With Taiwan’s economy entering recovery mode, more and more foreigners are coming to Taiwan to look for work. Taiwan, as one of the world’s safest countries, relatively low cost of living and incredibly warm and welcoming population is an attractive place for many workers who would like to have an international working experience.
Many foreigners coming to Taiwan are happy to settle for a job teaching English (where there is a large demand for native English speakers). But if teaching English isn’t your calling in life, how can you find a non-teaching job in Taiwan?
The biggest challenge facing foreigner workers in Taiwan is the problem of obtaining a work permit. While there are some jobs that are willing to sponsor foreign workers, many companies prefer workers to already have a valid work permit.
One way to overcome this (which also calls for a little more forward planning) is to graduate from a Masters program in Taiwan. The Taiwan Government offers many scholarships to complete a full Masters degree in Taiwan. If you complete a 2 year Masters degree the government gives you an extra 6 months to stay in Taiwan to find a job. The two years of study in Taiwan will also give you an opportunity to learn more about the job opportunities available, meet more people and also meet future employees.
If, however, you don’t have the two years up your sleeve to complete a Masters degree, it is still possible to find a non-teaching job in Taiwan. For most job seekers, chances are you will be using online resources to search for jobs. There are a plethora of Taiwan job websites out there.
For foreigners, the easiest sites to start with are the websites of chambers of commerce in Taiwan. These websites are in English and are a good place to start. A number of chambers have job sites. Try:
- Swedish Chamber of Commerce
- British Chamber of Commerce
- German Chamber of Commerce
- French Chamber of Commerce
In addition to these sites, there are a number of forums for foreigners in Taiwan which also include job boards. The most commonly used are:
The Taiwan External Trade Development Council also runs a job site. It is dedicated to foreigners seeking work in Taiwan. You also need to first create a profile. It is worthwhile to keep an eye on this website as they often organise careers fairs where Taiwanese employees seeking foreign talents participate.
If you are looking for something else, then locally based sites are also a good way to search for jobs in Taiwan. These are in Chinese and you need to create a profile first. Creating a profile is similar to the process on a western job site. The website will take you through the steps. Basic information includes: your education, work experience, skills (what computer applications you can use, driver’s license, other technical qualifications). It is also important to upload a photo! For most of these job websites, after you have created a profile, when you see a job you wish to apply for, you just need to click on the ‘應徵’ button and this will take you to a page to confirm you wish to apply. Once you send your application off and once the prospective employer reads your application you will receive an email saying the employer has read your application.
Tips on creating a successful profile
Chinese CVs differ from those in Australia and western countries. While in Australia it is common to track your experience in terms of your accomplishments, in Taiwan this is not necessary. A simple outline of your work experience will suffice. You need only include the name of the company, your position, dates and a brief description of your duties.
The key to a successful profile is writing your autobiography (自傳). While unheard of in Australia, in Taiwan this is the first part of your application that prospective employees will look at. Your autobiography is your best chance to “sell” yourself (but note! Taiwanese people are modest so don’t make it seem you are too amazing). Your autobiography can be divided into several paragraphs.
- Briefly introduce yourself, including 1-2 sentences on your family (i.e. what your parents do and if you have any siblings). Employees want to know if you have a ‘standard’ upbringing. In this introductory paragraph, you can also include your educational background. What university you studied at, what your department was and what your majors/minors are. You should write the highest level of your educational attainment (Masters/PhD/bachelor etc). In this paragraph, you can also include information on study abroad experiences, scholarships or other university accomplishments.
- The following paragraph should start outlining your work history. Where you worked, what your duties included, why you left, what you learned etc.
- If you have lots of work experience the next paragraph can continue to describe your work.
- If you have notable volunteer experiences or if you are involved in clubs and societies you can include them in a paragraph following your work experience.
- The final paragraph should sum up all your experiences. This paragraph should encapsulate what kind of job you are looking for and why you are suitable for that kind of job or industry. This paragraph can also include your career ambitions. I.e. based on your previous work experience, what would you like to achieve in the future and how applying for this job can help you achieve that.
In some respects, the autobiography is similar to the cover letter that many jobs in the West call for. However, it is more personal and is written in the first person. Most jobs in Taiwanese companies (regardless of if they are advertising for local or foreign workers) will ask for an autobiography, often in English as well. It would be worth the time and effort to write a good biography to make your application stand out from the rest.
So once you have found your dream job, how to make sure you get legally employed? Your company will need to sponsor you for a Taiwan work visa (known as Alien Resident Card or ARC). To ensure this happens you need to supply your employer with your highest degree diploma, two passport photos and proof of residency. Your employer will apply for a work permit for you. Once you receive your work permit, it is up to you to go to the immigration office and apply for an ARC. More information for foreigners about working in Taiwan can be found on this handy government website called ‘Working in Taiwan’.
As a worker what are your rights? According to regulations, foreign workers are entitled to a minimum working wage of $47, 971 NTD. There are exceptions to this, for example, research assistants in public or private colleges can expect to receive a minimum wage of $31,250 NTD for a bachelor’s degree, $36,050 NTD for a master’s degree while graduates from Taiwanese universities can expect to take home $37,619 NTD.
More Asia Options Feature Articles to Help you Build a Career in Taiwan
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- Let’s get famous in Taiwan! And how to do it.
- 6 reasons to get involved with start-ups in Asia
- Taiwan Internship & Job Options
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