Living & Working in China

By Kate Cadet

Spotlight on China: Business Insights to help current students grow their career and understand how best to work across the Australia/China business landscape. We attended the first event to find out more about living and working in China.

The Living & Working in China event hosted in The Spot Building on Monday 5th September kicked off a week long schedule of events for the inaugural Spotlight on China: Business Insights program.

Part of the Personal Effectiveness Program (PEP), the session provided attendees the opportunity to learn about key industries to target and job search techniques for working in China.

Personal reflections from Industry experts Jessie Wong, Public Policy and Regulatory Partner at KPMG China and President of the Alumni Association (Beijing) and Cathy Shao, HR Project Manager for ADP Australia  provided dynamic, real-life learning to the audience. The session was moderated by Thomas Day, External Relations and Projects Manager, Confucius Institute and current MBS student.

The Living & Working in China session provided students personalised insights on genuine global employment outcomes Nasser Spear, Deputy Dean, Melbourne Business School

We share Jessie and Cathy's top tips for living and working in China, together with additional insights from Jason Yang, a specialised recruiter in HR, accounting and finance with US, UK and Australian listed recruitment firms.

Jessie Wong, Public Policy and Regulatory Partner, KPMG China

How can individual networks help my job search in China?  
The wider personal and professional networks one has, the greater the chances of accessing job opportunities in China. Whilst building networks is important, perhaps the greater challenge is keeping established networks in the long run.

Should I consider an internship with a Chinese based firm?
Yes. Many Chinese based firms are going international and have set up operations overseas. Securing a job with an overseas Chinese based firm might lead to job opportunities and/or future working experiences in China.

Do I need to know the language?
The importance of being proficient in Chinese is dependent on the nature of your work. However, it is safe to say that command of the language helps tremendously in terms of living locally. Based on my experience, foreigners who know some Chinese tend to perform better professionally and socially in China.

What are the key areas I should focus on in my resume?
An individual should focus on relevant practical experiences and skills set beyond academic performance. Try to secure as many work experiences prior to graduation. This can put yourself at a competitive advantage against others.

Any other advice?
Always keep an open mind to all available opportunities. Looking out for job opportunities in China is an on-going process which extends beyond your first job after graduation.

Cathy Shao, HR Project Manager, ADP Australia

How can social media assist with my job search?  
Big companies in China are publishing recruitment information on social media. In addition, HR executives of big companies have a LinkedIn profile -  so its a good place to start networking and to understand their profile too.

What type of jobs are most in demand at the moment?
There is not a single particular job in extreme demand. Rather, compared with the AU market, the China market is very large so there are lots of opportunities.

What are the key areas I should focus on in my resume?
It would be good to focus on your academic achievements as well as any work experience and what tasks you contributed to during your working experience.

How does the Chinese application process differ to Australian HR processes?
There is not much difference when you compare an Australian application process. Of course, the more you can demonstrate what you know about the Chinese culture the better.

Any other advice?
The earlier you start your preparation the better. The other important thing is to gather as much information about the company and the job you're applying for as possible. The more you have, the more helpful it will be for you during the application process.

Jason Yan, Specialised recruiter in HR

How can individual networks help my job search in China?  
We all know that in China it is all about guanxi - connections and relationships. The larger network helps with the job searching or at least help with more face to face interviews.

Should I consider an internship with a Chinese based firm?
It would be a good choice to work in a Chinese firm to better understand the culture before you make up your mind on working in China.

Which online job boards should I be using?
Linkedin and would be one of the best choices when you start your job searching as a fresh graduate. Linkedin and "chi tu- by Linkedin" are quite popular in China because they share popular topics on career development.

What visas are required to work in China?
If you are holding a non-Chinese passport you will need to ask your employer to apply for a work visa for you.

What are the key areas I should focus on in my resume?
I would personally think the internships/ part time jobs and outside school activities - showing what you have done and have achieved from a non-academic perspective.

Spotlight on China was part of the MBS and BCom Enrichment Program which is coordinated by the Student Employability and Enrichment team, Faculty of Business and Economics, the University of Melbourne.

Discover the full range of BCom and MBS student enrichment opportunities