How to Apply for Jobs in Chinese || Words And Phrases You Need to Know

How to Get a Job in China || A Simple 5 Step Guide

Want to work in China? Not sure where to start? We’ve got you! Here is a simple 5 step guide on how to get a job in China.

Applying for a job in your home country or native language is hard enough. So, navigating the application process in a different country or language can be slightly daunting. 

If you’re looking for work in China and don’t know where to start, don’t panic! 

We’ve prepared this easy to follow step-by-step guide to walk you through all the words and phrases you might need throughout the entire application process, from applying for to accepting a job. 

Here’s what we’ll cover: 

How to Get a Job in China || Step 1 – Searching for a Job

How to Get a Job in China || Step 2 – Shortlisting Positions

How to Get a Job in China || Step 3 – Applying for Jobs

How to Get a Job in China || Step 4 – The Interview

How to Get a Job in China || Step 5 – Accepting an Offer

BONUS || Things to Note

How to Get a Job in China || FAQs

Enhance your Mandarin before getting a job in China | See what James thought about his time at LTL

Step 1 | Searching for a Job 

People often get stuck at this hurdle because it’s not as simple as typing ‘jobs in China’ into Google.

To find positions (岗位 gǎngwèi) that actually exist and you’re interested in applying for, you need to know where to look.

China has its own platforms for most things, and job hunting (求职 qiúzhí) is no exception.

There are a whole host of different apps, websites and social media accounts dedicated to advertising vacancies in various industries (行业 hángyè).

TOP TIP || I recommend you start your search on easily accessible sites like hiredchina.com or on WeChat.

Once you’ve found a few job sites (求职网 qiúzhí wǎng) to browse, your search for the perfect position will begin with a hunt through the listed vacancies. 

Take note of these useful words to navigate job sites. 

EnglishHanziPinyin
Search搜索sōusuǒ
Hot jobs热门职位rèmén zhíwèi
Choose the city请选择城市qǐng xuǎnzé chéngshì
Filters条件tiáojiàn
Industry行业hángyè
Position岗位gǎngwèi
Recruiting招聘zhāopìn
Job seeker求职者qiúzhí zhě

Most of the time, you can apply for jobs directly from the platform you found them on or by adding the hiring manager on WeChat (work-life what?). 

It’s unlikely that you’ll need to apply by email, but in case you do, you can check out our guide to writing emails in Chinese

Step 2 | Shortlisting Positions 

Even if you’re looking for opportunities (找工作 zhǎo gōngzuò) on an English-language website, you may still find there are a lot of Chinese words to decipher. 

The good news is that job descriptions (职位介绍 zhíwèi jièshào) are structured in pretty much the same way in China as they are elsewhere.

So, as long as you know which words to look for, you shouldn’t have trouble decoding them.

Here are a few words to look out for:

EnglishHanziPinyin
Job vacancy职位空缺zhíwèi kòngquē
Job responsibilities任职要求rènzhí yāoqiú
Job description职位描述 OR 工作内容zhíwèi miáoshù OR gōngzuò nèiróng
Requirements要求yāoqiú
Qualifications资格zīgé
Experience经验jīngyàn
Location工作地址gōngzuò dìzhǐ
Salary求职者qiúzhí zhě
About the company工资gōngzī
Apply公司介绍gōngsī jièshào
Applicants申请人shēnqǐng rén
Competitiveness竞争力jìngzhēng lì
Requires CV监理要求jiānlǐ yāoqiú
X years of experienceX 年以上工作经验nián yǐshàng gōngzuò jīngyàn

Once you’ve shortlisted a few positions, you’ll want to tailor your CV and cover letter to each role.

Check out these handy guides to make sure they meet local standards: 

Step 3 | Applying for Jobs

You’ve shortlisted positions, you’ve read the requirements, and you’re confident you’ll be a great fit. Now it’s time to apply! 

This is where you really start putting your language skills to the test.

TOP TIP || Even if you’re applying for an English-speaking position, showing that you can speak and understand Chinese is an advantage. 

In fact, most interviewers will ask if you can speak Chinese.

