Will I make it?

Reply
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    43

    Will I make it?

    I just graduated with my BA in poli sci / economics and a minor in Chinese studies from UC San diego (if anyone is familiar with US universities). I don't have much $, only about 2.5k US saved, but really want to work and live in HK. I plan to make the move next month

    I have been job hunting for a few months now with not too much luck, and so am hoping that being in hong kong will give me a better chance of finding a position somewhere.

    the plan: my friend in HK says I can crash with him until I find a job (ie I dont have to pay rent), but after buying the plane ticket I will only have about 1300 US left for food / transportation / random expenses.. is that enough to get me through the job hunt process? I don't need to live extravagantly and am used to living on very little.

    I have read through a lot of posts on here about average salaries for expats, but it really depends person to person and skillset / experience. As a recent grad I don't have that much experience.. other than an internship and some retail/food service jobs. I'm looking for sales / marketing / consulting / trade.. along these lines.. I know its broad but without much experience its hard to narrow exactly what I want.
    Does anyone know what kind of salary I might expect with my background?
    Am I being naive in thinking I can pull this off?

    Any input or advise would be greatly appreciated


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Sai Kung
    Posts
    1,329

    Ultimately, that depends on your "drive" to succeed / determination. Having said that, without a visa you will be permitted to remain in Hong Kong for 90 days. Not having to pay for rent / bills, $1300 (for food and transportation) should be about enough to keep you going for a while (provided you don't go out to LKF and drink, party, etc.).

    On the other hand you also have to be realistic. As a recent grad without experience you will be competing in this job market with literally thousands of local recent grads. Many of these local grads have been educated in foreign universities, but also speak fluent Cantonese (which I'm not sure is the case in your situation). For you to get hired, a company will have to sponsor your work visa. So ask yourself a question, what do you offer a local company above and beyond what they can get from a local hire??? If you find something that you feel will fill that gap.....try to utilize it for your success.

    Good Luck.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    hong kong
    Posts
    3,487

    First of all you have the correct education to stand any chance of making it here. Better than say medieval languages with minor in ceramics or the history of art. However I do know a guy in a major major company here with just those qualifications. He is the CEO !

    More than that,you get jobs anywhere by one of two ways. Do well in Uni and get noticed on placements , then get picked up on graduation or sponsored into Masters / PHD etc OR the Old Boys / School tie network.

    We may assume you have not fallen into the first area. Therefore you need to work a plan when arriving here on how to network and " get into the club ".

    Do not rush to come here. The streets are not paved with gold allthough opportunity is great for those who have the right attitude and are prepared to be knocked down a few times before finding their feet and taking the rewards. Its call life and you have to accept it.

    Look at the companies you want to work for. You have economics so that should not be difficult for you to do. Then look at the recruiting calender. Companies take on graduates ( generally ) at set times and people apply way in advance and its always oversubscribed with qualified applicants. Knock on doors in the US first and get your connections through them , to here.

    If you want to get your feet wet in the Asian market don't tie yourself to HK. Look at Singapore, Malaysia and even Shanghai and the Australian market which is on fire at the moment. The Aussies are " all English " and have an extensive Asia Pacific network because it is their back yard and HK is their playground.

    In the meantime treat your objective as a goal and go out and get a job anywhere. That proves your worth to any employer rather than have you come to them out of work having shown no effort to get into the game.

    Lastly . Learn Chinese or at least have a crack at it. Start with getting one of those language CDs and learn the basics . Beer, Thank you , Hello, How much , You must be joking, too expensive. I have a big P***s etc. It shows an employer that you are serious about being here long term, not just a fuzzy idea.

    Good Luck.

    Last edited by Boris; 04-07-2007 at 10:02 AM. Reason: spelling !

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Sai Kung
    Posts
    1,329
    Quote Originally Posted by Boris
    I have a big P***s etc. It shows an employer that you are serious about being here long term
    I guess that depends on which job you're going for...

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    hong kong
    Posts
    3,487

    HO Ho Ho !


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,561

    You are probably being a nit naive actually. Be aware that job hunting on a tourist visa is illegal. You will get a 90 day tourist visa when you enter. Potential employers will ask about your visa status. You will have to find an employer to sponsor you for a work visa in order to stay. If you do find someone who will employ you, there is no guarantee that a new grad will be granted a work visa (the employer sponsor will have to show that no local can fill the position). While its not impossible to for a new grad to meet the visa criteria it is more difficult (you have less skills to set you apart from a local university grad), and is something to at least keep in mind. The work visa application process alone can take 3-6+ weeks to process.


