For many journalists, working abroad is a dream. Be it as a foreign correspondent or as a travel writer, international journalism careers are increasingly popular – and necessary, in today’s globalized and multi-cultural world.
In an exclusive interview, ROOSTERGNN spoke to Glen Loveland, the current HR Manager for China Global Television Network (CGTN). Originally from the U.S., Loveland has lived in Beijing, China, for over 10 years. With a background in PR and HR, he has developed a reputation for bridging East and West.
Read on to find out all about his tips for future journalists, and how you, too, can pursue an international journalism career.
You started your career in the U.S. at the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., and then as a Senior Associate at a Public Relations company in New York City. How did you make the leap to your first job in China at Pearson PLC and then at The Walt Disney Company?
Timing is everything! I was looking to make a move abroad when I learned about opportunities in China connected to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Everything just clicked. After three years in China, I had done enough networking and had enough real work experience in Beijing that I was a competitive candidate for an HR position with Disney.
Now, you work as the HR Manager at the China Global Television Network (CGTN). One of your responsibilities is global talent acquisition. What do you look for in candidates that would like to work at CGTN? Do you have any specific application tips? Do candidates have to speak Chinese? If a candidate is interested in working for you at CGTN, how should they reach out to you?
Very few of our positions require the ability to speak Mandarin. Of course, it’s always a plus! First and foremost, we’re looking for people who have some foundation in the role that they are applying for. Secondly, we’re looking for resilient candidates who believe they’ll be able to thrive living abroad. China is different from Western countries and you’ll have to prepare for that on so many fronts.
The best way to approach CGTN is to follow our LinkedIn company page. We post openings there including not only for Beijing but also a new location we’ll open in London in late 2018. A solid LinkedIn profile along with a one-page resume is necessary.
What differences can journalists expect when working in China vs. working in the U.S.?
Journalists working in the U.S. will probably be used to working in very commerical, ratings-driven environments. Most media in China has some government involvement. You’ll find that the timelines are very different when it comes to planning, for example. China is innovating in many ways now and you’ll have to learn new platforms. For example, WeChat is a messaging app that everyone in China has. Writing content for WeChat will be quite different than writing for other formats.
What advice can you give for young journalists who would like to get a job overseas? E.g. How can they land a job? How can they use social media to their advantage?
- Learn about the visa requirements of the specific country that you want to work in. For example, you can’t qualify for a work visa in China unless you have at least two years of post-graduate work experience.
- Follow as many of the companies that you want to work for on social media and LinkedIn. You really need to immerse yourself in the target country to get a sense of what opportunities are out there.
- Be patient. An international job search can easily take 6-12 months, especially when you factor in visa processing. International assignments are NOT for someone who just wants a job. They require focus and you have to convince foreign companies that you are serious and intend to fulfill your contract.
- Networking from abroad is tricky but useful. If you find a company that interests you drop an email to someone already working at the company. Avoid HR or management as they already get a ton of these type of inquiries. Try to find someone working in a role that you’d also like to work in and ask them how they got their start and if they know of relevant job openings.
If you can afford it, traveling to the country where you want to work to make some connections can pay off. It shows employers that you are serious about working abroad. If you do get hired, you’ll be able to hit the ground faster as you already have a sense of the location.
Are there any specific steps students can take already in college in order to launch an international journalism career?
Internships are always a good idea. You can also look to contribute content to media organizations in the country where you want to work.
For example, many newspapers accept freelance opinion columns. All of these things help you build a portfolio. You need to have some type of experience before you graduate or you’ll find it so much harder to get a job.
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