The book “What color is your parachute?” (published in 2014) teaches us that it exists 2 different  kind of job search: the “traditional job search” and the creative one. The growth of the Chinese economy the last decade and the development of cutting-edge industries make the labor market rich of opportunities. There are always jobs on the market and open positions that are still waiting to be taken. If you haven’t found it yet, maybe you used a bad method to search your job or your job could remain unpublished so far.

If 80% of the jobs are not published in China, can you imagine how many hidden jobs there are actually?  More specially for foreigners and applicants that are not applying in mandarin.

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Regarding the needs of companies, that are already presents before the job ads is published, it is your responsibility to know how to find these opportunities. You would have to be clear in your research, in order to find easily what you are looking for. The position you are targeting may be in the pipeline in the company or the HR manager, or your ideal position isn’t completely defined yet, and you would need to shape it by yourself.

The head hunters actually prefer to link the resume to job offers while on the other side, employers prefer to hire like we used to buy: they look applications through references and proves. The traditional job search often fails because the method the candidates are using is at the exact opposite to what the employer prefers to hire a candidate.

Understanding your potential employer psychology would definitely help you out preparing your job search. In China, the recruiting agencies are not always saving us and the question of “who” is really important; it is the key of your research.

The combination of up to 4 different strategies could raise your possibilities in your job search, regarding the importance of the Guanxi in China (relationships – close entourage, are important to have a job in China). Here are some methods you could use to access to these hidden jobs.

A new way of networking

Here are some basics first: to be really effective in your job research, you should focus on the company you are applying for, with the correct person information to reach, and target their need  and what they are their activities so you would definitely be more effective, and your application would make more sense to them. You should also use all the digital resources you have to develop your network. Considering the popularity of the social media nowadays, it won’t be a bad idea to use them to get your own network. Prepare your introduction pitch and call the companies you have reached earlier to have a feedback from your application. You can always ask for help to anyone, but do not forget to send a thank-you letter for helping you out during your job research! Keep a record of all correspondences so you can remember what you have been saying and get back to the recipient fast. Show you are reactive; this is part of the recruiting process! Take careful notes about all these tips when you will have to look for a job afterwards.

In order to get more confidence in public and introduce yourself to someone without stammering and look terrible, you better practice your pitch, in a social group for instance, that would help you to improve your communication skills and better sell yourself. The sooner you master these skills, the faster you will find results to your research in China. This is also one way among others to develop your network.

Target your correspondent

The key of this approach is to have done correctly your research and identified a clear interest for each other. Your interest for the company industry should match with their interest in your experience, and skills. Then you would have to identify the most appropriate person in charge of the recruitment, or at least the one who has the most influence in the recruitment in order to optimize your chances to get recruited.

You would need additional information like the company website, annual reports if available, and a diary of the members of the company if possible as well. The biggest companies are publishing updates of its new members on a daily basis, so if you want to join this kind of organization, you better know someone to let you step in the hiring process.

Do some research!


Target your industry and the assignments you would like to accomplish, and keep yourself informed on the latest events that could lead to potential hiring possibilities. Keep it in your mind “To what hiring possibility this would lead me?” and think about the results you can get, in terms of trends, opportunities, problems or projects managed.

You will have a chance among these companies:

  • Increasing their equity capital
  • Making acquisitions
  • Generating big profits
  • Knowing recent restructuration
  • Launching new products or new wide range of products
  • Preparing to expand

Contact the reached companies again, and make sure to have a feedback of your application. By phone or either email, try to target your call/email to someone who has the most influence on the hiring process. Don’t forget the organizations with structural problems! Especially in Shanghai where restructuration are usual for companies, which have their headquarters in this area for Pacific-East Asia .

Use the ripple effect to identify opportunities

When you read an article talking about changes in a company within its organization, you could think at what level this could affect the branch, and see how it can affect the company. As a result, you would be able to imagine the new information about the new organization of the company, and guess the lacks and the potential needs in terms of recruitment in the future. Anticipating would help you to be among the firsts applying to the hidden jobs. You would definitely have higher chances in your job research.

Let the recruiters coming to you

Don’t omit to use the social media (cf.: LinkedIn, Viadeo, Xing, etc…) in order to optimize your chances to be found by the targeted employer and meet the person you desired at first. You should know how to use these platforms and master their tools so you can benefit to all the possibilities these apps offer. Your activity on social media would help you to build your online image, and increase your chances to get reached by potential employers from your industry. Identify the people able to help you in your job search, and spread the news about your job search! As everybody comes from different professional circles, this would surely boost your chances to find your job!

Keep working on your network


Don’t forget to attend networking events! You have for instance conventions, conferences (like the China conference), or even professional exhibitions (like China Trade Show). All these events will help you to meet people working in your industry, and share experiences and maybe some good tips for your job search. Only thing it matters is to develop your network. In China, the network is really important. The Guanxi (close entourage) is for Chinese important and helps to find a job, so it shows how important the network is in China. You will also have to focus on specialized organizations like the Chamber of Commerce for instance. They had a list of companies that could match more closely with your expectations.

You can also check the local articles like That’s Shanghai, as alumni and expats groups, or even social groups according to nationalities where you can ask or find some valuable information for your job search.

Contribute to some professional discussions on Quora, LinkedIn, etc.. and show your audience you have a certain legitimacy in your domain. That would give you the image of someone committed and really passionate, this good image is definitely positive for your job search.

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Get some advices from the experts


You would do this in every situation you are facing, analyzing the success factors from people, who were in your situation and was looking for a job before they got one.  Study their success story, from their approach in their job search to the methods they used. Apply to yourself the most appropriate strategy they used in their case. Find some tips with experts in order to analyze what you can improve to your job search. An external eye is always beneficial. It would bring fresh ideas and a different vision from what you actually see. You can also join some support group. Standing among other people in the same case as yours would keep your motivation up and as long as you are motivated, there is a chance for you to find a job.

To stay motivated, you have to remember that job search is a question of probabilities: the more refusals you will get, the sooner you will find a job. You will have to use wisely your time in job search, this would make you find a job faster! By using the mentioned methods, you will guess where to find your job.

The creative job search requires way more work and thinking than the traditional method. The results you will get is definitely worth it. At the end, you will have a job in the desired industry, with the role and assignments in accordance with your wishes. So don’t waste your time anymore and find your job!

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