How to Prepare Your Resume & Interview for Jobs in China

In China, the country with the most people, "queuing up" or "queue-jumping" is almost a national pastime. There is rivalry for everything in China, from the morning baozi line to the graduate positions at KPMG.

Learn the ins and outs of applying for employment in China as a foreigner and ace your interview to set yourself apart from the competition.

CV Preparation

The ideal way to present and structure a professional CV is a matter of debate. While there are no hard and fast guidelines in China, Western employers tend to prefer resumes that are no more than two or three pages long. It is important to take into account the country of the employing firm and maybe the stated name of the HR Manager, since organizations based in Continental Europe tend to favor the lengthier format.

Then, it's important to tailor your resume to the specifics of the position. A graduate's résumé is typically seen as a chance to highlight all of their accomplishments, no matter how little, all the way back to elementary school. With more items, one might expect a higher point total. The harsh truth, however, is that many of your achievements and experiences will be irrelevant to a work position in China. If it's hard for a potential employer to see how your background and experience are applicable to the role, you probably won't be called back for an interview. When applying for a job, it's preferable to highlight your most relevant talents in a concise CV.

Your CV's Presentation

It is recommended, but not required, to begin your resume with a career aim that is tailored to the open job. You should next highlight your primary academic credentials and any relevant job or internship experience you may have had (particularly in China). Without a bachelor's degree, it might be challenging to find job in China and much more so to get a visa to work in China. For immigration reasons, including the start and end dates of your bachelor's degree program is also crucial; we'll go into that further below.


The way you describe your educational and professional experience should be modified for each individual job posting. An someone with a BA in liberal arts may write a thesis titled "Post-modern interpretation of Chinese foreign policy," for instance. They want to be hired as research assistants at a Beijing think tank. In this case, the subject of their thesis has to be highlighted in their academic background.

However, if you're applying for a work as a business development manager at an agri-business firm, a Bachelor of Arts with Majors in International Relations and Chinese would do. There is no correlation between the advertised job and the subject matter of the honors thesis. You shouldn't seem too scholarly if the role calls for more of a practical, less academic attitude.

On the other side, a background in hospitality would be a poor fit for a policy think tank but would be ideal for a business development position that relies heavily on customer service and the ability to perform effectively under pressure. There is also no harm in mentioning work in customer service in a bar or a fast food restaurant if you feel that it is relevant to the position you are applying for.

Electives, Interests, and Activities

After including your relevant schooling and work experience, you should condense your extracurricular achievements into a separate section. Consider highlighting accomplishments like "coming in second place in the Hanyu Qiao Language Proficiency Contest" if you're applying for jobs in China.

It is not always important to include abilities on a resume, particularly because you will likely not have enough room on the page to expound on these characteristics using the STAR method. Instead, simply mention these abilities in your application letter and keep the in-depth explanation for the interview. Alternately, you may weave your abilities throughout your resume by listing them individually under each employment experience.

Included on your CV should also be a summary of your hobbies, a list of people you've nominated as references, and a description of your volunteer work or other contributions to the community. When considering a candidate for a job, corporate recruiters pay close attention to their candidates' hobbies and interests. It's important to blend in with the group on a business trip to Guangzhou, where you could spend up to 10 hours together.

Your resume, as a whole, has to be concise, relevant, and clear if you want to catch the attention of the employer and go on to the next stage of the application process.

Succeeding in Your Job Interview

The interview is the focal point of the employment search process. No need to worry about updating your résumé any longer. That was only a carrot on a stick to attract you inside. It's important to remember that even if your application is flawless, there will always be other candidates who are better overall. You may, however, take charge of your level of readiness for the interview and show up on the big day feeling confident and ready to succeed. You should learn as much as possible about the firm before an interview, including where it is headquartered, how its stock is doing (if relevant), and the products and services on which it primarily focuses in China. The interview is not the time to demonstrate all you've learned; nevertheless, if you have the chance to relate what you know about the firm to the interviewer's question, you should take it!

During the interview, it will do you well to expound on the STAR method by which you honed a certain talent, as well as to keep in mind a few of other peculiarities of the Chinese job market.

A Commitment for the Long Haul

China has a major issue keeping its workers around, particularly its international ones. Keeping foreign workers on staff for more than a year may be challenging in China due to the country's high employee turnover rate, poor working conditions, and low wage expectations. Therefore, the ability to offer a corporation a commitment of two years or more might be a major selling factor. It's also a plus if you can mention if you have a pet or a partner in the same city. In China, the expat community is quite tiny; yet, the truth always finds its way back to you if you're not careful.

Participant observer

As an additional consideration while seeking employment in China, know that employers may not always be looking for a direct match between your skills and those listed in the job description. This is due to the shallowness of China's foreign labor pool, which often lacks in both skills and experience. Therefore, you shouldn't be shy about applying for employment that aren't directly related to your major. You can also emphasize in the interview that you are eager to acquire new abilities to better fit the demands of the organization. You'll see right away that in China, as in the West, 'attitude' is paramount.

Competence in the Chinese Language

It would benefit you immensely in the interview if you highlight your ability to speak Chinese or any previous experience you may have had in China. To be hired by a Chinese company, you may need to write a self-introduction in Chinese. Other frequent Mandarin inquiries include:

Please explain your motivation for wanting this job.

What are your qualifications?

Just how did you get to be where you are right now?

I was wondering where you choose to take your Chinese classes.

When answering interview questions in Chinese, it's important to maintain eye contact and talk slowly and nicely. For instance, the courteous option is to use (nin) rather than (ni). You will not seem bad if you ask the interviewer to repeat the question once. You now have more time to think about your response. Acquiring the Mandarin name of the organization and the translation of the job being offered would be helpful.


Last but not least, make an impression that is both professional and confident in terms of your appearance and manner of speech. Similarly to the West, this is vital in China, but more so for the country's youth. This is due to the fact that younger workers in China may more easily take on positions that would traditionally belong to their more experienced Western counterparts. People in the prime of their working lives (those aged 35 to 50) often avoid China for reasons like higher wages in the West and the desire to raise a family there. Younger job-seekers in China who have excellent language abilities will thus have an easier time advancing in their chosen fields. You will go farther if you present yourself as competent and confident.


If you're applying for a job in China, it's a good idea to follow the standard practices established in the West for crafting resumes and conducting interviews. However, knowing the pain points of Chinese employers in areas like dedication, language skills, skill development, and professionalism could be the deciding factor in getting you hired.

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