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China: Resumes/CV Guidelines

by Goinglobal

There are no clear rules for resume/CV writing in China. Generally, these documents should be one or two pages in length with personal information and a statement of career objectives at the top. It is common to include a photograph. Some employers prefer to know personal information about candidates including date of birth, gender, marital status and hobbies. Academic training is very important to the Chinese so it should be highlighted. 

There are no rigid rules for the submission of a resumé/CV (curriculum vitae). Generally, however, it should be one page in length (two maximum) and should include, at the top of the first page, personal information including your name, address, telephone number and email address. A statement of career objectives should follow. It is very common to include an ID photo on the resumé.
Some employers in China like to know as much personal information as possible about a candidate. Your resumé should include your date of birth, gender (Chinese names are not always gender-specific), marital status and any hobbies. An exception to this is Hong Kong, where details of personal information, such as age, ID number, place of birth, marital status and number of children, ordinarily are not included.
If you include a photo, it should be passport-sized, and the pose should be formal.
Under the ‘Work Experience’ section, list positions in reverse-chronological order. Include the name and location of the company, its field and focus, dates of employment, title(s), and major responsibilities and accomplishments. Emphasize information relevant to the position being sought, and include anything that demonstrates career development. Explain any gaps in work history. If a previous employer is a subsidiary or affiliate of a group, the parent company should be specified. If the company has an English name, but its Chinese name is more commonly known, the Chinese name of the company should be stated after the English name, which will allow for instant recognition of the company.
Academic training is extremely important to the Chinese. If you are a recent graduate, or will graduate soon, place greater emphasis on this section. Unless you have work experience that is highly relevant to the position you are seeking, you may even wish to place the ‘Education’ section at the top of your resumé/CV, above ‘Work Experience.’ Most Chinese believe a higher level of education equates to greater capabilities, so list all degrees you have earned. Attach or enclose copies of all relevant diplomas, training certificates, and academic honors or awards you received. List the names, locations and dates of attendance for all institutions, along with areas of academic concentration and type and date of degrees. Include information about any theses or other academic projects you worked on, and note all special courses, internships, training programs, part-time work and foreign study. Any relevant extracurricular activities — particularly those that demonstrate leadership, teamwork and organizational abilities — should appear here as well, listed in reverse-chronological order. Some foreign schools may be unfamiliar to Chinese employers, so unless you attended a world-renowned academic institution, it would be a good idea to include details about your school.
The next section of the resumé/CV covers other information not already noted. It can include mention of awards, promotions or any special recognition you have received during employment. The Chinese prefer modesty, so it is important not to sound arrogant in providing this information. Briefly list special skills you have. You should especially note language proficiency, including competency levels in speaking, writing and reading each language. Knowledge of any special computer languages and programs should be included here as well. Membership in, and activities with, relevant professional groups may be of interest to the employer, as well as personal interests or hobbies. If you are a foreign jobseeker, you also should note your citizenship.
Some companies will ask for your current (or most recent) and expected salary. It is crucial to put down the true amount of salary, as the recruiter may ask for a payroll statement as proof. A bracketed ‘negotiable’ may be put after the expected amount of salary requested to show the recruiter that you may be willing to accept the job with a lower salary. Some companies provide a lower basic salary but supplement it with bonuses or other incentives; it is therefore important to consider the compensation package as a whole.
References are the last item on the resumé/CV, so if a job advertisement asks for references, list them here. If the job advertisement makes no mention of references, you can either state ‘References available on request’ or omit this section.
When responding to an ad, it is crucial that you carefully follow all specifications required for submitting the application. If the employer has placed an email address in the notice, it usually is acceptable to apply by email. In this case, the resumé/CV should be sent as an attachment, with the cover letter as the body of the email. The resumé/CV should be submitted using a common software program such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat (PDF). You may indicate in the email that a notification of receipt is requested to ensure the emailed application has reached the company.
Helpful guides to words and phrases commonly used in resumés, in English and Chinese, are available at these links:
http://en.bab.la/phrases/application/bab.la-phrases-resume-cv-english-chinese.pdf(link is external)
http://chinesehacks.com/usage/cv-and-resume-keywords-in-chinese/(link is external)


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