Hong Kong Resume Writing Guide
Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, job search in Hong Kong requires more than just the obvious Hong Kong resume and Hong Kong cover letter writing and translation, it requires thorough preparation. You have to show that you are flexible, culturally sensitive, able to adapt to new circumstances and cultures and that you possess some commitment and motivation (for the job, not the location!). You will face issues that probably did not even come to your mind when become interested in working in Hong Kong.
Do not take too lightly the influence they can have on your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, job application procedures, selection trends and the management culture.
Prepare yourself. The terms CV and resume are often used interchangeably in Hong Kong. Research the advertisement and company you want to work for. Such information will help you to adapt your CV or resume more effectively to each specific job and use proper examples illustrating your achievements.
If you are applying for jobs in multinational corporations operating in the region, you may need to submit a Hong Kong resume instead of a Hong Kong CV
Focus on keywords used in the job posting and description – qualities and/or characteristics – employers, HR personnel and hiring managers are seeking. This increases your chances of passing through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), recruitment management software utilized around the globe for application screening.
You can turn your current CV into a resume by shortening some descriptions of your educational and professional experiences. In Hong Kong, the term resume can be used instead of CV. In short, the resume is a Hong Kong-style CV, which details the most recent job first and highlights the main aspects of your career. It is less structured, in a narrative style and more brief than a CV. It is also more subjective. If you are applying for international jobs, you may need to submit a Curriculum Vitae (CV) instead of a resume.
However, the term Curriculum Vitae” most often called CV, typically carries a different meaning depending on whether one distributes the CV within the US, Canada or internationally (external to the US or Canada) or is seeking a faculty, academic, research, clinical or scientific position.
The aim of your resume should be to persuade the employer to invite you for a job interview
Before writing your resume, research the company you want to work for. Such information will help you to adapt your resume more effectively to each specific job and use proper examples illustrating your achievements.
For an employer, the first impression of you is your resume. It must leave a favourable and lasting impact. You need to show that you are flexible, culturally sensitive, able to adapt to new circumstances and cultures and that you possess some perseverance and motivation (for the job, not the location!). A successful resume is one that will appear in most searches and generate the most interviews.
Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) and English are the official languages of Hong Kong. English is spoken widely and used in public places.
When applying for a position in Hong Kong, you may use either English or Chinese, depending on the company and your fluency. Stick to one language once chosen. However, you need to accept that not knowing the Chinese will put you at a real disadvantage from the local job seekers.
If you are submitting an English version only, it is helpful to duplicate in Chinese your name, contact address and company names, unless you are certain that the recipient of your cover letter and CV is an English speaker.
Targeting the job title of a position you apply for, write your resume in a short and professional style using action verbs. Write your resume in a reversed chronological order – starting with what you have done most recently or functional order – information structured per item. Emphasize experience and/or knowledge of Asia.
Employers in Hong Kong want to see in detail what you have done, who you have worked for, when you worked there and what your accomplishments were. The Hong Kong resume that covers a work history of 15 years or more could easily be up to four or more pages long.
Often, the first page of a resume features a simple, professional headshot photograph.
Begin the Hong Kong resume with your personal details listing name, address, contact information including your telephone number and e-mail address. Often resumes are kept on file for lengthy periods, so any contact details you give have to remain correct in the long term. A daytime phone number, with the international access code and e-mail, are most important.
After that, write an introduction that contains many keywords of the actual position you are seeking. Scanners that are programmed to select specific words notice these keywords. Define who you are in relation to the skills and experience sought. This is a critical part of your resume as it is the first section a potential employer reads and it should portray you in the most relevant and professional light.
Remember that your resume will form part of the script for the interviewer’s questions
Next, write an “Objective” or “Summary” statement no longer than two sentences. It is a brief and focused statement of what you can do and what you are looking for. Describe the job you are seeking and emphasize what you can bring to your prospective employer. Employers will look here first before proceeding with the rest of your resume.
Follow with “Education”. List the degrees obtained, study major, the school, the city and the year the degree was granted. If you have more than one degree, list the highest degree first.
In addition, list certifications and training received. Mention any Honors, Awards, Scholarships and Internships. Include any information that might be appropriate for your job search. Do not mislead, as employers will check.
