These days you need some hard skills if you want to find a job in China. As a foreigner, speaking English or having a college degree just isn’t enough anymore. When it comes to finding a job in China, getting a promotion, or negotiating a pay raise, learning new skills will go a long way. It’s easy to say you’re a good communicator or a computer whiz, but do you have a certificate to prove it? The internet is an expansive space filled with numerous training programs, some free, others not. All will put you ahead of the pack when trying to find a job in China.
Not all skills require the same length of time to master. Outlined below is a list of skills/certification programs divided into three separate categories: three months, six months, or one year+ based on how long they’ll take to learn. So, what are you waiting for? Start building up your skills for the China job market and prepare to reap the benefits.
Workplace Skills You Can Learn in Three Months
FEMA - The Federal Emergency Management Agency Certificate ensures you’ve learned the skills and knowledge needed for dealing with different emergency situations, such as floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters.
CPR/First-Aid - Pretty self-explanatory. This certification states you know the proper technique and procedures of basic CPR and first-aid for different situations.
OSHA - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Certificate trains you in specific safety and health aspects of your job. It’s usually for people who work with hazardous waste, construction, or other labor-type jobs.
Google Analytics - A free analytics tool to measure website, app, digital, and offline data to gain customer insight.
Hubspot - This site offers a number of training courses and certifications related to business, including inbound marketing, attribution reporting, blog optimization and content marketing. It also offers a number of demo-projects you can work on to practice your skills in a variety of business spectrums.
Within three months, you should be able to master all the above skills. Many of the training and certification programs offered online can be done much faster, however, depending on how much free time you have.
Workplace Skills You Can Learn in Six Months
HTML - Code used for most basic websites.
Photoshop - A computer program for changing and enhancing photos.
Illustrator - A graphic design computer program used to make banners, brochures, posters, and digital mockups of print
InDesign - Similar to illustrator, but generally used for designing books, magazines, journals, or newspapers.
Lightroom - A more advanced photoshop, giving photographers greater powers of manipulation and control when altering their photos.
Much like learning a musical instrument, these skills will take a bit longer to master. Especially with the Adobe programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), there are so many tiny details or tools designed for a specific purpose that it can be challenging to remember everything. However, as the old adage goes, “Practice makes perfect”. Working on a personal project every day using these skills is the best way to master them. In my experience, creativity is a huge plus when applying for jobs in China, and having proof of creative skills will set you apart from the competition.
Workplace Skills You Can Learn in One Year+
Foreign Languages - (Any language not using the Roman alphabet will probably take longer to master)
*All these are coding languages that are used in a variety of different industries. Apps, websites, computers and computer programs all use a different coding language. I suggest finding out what’s used in your industry and then learning the code required.
As the world moves forward and becomes ever more reliant on computers, learning a programming language, in any industry, will be seen as a benefit. In China, there’s a huge amount of tech startups, especially in Beijing and Shenzhen, so learning to code is an easy way to stand out from the pool of applicants. Sites like Code Academy and Code.org both offer great courses in coding, with interactive lessons designed to make you fluent in a number of computer languages. If computers aren’t your thing, simply learning a second spoken language, especially Chinese, can have a huge impact on whether or not you get the job in China.
The Importance of Social Media in the Chinese Workplace
China, with the world’s largest social-media market at over 300 million online users, differs greatly from its counterparts in the West. According to research from McKinsey, in more than 80 percent of cases, Chinese people have multiple social media accounts. Learning how to reach out and connect with clients, customers and users on the big Chinese social media platforms is a vital part of most modern China jobs. To help you with this, here are some social media management programs that will take some time to learn but make your life much easier in the long run:
*These are all social media managers with their own pros and cons. Find out what social media you need to manage, compare price plans and pick the one that’s best suited for your needs. You can learn all the ins and outs in YouTube tutorials.
Along with these tools to help you manage social media in general, learning how to edit videos and photos would be a huge asset to your company. As such, here are some programs that will add to your arsenal when looking for jobs in China:
Final Cut Pro - A computer program designed for editing and creating movies.
Apture - Allows publishers and bloggers to link and incorporate multimedia into a dynamic layer above their webpage.
Flowtown - A marketing tool for business that scans for social media profiles based on a given e-mail.
WordPress - A site used to build and create websites, either for personal or business use.
Although not a hard skill, a big pro-tip is to develop a portfolio of your work. For many skills, such as writing, editing, proofreading, photography and video production, if you start to build a portfolio of your work, Chinese HR reps will have a better understanding of real projects that you’ve worked on or created.
In closing, with the internet and the thousands of courses and certifications now available online at your disposal, there’s never been a better time to make yourself more employable in China.
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