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Sassy’s Guide to Getting a Job in Hong Kong

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Have you just moved to Hong Kong, recently graduated or are you simply keen on exploring new opportunities? Hunting for the right job can be an uphill battle. Trust us, we know from experience! That’s why we’ve put together a couple of tips for finding a job in our highly-networked ambitious city.
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Go the traditional route

  • Check the classifieds. Yes, organisations still do list jobs in the thick classifieds section of every major newspaper! You’ll join the queue of thousands of applicants if you only apply this way, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look at what’s out there.
  • Look at online job aggregators. JobsDB is a great source for marketing and PR jobs in Hong Kong. So is recruit.com.hk for other functions. Just make sure you find the portal that lists jobs in the field you want.
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Network

  • Not all jobs are posted, nor is it fun to be part of a thousand CVs sitting on someone’s desk. So try to meet people in real life, and attend a range of networking events. The various chambers of commerce in town put together a solid agenda of events with different speakers. Check out the long list of events American Chamber of Commerce sets up for example, and sign up to attend! Go on, be brave! Even if you meet one useful or interesting person, it will be worth your while. Take a friend with you – that way, it’s more fun and less daunting to break into groups of people you don’t know.
  • Research events that are relevant to your interests. Are you in PR? See if there’s a Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong event on. Are you exploring a career that is heavy on digital? Attend Web Wednesday, where the digitally focused crowd gathers once a month to stay in touch and hear interesting speakers. If you’re passionate about protecting our environment, pop along to Green Drinks, Hong Kong’s gathering of the socially minded and action-oriented. Or if you want to get into media, check out Women Media Networks’ monthly roster. For those curious about start-ups, startbase.hk lists a number of Hong Kong-based start-ups. This is a great way to get involved with the community and have your ear to the ground as interesting needs arise within new companies.

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Volunteer
This is especially useful if you’re interested in working with a local cause or non-profit. They may not always have jobs listed that you can apply for, but volunteering is an excellent way (if you have time) to learn more about organisations, get a sense of their culture, and be in the right place when funds become available and a hire can be made. Check out volunteering options here and here, and don’t forget to have a look at our various Sassy Supports charities!

Do your research
Apply to jobs after you do your research. Interviewing without any thoughtful questions prepared or without knowing anything about the organisation’s market, competitors, or audience, is a foolish idea. Show that you’ve done your research as early as possible, referring to relevant ways in which you can contribute in your cover letter.
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Brand yourself

  • Prepare an ‘elevator pitch’ for yourself. Let’s say you meet someone who works in the industry you’re interested in or even the specific company you want to work for. How will you use your few minutes of time with them wisely? Develop a succinct way to introduce yourself and what you are looking for, hand them your contact card, and request a particular action from them (make it easy!). Then follow up.
  • Write a decent CV. Get a friend to proof read it. You need another set of eyes so you can make sure you’re representing yourself the right way. There is every conceivable piece of information online on formatting CVs in different ways, what to include, and what not to. Consider putting in a brief ‘about me’ section on the top where you highlight experience that’s particularly relevant to the position you’re applying for.
  • Are you actively engaged in the digital sphere? If you have a blog, an active presence on Twitter or Pinterest or any other space where the world at large can see you, represent yourself well. If your current job or future job desires involve communicating with external audiences, put it into practice and talk about relevant matters online. Engage with people who are useful or interesting to you, and participate in pertinent communities. Think about that little online bio and digital trail. Think about what you want people to think when they see you online.

Talk to the pros
Get to know some headhunters. Hong Kong is home to many recruitment companies and individual headhunters. Find one that is relevant to the level of role, industry, and function you are seeking and develop a trusting relationship with them. A good headhunter will help you highlight your best points for a particular role, work with you on your CV and represent you well to their clients (who could be your future employers!). Remember, they can only help you if they themselves are hired to fill a particular role by a particular company, so find out what their expertise is. There is little point trying to engage with a headhunter who focuses on placing senior level roles in finance if you are a mid-level graphic designer. It’s simply not relevant.
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That thing called LinkedIn
To be or not to be on LinkedIn. Our counsel is: be. Almost all organisations have LinkedIn profiles and will post jobs there as well on other networks and boards. It’s a useful way to check on where your future boss or colleagues went to school, what their experience was prior to joining the company you want to, and see if you have connections in common. It’s also a useful way to have a version of your CV online for quick dissemination and it’s great at taking communication to the next level. If you’ve applied to a particular role and believe you have just the experience that is sought, use LinkedIn to politely follow up if you know whom the hiring manager or human resources person is. This isn’t a guaranteed way to connect, but it’s another avenue that is open to you.

Happy hunting!

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