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ShanghaiGuide

Finding a Job in Shanghai: Chinese Job Sites

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With the leap on-line, a whole slew of employment-related websites has sprung up. It's a potentially useful resource, but there are so many URLs touting information about jobs in China that it can be overwhelming and frustrating to sift through them for promising leads. Unfortunately, only a few of them seem to be maintained and updated with any regularity. In this section, we'll tell you about the good, the bad and the ugly of China job sites.

One thing to note about on-line listings in general: The breadth of careers represented is somewhat limited. If you're no Corporate Johnnie, there may be fewer postings of interest to you. After the big companies, Internet start-ups and other technology-based companies make up the next largest percentage of jobs offered (duh, you are searching on-line, so this is their natural territory and obvious recruiting ground).

ChinaHR.com and Zhaopin.com are the two most heavily advertised job sites, with billboards seemingly plastered at every other bus stop and inside each train in the subway. The advantage this confers is that both are regularly used by companies and jobseekers alike. It is worth checking back with their listings daily, because new openings are frequently added.

Both of these "interactive recruitment networks" ask that you register (for free) as a member, which entails providing basic demographic information and an e-mail address. Your optional entries can also be compiled to make up a standardized resume which will be added to their on-line databases. Security and privacy issues are a legitimate concern, the trade-off being that there is an off-chance that your dream employer will run a search and come up with your name. ChinaHR.com boasts a database containing over 89,000 resumes, but they lacked hard data to show whether many employers really bother to use their files to recruit candidate hires.

If you do choose to register and keep a resume on file with ChinaHR or Zhaopin, you can also apply for positions automatically through their site. Occasionally this will be the only way to apply for an opening when companies prefer not to disclose their contact information. However, if possible, it's highly recommended that you take the extra effort to write to potential employers directly -- you will have more control over the format and details of your resume, rather than submitting a fill-in-the-blank list. ChinaHR.com launched their internet-based recruiting service in August 1997 and their page keeps an exclamatory tally of impressive statistics (New jobs this week: 18,955! Total number of jobs:158,193!). Unfortunately, accessing this immense store of data is still problematic through the English-language version of the site. The target users for ChinaHR.com are local Chinese, and the development of the English side has lagged slightly. Under the advanced search function, you'll still find some baffling search options that may have been poorly translated. If you want to find a job in the "Electron", "Stationery" or "Air Conditioning" industries, ChinaHR.com has oddly found these fields worthy of their own separate categories.

But beyond the quasi-amusing English phrasing, the far more serious problem with ChinaHR.com is that there is no way to screen your search results by language. If you cannot read Chinese characters, or if you lack Chinese software, it is time-consuming to download and scroll through a typically sized search result of about 350 postings when only a handful are in English. Individual job listings theoretically have both Chinese and English versions, but always load in Chinese first. If you link to the English, you are frequently stuck with either blank postings or gibberish. Even one listing that sought to fill an English editor position was simply unreadable in English except for a few words: "+~`^'-**-%*...1 person, Beijing, zip code 518031."

If you log in as a member of ChinaHR.com, you can also set your own job parameters and receive daily e-mail updates with links to the newly listed openings that fit your personalized criteria. However, the same drawback of mixed language postings remains.

Zhaopin.com covers much of the same ground as ChinaHR.com, but since it has a language filter, it is a better alternative if you are running an English-only search. This site is more comprehensive in both languages. Zhaopin also provides "Career Guidance" if you feel you are in need. Articles offer up advice each step of the way: how to write an effective resume, how to ask pertinent questions in interviews, how to strategies in negotiating salary. Postings on Zhaopin.com are frequently updated, and most come from large, recognizable foreign corporations or smaller, local IT companies.

ChinaHR and Zhaopin head the list of links for two main reasons: sheer volume of postings and geographical specificity. Both sites are sharply focused on employment services for mainland China and have searches based on job locations in at least 30 or 40 different Chinese cities. Other China employment sites which offer information in English are limited in comparison and may not merit frequent return visits, but they may still be worth checking in with. Some also have general coverage of Asia as a whole and include China as a single monolithic category for search. One thing to keep in mind is that a number of these sites may also be under ongoing construction, so perhaps they will only improve with further development. You never know where you may find a nugget of information that will turn into a good lead.

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