Job fairs for foreigners in China have been gaining momentum in the past few years.
A job fair is where employers looking to hire new people are matched with prospective employees. They are generally held in a neutral space such as an exhibition hall or hotel conference room. Generally, the employers foot the bill so it’s free for job seekers. Job fairs in China are mostly in Beijing and Shanghai, but other cities are catching up. Most companies at job fairs in China are looking for English teachers, although some employers are on the lookout for business development experts and international salespeople.
Job fairs are worth going to, regardless of where you are in your job search or if the fair is not in the town you are in. Foreign job seekers use these events to network, make positive impressions and learn about companies and what’s like to work for them. So it is definitely worth making the effort to go to whichever Chinese city the fair is in.
In China, Chinajob.com, authorized by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, hosts the biggest and most successful job fairs for foreigners in China. It started in Beijing and Shanghai but recently expanded to Shenzhen and Guangzhou. It takes place once a year in April. Apart from these four annual job fairs organized by Chinajob.com there was another organized in 2008 in Beijing by the German Industry and Commerce (Taicang), Greater China.
Since job fairs were first launched in China in 2005, thousands of foreigners have secured satisfactory jobs. And after the 2009 job fair in Beijing, the demand for expatriate engineers, senior managers as well as financial advisors skyrocketed. Every year since 2005 China has received more requests from state-owned or private companies that are looking for professional personnel to participate in the fairs.
Four reasons to attend job fairs for foreigners in China
1.To make a good impression in person. This is especially valuable if your CV doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
2.To understand that the real world is not necessarily organized by people with business majors. Anyone can get into the business zone. All you need to do is be businesslike and check out the list of employers at the fair before you go. This will help you understand more about the organizations and who they want to hire. That makes good business sense.
3.To learn more about prospective employers in person than you will from their websites. This is a golden opportunity for you to ask questions that you can’t get answers to online. Your questions should be well informed and you could even chat about things you learned online, like a company’s new initiative or product. This will clearly show a prospective employer that you’ve done your research and are interested in them.
4.To network. As an expat or foreigner, there is no other better place to meet other professionals. Collect as many business cards as possible and leave a good impression with everyone. This will help if you apply for a position with them as you can confidently mention your connections in the cover letter.
Preparing your resume for a job fair
You’ve done your research on the employers attending the fair, you’ve looked at job offers and selected the ones that interest you. Now you can tailor your resume to meet your career objectives. Try and create multiple versions of your CV, one for each job. You can either clearly state your career objectives or keep your options open by writing up a generalized CV.
It is important that your resume is concise and has no clutter. With so many people after the same job at a fair, no employer will waste time on a disorganized resume. Ensure that each word you use is important, that it’s well-organized and neat. Employers want information that is easy to pick up, quick to scan and easy on the eye. Remember to bring supporting documents, including cover letter, transcripts, a professional portfolio, letter of recommendation and referee list. These are not as critical as the CV itself, so really make sure you tighten all the loose ends on your CV.
How to get something out of the job fair
Dress as if you are going for an interview.
With so many people around at Chinese job fairs, trust me, you need to stand out from the crowd. Dress as professionally as possible. Employers pay attention to little details and they will quickly notice inappropriate jewelry, wrinkled ties or scuffed shoes.
Rehearse how you will answer questions about yourself.
Be prepared to give your name clearly and a brief history about yourself. Tell people why you are interested in their company. But get straight to the point since you do not have all day. Mention your skills and be prepared to field unexpected questions.
Make contact with people and stay enthusiastic.
This your chance to get out there and show your interest though good eye contact, a smile, firm handshake and good conversation with company reps. Focus on your talent, listen to other people and you will get a good feel for the marketplace.
After meeting, apply online.
You are not necessarily in the running just because the employer took your CV. Follow up soon by going to the company’s website and formally applying for the job online. This will cement your commitment and it will probably work in your favor.
Ask for every hiring manager’s business card you meet and write something on it to remind you about the conversation. Within 24 hours email them a thank you note and tell them about your real interest in working with them.
Cultivate your ‘wow’ factor.
Saying hello, smiling and handing over your CV is not enough. Tell the employer your story and what makes you stand out from the crowd. If you mention your career achievements and milestones too, the extra effort will you get noticed.
Job fairs for foreigners in China
Shanghai Expat job fair for foreigners is the most popular job fair. There is also the Beijing job fair for foreigners which is held every year and is an extraordinary opportunity to identify the best and brightest employers and employees.
Job fairs for foreigners in China are really useful events. They highlight available job opportunities, set up networks and help you build in the Chinese market. Seek out job fairs as you would an adventure: keep an open mind, maximize your opportunity and maximize your involvement.