Blog 18: HK Job update & 5 things I've learned (中文翻譯)

It's been 1 year and 5 months since I've graduated, and 1month and 2 weeks since I've moved to Hong Kong. It's been a long and emotionally draining process, but my journey of job search has come to an end. 

I've found my first permanent full-time job at a very well-established international company. I won't reveal too much details at this point, but I'd like to share the whole process of my job search as a foreigner. Also, congratulations to my parents, they've successfully graduated from parenthood. 

It's always been a real struggle for me to be born but not raised in Taiwan. From a really young age I was exposed to American education, and throughout years of college my view was broadened to a very international mindset. I've had the privilege and luck to be able to travel and live in various international cities like Hong Kong and New York. Deep down I always felt like I belonged in a big city full of people from all over the world. But I don't actually belong in any of those places. In order to live and work there, I need a working visa. Which is incredibly hard to obtain in the US.

Throughout college, I tried my hardest to obtain any experiences or internships I can. Because of my identity as a foreigner, I'm not allowed to be working or get paid. So I had to get experience by helping professors do research on campus, or work for non-profits as a volunteer. In my Senior year I also had the chance to study abroad in Hong Kong. That was a crucial and amazing experience that would help me lead to my first ever permanent job, and the first step of my career.

After I graduated in Seattle, I decided to take my chances and move to New York City. I packed my bags, sold most of my belongings, and moved across the country. I didn't know anyone in New York, heck I didn't even know my own roommate that I was sharing my apartment with. I didn't know where the courage came from, but my crave to be a part of a dynamic, fast-pace, and international city is far greater than my fear of stepping out of my comfort zone. After 1 month of moving to New York, I got a job working as a Sales Associate at Uniqlo, a Japanese retail store. I was very excited at first, since I can finally make my own money and take care of myself. Working as a sales associate is simple and hard at the same time. Simple being it doesn't require much prior experience to get your hands on it, but hard being the physical toll it takes on your body. I worked really hard, but at the same time I thought I was wasting my time, "I thought". I felt like, what was I doing with my life? This isn't going to get me anywhere. I'm not going to get a work visa here, it's just a dead end. I continued to search around for a permanent position that offered work visa (H1B), but all the agencies I've visited told me the same thing: It's very competitive in the US, there's a quota on the HIB visas given out each year, and most of them are given out to PHD or Master degree holders with far more work experience than you.

A year gone by in the blink of an eye, and my OPT visa (temporary, 1 year visa for foreign recent graduates to transition into their career) has expired. I returned to Taiwan to continue my job search. I was no doubt very happy to see my family after being abroad for so long, but at the same time I wasn't happy living in Taiwan. After spending 10+ years abroad, Taiwan seems to be too local for me. There's not a big enough of an expat crowd in Taiwan, and the majority of expats were teaching English at an elementary school or cram school. I knew if I stayed in that environment, I will settle for less, lose my touch of being international, and I would just be stuck there forever. I needed a more exciting and competitive life, surrounded by people with the same mindset. So I turned my job searching towards Hong Kong and Singapore. 

Both Hong Kong and Singapore are very expat oriented, and a lot of people who already work there need a working visa, so it would be a lot easier obtaining one. But my biggest problem was, employers saw my phone number weren't local to where they're located, so 2 months went by and I received no e-mails or phone calls. So again I made the decision to simply move to Hong Kong and continue my work searching process. I was on a short time limit due to my visa, so I drafted up an intensive plan. The goals were to apply to at least 6 jobs per day, to visit various job agencies, actively reach out to employers on LinkedIn even if there were no jobs posted, and attend mixers and networking events. I had my new business card ready, finalized my infographic resume, and practiced interviewing process many many times. About 3 weeks into being in Hong Kong, I reached out to a job agency on my own, and I was brought in for interview. They were very kind and helped me throughout the whole interviewing process. From the beginning when I sat down for that first interview, till when I signed my contract, it's about one month long process. It's definitely nerve wrecking, because I keep thinking, if I don't get this, one month is gone, and that is a whole lot of time since I'm racing against time with my visa limitations. But in the end, my persistency beat the system. And I can't put in words how excited I am to be able to work in a city like Hong Kong.

Throughout this whole process, I've learned many new things. And I feel like this whole job searching process and visa situation might not really be how others describe it on the internet. If you google, how to get a job or how to get a working visa, it's full of general statements, fluff, and just useless advice. So I'd thought I'd share my story, or how looking for a job as a foreigner is like, and what really happens in the process.

1. Work experience is very very important. 
It doesn't matter what type or work experience, it can be part-time or volunteer, but any kind of work experience beats having no experience and just degrees or double majors or 4.0s pilled on top of each other. Even if you're just a sales associate at a retail store or a waitress, you learn the importance of customer service and how a business functions first-handidly. 

2. Step out of your comfort zone, and be proactive. (sounds cliché, but not many people can actually do it)
If you want an opportunity, you have to go after it yourself. You can't sit on your bum and wait for a reciter or manager to come fetch you. You have to seek them out yourself. When I got my job at Uniqlo, I downloaded their application online, didn't send it through e-mail, but instead walked right into their flagship store and asked for the HR manager. I didn't need to wait for an e-mail telling me I got an interview, I was given an interview right away. 