While it’s not usually a dealbreaker if you can’t, being able to will certainly help you stand out for competitive positions. 

So, let’s look at some useful phrases for the application process. 

EnglishHanziPinyin
Upload CV上传简历shàngchuán jiǎnlì
CV简历jiǎnlì
Cover letter求职信qiú zhí xìn
Apply now立即申请lìjí shēnqǐng
Application process申请流程shēnqǐng liúchéng
Test测试cèshì
Personality test性格测试xìnggé cèshì
Background search背景调查bèijǐng diàochá
Telephone interview电话面试diànhuà miànshì
Hiring manager招聘经理zhāopìn jīnglǐ
HR (Human Resources)人力资源rénlì zīyuán
Interview process steps面试过程步骤miànshì guòchéng bùzhòu

Depending on the role you’re applying for, you may be asked to complete a test after you’ve applied.

This is nothing to worry about. It’s just a way for the hiring manager to determine if you’re a good fit for the role.

I did a handful of tests for various companies when I was applying for copywriting roles, and it was a great way to get an insight into what the day-to-day work would be like.

DID YOU KNOW || If you’re applying for teaching jobs, you might be asked to give an on or offline teaching demonstration, depending on where you’re applying from. Again, this is perfectly normal.

I’m from the UK, and I’m used to job application processes moving very slowly, so I was shocked at how quickly Chinese hiring managers work.

For basically every job I applied for, I got a reply within a day, sometimes even a few hours! 

If you’re successful, you’ll probably be invited to an interview. So, let’s move on to the scariest but most exciting step in the process…

Step 4 | The Interview Stage

You’ve made it! You’ve secured an interview, but now you’re kind of freaking out. 

Lex the Lion
  • What if they speak to me in Chinese? 
  • What if I don’t understand them? 
  • What if I mess it all up!?

I’ve been there. 

The first non-teaching job I applied for in China didn’t require any Mandarin, so I felt pretty confident when I picked up the phone. 

For the first 20 minutes or so, things were going really well. 

Then, out of nowhere, the interviewer switched to Chinese, put the phone on a loudspeaker and introduced two of her colleagues, who asked me a series of questions I could barely understand. 

Safe to say I didn’t get the job. 

But I did learn an important lesson that I hope you’ll carry with you. It’s always better to prepare answers to a few questions just in case. You never know when you might need them!

So, here are some common interview questions to listen out for in Chinese:

EnglishHanziPinyin
Please tell me about yourself 请自我介绍qǐng zì wǒ jièshào 
Why do you think you’re a good fit for this job?你为什么认为你可以胜任这个职位?nǐ wéi shénme rènwéi nǐ kěyǐ shèngrèn zhègè zhíwèi?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?你的优点/缺点是什么?nǐ de yōudiǎn/quēdiǎn shì shénme ?
Why do you want to work here?你为什么想在这家公司工作?nǐ wéi shén me xiǎng zài zhè jiā gōng sī gōng zuò ?
Why did you leave your last job?你为什么离开上一家公司?nǐ wéi shén me lí kāi shàng yī jiā gōng sī?
What is your salary expectation?你对薪水的要求是什么?nǐ duì xīnshuǐ de yàoqiú shì shénme? 
Do you have any questions for me?你有什么问题要问的吗?nǐ yǒu shénme wèntí yào wèn de ma ?

Regarding Question 2 || You’ll know how to answer this better than us, but if you’re responding in Chinese, it’s worth mentioning how your language skills can be an asset in any position!

PRO TIP || Compliment the company. Use this question to show that you’ve done your research. Mention a specific thing you like about them – whether it’s their social media channels, a recent marketing campaign or the company culture.

Regarding Question 5 || If certain things about the work culture annoyed you, make sure not to say it. There’s a chance the company you’re interviewing for has a similar way of working, so don’t risk putting your foot in it by complaining!

PRO TIP Regarding Question 6 || Remember that everything can be negotiated in China, and many job descriptions don’t indicate how much they are actually willing to pay. 

