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胡泳,北京大学新闻与传播学院副教授,博士。价值中国网(www.chinavalue.net)总编辑。中国传播学会常务理事。著有《网络为王》、《众声喧哗》等,译有《数字化生存》、《未来是湿的》等。

北京大学新闻与传播学院副教授,博士。价值中国网(www.chinavalue.net)总编辑。中国传播学会常务理事。著有《网络为王》、《众声喧哗》等,译有《数字化生存》、《未来是湿的》等。

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job seekers lost in cyber world  

2010-05-01 14:38:46|  分类: expect |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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http://www2.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-04/23/content_9764589.htm

Job seekers lost in cyber world

ByDuan Yan in Beijing (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-04-23 07:10

 


Are socialnetworking websites failing to help jobless graduates? Duan Yan in Beijingfinds out.

 

His resume is probablyone of the most viewed in China - but instead of finding "Ma Wen" hisdream job, it propelled the desperate graduate to Internet stardom.

When the 21-year-oldmultimedia designer uploaded a video showcasing his talents on a Chinese socialnetworking site last year, the idea was to increase his chances in a tough jobmarket.

But although the clipattracted millions of hits, very few of them were prospective employers.

"Most e-mailswere from other students asking me how I made the video," Ma Wen told ChinaDaily via MSN chat and e-mail (he refused to talk on the phone or use his realname).

Although videoresumes are not a new concept, more graduates are now using them to improvetheir prospects in the chilly economic climate. However, analysts say most employersand online businesses in China are "stuck in the past" and arefailing to exploit the recruitment opportunities offered by social media.

Ma Wen graduated witha degree in computer science from Xi'an University of Technology in the summerof 2008, shortly before the world entered the worst financial meltdown fordecades. With most companies putting a freeze on hiring new staff, Ma Wen soonbecame exasperated by the lack of job opportunities.

"I sent out myresumes to many companies but got no replies at all," he said. "Andwhen I did get interviews, as soon as they found out I didn't go to a 211project school (a national initiative that includes what are considered the topuniversities), they passed to the next person."

About 13 percent ofthe 6.1 million new graduates last year failed to find work, while another 6.3million are expected to enter the job market across China this summer,according to figures from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

With such fiercecompetition, the Internet can be a vital tool for jobseekers, say analysts.

Use the word"resume" - jianli inChinese - to search any Western or Chinese video-sharing website and you willsee short films made by students to show their skills in design, production,animation, music and even teaching.

After months offruitless searching, Ma Wen decided last April to join them by uploading hisvideo resume to 56.com, a website similar to YouTube.

During his 1-minute37-second clip, which is based on television advertisements for Hewlett Packardthat feature only celebrities' hands, he uses various computer-aided designtechniques to display the films and directors he likes. At the end, heintroduces himself as a graduate and his e-mail address appears on the screen.

But the response hereceived was far from impressive and instead of attracting offers from moviecompanies and large Web firms, "all I got were e-mails from individuals orsmall groups", he said. "They were offering me work but they didn'tprovide suitable career directions."

Disappointed, heturned down all the offers and is now studying English at a college in Harbin,capital of Heilongjiang province. He is now working on setting up his ownsocial networking site for netizens to share software.

"It will be moreuser-friendly and less commercial than the others," he added.

Although Ma Wenfailed to land a job, other graduates told China Daily that they believe socialnetworking sites had been instrumental in finding their jobs. One of them wasHuang Dongyu, 28, who used a video resume to land a career in advertising.

Creative thinking

After graduating fromXi'an Fanyi University in 2005 with a degree in communication technology, Huangfound the only option was to become a technician for a cell phone firm.

"I didn't wantto do maintenance work for telecom companies," he said. "My passionwas design, so I taught myself how to use graphic design software in my sparetime. I made my video resume in 2009 as practice when I was learning to useFlash software."

After uploading thevideo online, as well as sending it to employers and recruitment agencies, hegot a job as a web designer with Sheer Digital Technology based in Chengdu,capital of Sichuan province.

"The humanresources department (at Sheer) mentioned they saw my video resume," saidHuang. "I did other things and I don't think the resume was the onlyreason they hired me - after all, a resume is only one part of the whole jobhunting process - but it definitely helped."

Although some expertsargue video resumes are unpopular with employers and job agencies, Jack Lee, arecruitment manager with the Beijing-based Apex Recruiter, encouraged graduatesto exploit all avenues to improve their prospects.

"Companies thatare hiring usually have too many resumes to deal with, so it is important notto wait for HR staff to come to you. Explore your contacts and find a way tocontact them," he said.

