How to Spice up Your China Resume

Once upon a time, all you needed to get a high-paying job in China was a foreign countenance and a few middling abilities. Those days are long gone, and it takes a lot more to get a dream job in the Middle Kingdom nowadays. The "de-foreignerzation" of China's workforce is influenced by a number of factors, including rising competition in the labor market, a slowing economy, and stricter visa requirements implemented by the government. Even so, if you have what it takes, there's no reason you can't thrive in a Chinese business; you simply need to spice up your China CV and adapt it to the expectations of Chinese employers.

Some resume-altering tips are provided below:


If you want to work in China, the first thing you need to do is study Mandarin. Depending on the nature of the job, you may not require any Mandarin at all, simply conversational Mandarin, or a command of the written language. The HSK exams are the gold standard for measuring language skills. Be sure to put your HSK 6 certification front and center on your resume if you've reached expert status. You should be honest about your current proficiency in Mandarin Chinese and say if you're at a lower level, but also that you're actively learning to improve, ideally with a private tutor or at a Mandarin language school. In order to impress potential employers, you should demonstrate that you are actively working to enhance your language skills.

Having Worked Before

Experience working in the same field, or even better, for a rival, can increase your attractiveness to Chinese employers. More popular in China than in the West, job hopping may be beneficial to your career since it exposes you to new ideas and practices in the workplace. It is important to disclose any connections you have to Chinese businesses or rival firms when submitting a CV.

Before you start applying for your ideal career in China, you should aim to get an internship in your desired field. You'll need to buckle down if you want to break into the Chinese market and earn that essential expertise, since many internships don't pay and won't grant an official work visa. If you are looking for an internship, you may either contact firms directly or internship placement agencies. Internships may be found on job boards such as eChinacities (plug, plug).

A Look at China From the Inside

Working experience in a Chinese firm or extensive travel around China is highly valued by employers. They want guarantees that you'll fit in well with the local workforce and have experience working in China. So, document all you can about your time in China. Include everything relevant to China on your resume, from job to study abroad to internships to travel to Mandarin courses to membership in Chinese-related groups in your own country (such Confucius Institutes).

Not only that, but keep in mind that being physically present in China will make the hiring process much smoother for them. This will likely work against you if you're applying from a long distance. Face and look are very important in China, therefore the employer will want to know they can see you in person before moving further. If you're not already in China at the time of your application, mention that you'll be relocating to the area soon.

Don't Break the Bank

Volunteer experience and extracurricular activities help Western employers get to know potential employees better. Unfortunately, Chinese businesses aren't among them. Human resources managers in China are increasingly focused on data. Your professional experience is more important than your college service trip to Guatemala, and your status as an amateur chess champion is irrelevant.

It's natural to pause and wonder, "Didn't you just say list everything China??? Of course, if you're a Shaolin Kung Fu master or a volunteer in Southern Sichuan, you're in a different league. If that's the case, you should tell your prospective employer.


It's a good idea to mention on your resume or in the first interview if you have a work visa (or another type of visa) that is valid for three to six months. The recruiter may opt to hire a foreign national on a trial basis for a few months before deciding whether to keep him or her on board permanently because of the hassle involved in obtaining a work visa for a non-U.S. citizen. If you and another candidate are otherwise equally qualified, HR may give preference to the one who already has a visa that allows them to stay for several months.

As you can see, there are a number of things you can do to your resume to increase your chances of getting hired in China. Making your skills more appealing to a Chinese employer can improve your job prospects without requiring you to lie. Have fun!

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