On 1 November, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University hosted the 2023 Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District Global Talent Job Fair.

The event attracted nearly 300 international students from around 50 countries and regions who are studying at XJTLU, Soochow University, and the Silk Road School at Renmin University of China. Representatives from 31 international companies, including Minth Group, GCL System Integration, and Sinotrans Limited, were on hand to provide career advice and to talk with students about job openings.

The employers spanned diverse fields, including intelligent manufacturing, new energy and materials, transportation, tourism, education, and biomedicine, offering over 500 job positions.

Organised by XJTLU Global and the XJTLU Career Centre, the job fair was a platform for international students to explore career prospects, showcase their skills, and connect with potential employers.

An international student talking with a company representative

Supporting employment

Professor Qiuling Chao, Vice President for Student Affairs and Information at XJTLU, said in her opening speech that students’ employment and employability are central to the University’s mission.

“The key purpose of a university is to prepare the next generation to take their place in society to make real changes for a better world, and that begins with employment.

“This job fair represents our commitment to ensuring employability for all of our international students, both undergraduate and postgraduate,” she said.

Professor Qiuling Chao, XJTLU Vice President for Student Affairs and Information

Miao Chen, Deputy Head of the Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District Management Committee, also helped set the stage by highlighting the job fair’s primary purpose: “I hope that all the participating companies can recruit the talent that best suits their business development. I also wish all the international students success in finding suitable job positions.”

China career beginnings

The job fair provided international students with insight into the job market in China.

Jacob Harris, who is from the US, graduated from XJTLU with a BEng Industrial Design degree in 2023. He’s now working as a Global Brand Strategist at Cybrid Technologies Inc., an international company based in Suzhou that produces high-tech polymer materials for new energy systems around the world.

His top advice for international students seeking jobs in China is to learn Mandarin.

“I’ve already passed HSK (Chinese Proficiency Test) Level V, and this was a huge factor that allowed me to successfully obtain a work visa,” Harris said. “It also enables me to work in a Chinese company and effectively communicate with my co-workers.”

Harris also emphasised the importance of practical experience.

“It’s not enough to just go to class and do your assignments. That will not guarantee you will find a job. It’s very important for students to get practical work experience during the summer,” he said. “Don’t just expect good things to come because you got good grades in school.”

Linsey Herman is an Indonesian student in her final year of the BA Business Administration programme at XJTLU.

“Since I will graduate next year, the job fair is truly useful to me,” she said. “I could get to know companies that offer job opportunities to international students and learn about the expectations of the employers.”

Markus Davis, International Student Support Officer at XJTLU Global, said he thinks the highlight of this job fair was that it was tailored for international students.

“These employers understand the visa policies, medical insurance and language requirements for international employees, making it simpler for international students to find suitable jobs in China,” he said.

From students to professionals

The event featured a panel discussion on how international students can successfully transition to professionals. The panel also shared their thoughts on getting a first job and that job’s role in someone’s career journey.

From left to right: Bella Guo, International HR Project Director at Shanghai Global Expertise and Talents Co. Ltd; Sherry Gong, Overseas HR Manager at GCL System Integration; Professor Roberto Donà, Associate Dean of XJTLU’s International Business School Suzhou; and Jacob Harris, Global Brand Strategist, Cybrid Technologies Inc.

Bella Guo, International HR Project Director at Shanghai Global Expertise and Talents Co. Ltd, provided suggestions on how to start a career.

“First, participate in more job fairs on campus and get an offer, preferably from an international company. Second, aim for stable employment to expand your knowledge and social network. Then you will be much clearer about your future career plan,” she said.

Professor Roberto Donà, Associate Dean of XJTLU’s International Business School Suzhou, encouraged students to maintain a long-term perspective and embrace challenges.

He said: “When we are in university, we don’t study for the first job. We are preparing ourselves for the second and the third. The first job out of university is important, but it is just a stepping stone in our career journey.”

The international job fair at XJTLU attracted numerous participants

The job fair was co-organised by the Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District Management Committee, the SIP Foreign Affairs Office, and the Suzhou Human Resources and Social Security Bureau. It was a part of the 2023 XJTLU Global Partner Forum, a four-day event that aimed to foster international connections, promote innovation, and enhance collaboration between academia, industry, and society.

By Xinmin Han and Katharina Zhu
Edited by Tamara Kaup and Patricia Pieterse

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