If the position you’re applying for has a lower salary than you’d expect, don’t be afraid to give them a slightly higher number. They’ll be expecting a bit of back and forth!

Step 5 | Accepting a Job Offer

If you’ve reached this stage, huge congratulations are in order! It’s no easy feat securing a job, let alone one in another country. 

By this point, just a few essential words and phrases remain.

EnglishHanziPinyin
Job offer工作邀请gōngzuò yāoqǐng
Accept接受工作邀请jiēshòu gōngzuò yāoqǐng
Decline拒绝工作邀请jùjué gōngzuò yāoqǐng
Salary薪水xīnshuǐ
Benefits工作福利包gōngzuò fúlì bāo
Start date开始日期kāishǐ rìqí
Notice period辞职期cízhí qī
Visa process办签证手续bàn qiānzhèng shǒuxù

By law, foreign employees can’t start working until they’ve secured their visa, so you might have to wait for a couple of months before your first day. 

TOP TIP || Why not use that time to brush up on your language skills and remind your new company why you were such a great hire?

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Chinese Resume 📝 The Ultimate Guide to Writing Your CV in Chinese!

Ever wondered how to write your CV in Chinese? Well, your ultimate guide is finally here to help you progress your career!

How to Get a Job in China || Final Thoughts

While finding a job in China as a foreigner is possible, there are a few important things to be aware of.

IMPORTANT || It’s much harder to find a job from outside the country – especially nowadays.

Even if a company is interested in you, they might not be prepared to sponsor your visa and wait for you to arrive to fill the position. 

TOP TIP || Keep searching and applying for jobs as often as you can. 

You need two years of relevant working experience to apply for non-teaching jobs.

This is a work visa application requirement, and it’s very hard to secure a job without it. 

PRO TIP || Apply once you’ve got two years of work experience or look for a teaching job. 

Chinese language skills aren’t necessary, but they’re hugely beneficial.

Speaking and understanding Chinese, even at a basic level, is a massive advantage when applying for jobs. 

Brush up on your language skills to impress potential employers.


Applying for a job in China might feel overwhelming, especially if you’re doing it from outside the country. 

But I’m speaking from experience when I say that it’s absolutely possible to find and secure one. It just takes a bit of hard work and perseverance!

So, good luck and 加油!

Are you interested in working in China? What kind of position would you like to find? Let us know in the comments!

Working for a Chinese Company || Differences to Learn and Mistakes to Avoid Thumbnail

Working for a Chinese Company || Differences to Learn and Mistakes to Avoid

Working for a Chinese company is very different to working for a western one. There are plenty of things to learn. Today we teach you those, with reasoning.

How to Get a Job in China || FAQs

Do I need to know Mandarin to get a job in China?

Chinese language skills aren’t necessary, but they’re hugely beneficial.

Speaking and understanding Chinese, even at a basic level, is a massive advantage when applying for jobs. 

Brush up on your language skills to impress potential employers.

Can I get a non-teaching job in China as a foreigner?

Yes absolutely but there are a few things to know first.

The most important is that you need two years of relevant working experience to apply for non-teaching jobs.

This is a work visa application requirement, and it’s very hard to secure a job without it. 

PRO TIP || Apply once you’ve got two years of work experience or look for a teaching job. 

What is a good tip for my job interview with a Chinese company?

Compliment the company.

Show that you’ve done your research.

Mention a specific thing you like about them – whether it’s their social media channels, a recent marketing campaign or the company culture.

What can I expect from a job interview to teach English in China?

If you’re applying for teaching jobs, you might be asked to give an on or offline teaching demonstration, depending on where you’re applying from.

This is perfectly normal, but just be prepared in advance for this potential request.

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  1. I would like to teach English in China. What can I expect from a job interview to teach English in China?

    1. Max Hobbs
      Reply

      You don’t need to worry about any Mandarin skills for a start. These really can vary from company to company depending on who you teach for.

      Is it a private school? Is it a language centre, is it a big company like EF, is it a local Chinese school, is it a family or kindergarten?

      Generally speaking if you are a native speaker, you’ll probably find it a breeze!