Chris Aukland is the managing director of specialist recruitment agency Ambition and is responsible for the growth and management of the Hong Kong business. He has 15 years’ consulting experience in the UK and Asia.
University graduate with 2 years experience stuck in HK job hunting.
Dear Career Doctor,
I think getting suggestions from professionals like you will be a great help while I am still job haunting.
I am 22 and I have recently completed my Masters in Computer Science with distinction from University of Northumbria at Newcastle in UK. I did my bachelors in Computer and Network Technology and my diploma's in Network and Cyber Security. I have worked as an IT Associate/Administrator in Hong Kong for almost 2 years, 1 year while I was doing my diploma and 1 year between my Masters and Bachelors. I am an English speaker and I am learning Simplified Chinese at the moment. I am in Hong Kong for a month now.
My genuine career interest is in junior System Administrator, System Engineer, IT Specialist and Java/Android Programmer. I have already done following things:
• I have applied number of jobs requiring English only.
• I have been requested for my resume around 20 times in last 25 days. 10 of them were for management trainee and others were genuine IT job.
• I have also sent over my CV along with cover letter made specific for positions listed in the company job listing directly to company HRs.
• I have also been contacted by number of agencies to ask about my expected salary, visa and language. I have included my HKID in my CV and expected salary in cover letter as well.
• Not to mention that I also have professional certifications from Microsoft and I have even attended professional training from Cisco and Red Hat.
• Last time I attended an interview in two multi-national companies, before doing my masters and I was told indirectly to be too young and I would change my mind working for them. I was 20 then
My problem is the following:
• How long should I wait after applying for the job?
• Why HR does never acknowledges my e-mail? While recruiting agencies do.
• What would be my expected salary in Hong Kong?
• While my CV has been reviewed by professionals and even HR from few of my connections, they said it’s pretty impressive. I was also offered an interview as junior system administrator, 2 weeks earlier before I came to HK. Do you think there is problem with my CV?
• I don’t have any direct connections with IT people in HK, though I have indirect ones. I have also sent them CVs. Is it because of my connections?
I would really appreciate professional solutions for my questions based on my scenario.
Posted Thursday 11th July 2013 12:12:00 PM
One thing I noticed when I was seeking roles in Hong Kong was the ridiculous amount of years experience often listed in job descriptions even for relatively junior or middle management roles - this was particularly the case for local banks and companies. Job competitiveness aside it became quite apparent when I started working as well as general consensus among many people I've spoken to that in HK especially among locals there's a tremendous emphasis on rote learning which really impedes professional development when they enter the workforce. Thus the excessive amount of years listed in job ads esp. for local companies seems to be a reflection of career progression here among local candidates.
Posted Saturday 29th December 2012 08:28:39 PM
Dear Christopher, Thank you for your advice. Now it's been two months; at this stage I recently had an interview with one top american banking institutions. Everything went pretty well on phone interview and including the 1st onsite interview. The interviewer even suggested me there will be more jobs opening starting January and advised me to get CCNA and LPI or Red Hat Certifications. I was in final 3 but, they chose 2 more experienced candidate over me. I even received feedback that "is good candidate being fresher, he is confident with good communication skill, he has reasonable knowledge of the subject matter but ...". I guess I will use that to improve myself. Anyways I think I will be attending another interview next Monday. Do you mind reviewing my CV, If you don't mind I will send you InMail via LinkedIn. Many thanks, Milan
Christopher Aukland - Career Doctor
Posted Wednesday 5th December 2012 05:14:00 PM
Dear Milan, My first piece of advice is to stay positive and keep on doing what you are doing. Finding a job can be frustrating, particularly in Hong Kong’s highly competitive job market. You also need to be conscious that while Cantonese is not often a requirement for junior level IT roles, it can often be a preference for an employer in Hong Kong. In relation to salary, I suggest you remain very flexible and target entry level roles with good career growth, as experience is more important than salary at this stage of your career. You also need to be aware that for the average HR professional, recruitment is a very small part of their responsibilities. They are inundated with emails, phone calls and resumes from job seekers like yourself and unless your resume catches their eye quickly, it is likely that they will not get back to you. I cannot comment on your resume without seeing it but you could ask your peers as well as other recruitment professionals for their thoughts. It is also worth brushing up on your interview skills and technique so that once you get in front of employers you are prepared for the interview, can talk about your career experience to date and convince the employer why you are the best person for the role and why they should employ you. Always be enthusiastic about the role and the company and demonstrate an interest by asking questions about the role on offer. However, you also need to ensure you don’t come across as overly keen and someone who would take any job you were offered. This can be equally damaging to your application because employers will assume you are only looking for a short term role while continuing to look elsewhere. You should also keep in mind that it typically takes jobseekers between one to three months, depending on the background of the jobseeker and time of year, to secure a role and you need to be patient as it takes time to find the right position in Hong Kong. It sounds like you are already doing many proactive things to progress your career and if you have good programming skills in Java then you have skills that are in demand. So I’d suggest that you stay focused and build on your current proactive activity by attending IT seminars, IT networking events and career fairs as well as utilise the recruitment websites to ensure you maximise your chances. Be patient and persistent and I am confident you can secure yourself a role. Best of luck!
Posted Tuesday 27th November 2012 09:08:00 PM
Looking for a job in Hong Kong is like tendering. The most skills at a below par value. Milan, if you measure up to your skills it would be an option to identify your key strengths and industries and seek opportunities to pitch them as consulting skills to service or maintain organisations IT as a business. Reach out and speak to others who may be considering changing jobs or can provide resources that combine with your strengths to provide a package of your own. Think big as Donald Trump says.