquette and you’ll be in good stead to net one of these positions.
Hospitality Services Jobs in China
If you’re looking for a career in China with lots of future opportunities, then finding a position at a hotel is a great first step. With a large number of big and luxurious hotels having popped up around the country in the last 10 years, opportunities for foreigners looking to try out their hospitality skills in China have boomed. That might be from working a bar to helping manage hotel services, to becoming a licensed beer brewer at one of the country’s Shangri-La Hotels.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that a University teacher in China is the same as working in China teaching English at a training school; you just have fewer hours. However, this isn’t actually the case. If you’re looking to expand your career as a high-level educator, it is, in fact, possible to teach more than just English. Even if you are hired as an English teacher, it can be possible to request that your role is expended. This is especially true if you can show a commitment to staying with the university for longer.
Check with the department before you are hired and find out what other courses they teach, then see if you can get involved and teach some of those lessons yourself. You’re then able to go from “English Teacher” to “English and [something] Lecturer”.
Research Those Opportunities to Find Out More
Once you’ve picked out a couple of opportunities which you like the sound of, it’s time to get down to business and find out more. Research is an important step along the way to finding a job in any country, but it’s especially important when you’re doing it somewhere new. What’s the job market like over there? What are the employment conditions in China? How much do jobs in China pay? How much money do you need to live in that one city?
Research helps to make sure that you make an informed decision when applying for a job. Some job search platforms try to give a lot of information and context surrounding open positions on their website. A lot of places don’t. If you want to avoid any scams or bad offers, a good place to start is on forums about China. A lot of about China blogs are also good for conducting research.
It’s highly likely that your research phase and finding open positions will be heavily linked. You’ll probably go back and forth between both steps, trying to fill in the gaps before you come to a decision. Cities in China can be very different. That includes the cost of living, the quality of life, and more.
How to Narrow Down the Chinese Job Market
Once you’ve found what you want to do (or have a list of possibilities), it’s time to head to the wonderful world of online job websites. Simply open up Google and search for “jobs in China”. You’ll be greeted with a huge list of different places, all of which have different opportunities listed. But wait. Scrolling through the different sites is strange. They all seem to have conflicting information. The salary for those jobs seems too low, the salary for those jobs seems too high.
This is where your Research comes into play. By using your research, you’ll be able to narrow down which positions are legitimate and which positions are the best. Some websites are just more reliable. It really depends on the level of filtering the web admins place on potential employers. Some admins will let anything be posted on their website, whilst others will take a much more selective approach. If a website is free for employers to post job ads on, be very careful and very cautious. LaowaiCareer is an example of a reliable China jobs website.
Make Sure to Check Feedback and Reviews
A really good way to check out the reliability of a jobs website for China is through visiting review platforms such as Glassdoor or others. For example, the LaowaiCareer reviews seem incredibly positive, with many speaking about how the site had helped them to find a job, or that it was a great place to work. If they’re treating their own employees well, then that probably means they are going to look out for any clients.
Heading to China First, Then Finding a Job
Employers generally prefer when people are in-country, or even better in-city, before they apply for positions. It definitely can give you an edge and might be a good idea. Depending on where you’re looking to work, it’s also relatively cheap to live for a couple of months on savings. You might even be able to secure a short-term lease on an apartment or sublet whilst you’re applying. Try to avoid Airbnb for this though because the costs start to rack up before you even know it.
Being in China can give you a competitive edge against other candidates though. If you’re in Shanghai and another candidate is still in the US but might have an extra year of experience, you’re still likely to be chosen. You’ve already shown a commitment to the move and a desire to live in China.
You can still search for positions online, but make sure to state on your resume that you’re already i-country. Employers will also probably be impressed that you have managed to navigate China enough to already be living there, and they’ll be happy that they can give you an in-person interview. Be aware though, you’ll likely have to head outside of the country to upgrade to a working visa after you’ve gotten an offer.
Price Point: How Much Is Moving to China Going to Cost?
If we take our example above, then we can say that LaowaiCareer feedback is generally very positive, so it must be a good place for finding a job when it comes to reliability. However, reliability isn’t the only measure of a job search website. Some websites can be incredibly reliable but they’re not accessible because they try to charge both job seekers and employers extortionate fees.
As soon as you decide that you’re going to move to China, you’re probably going to be thinking about how much it’s all going to cost you. How much are flights to China, how much will it cost to rent an apartment in Beijing? It’s not nice to find that there is a hidden cost underneath everything else, which you have to pay to the website which helped you secure a position.
Make sure to check the fees that a site is going to charge you. Sometimes these fees are hidden and the site takes them away from the salary your employer will pay you. This is a hidden job you don’t want. If this is the case, avoid those locations. Other websites will likely offer the positions without this added contract clause. LaowaiCareer, for instance, makes money by charging employers to post jobs on their platform, not by taking away from job seekers.
The Application Process
The application process in China is probably going to be pretty similar to what you would expect back home. You send in a resume, you receive a reply, they bring you in for one for a few interviews (or you conduct them online), and then they let you know if they’re going to hire you or not.
One thing which can be a big difference here though is the resume. Chinese resumes are a little different than their counterparts abroad. Make sure to look into how to write a Chinese resume for your industry, and what Chinese employers are looking for.
The Takeaway about Job Opportunities in China
If you’re going to take away anything from reading this, then it should be that you should never limit yourself. China is the perfect place to explore that dream you always had when you were younger. Want to be a writer? Try applying for a magazine or expat newspaper. Want to work in IT but feel you haven’t had enough experience to be hired back home? Show an employer in China that you’re capable and you’re likely to be given that opportunity.
Remember though, whilst these opportunities are more easily accessed, they aren’t jobs which you can just walk into. It’s still important to make an effort during your application and show that you have something to offer which other candidates do not. These positions are increasingly finding more and more applicants sending in their resumes, so it’s highly likely that a few years from now these positions won’t be as easily secured. Just look at the explosion of applications in the new economic zone by locals.
Strike whilst the iron is hot, we always say. Make the most of the time you have right now and get your resume up to scratch. Remember, if you find you’re not sure how to proceed, you can always ask an online service like LaowaiCareer to help for free.