3. Being physically available to meet in person beats everything.
If you want a job in another city or another country, you have to be physically there. Make that happen no matter what, because your chances of getting hired increases by about 1000% (not literally but you get the idea)

4. Whether there's a job opening or not, contact the manager directly on LinkedIn.
If there's a certain company you want to work for, even if they don't have a job opening posted on their website, still contact the manager directly. Sometimes companies don't post their job openings because they would rather hire internally or hire based on a referral. But if you put yourself out there and show your interest, you have a chance at getting one of those "hidden openings. If there is a job posting and you've applied for it, ALSO contact the manager on LinkedIn. Companies always like people who show more enthusiasm and pro activeness, so it never hurts to put yourself out there and stand out.

5. All work experience is important, but don't fluff and BS in your interview with a higher-up manager.
Like I said previously, any kind of work experience will count towards your experience, whether it's just a part-time thing or unpaid internship. Having said that, don't try to fluff your experiences too much or BS about your personality and present someone that's not you to a manager or director. They've interviewed more people than you've met in your life and they can see right through all your politically-correct fluffed up words and crap that's coming out of your mouth. Try not to talk like how business school or law school or however college has taught you to talk like. Be yourself, and be sincere

Example: Why do you want to work here?

Don't answer this: "Your company is known for making great products that help people do X. But on top of that, I know of your company's leadership role in our community through your support of X, Y and Z events or causes. Your products and philanthropy show you to be a company that cares about both the bottom line and giving back to society." (REALLY? Is this really what you think?)

Do answer this: "I've talked with some of the other people working here, and I feel like I would fit with the team really well. I would be thrilled if I get to work with (name of person). And I think being able to become a part of a wonderful team and positive environment is the most important for me when it comes to choosing a career path."

It's no doubt a really emotionally draining and tiring process. But it is most definitely a possible thing. You just have to be persistent, and stick with that mentality. I really like this Japanese saying, and I'm going to conclude this blog at that.




在西雅圖畢業後我決定搬到紐約市。我把行李打包好後、賣完大部份的東西、上了飛機就搬到美國的另一邊,東岸。當時我一個人都不認識,我連自己的室友都不認識。我不知道我勇氣是哪來的,但我覺得因為我想要住在一個很多元化、腳步很快、又國際化的都市的渴望比走出自己習慣的環境的可怕還要大。搬到紐約一個月後,我加入日本服飾店Uniqlo的店員之一。一開始我很期待因為我終於可以自己賺錢養活自己。當店員是一個簡單有困難的工作。簡單是因為不需要太多的經驗或能力就可以做,但是困難是因為工作對身體造成的負擔比想像中還大。我很努力的工作但是我感覺我好像在浪費我的時間浪費我的才能一樣。我覺得我在這裡幹嘛?這份工作對我的職業沒有幫助,也不會給我工作簽證。我之後繼續尋找一個有工作簽證(H1B)的永久性的工作。但是我去見的所有的獵人頭公司都說“美國的工作簽證競爭力很大,每年發出的簽證有限制名額, 大部份都是給擁有博士或碩士然後工作經驗比你多的候選人。”


香港和新加坡兩個都市都有非常多來自英國、美國、澳洲的人,很多在那裡工作的人都需要工作簽證,所以要拿到工作簽證會比美國簡單。不過我最大的障礙是,當公司一看到我電話不是他們當地的電話時就直接不考慮我了。經過兩個月沒有來電也沒有e-mail回信後,我再度決定搬到香港再繼續找工作。因為簽證的關係我有時間限制,所以我準備了在香港找工作的計劃。目標是每天至少要把履歷投給六家公司、要自己去主動去找獵人頭公司見面、就算沒有職缺也在LinkedIn上主動和公司的主管聯絡、然後要參加工作性質的聯誼以認識多一點人。我準備好了我的個人名片、完成視覺圖表履歷(infographic resume)、然後也準備面試的問題回答。到香港的第三個禮拜,我自己主動和一家獵人頭公司聯絡然後進行了面試。他們非常的親切而且很仔細地幫忙我順利通過整個面試過程。從我第一次面試到我簽約大約是一個月長的時間。這整個月我一直都非常緊張,因為我一直想萬一我沒有被錄取正一整個月時間就浪費掉了,而且我還在跟時間競賽中。最後,我的堅持打敗了這整個工作簽證的系統。我也不知道要怎麼形容能夠在像香港這樣的都市工作我有多興奮。


1. 工作經驗非常非常重要

2.  不要怕離開你習慣的安逸環境,而且要主動!

3. 本人到場最重要

4. 不管有沒有職缺都要主動在LinkedIn上和主管聯絡

5. 不管怎樣的工作經驗都很重要,但不要誇大或在面試過程中對高層主管說謊


不要這樣回答:“你們公司有非常好的產品,那項產品幫助大家做….而且我知道你們公司在社區中支持一些很好的活動比如說x, y, z 你們的產品和公司的慈善事業凸顯出你們公司很重視對社會回顧”(真.的.嗎?你真的是這樣想?)