What Do Your Qualifications Say About You?
The choices we make post university can either bolster or undermine our piece of paper. While a degree in engineering or planning may attract the attention of boutique recruitment companies, a lack of volunteer work or engaging extra-curricular activities may count against you. If you’ve got the extra-curriculars on there, talk about the outstanding experiences you had (which is why extra-curriculars should never simply be resume padding. If you sign up for one, throw yourself completely in to get the most experience out of it). Companies and agencies feel comfortable with hiring candidates who reflect their philosophy, embrace teamwork, and show initiative, beyond the pedestrian qualifications and degrees. In fact, it isn’t necessarily a degree or where you got it that your potential employer cares about, but everything else.
Highlight your differences. If you’re a tad under-qualified, make it clear you’re a student of life and experience, enthusiastic to learn all you can from a reputable company. They might be impressed with your hustle.
If you did an internship in China or elsewhere abroad, you’ll definitely want to highlight this. International experience is an excellent conversation starter and illustrates your dynamic potential. It tells an employer that you are independent, that you can venture outside your comfort zone and that you are culturally intelligent.
It’s All Here, In Black & White
Tailoring a brand CV and cover letter to each specific role may be boring, time-consuming, and a little counter-productive. After all, if your pages don’t pass the glance test, is it time wasted and better spent elsewhere? No. An up-to-date, targeted CV speaks volumes about its applicant.
Your cover letter will be scrutinized – did you manage to address your application to the right name? What salutation did you use? Have you dated and structured the letter correctly? Have you responded to the criteria or just sent through a template, with a few details swapped out for good measure? The smallest details can and will get you over the line.
If you’re planning to work or intern in a foreign country with a culture vastly different from your own, writing the correct name and address – with no errors – would make a strong impression.
Look Who’s Calling!
Cultivating and managing lasting professional relationships is essential to career progression. Sounds like a lot of work, huh? It will pay off.
Record a senior member of the company that you worked with and seek their permission to use them as a reference. It sounds simple, but a lot of job seekers forget to notify their referees about the call that may be coming. Keep everyone in the loop, let them know about the job you’ve applied for and why you think you’re good for the position.
Preparation Is Key!
Everybody hates interviews. You have exactly ten minutes max to make an impression, build an easy rapport, and communicate why you’d be amazing in the role. Understandably, many candidates feel nervous. Arm yourself with knowledge: research the employer, read the job criteria in detail, and anticipate questions they may ask.
At Getin2China, we encourage you to do thorough research before any interview you have with a company in China, whether domestic or international. Your potential employer will want to know why you wish to work for the company in, of all places, China. Be specific. Tell the employer what you know about their specific goals in China and how you can help the company achieve them.
Also, talk to friends who may be in similar positions or know somebody who is, join online boards, and start asking around about interview experiences. LinkedIn, for example, is an excellent source to uncover career-related message boards.
Ask a mate to run a mock interview with you and let them throw a few curve balls, it will get you thinking on your toes. Go in with three teeth-chattering questions to ask your prospective employer – you’re also interviewing them! You’re investing a good part of your entry-level career and skills into their business, so make sure they resonate with your goals.
Remain Humble And Follow Up
The interview is done! Thank goodness; all you have to do now is wait, right? Not so. After making a sterling impression and leaving the office with your head held high, wait an hour or two and send a follow up e-mail, thanking the interviewer (again by name) for his or her time and letting them know once again how excited you are by this prospect. Don’t be afraid to verify any information discussed at the interview and create additional value in your application. Remember, every interaction will be judged! If you’re unsuccessful, be gracious and ask HR to keep you in mind for any future roles in the company.