If you’re considering work in China, preparing a Chinese-style or Mandarin résumé will increase your odds of getting hired. Chinese résumés share similarities with US résumés, but there are many differences that job seekers should be aware of when preparing a résumé for use in China.
Similarities between résumés in China and the US
1. Provides a summary of your work history
Both countries use résumés to screen applicants. The most effective résumés in both countries will address the needs of an employer.
2. Clearly demarcated sections
When US and Chinese recruiters review résumés, they are reviewing a large stack of applications for qualified candidates. Clear and distinct formatting helps readers find information in a shorter amount of time. This is true in both English and Mandarin.
3. Reverse chronological work experience section
Standard résumés in China and the US both prefer seeing your most recent experiences at the top of your résumé. For college students, that means putting your summer internship at the top instead of your high school job.
4. Emphasize language ability and technical skills
For both international students and US students, language skills and technical skills will help you stand out. List any languages you know and your proficiency levels. For technical skills, emphasize your expertise with different software and any technical certifications you may hold.
Differences between résumés in China and the US
1. Cover letters are rare in China, so résumés are usually longer than those used in the US
In the US, a job application typically consists of a one-page résumé plus a cover letter. The résumé is achievement-focused and the cover letter is used to persuade recruiters that you’re a good fit for the job by providing specific examples that you can’t fit into one page.
Résumés in China are typically longer than one page. Many sections (including personal details, education, and experience) contain more information and allow job seekers to be more persuasive when connecting previous experience to job requirements.
2. Strong emphasis on education section in China, particularly for recent graduates
For recent college graduates applying to jobs in China, your education section should come before your experience section. US résumés typically limit education to college degrees with only a few bullet points including GPA and major. In China, however, you can go further back to include high school, more details about specific research and projects, and relevant extracurricular activities.
3. Include more detail in your Chinese-style résumé’s experience section
US-style résumés typically limit your experience section to two or three achievement statements per position. For Chinese-style résumés, you should include more information about your position, responsibilities, and accomplishments. Since you typically have two pages to fill, you can also include more information about your employer, such as industry, business size, etc.
4. Personal information is much more extensive
Chinese-style résumés (excluding Hong Kong) include more personal information than your contact information. Many of these details are excluded from US résumés for anti-discrimination from legal protection. However, employers may not consider your application if you omit these sections.
Most commonly included sections include professional photo, gender, place and date of birth. Typical sections for Chinese nationals (not always needed for foreign hires in China) include health condition, marriage status, number of children, ethnicity, and salary expectations.
For further information on résumé writing and the job search in China, we recommend the following resources:
Résumé overview and template:
Writing a résumé in Mandarin:
Job search and job boards:
Additional information can be found on GoinGlobal, with full access available through your Handshake account.