Getting the breadth of your experience and abilities recognized can be tough in any company, but possibly even more so for foreigners looking to work in Taiwan. So it is important to start your job on the right foot and here are some suggestions how.
By Stuart Hill
Realize That a Specialist is an Entry-Level Drone
You’ve been working the past few years, you may have just finished hard-earned post-graduate studies, so all in all you’d be classed as a bit of an expert in your field.
Great to know that you’ve been recognized for your specialist skills. English Specialist, Marketing Specialist, PR Specialist, e-Commerce Specialist. All very respectable positions – assuming you’re just starting with absolutely no experience at all. In Taiwan “specialist” is the position they give to entry-level employees such as recent graduates. If you already have several years of work experience behind you Senior Specialist, Project Manager or Assistant Manager might be a better start.
Interview Tip: title does matter. Just make sure the one you agree to print on your business card matches your years of experience. Check where your position fits into the hierarchy you are joining. How does this ranking compare to where you came from? What does it take for someone born locally to reach the same position?
Fight Against Being a One-Skill Wonder
It’s nice to be considered an expert. It’s also very easy to get into a rut. But who wants to be known as the only person in the building who can do “professional English”. In fact, due to the basic assumptions about why a Taiwanese company would hire a foreigner in the first place, you may never be known for anything other than for your native language skills.
Interview Tip: get a clear definition of your key responsibilities for the position you are taking. Understand why your company is hiring. Is “English” the only skill set they need? Strive for recognition in other functional areas that are not just language/culture specific. Also think twice about being available to everyone for internal language services. It’s nice to help out when you can – but is it your job to provide the only English voice in the company?
- Top Tips for Working in Taiwan: Head-hunters and Salaries
- Top Tips for Working in Taiwan: Culture and Language