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Mistakes to avoid when applying to foreign banks in China

Chinese candidates often make mistakes on their CVs and during interviews when they apply to foreign banks. Here we highlight some common errors to avoid.

“Surprisingly, a large number of applicants are not prepared for the simplest interview questions, such as a self-introduction, including their achievements, strengths, weaknesses etc. This is especially common for those who don’t have experience working in foreign companies and are not used to speaking English during work,” comments one HR professional, who asked not to be named.

Candidates are often not familiar enough with the company culture of foreign banks. “Some are too shy and modest in terms of their performance, and don’t give out enough information for HR to get to know them better. Some applicants show up without doing research about the bank and without an understanding of the expectations of the role,” he says.

Another HR person within a foreign bank in China, who also preferred anonymity, advises that candidates must be proactive during interviews. “HR will ask applicants what they can bring to the company and why they should be hired. If you aren’t prepared, can’t show your commitment or aren’t ready to negotiate well, you will be slashed off the list.”

He also summarises several suggestions for writing CVs for jobs at foreign banks in China:

· Highlight major projects experience. If it’s a sales-related role, then go with figures, major clients, cross-selling, and sales volume. If teamwork is key, identify the contribution you personally made to the team.

· Avoid writing bland content. Instead, try to demonstrate how you have effectively accomplished tasks. When applying for roles in different businesses, read over the terminology and the skills mentioned, so you can target your CV according to each specific job advertisement.

· Resumes should consist primarily of high-impact accomplishments and statements that sell the candidate’s qualifications as the best person for the job. A common mistake is that candidates use a “cookie-cutter” design based on an overused, generic CV template.

· Imagine yourself as the HR person or hiring manager and think from his or her perspective whether your resume is appealing.

· Highlight professional certificates such as the CFA or FRM. For example, if you identify yourself as a risk control expert, the FRM can really back up your professional knowledge within this sector.

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