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Finding a job in Hong Kong

 

Here's a suggested six-step approach for finding a job in Hong Kong. Again, this section speaks especially to Yale seniors and recent alumni outside Hong Kong who are looking for permanent jobs here, although many of its ideas may be useful to anyone.

1. Begin networking on campus.

Start by meeting and talking with Yalies from Hong Kong, who can be found in most of Yale's schools. In the graduate and professional schools, you could also ask around to find students who have worked in Hong Kong. At the Yale School of Management, for example, the Career Development Office has résumé books available that will help you locate such people. Talking with these students over coffee about their experiences and listening to their suggestions would be a great way to begin your Hong Kong network.

2. Make the decision to come to Hong Kong.

The odds are extremely small that you'll find a job in Hong Kong while sitting in an armchair in New Haven. No one will take you seriously until you show up. If you take the approach that you'll go to Hong Kong only if and when you land a job there, you'll waste a lot of time and effort - and still wind up never making the trip.

Buy your airline ticket. Don't even think about sending out résumés until you can include a cover letter that clearly states when you will be in Hong Kong.

3. Tell the Yale Club you're coming.

Once you've got your air ticket in hand, the Yale Club of Hong Kong can start helping. Send your résumé to Alex Chan (Yale Graduate School '96) or Caroline Van (Yale College '79), and tell them when you're arriving and what kind of job you're looking for. The Yale Club can summarize your résumé in its regular newsletter, inviting its members to contact Alex or Caroline if they want to see your full résumé, and/or then to contact you directly if they have any leads for you. However, please note that this service is available only to Yalies already in Hong Kong or who have a definite, confirmed schedule for being here. Moreover, you need to become a Member by paying dues, which is discounted for current students and recent graduates. Please visit the Membership section of the Club website.

4. Step up your search once you're here.

Once you've arrived in Hong Kong, start by calling the prospective employers to whom you sent résumés. Remind them who you are, tell them you're in town, and ask to meet them. (Only then, probably, will they seriously read your résumé.) Be pushy.

5. Network, network, network.

We can't stress enough how important it is for first-time job seekers to get out and network in Hong Kong. Writing letters simply isn't enough. You need to expand your circle of acquaintances, any one of whom might have a friend that could refer you to your first job.

Yale Club of Hong Kong events are a great way to meet new friends. You can receive the Club's newsletter by e-mail once you arrive in Hong Kong; all you have to do is Join Us. Another way to network is to join the happy hour events the Yale Club participates in, organized by various Hong Kong alumni associations of Ivy League schools; check out the Upcoming Events page.

Again, while it may be tempting to rely on the end-of-week classifieds in the local English-language newspapers for your job leads, voluminous as they may be, these show only the tip of the iceberg of available jobs. The better positions don't make it into the paper. You will find these only by networking.

6. Don't be too choosy about that first job.

If you're not too many years out of Yale, the most important thing at this stage in your life is to get into the flow and get experience - both in your chosen profession and in living in Asia. If the job doesn't meet all your criteria, but could serve as a useful entry into the field (or a related field) of your choice, think seriously before you pass it up.

Job-hopping is practiced more frequently in Hong Kong than in the States, and employers won't look at you with a jaundiced eye if you've moved around a bit. A year's tenure should be considered a minimum, but leaving after 18 months at one job is generally acceptable to the next employer. Keep in mind that this turnover rate is working in your favor as a first- or second-time job seeker: more openings out there at any given time.