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9 Ways to Maximize WeChat for Work in China

With over 400 students joining our Internship programs every year in China, a whooping 37% of them are motivated to intern in China because of the Job opportunities in China. They use internships as a window to access the Job market in China in order to decide if its a good opportunity. Many have succeeded in securing full time positions after the internship and I will discuss how this could make your work easier.

Perhaps you’ve heard of China’s new social media chat tool, WeChat, which is similar to Whatsapp, Line, and SnapChat.  WeChat has been launched worldwide since 2012, and though it has yet to take over the world, it has most definitely taken over China.  A few years ago, you could still work in China without having to add your boss or coworkers on WeChat, and they would respectfully call you or text you on your local China number. Alas, no longer! This can be a blessing for a visitor as you may not even need a phone number if you have set up your international WeChat account back home prior to arrival, but it can also be a curse when you realize just how available you’ll have to be for work.

Regardless, you cannot avoid adding colleagues, managers, bosses, and business contacts on WeChat, so here’s how to ensure that you’ve maximized WeChat for work!


  1. Use your real name

You’re not a teenager any more, and social media is no longer a chat tool for friends, so avoid setting your screen name as “Da Bomb” or “MC Hawt Dawg”. Use your real name, and don’t add emoticons in front of your name as it makes your name difficult to find in a contact list.  If you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer, it helps to add your title or company name behind your name (not in front) to remind others who you are.


  1. Set a username

Choose a username for yourself based on your full name, a username you commonly use (such as your email), or your name combined with your business or title.  This way, even if your phone is out of batteries, or you simply don’t feel like scanning someone’s QR code or being scanned, you can have them search your username in a jiffy.  A username can also be given on business cards, resumes, and emails without revealing your phone number or providing a QR code.


  1. Change your profile picture

Most WeChat users have hundreds of friends, and even with notes and good organization, they’ll rely on your profile picture to recognize you in person and remember who you are. Make sure your photo represents you the way you want to be remembered and recognized as by new contacts.


  1. Filter your message

WeChat allows users to set up a “What’s Up” message, which can be changed regularly to reflect your mood, location, or status.  If you have a professional website or business, we would recommend you put your URL here, or a short, one line summary of who you are and what services you can provide.  If you don’t need to market yourself that hard, you can rely on your Linkedin link and use the “What’s Up” function to state what you’re looking for (e.g. a job) or your favorite motto. The key is to filter your message so that it is still professional.


  1. Add notes to Contacts

Once you’ve added a contact, you can click on “Set Remarks and Tags” to change your contact’s name (especially useful if your contact has a Chinese name and you need to add their English name), mobile number, description, and even a photo of them.  We recommend you add as much information as you can for networking contacts, such as where you met them, who they are, what they do, and what they need.


  1. Group your Contacts

In the same window where you could set remarks, you can also set “tags”, which allows you to manage your privacy settings by tagging contacts under certain groups.  For example, some people have numerous tags by industry, location, or company. Others might have a very simple traffic light system, where red has bosses, managers, and other colleagues they are cautious about, yellow is for other networking contacts, and green is for friends and people you can share anything with.  Whichever your method, we recommend that you place everyone in a group of some sort, and sort your “moments” or shares accordingly.


  1. Link your Linkedin Profile

Now you can link your Linkedin profile to WeChat and it will show a summary and even how many profile views you have through WeChat.  The only caveat is that users must have Linkedin themselves in order to see your linked profile, so you can’t expect everyone to have access to it. However, anyone you will meet in a professional context should have a Linkedin account they can login to.


Join Wechat Groups

Now that your account is all set, authenticated, and connected with linkedin, this step will get you connected and kick start the conversation. The beauty of using wechat as a ob hunting app while in China is that you can join groups of like minded people who are having discussions about particular topic and in this case Jobs. In order to get the best of your wechat account, you need to start joining Wechat Groups created for job seekers. You will meet HR Managers of companies, headhunters and recruiters who post their Job descriptions. Join as many groups as possible and watch your network expand beyond your imagination


Network Network Network!!!

The last step is to go out and Network! With your wechat properly configured, you can attend networking events organized by Chambers of Commerce, Organizations, and institutions. There are also Startup communities that bring together ENtrepreneurs and Business people. Your responsibility is to sniff out these events, attend and make friends. You don’t need to request business cards or even ask for contact numbers because wechat does the networking magic of connecting you. People are twice willing to add your to their network on wechat than release their telephone.

Check out our living in China resource page for sources to securing information about networking events in the major cities.


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