How to be Headhunted for China Jobs - 9 LinkedIn Strategies

Updated 2010-11-01 14:10

As an expat in China, you will find a serious lack of jobs to apply for via recruitment companies, job boards and published in the media. To the hiring manager, local Chinese candidates represent low risk hires with native level language skills, China competitor experience and an established network in their industry. Try these 9 LinkedIn strategies to maximize your chances of your China job finding you! 

1. Go for 100%: Register a professional 100% complete profiles with consistent messaging on LinkedIn, which is used almost exclusively as a database for candidate searching by many recruiters. Follow the Profile Completeness guide and seek out China-related recommendations to increase your profile's completeness and credibility. Have your referees highlight your China experience or relevant transferable skills. Include a professional photograph, many recruiters skip profiles without images. Any Asian language skills, especially Mandarin, must be in the first or second paragraph of your (hopefully branded) summary. Make it easy for others to connect and contact you by including an email address.

2. Grab Attention: Add an attention grabbing headline, that ideally distills the essence of your unique value proposition, and include key words, and China-related words, for better results. Research to find out what aspect of your experience will make you most valuable or unique in the China market and laser in on this. Do you have a niche skill set that is in scarce supply in China? Talk to China recruiters to find out what will make you a stand-out candidate in your industry/field and amplify your key differentiators.

3. Location, Location: Be sure to indicate you either live in China, in the location section, or make it very clear if you can relocate. Make sure this key information is in the upper part of your headline or summary section. You are more likely to be considered for a job in China if you are either here already or very flexible on location. Include relevant company names, customer names etc. that may make you a strong candidate for a China based position with your target company and show up in key word searches.

4. Brand yourself Better: Be sure your profile contains all the key words that would allow you to feature prominently in a search by someone who didn't know your name or company name and is looking to hire someone for a China-based position. Are you experienced in China? Resident in China now? Familiar with some aspect of the China market? Pepper your summary with the key words that will help recruiters and hiring managers to find you. Use free trials at WordTracker, for example, to browse suggestions, and ensure you use your 2K LinkedIn summary word limit wisely, including all the necessary key words that represent your brand and area of expertise, while still presenting a readable and compelling overview of your personal brand.

5. Join the Club: Join 50 groups where decision makers who could hire you will find your profile. These groups may be different for each group. For example, to attract recruiters and HR, you may join professional groups for your industry or function and also HR and jobs opening groups. Be sure to include China/Asia specific groups. Search groups using your target key words to see which will be best for your purpose and review members, whom you can also invite to connect. Rather than join LinkedIn groups such as "Jobs" you might want to join "China Jobs" or "Asia Jobs"; instead generic functional LinkedIn groups seek out China specific subgroups and others, such as "China IT", "Cisco Jobs Greater China", etc. To connect with hiring manager, search for some related executive level groups. Be active within the group to ensure your profile is visible and kept top of mind by your target audience. A great way to connect as a job-seeker is to share job search advice to others in the group; this keeps your job hunter status apparent, positions you as proactive and Jobs2 savvy but isn't needy and self-serving, so is more likely to be effective.

6. Market Intelligence: Follow your target companies and try to identify patterns of change that could mean opportunity for you. Study profiles of China employees in your target organizations to see what you can learn about their group memberships and LinkedIn behavior. Do they commonly have any other local professional memberships, credentials or experience that would benefit you in your China job search? How can you use these insights to benefit your China job search?

7. Q&A: Participate in 'Answers' and ask smart 'Questions' that will best position you to your target audience; you can also choose to limit some to your specific location (China) for added visibility in that sector. Making your question specific and targeted to your area of expertise and target location will increase your visibility. For example, as part of your China job search research, you might target China HR or recruiters with questions around the most sought after candidate qualifications and experience for the job type you are targeting. This will have the double advantage of making you highly visible to people in a position to hire you, or refer you, and also give you advice which you can use to boost your job search strategy.

8. Work your Applications: If you are traveling frequently to China, use 'TripIt' to highlight this fact. Upload non propriety presentations on 'Slideshare' to highlight your regional China expertise and insights. Everyone serious about brand building and positioning themselves as a thought-leader knows blogging is a highly effective strategy; link to your Typepad or WordPress blog to LinkedIn for added kudos, and blog location-specific articles and links. Browse potential China-related networking events, especially those which are specialized by industry, and confirm your attendance, seek out others to meet with who may be attending. Include appropriate China-related books relative to your area of expertise on your reading list. Try 'Legal Updates' or 'Portfolio Display' if it's right for your industry or function, and you could try conducting well-thought out polls of your network to interact with them and help you further strategize your China job search. Make sure everything you link or upload is key word rich, related also to China, and emphasizes your niche expertise.

9. Keep Busy: Stay active LinkedIn for best results and find ways to post regular status updates that highlight your China-fit qualifications and experience, your desire to be hired in China, your unique value proposition (which is well researched and sure to be appreciated in China), your forward-thinking approach, proven track record and transferable skills, rather than your desperation to be hired. Instead of continuously posting about your job search, showcase your pro-activeness by smart LinkedIn maneuvers that will be broadcast to your expanding list of connections. If you strike it lucky, do not immediately drop out of your LinkedIn activities, this will position you as a self-serving "user" who is not sincere about giving back. Do yourself a favor, employ 'Career Karma' and share your job search success secrets with others who will benefit from knowing them.

Bottom Line: Strategic China-related LinkedIn activities will keep your profile highly visible to your network at all times. Make it easy for your connections, and possible hiring decision makers to see why you could be a candidate for a China position. Invite more connections to connect using the tips above, and seek out ways to be of assistance to them. Find ways to help your network, perhaps by referring events, groups, by offering recommendations, sending them links to information or blogs that they will find interesting, or by offering to connect them with someone in your network you feel they would benefit from knowing. This approach is much more likely to bring you results. Employers and HR prefer solid proof of China specific performance, highly relevant China/industry related experience and, preferably, an introduction from someone they know and trust. Ideally this person will be in, or known to, the China market. Plan how you can do this by building your high profile LinkedIn brand and network as a candidate they will, at the very worst, notice and potentially refer you for other positions.

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