1. Your Resume and Cover Letter Should be Customized for Each Job
Highlight the reasons you can do the job and more importantly why you want it. Cut and paste is NEVER read. Cover letters need to be short and to the point. Use the terminology from the job posting in your materials. If “programmers” are called “analysts,” call yourself an analyst.
2. You Will Only Have 30 Seconds to Grab Their Attention
Nobody reads a personal sentiment like “great team player” or “dynamic at sales.” Leave these out and save valuable space. Present your experience under clear headings with bold bullet points. Make it easy to find the information you want to stand out. If the employer has to hunt, she probably won’t look.
This couldn’t be truer when looking for an internship in China. Internships are becoming increasingly competitive, and finding one isn’t necessarily guaranteed. Therefore, your resume must be snappy and clear. If you’re looking for an internship, treat your resume as if you were looking for a job.
3. Preparation is Everything
You need to show you have considered this job rather than just a job. Prepare a clear statement about why you want the job and why you are suitable. Practice your opening statement. Most interviewees think about what they want to say when the interview starts, but end up drying up after the first “Hello.” Search the interviewer online to find out what they might be interested in and find a way to make conversation.
4. You Need a Professional E-mail Address
Many good resumes end up being a laughing stock because the e-mail address is something like “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Enough said.
5. Always Ask Questions and Take Notes
You need to question in three areas when going for an interview:
- Question something you have been told. This shows you have been listening.
- Question something you haven’t been told. This shows your interest and that you have researched.
- Question what the next step is, what reservations they have about progressing you to that stage and for the next step. Hard but critical.
6. You Must Dress Appropriately
You can never be overdressed for an interview. Take time on your appearance. Important things are hair, laundered clothes, polished shoes, belt and so on. This is true even for an agency interview. Remember recruiters decide whom to put forward. Your appearance can make a big difference in a two-horse race.
In China and the Northeast Asia region in general, appearance is especially important. The more time you put toward your appearance, the more respect you’ll receive.
7. Having a Good Handshake is Important
Interviewers place lots of importance on handshake. A limp one and I’ve switched off. Break my hand and you’re leaving! Practice with your friends to get it right.
8. You Need to Determine if the Job is a Fit for YOU
Ask about the things you want to know to help you decide if the job is right. You need to be sure you leave without questions because uncertainty will lead to you being discounted and offers can be withdrawn. No one wants to be rejected! Be clear of what you want when you go for an interview and ask about it.
In summary, a good job search process is the same wherever you live, and all over the world employers look for the same qualities in job candidates. Be mindful of the above, whether your job search and interview is in the US, Europe, or China.