I love getting letters from readers and recently I received a great letter from a reader asking about “How to get a marketing job in China?” So, I thought I would share the email and the reply.
How to get a marketing job in China (Email)
I’ve been perusing your blog and found the information very useful. I’d like to thank you for starting it and contributing to the knowledge-base for expats (I am ABC) in China that are/want to work in marketing.
I’m currently located in Shanghai, and working for a video game start up, but want to switch over to marketing, and was wondering if you have any pointers in terms of applying to marketing positions with no past marketing experience, but also not being fresh out of school (I’m 27, yikes)?
Would love to hear what you have to say!
Thanks for reaching out and reading the blog. I always love to hear from readers and I am happy to hear you found the information useful/interesting.
I was in the same situation as you last year. I had just turned 27 and I was working for a software company doing localization testing, but I was really interested in marketing and advertising. So, I know how difficult it can be in finding marketing positions. The pointers I can give you are just a few based on my experience. I found that having no experience (other than a degree) and not speaking Mandarin were the two biggest obstacles holding me back. This is why I started my blog.
Tip one: create an online voice. By having my blog and writing for Advertising@chinaSMACK, I was able to create a voice for myself. Many people are calling it “personal branding.” I would suggest you start a blog or start writing for a popular blog. (I am always willing to post guest blogs on my site). But, having a voice or personal brand really helped me get a foot in the game and required me to follow marketing trends in China.This allowed me to be relevant and topical in interviews and allowed me to point towards “work” I had done. By having a mildly successful blog on marketing in China, it allowed me to show my commitment to marketing and also allowed me to showcase my writing, SEO, and content creation skills.
Tip Two: Take an internship. This might seem difficult or hard based on personal finances, but it is the easiest and quickest way to get experience. There are 100’s of agencies in Shanghai and many of them are willing to take on interns for little or no pay. This can be difficult because they will not offer a visa, but if you can manager to find an agency that will let you work part-time or on a flex schedule, it will provide you will experience.
Tip Three: I still haven’t learned Mandarin, but if you can speak fluently it will give you an advantage.
Tip four: Network, some agencies have networking events and many chamber of commences have events. I have never been to a chambers event but I have been to a few Ogilvy events here in Beijing and that allowed me to meet people in the field. Some read my blog posts after I met them and that has helped my personal brand grow. Many jobs are posted on LinkedIn and because I have added these people, I can see status updates with jobs available.
That is the route I took in order to work in marketing. My personal branding lead to an internship which in turn lead to a full-time marketing job for CNPC – GWDC. I hope this has helped you a little and I would love to talk more. I hope you are able to find a job and don’t get too discouraged because it is possible to move into marketing but just takes a little time and hard work. I was blogging for 9 months before I got an internship, which lasted 3 months. So, almost one year to move from localization to marketing. That is just my story, I’m sure you can move faster depending on the amount of work you put in.
I love getting letters from readers and I would love to hear from you! I hope that answered the readers question about “How to get a marketing job in China?” that is the route I took and it seems to have worked out okay. Feel free to tell your story here by contributing. And stay tuned for more marketing updates!