However, uploadingvideo resumes is just one of the ways jobseekers can target recruitingcompanies through social networking sites, as online businesses in the Westhave proved. Many websites now already set up job search forums and messageboards.

The fact thatFacebook, Twitter and YouTube - arguably the world's three biggest names insocial media - are not available in China should open the door for domesticservices to dominate. Yet few are even attempting to enter the recruitmentmarket, say experts.

Renren.com, which issimilar in style to Facebook and is among the country's four most popularsocial networking sites, is the only one that offers a job-searching platformfor college students. Most of its rivals are still focusing on pushingentertainment services.

Since the platformwas launched on March 9, about 200 companies have posted advertisements formore than 1,000 positions.

Most of its functionsare similar to zhaopin.com and 51job.com, both online recruitment agencies, andto ensure security, recruiters must get permission before they can accessmembers' profile pages.

"If companies are interestedin any candidates, they can add them as friends and get that person'spermission to view their information and network," said Song Tiantian,spokesman for Oak Pacific Interactive, the Beijing-based firm that ownsrenren.com and mop.com, an online forum also popular with students.

Although no other socialnetworking sites have yet launched job services, Yu Yi, an analyst for AnalysysInternational, a Beijing consultancy firm that specializes in telecommunicationand media, is confident they will.

"These sites have attractedlots of users through various game applications. Now, to make a profit they areexploring new revenue streams," he said. "Developing a job-searchingplatform and other practical applications will attract specific demographicgroups and will help websites expand their value."

Meanwhile, several online firmsalready offer video interview services, including production and distributionto domestic and international recruiters.

The first in China was cnvhr.com,which was launched in 2004, and now has 20,000 registered users and 2,000affiliated companies. However, it is yet to make a profit and owner Guo Xu saidhe has stopped paying to promote the service.

"There are still companiesand individuals using our video interviewing service every day since it's freeof charge, but I don't manage it now," said Guo, whose site is hosted on afree server provided by Tianjin's education authorities and is used to organizejob fairs in the city. "It doesn't cost much to maintain the site."

Killing time online?

In the United States and Britain,as well as in multinational corporations like IBM, executives now activelyencourage workers to open accounts with Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to notonly advertise events and vacancies organized by the company, but to aidcommunication between staff.

Chinese companies, however, stillrely on "old-fashioned" job fairs to find staff, and even continue toblock access to many sites because they believe workers waste too much timeplaying online games.

"Most firms in China arebeing too slow in utilizing these new (social media) tools," said Hu Yong,an associate professor at Peking University's school of journalism andcommunication. "Bosses still think these websites are where officeemployees spend all day stealing vegetables."

The vegetables he referred to areon Happy Farm, one of several games that have attracted millions of users tokaixin001.com.

Are bosses wrong to think theirstaff would waste all day playing online games at work?

Not according to a recent surveyby the China Internet Network Information Center. Of the 3,007 netizens polled,42 percent admitted the main reason they log on to social networking sites isto "kill time".

However, if human resources andrecruitment firms do not change their mindset and tap into the power of socialmedia, they risk being left behind, Hu said.

"They need to learn how touse Web 2.0 (applications that aid global interaction and collaboration) andsocial networking. They need to be part of this new environment," he said.

 

 

Popular social media sites in China:
RENREN

Launched: 2005 (formally Xiaonei, it changed its name in 2008)

Typical users: Mostly students and recent graduates. The emphasis is on connecting with real-life friends online.

Interface: Almost identical to early versions of Facebook.

It has a few unique features, such as a “footprint”, and a “funware” platform for games.

Popular functions: Mostly games. It has more than 250 game applications, which are often copied by its competitors.

Estimated market share: 17 percent

Popularity ranking in China: 17

KAIXIN001

Launched: 2007

Typical users: Office workers. Its users spend twice as much time on the site, compared to users on other social networks

Interface: A simplifi ed version of Facebook with very little advertising.

Popular functions: It has about 50 applications, the majority of which are games (the site launched the social games craze in China but Renren has since stolen its thunder).

Post-forwarding of celebrity gossip, photos and funny stories is also extremely popular.

Estimated market share: 12 percent

Popularity ranking in China: 13

51.COM

Launched: 2005

Typical users: People from small cities

Interface: Simple. It is far more functional than elegant. Popular functions: Again, games. In all, it has 50 applications.

Estimated market share: 12 percent

Popularity ranking in China: 40

 (China Daily04/23/2010 page 1)

 


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