Olivia, what is the story behind your move to China?
I started studying Chinese at St. Mary’s High School. It was the first high school in Oregon to offer Chinese program. The summer after my first year of studying we had an opportunity to come to China and I was one of the seven students selected. We traveled all around China during the holiday, it was my first trip outside of the States. It was Summer 2007, and we went to Beijing, Henan, and the southern part of China, Kunming in the Yunnan province. It was so different from anything I had known or been exposed to before. After that experience, I started thinking that this is the path that I wanted to follow. I studied Chinese and business throughout college and I completed my final six months of college in Beijing, at Beijing Language and Culture University. I moved there by myself and enrolled in an intensive language program. The classes were only taught in Chinese and I was the only American in my class, with no other native English speakers. I think I cried a lot (laugh) and I was a little bit miserable for about five months, but by the sixth month I was loving it: I have this distinctive memory of riding in a cab and passing all these incredible buildings in Beijing. The energy from the city was electrifying. I went back to Oregon, graduated and found a job at an international adoption agency. I was helping prospective parents through the first 1 to 2 years of the adoption process. I was also helping to update the organization’s website to drive more traffic and liaising with our Beijing office. While this role was a huge learning opportunity for me, I knew it wasn’t my career path. I really wanted to move back to China and pursue a career in international business.
How did you do it?
The easiest way to be back in China quickly was through a teaching job. To the surprise of my friends and family, it only took me a couple of weeks to get one. The whole process of getting a visa took around four months. My parents knew I wanted to move back to China. Although it was probably hard for them, they never questioned it. china advertising agency They knew I could do it and I knew I was determined to make it work. I ended up in a city nearby Shanghai. The first time I visited Shanghai in March 2015 I totally fell in love with the city. I said to myself: I must move here. And to think, I didn’t even know what I know now about the city!
How did you find your current job?
I was using LinkedIn, Smart Shanghai, E-China cities. I had quite a few interviews, but nothing really seemed to be the right role for me. I knew I was passionate about and storytelling and how brands design and market products. At that time, I didn’t know marketing and branding were the answer until after I had an interview for a marketing position with a solar energy company. Although it wasn’t the right fit I enjoyed working on several interview projects. It helped me to narrow down my search.
The position I am in now was posted on LinkedIn and I applied for it. I had fifty connections and an outdated profile picture, but I got called in for the interview. Now I have over 1,100 followers and have published several popular posts and articles, several of them receiving over 12,000 views. I was featured in Forbes because of a connection I made on LinkedIn. We began a conversation about getting qualified leads through HubSpot, and we ended up writing an article that was published on Forbes, in just over a week it surpassed 5,000 views.
I know people in my industry are using LinkedIn, but I don’t see people, especially my peers, using it to its full potential. Nowadays building your personal brand is extremely important, it is the biggest thing you will carry with you from job to job. The reality is that my generation will be changing jobs at least a few times throughout their careers. LinkedIn is the platform to build your professional presence online. Twitter and Instagram are important too, but the LinkedIn is the ultimate professional space where people are going to go to search not only for talent but for thought leadership. How have you contributed, what do you have to say about your industry? Building and interacting with your network is important, and now is the time to utilize LinkedIn to do this.