    It is also not a great time for job hunting in HK - lots of management go on longish summer holidays. There is another hurdle you should be aware of also - the big MNCs out here tend to have pretty regimented recruiting schedules for new grads, and you've missed it this year. Recent grad interviews begin again in the fall for posts that start in the summer '08. Sometimes a new hire leaves or doesn't show up last minute and a spot opens up, but this is rare. New hire training programs are schedules around this recruiting schedule and it isn't very flexible.

    Smaller and more local companies are not as strict with their recruiting guidelines, but you will be competing against many well qualified local grads for these positions, with the disadvantage of not having the same language skills that they do.

    And, $1300US will not get you far in Hong Kong. Living on that for three months will be hard. I don't want to say that you can't find a job here, but right now it doesn't sound like you have much of a game plan. You don't even know what kind of position you want - rather you pointed towards several very broad areas that you would consider working in. Its best to nail down what you want to do with your career before trying to meet companies, in Hong Kong or elsewhere.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    43

    Wow so many responses so quickly Great thanks a lot guys!

    One thing it seems i forgot to mention is that I'm fluent in Mandarin... I can understand quite a bit of cantonese, but I'm just barely starting to learn (picked most of it up from a canto gf). I lived in Beijing studying at peking uni for a year (last year) and worked for an NGO translating and stuff after picking up the language.

    Actually i ran into this problem around end of february / end of march.. most large international american companies already passed their deadlines for applications, but I've been searching online job postings and sending resume's to potential employers.. just not much luck. I was hoping being able to knock on the door in HK and actually meet a manager might help, as I have talked to many on the phone but it is not quite the same.

    Hello_there: For the smaller companies, do most of them require cantonese?

    Also: If I'm targeting HK not just for career reasons, but also personal.. would it be possible to work a non-professional job (such as idk.. bartender or waiter or something), or is that strictly natives? Would you recommend teaching english and job hunting until the contract is up?

    If I fail in HK I'll move back here and probably work in san diego or San Francisco and try again in the future.. but I'm more of the adventurous type and am craving this adventure (living there though, not just visiting)

    Thanks for the heads up for the work visa process... I guess I could visit friends in Guangzhou during that time (hoping i find an employer that is willing to take me)

    hmm....


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    hong kong
    Posts
    3,487

    First rule.
    Get a Job !! Then, with your obvious knitting of the skillset needed to be here , you will suceed. Later rather than sooner.

    The fact that you have language is a MAJOR plus as well as having experiance in country. I would not see you having too long to wait.
    Try Australia first if you want to get away from the US. They are really pleasant people, the same " can do " mindset as Americans but can drink much more beer.

    As a British subject I want to be reincarnated as an Aussie. Same language no barriers.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,561
    Quote Originally Posted by Soulglider009
    (1) Hello_there: For the smaller companies, do most of them require cantonese?

    (2) Also: If I'm targeting HK not just for career reasons, but also personal.. would it be possible to work a non-professional job (such as idk.. bartender or waiter or something), or is that strictly natives? Would you recommend teaching english and job hunting until the contract is up?
    (1) Depends more on how local the company is, but in general, the smaller the company, the more useful Canto is. The fact that you're fluent in Mandarin is a big bonus though.

    (2) Same visa requirements apply for non-professional work. You won't get a work visa for bartending or the like, as there are more than plenty locals who can perform those functions. You could look into a teaching job. Some English schools sponsor English teachers work visas, but you probably need some sort of teaching certificate or something. The requirements are I'm sure somewhere else on this forum.

    You might also want to see if you can get a legal assistant position at a US or UK law firm, or even in the legal department of a bank. Generally these positions just require a college degree (the amount of experience they want will depend on the individual firm, but I've heard of firms taking kids out of college who plan to go to grad/ law school a few years down the road). But, if you're interested in finance or marketing I'm not sure how much this would help your career.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by hello_there; 04-07-2007 at 05:08 PM.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sham Tseng
    Posts
    1,377

    instead of arriving cold turkey and responding to posted jobs why don't you do so homework - find out who are the movers and shakers what is it they do - can you see yourself doing that - what are some up and coming projects that are coming up in the pipeline for company's - who is heading them - how can you get involved - when you get here approach them directly for an infomational meeting about 20 minutes -

    There is a wealth of background research you can do that will assist you in you endeavor.


Reply
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast