Are cover letters required in Taiwan?

After visiting Taiwan and falling in love with Taiwanese people, I have decided that I want to move there. I’m a Software Engineer and I read this related topic https://tw.forumosa.com/t/software-developer-in-taiwan-with-experience-and-without-computer-science-degree.

But something I haven’t been able to find is info about what tech recruiters expect from a job application. I am familiar with emigrating and applying to jobs in different countries (I have lived in 4), but I have no clue if cover letters are an essential part of a job application in Taiwan.

Also, I am applying from overseas (New Zealand), so I want to maximize my chances of, at least, getting some replies.

Are there any other Developers who have gotten jobs before arriving in Taiwan?

Any advice is appreciated.
谢谢

Do you know any Chinese speakers? A lot of employers like to use 104.com.tw or 1111.com.tw

I’d suggest using those websites to have employers find you. Handing out CVs just doesn’t work all that well in Taiwan. 9/10 times, jobs for foreigners go on the Teaching English site and are usually directed towards English teachers.

By the way, I might know someone who wants extra devs. Please PM me with the languages you know. Thanks!

And yes, they ask for cover letters on the sites. Please also include a picture of your face on your CV. I know I know about the potential for discrimination but thats how it is.

@Marco925 thanks for the reply.

I know many Mandarin speakers, but I do not speak it. I had a look on LinkedIn and found many listings written in English, so I’m planning on applying to those.

Picture in CV? I’m Surprised.

I suggest asking your Chinese-speaking friends to help you navigate the two job websites I provided. Both are chinese only and they are the biggest.

Another thing I might add, Taiwanese companies have to jump through hoops to hire foreigners, like many countries. Nothing out of the ordinary. Management would also like to feel that you’re in it for the long game. They don’t want to see people only coming here for a few months and leaving them with the expense of sponsoring you.

In my experience jobs from 104 or 1111 have been pretty crap jobs. Low pay, very long hours, highly demanding bosses, lack of patience (they expect a lot of performance in the very beginning when you’re just learning the ropes, and fire you when you can’t meet the very high expectation). Plus it seems 99% of all jobs on 104/1111 are all sales related, even engineering jobs, software or otherwise still deals with sales (basically telling customers technical stuff). If you have Aspergers and are limited to 104 and 1111 life will suck very much indeed.

Say if you want to work as a tool and die maker, machinist, CNC tech, don’t go to 104 or 1111 because they don’t hire through those platforms.

I find a lot of things, be it jobs or housing are best found on the street. Bosses/landlords put up postings on various public places advertising positions or vacant houses. Those are the better ones. I seen a few job postings for tool/die and CNC this way.

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He’s not in Taiwan yet so that might not help him very much, unless he wants to drop by for 90 days and scope the landscape before making a decision. LinkedIn is also a good area to find jobs as well.

I’ve had good luck in the past with 104. But I take no shit from anyone.

I’m saying this because a lot of Taiwanese are really backwards with internet, many Taiwanese companies have no websites and does everything by fax and mail. I guess it depends on companies, IT jobs are probably easier to find through online platforms but I’ve found (again limited to 104 and 1111) overwhelming number of positions are all sales related. It may actually be necessary for the OP to come for 90 days to scope things out because of how backwards a lot of Taiwanese bosses are concerning online platforms.

Especially true if you desire jobs that don’t involve computers (and unfortunately even though C in CNC stands for computers, it doesn’t count as jobs involving computers). My neighbor who does CNC doesn’t even use the internet that much beyond Line apps.

Some local companies asked me for a cover letter, as part of their standard recruitment web form. I seriously doubt anyone read it. 104 is a nightmare, you basically have to rewrite your resume in their format. Other job platforms I’ve used automatically parse your resume into their db. Not 104, you have to type in all the data they require, typical terrible UX that you get here. With my Chinese and the firefox Chinese add on this would’ve taken me days. I got away without entering the resume data 104 needed, by looking at the job ads on there which provided direct contact details. Oh careful what email you put into 104, my email was hacked by someone in Taizhong days after I registered. Welcome to Taiwan.

I got quite a few interesting responses. I think most were scratching their heads. Some saw the English name, and came back trying to suss out my level of Chinese on email. I got a few interviews though, however I will say all the jobs that I got offers for, the company was foreign owned and managed. As far as locally owned tech companies go, all could just not bring themselves to take that gamble. I had one horrible 2nd interview with a Taiwan startup that lasted 6 hours. They only offered me a water after 3 hours, and the PA at the front office took an hour to get it. Communication is going to be a big challenge for you. I hope you remain in love with Taiwan after your interviewing process. :grinning:

Unrelated to your question, but have you come across the Employment Gold Card yet? If you qualify, it could open up a wider range of job opportunities to you, since employers would no longer need to sponsor your visa. There’s a lot of info over at "Employment gold card" for some foreigners , but give it a google or check out my little write up.

One of the holders, @irish91 might be able to share some of his story about applying for software developer jobs before migrating & if he found cover letters required.

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If a local company hired you it’s likely they are hiring you as a white monkey…

Avoid those jobs.

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Lol what is a white monkey?
Does that still apply if I’m not white? :rofl:

A White Monkey is a term used for Chinese companies paying some random white guys to attend random business meetings. They are usually paid very well just to appear in the meeting so the company can look progressive or international. Often used during big business meetings in order to get an edge.

If you are not white you won’t even be approached for it. It’s very racist.

Thanks @fifieldt, your blog post is the best information I have found about the Gold Card. I meet the salary requirement, so probably I’ll apply.

Hi

I am from NZ working as a software engineer here. I think you will have trouble finding work if you are not in the country. Hiring a foreign person that does not have a marriage based work VISA requires the company to file paperwork with the government so they already have a reason to prefer a local candidate.

In my experience try to stay away from Taiwanese companies as usually the salary is low, the working hours are bad and many of the staff don’t speak English (which is an issue if your Chinese is not great). It is much better to try to find a foreign company that has a branch office in Taiwan, if they deal internationally then they will most likely require their staff to have sufficient English levels and that will make things much easier.

I found that head hunting recruitment agencies were helpful in finding positions. I think LinkedIn may be Ok but I tend to avoid 104 as most of the positions there are Taiwanese local companies (Some foreign companies do advertise there though).

I have not had extensive experience interviewing for positions here, but I haven’t heard or seen (I do interview candidates for the company I work for) any requirement for a cover letter.

Occasionally we are looking for developers, What is your experience in? Java? / C#? and number of years of experience. PM me if you don’t want to post here.

Regards
Michael

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Thanks @mikerussellnz for the info. I don’t mind posting my experience here :slight_smile:

I’m a Software Engineer with over seven years of experience in full-stack development with Java, JavaScript, C++, and Python. In my current position, I mostly do backend in Java and embedded development in C++. I’m also a Scrum Master.