How much time do you think you have to get the HR manager’s attention with your Chinese CV? Normally, you get less than 20 seconds!
In another article in our series of “Perfect CVs”, we discover the Chinese best practices to write a CV. If you are more interested in the French market, you can find the French version here. And the British / American version can be found here.
The Chinese labour market is super competitive. There could be up to 1000 candidates competing for just one position. To make matters more difficult, it is far less common to write a cover letter in China than abroad, meaning the CV is the most important thing and the fundamental step in your job-hunting journey. It is worth taking your time on your Chinese CV if you want to find your dream job in China or in a Chinese company abroad.
Remember, it is not enough to just translate the English CV directly into Chinese. You need to make sure that the Chinese CV is informative and effectively localised. Here you can find a good template for your Chinese CV!
Here are some practical tips for you to create a great Chinese CV
2 pages max and keep it concise.
Normally, the Chinese CV should be up to 2 pages in total. However, since you only get 20 seconds to tell a story, it would be even more ideal to keep it within one page. Don’t make the layout too creative or colourful unless you are applying for art or design-related jobs. Generally, two colours would be enough.
In-detail personal information in a Chinese CV
At the beginning of your CV, be sure to enclose your personal information in detail and clarify which position you are applying for. Personal information refers to name, telephone number, email address, home address and the highest level of education that you have achieved. A mobile number is critical in the Chinese job market because most of the hiring managers would call you to get to know you better and inform you of further details. As for the email address, it is better to have your name within it. Don’t use an email account that looks unprofessional or could be blocked by the Great Firewall of China.
A professional profile photo shows your positive attitude
It is best to attach your professional profile photo on the top of your CV. Avoid using a passport photo or selfie. A professional profile photo shows your attitude towards this job application; you are serious about this application, you are professional and you are well prepared to work once you get this job. Don’t use photoshop, all you need to do is to look tidy and formal. Furthermore, don’t use a black and white photo in your Chinese CV as it would appear unusual in Chinese culture.
Describe your work experience in the right way!
This is the core part of your whole CV and also where all hiring managers would spend the majority of their time. You must make it clear and convincing. First of all, you need to list your relevant working experience from the most recent backwards, including the company names, positions, working periods (use the year-month-day format in Chinese CV), and locations. If you have several years of work experience, don’t list them all but select the most relevant ones. In your job description, you should emphasize working competencies rather than simply listing what you did. You should describe your working background, the roles you had and the goals that you achieved. Numbers can be a powerful detail to prove your story. For instance, you could write something like “I worked with 4 teammates and conducted a marketing questionnaire among 3000 customers and with an 89% feedback rate.”
Certification and language skills
Since the Chinese job market is extremely competitive, companies often require specific qualifications or certain language skills. Those are the core skills which could make you stand out from the crowd. The following are very much desired: language certifications, security qualification certificate, or a law degree.
Do your personal interests matter in a Chinese CV?
Well, it really depends on the sort of jobs that you are applying for. If your dream position requirs a certain knowledge in a certain industry and your personal interest fits the requirements perfectly, you could write them down towards the end of your CV. But do not write something random like a music lover or a sports lover. Instead, “a travel-lover with strong video editing and PS skills” and “had a social media account with XXX followers” could be extremely helpful if you apply to some companies in tourism or marketing-related positions.
Check check, and check again!
The last thing you want to do is to leave some typos or misleading information in your CV. Normally, hiring managers are so disappointed if they find some mistakes in the document, especially for positions that are detail oriented. Even a double space error between words is not tolerated. Afterward, details determine success or failure. The PDF version is recommended when you deliver your CV so that you can make sure the layout won’t shift when being downloaded.
Overall, a proper Chinese CV is a stepping-stone to your dream job in a Chinese company. No matter what, you should always research the position and figure out the specific requirements and the company’s goal. Then, you could find your relevant experience and highlight them within your CV. For instance, if the position requires communication ability, then do you have any business negotiation experience? If it requires strong analytical skills, then did you do any data analysis or customer research before? With all the details you noticed above, you will get a proper Chinese CV.
Here is the template for a proper Chinese CV (download) once again. Good luck with your job hunting!
By Mia Zhang