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How to Write a Chinese Resume

Patrick Kim | November 19, 2016 | | 2 Comments
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If you are looking for a job in China, having a Mandarin version of your resume (简历 jiǎnlì) will increase the chances your resume will be read all the way through. Cover letters (求职信 qiúzhí xìn) are less common in China, so a resume might be your only opportunity to target your human resources specialists and headhunters, who may come across you through a keyword search or by skimming a stack of resume copies. A Chinese resume can be up to two pages long and contain as many as six different sections if you have enough relevant information. Information should be clearly demarcated by either text boxes, or bold horizontal lines separating sections, and labels, headers, and subheaders. Even if your Chinese is at the beginner level, adjusting your resume to Chinese formatting standards brings you one step closer to an interview.

Basic Information (基本信息)

A Chinese resume usually features a professional photo at the top right corner, and a list of your personal information to the left. Chinese resumes generally provide more personal details than Western ones, and their formats tend to make these items stand out prominently. The following are some of the most common items on a Chinese resume:


姓名

Name

性别

Sex

籍贯 / 国籍

Place of birth (instead write your nationality)

出生日期

Date of birth

身份证号

Identity Number (Passport number)

邮箱

 Email
 联系电话  Phone number (include the country access code)

联系地址

Address

学历

Highest degree attained

In addition to the above, the below list is of items also typical on local applicants' resumes. However, these may not all be relevant to you, and you can include them as you see fit:

健康情况

Health condition

婚姻状况

Marriage status

求职意向

Job search objectives

语言能力

Foreign language ability (list all languages you know and their respective proficiency levels)

民族 

Ethnicity (covered by nationality, but could perhaps be relevant to foreign-born Chinese)
期望薪水 Salary expectations

As with resumes in other languages, Chinese resume guidelines tend to be flexible, meaning that you can choose which items you want to include, and there are variations in the characters you can use to label each item (you don't have to use the exact characters I have provided here as examples). In order to fit a large number of personal details, it is common to list them in two separate columns. 

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I used a box format for my resume, which is by no means necessary. It probably more attractive to use single bold lines to separate each section, but boxes are an easy way to achieve a neat and structured appearance. 

Educational Background (教育背景)

Education is very important in China, and usually comes before work experience, particularly for recent graduates. Because a Chinese resume is generally longer, you have more opportunities to elaborate on parts of your educational experience which have particular relevance to the position you are applying for. Although some Chinese resumes will list educational experiences all the way back to elementary school, it's probably not relevant for foreign candidates. 

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This version of my resume uses several bold horizontal dividers, which could be easier on the eye. I started by listing the name of my college as a subheader (加州大学圣巴巴拉分校), and on the same line put the type of degree completed (本科), and from when (****年**月) until () when (****年 **月) I attended. More subheaders point to my major (专业), GPA including study abroad experience (含交换学分), and relevant courses (主修课程) I took. I included my study abroad experience (学习交换), but did not specify the types of courses I took because I hoped the names of the programs would be self-explanatory. 

I didn't go into much detail about my course work because I decided to fit my resume onto one page. However, you can elaborate much more here, especially if you have an advanced degree or relevant research. If you have multiple degrees, this general format can be repeated for each degree you have earned, starting with the most recent. 

Note: If you look closely, the character 月 on the second to last line of the section is not aligned with the other 月's above it. Formatting frustrations can occur when you are typing in Chinese, at which point you can try different things to get around the possible glitch, or just settle with it if you decide that it is negligible (as I did in this case). 

Work Experience (工作经验)

This section may be where Chinese resumes differ from Western ones the most. As cover letters are less common in China, you might want to talk more extensively and persuasively about your work experience than a single page resume normally allows for. Work history is listed in reverse chronological order and can follow a similar format to your educational experience items. Use subheaders like "position" (职位), "responsibilities" (职责), and "accomplishments" (业绩) for a structured and polished look with clear indications as to where the information lies. These subheaders are just some examples, and there are many alternatives. Impress your audience by choosing the right characters to describe what you want to say about your experiences. You can also use bullet points as most Western resumes do, but it seems that it is more common in Chinese resumes to separate points in work experience with a semicolon rather than with a bullet point. 

If you are having trouble writing about your responsibilities and accomplishments in Chinese, try to state your information as directly as possible, and then have a Chinese friend review your work. While the opinion of a native speaker is important for any level, it is equally important to write out your resume yourself first so that you can directly reference your resume when you are speaking Mandarin in an interview. Look at writing your Chinese resume as an opportunity to practice vocabulary relevant to your industry. 

Awards (奖惩情况)

This section might not be necessary, but it can catch attention if the awards are relevant.

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The above example lists a study grant (奖学金) and the year (**** 年) it was awarded (获得), then uses a semicolon to denote the next award, which was first place (一等奖) in a competition (****比赛).

Technical Skills (个人技能)

This section is a must for those applying to technical careers, but probably won't be necessary if you covered all the relevant aspects of your skills in the education or work experience sections. On the other hand, if you have learned skills outside your academic or professional experience, you can list them here, or mention any extracurricular courses you took or volunteer work you did in the past. 

Self-Evaluation (自我评价)

This section can be useful to those who don't have standout technical skills, but possess a unique combination of hard skills, soft skills, and cultural or linguistic knowledge. China is a job market that favors niche skillsets, and here you can target your audience with a clear value proposition. In this way, a Chinese resume is much more informal than a Western one. 

In some Chinese resumes, this section is titled "hobbies and interests" (兴趣爱好), which is slightly less professional, but more personal. As a foreigner, you can take this approach to highlight how you might be a good fit for the company culture, or just suggest that you are sociable and easy-going (an important trait for a position that requires you go on long business trips with your colleagues). Chinese companies often ask foreign candidates about their personal life during the interview process to determine whether the candidate will be a good fit for the company and to see how committed the candidate is to staying in China. You can use this section to address these concerns, explaining how you are personally invested in China, and what it is about the particular industry in China that excites you.  

 

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Patrick Kim

Patrick Kim

Patrick Kim is an editor at TutorMing. He has a B.A. in East Asian Studies from UCSB, and has worked in China for 3 years. His hobbies are soccer, being outdoors, and studying Chinese.

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