General tips for finding and applying for a graduate job in China

With the development of China’s education system, over six million graduates enter the Chinese labour market each year. Competition is high and possessing practical experience and language skills will give you a head-start in finding a job.

Cover letters (求职信)

In general, a cover letter is not customary in China. However, some organisations may require one. Cover letters should:

  • be around 200 words
  • explain your motivation
  • explain your specific qualification – give its content and any selling points 
  • emphasise your outstanding achievements
  • mention the added value you may bring to the organisation you are applying to
Templates and examples:

CV/resume (简历)

A CV/resume is an overview of a job seeker’s experience, qualifications, significant achievements and personal information. It is generally advised that your CV does not exceed two pages.

A CV should include:

  • Personal information (name, date and place of birth, contact details). 
  • Academic background (university, course name, degree obtained and dates of attendance, content of key qualifications).
  • Previous work experience (job title, description of job function and daily activities, dates of employment).
  • Critical skills that you have (eg mastery of software and languages).
  • Specify the kinds of positions you are looking for and state your career objective.
Templates and examples:

Generally, interviews can be classified by three types, each inspecting the interviewee from a different angle:

Behavioral Based Interview (BBI)

The principle of BBI is asking candidates to describe one of his/her previous working or life experience so that recruiters can learn and conjecture whether this person will be suitable for the job or not.

(See more at:BBI; Tips: HR.COM)

Case interviews

A case interview involves giving a current dilemma faced by the company or a fictitious case to the interviewee. Usually, the interviewer wants to understand your mindset and your approach towards solving a problem rather than getting the correct answer from you.

Further information about case interviews and helpful tips:

Stress interviews

Stress interviews are rare. These are where the interviewer will deliberately make you feel stressed by continuously asking poignant questions. These are designed for people who need to work in stressful surroundings, especially senior managers.

Further information about stress interviews and helpful tips: Sina, Abang,

Online resources: general interview tips
Finding vacancies
Online recruitment
  • Search company websites directly and third-party jobsites or job-boards.
  • Beware of online ′cheaters′ masquerading as job-sites. For tips on how to avoid being cheated see the website.
Key job-sites

In China, social networks often play a major and crucial role in landing jobs.

Asking relatives and friends about job hunting and job vacancies may lead to unexpected opportunities.

Make contact with teachers or professors who have taught you in the past, they may be able to offer useful contacts.

Graduates from a similar background to you may represent a potential network. Social networking websites such as Linked-in enable you to link with a range of UK Chinese alumni groups, and overseas graduate groups such as the British Council’s China Alumni UK network. It is essential to include social media in your strategy for finding a job.

In China, each province or major city will often offer associations for overseas graduates, eg The Pudong Association of Returned Overseas Scholars. These can be a good support organisation for building your professional network.  

Chinese graduates from your own university are also a potential network. Your university alumni association will be able to tell you more.

See also: How to make full use of your social networking


Newspapers are a less popualr source of jobs than the internet, but can still be worth considering.

Vacancies advertised in newspapers generally require less experience, but are also lower pay.

Careers fairs

Every year, companies attend career fairs on campus at Chinese universities. Information about these fairs can be easily found on university websites. There are also large amounts of opportunities off campus. Every province or key city in China will hold recruitment fairs annually. You can find schedules of these through: (中国招聘会). 


Self-employment is an encouraged approach in China. The central people’s government has introduced several policies to encourage enterprise and self-employement. Local governments also have relevant policies to make it easier for graduates who want to start their own companies. (POLICIES)

Links: Self-employment; China Science Technology Business Plan Competition