China likes PR graduates
I’ve been in Beijing for about six days and 22 hours so far. The reason I haven’t blogged yet is partially due to technical difficulties, but also because I think it’s wise for me to allow time for me to collect my thoughts before jumping on particular topics because I experience about as much in a day here as I do in a week in the United States.
One topic that is particularly relevant to both my Ning networks, PROpenMic and Considerations: The Art in Marketing is how locals view my major. I was worried that I might face a little workplace discrimination because I majored in neither art nor Chinese. However, I’ve found the opposite is true. Everyone I’ve met has said that public relations is a very good major. My employer’s president remarked that he’s working on a project to open a huge building that will require a lot of public relations work.
My supervisors seem to think my most valuable human capital is in my native English speaking ability, public relations education and internship experience. I’ll eventually become fluent in Chinese by living here, and I can learn about Chinese contemporary art by working here and visiting Web sites my direct supervisor suggests.
Of course, all my friends and colleagues either study at the Central University for Nationalities or work in the fabulous 798 Art Zone, so I can’t speak for the entire Chinese population. However, this country does appear to be undergoing essentially an industrial revolution, which creates an exponential demand for public relations. I learned in my college classes that the public relations major began in the U.S. and is much rarer in other countries.
Do you want to get a job in China? I’d say it’s hard to find a public relations job here unless you have a strong network related to China in your home country. I got mine because my randomly assigned roommate was from Beijing and knew someone who was prestigious within this art community. (So much for all my active networking in college, right?) My friend and former classmate Jessica Lomelin found in her job search that many worldwide firms’ offices prefer to hire locals so they won’t have to deal with immigration processes.
I suggest that you either get involved with your college’s Chinese student group or move here to teach English. One of my friends gets paid 200 Chinese dollars (30 USD) an hour to teach Korean children here full-time. Through these tactics, you’ll develop the necessary network to break into the public relations market. Lastly, make sure people know you want to work here! The day I graduated, I received a job offer out of the blue for an excellent job in China from a student looking to replace himself, which I had to decline because I already had this one. The reason? Pat Curtin, Ph.D., knew I had a strong interest in working in China and referred me to the e-mailer.
Your comments are welcome. What are your experiences looking for and working in jobs outside your home country?
*Note: This is the same post that appeared on my PROpenMic profile’s blog on July 1, 2008.
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