CV for China: Chinese resume guidelines
Adapting your CV for China is not a difficult task; nevertheless it is an important one. Although there is no specific model of resume required for your application within a Chinese company, there are general rules to follow. Failing to acknowledge some of these subtleties could play against you, as it may reveal your lack of understanding of the cultural differences between China and Europe.
A convincing CV, along with good networking abilities (Guanxi), is one of the most important tools that will help you get invited for a job interview. Unless you have a rocky career path or “holes” in your CV, an anti-chronological description of your work experiences is the classical way to present your resume. Otherwise, if you have held many different positions in various fields of work or were unemployed for a fairly long period of time, a CV based on your acquired skills and competences is recommended. Your CV for China should be fairly short: ideally, try to make it fit on one or two pages without leaving out too much of the pertinent material. Have two copies to present to the recruiters: one in English and the other translated in Chinese.
In this section, you should state basic details regarding your personal status and list your contact information. On your CV for China, the Chinese recruiters often expect to see private information that may be viewed as discriminatory in Europe.
- Full name
- Residential and postal address: including the postcode
- Telephone numbers: home, business, mobile and including the country and area codes
- Email address: use one with a decent username
- Date of birth
- Gender: even with your given name, it is not necessarily obvious for Chinese recruiters to figure out if you are a man or a woman
- Marital status
- Number and age of children
- Physical situation: should be good or excellent
- Immigration status: if you are already in China, state the type of visa you are holding.
- Picture: dress conservatively and have it made by a professional
Career objective (optional)
In a sentence or two, clearly state your skills, your expectations and your professional goal. It should help the recruiter immediately understand what you are looking for. This part can be adapted to each position you are applying for, on every CV for China that you send out. For example: “To secure a management position in an emerging company with great advancement opportunities. Ideally, in a technical development capacity with an emphasis on customer service”.
Summary of qualifications (optional)
If you have an interesting profile, clearly summarize your acquired skills, abilities and competences in a sentence or two. This should help the recruiter define you and fit the job description. Example: “Certified mechanical engineer with five years’ experience as customer support team manager. Specialises in heavy machinery”.
This section is particularly important in China for different reasons: for one, according to the belief of many Chinese employers, higher degrees automatically translate to better capabilities; furthermore, since the education requirements to obtain a Z-work visa are very strict in China, you should confirm to the recruiters that they are fulfilled.
The “Education” section can be inserted before or after the “Work experience” description depending on which of the two is more impressive or pertinent to the position. Make an anti-chronological list of all relevant diplomas, certificates, degrees, trainings, awards and achievements to show that you have the necessary qualifications for the job. For each item, you should include:
- The name of the diploma or certificate or degree
- The program or the nature of the studies
- A description if necessary
- The level of studies
- The dates of attendance
- The year you obtained the diploma
- The name and location of the establishment (be precise, many institutions around the world have the same name)
Be careful with the wording of this part of your CV for China. As much as you want to sell yourself and your capabilities, you should avoid bragging. Use a modest tone and be honest because the employer will verify any information that may seem exaggerated. For each position, you should include:
- The name of the company, the sector and the location
- The period of time you worked for the company
- The type of contract (full time, part time, internship, etc.)
- The title and description of the position
- Your duties, accountabilities and responsibilities
- Relevant accomplishments, promotions, or acquired skills (give numbers and concrete examples of positive results)
Your CV for China should definitely include a section stating your language skills. Describe your speaking, reading and writing level of knowledge honestly or take a recognised test for a more objective evaluation. Speaking English is a must if you want to work for a Chinese company looking to expand its activities on an international scale. Depending on the position, speaking Chinese is not essential but can be a great advantage.
Being computer literate is essential in this day and age. If you don’t mention it, the recruiter might think that you do not have these skills. Draw a list of each relevant software programs you use and mention one of two levels of competency: “Proficient with...” or “Working knowledge…”.
Personal interests and curricular activities (optional)
This section can be interesting for candidates who wish to elaborate on their leadership, teamwork or organizational abilities not necessarily related to a regular work experience. It can also be a way to point out a strong interest in the Chinese culture (martial arts, Asian cooking, travelling, etc.).
References / Expected salary / Availability (optional)
These items should be included if you are answering a job offer that specifically asks for them. Otherwise you can write “References available upon request” or simply exclude them from your CV for China.