Then, under “Professional or Work Experience” detail, the company name and the time spent at each particular position, your job titles and a thorough description of your responsibilities, duties, the challenges faced and accomplishments achieved – emphasizing areas relevant to the position for which you are applying. If you have not had much work experience, try including temporary, holiday or voluntary jobs.
Make your resume more effective by providing examples to illustrate your achievements. Use action words such as contributed, organized, demonstrated, trained, managed, developed, coordinated etc. Bullet points these at the start of a sentence for maximum impact.
Under “Skills”, show a potential employer your work-related skills and abilities. Include all technical, computer, interpersonal, analytical, professional and other skills that match your target job and target company. Describe your level of oral and written knowledge of languages (Cantonese, Mandarin and English).
Optionally you may add the “Memberships” section where you list any professional affiliations, associations or memberships of interest to employers.
After the above items, you can have extra headings for things such as additional coursework or seminars, publications, special licenses, software, hardware, operating systems and computer languages. Applicants often list on resumes their interest in music, arts and spots.
Personal information may include nationality, citizenship(s), marital status, date and place of birth, gender, religious affiliation, military service, visa status, residency rights etc. Call the Human Resources department directly or research the biographies of the company’s management team to ascertain what might be required. You do not want to find out after the fact that a company rejected your application because you violated some unwritten rule about acceptable resume components.
Discrimination laws are not as stringent in Hong Kong as they are elsewhere in the world. Subsequently, carefully consider what to leave out of your resume and exclude anything that might give prospective employers a chance to discriminate against you. For example, if you are not married, it is not wise to mention that you “only” live together with a partner – it does not comply with the Muslim religion.
It is more common to apply for a job through the Internet. However, you should be aware that an electronic resume does not look the same as a printed one. Employers often scan resumes for an Applicant Tracking System, so make your resume scannable by avoiding for example lines, italic fonts etc. In addition, Microsoft Word format used to be the standard for sending in a resume, but this is no longer the case. Saving and sending it in a PDF format is a safer route, especially when applying for international positions.
Computer print or typewrite your resume hard copies on white A4 format paper. Use the same font and style as your Hong Kong cover letter. Use a font that is easy to read such as 11 points Arial.
Always include a cover letter with your resume, but never attach any official documents, like diplomas or testimonials to your application unless you have been asked to provide them – if so, sent only copies.
Finally, close your resume with “References available on request”. It is best to avoid putting references on your resume. Employers usually ask for references when they actually need them. This is a strong indication that an employer is interested in you.
In recent years it becomes increasingly popular to join the LinkedIn or Facebook social networking websites for professionals, where you may search for jobs and have your keyword-optimized, rich content profile with a current resume. Hiring managers use them more frequently to consult your profile and supplement or check against the resume you send along. If you do not have an account, create one and include your social media link(s) on your resume.
However, you should manage your online presence. Eliminate any photos and statements that could reflect poorly on you. From an employer’s point of view, someone who emphasizes partying on a social networking site is not focused on jobs and those who post complaints about work or colleagues are less desirable candidates. Online resumes should not include sensitive information as they could show a lack of respect for confidentiality and discretion.
Check the spelling and grammar of your Hong Kong resume. Use the word processor’s spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and usage errors in English or other language or if you need help in organizing your Hong Kong resume, send it to a professional for assistance.
Remember that your resume must be targeted, scannable and generate hits. If you have difficulty with your resume writing instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use resume samples and resume templates.
Most recruiters expect to receive a cover letter together with your CV or resume. So, prepare a cover letter convincing the reader why you are the best candidate for the interview using cover letter writing tips.
Other Hong Kong Resume Info
If your Hong Kong cover letter and Hong Kong resume are ready, email them to the prospective employers selected during a job search in Hong Kong.
When you receive an invitation to the Hong Kong job interview, you may apply for a Hong Kong visa and Hong Kong work permit. Then prepare yourself for the Hong Kong job interview and take a look at the Hong Kong dress code because how you dress is one of the most important attributes in being hired.
Check the job interview dos & don’ts, job interview tips and other job search skills pages. Find out why people are not hired for available jobs.
In addition, on the international info, job search, visa, work permit, cover letter, CV & resume, job interview and dress code pages you will find many useful tips for overseas job seekers.
Good luck with your Hong Kong resume!