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Chinese IT engineer puts himself for sale with creative Taobao-like CV page

Chen Long (陈龙), born in 1988, is an  IT engineer in Beijing. Photo: Ding Yi/

“When people ask me in job interviews ‘why can’t you do web design since you can write the coding?’ I would ask them back: ‘Why web designers cannot do coding work?’”

After taking a few months of break, Chen Long, an IT engineer born in 1988 in Beijing, started to look for a new job in web development, which is what he did in his previous job.

A graduate of a non-elite university which isn’t exactly an advantage in China’s increasingly competitive job market, Chen, inspired by Parisian Philippe Dubost’s creative CV - a mock webpage, prepared his own CV page, a mock of, China’s largest platform for online retail stores.

“I did it because I want to attract HR professionals to read my information and understand my expectations from an employer, but most importantly, I want them to get a clear understanding about my previous work and read the source code of my page, which reflects my true abilities,” Chen said.

A screenshot of the Amazon-like CV page of  Philippe Dubost, left, and a screenshot of the Taobao-like CV page of Chen Long. Both "items" are currently unavailable now. Graphics: Carol Wu/  

On Chen’s CV page, the item description reads “New limited edition of 2013”, and prompts buyers to order soon with a favorable condition that the seller will pay the transportation fee for the item, “the only one left in stock”. And the latest update of the item is “sold out”.

The price has been reduced from 6,499 yuan to 5,000 yuan which is lower compared with the figures in the monthly income statistics in Beijing for a webpage developer with a five-year experience, like Chen.

"Over 20,000 IPs have visited my web so far, most of which are from Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai," Chen said. “On average, I received three interview calls a day. Though the number of calls was small, but the quality was good!” he said in a gentle but confident tone.

The CV is also fun to read because the item detail part pointed by two smiling blonde models emphasizes that “companies with the following characteristics should not contact me.”

Chen sits in front of a computer screen showing his Taobao-like CV page.  Photo: Ding Yi/

“Job hunting is a two-way process. Employers expect candidates to be proficient in a variety of skills, and I also have my own requirements. In fact, many job seekers tend to put themselves in a vulnerable position when they deal with the potential employers, but I believe job seekers and employers are equal. So I just give voice to my requirements,” Chen said.

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What characteristics of a company will make Chen say no to a job offer? They are summarized into five categories: a tyrant boss, no weekends and frequent overtime work, old working equipment that reduces work efficiency, harming the people’s interests for enterprise benefits and no Wu Xian Yi Jin (五险一金) , a term for employee welfare in China which includs the pension insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, industrial injury insurance, maternity insurance and housing fund.

Chen’s directness in his requirement has drawn criticism online, which is not unexpected, because assertive personalities are not liked in the Chinese tradition. Most Chinese people tend not to speak out their different views publicly. And those who do speak their true thoughts often become the target of criticism or even malicious abuses online.

But Chen said,“I have already prepared myself for such reaction.”

“And somehow it’s like what Guo Degang (郭德纲, a famous Chinese comic dialogue performer) had experienced when he just began to be popularity he was often abused by other people. “

“I directly say what I think. For example, working overtime is a common phenomenon within the industry. On the one hand, many Chinese companies are facing severe competition nowadays and they fight to win business through price wars. On the other hand, a lot of Chinese customers do not know the Internet and they are more focused on how to use the least amount of money to do the most things. So they often make decisions depending on your quote and your proposed working hours. But a usable product and a good product are not the same thing,” Chen said. “Why do people think that things “made in China” are all in poor quality? As a Chinese person, I do not want the Chinese products to be seen in such light in the world.”

“And if you often work overtime, you will not have the energy to do other things. It’s like you give your life to your company, but you get so little in return that you cannot even afford a room. Then why do we live a life like this?”

After quitting such a job, Chen gave himself a good rest. Being a Beijinger, he travelled around Beijing.

“I was born in Beijing but I haven’t been to many places in the city. It’s only after I resigned from the company that I knew where the Beijing Zoo is located.”

“When I was a child, all my time was spent in the school, at home or on the road to either of the two. I scarcely got out to other places to play. My classmates would say ‘I’m not a Beijing kid,’ ” he chuckled.

Yes, he is a perfect example of the indoorsman. “But many of IT workers are indoorsman,” he contended with an unspoken message of “so what” .

A fan of Guo Degang

Chen is also a huge fan of Guo Degang. “Listening to Xiangsheng, or comic dialogue, is really a rewarding thing. And I’m not joking,” Chen said with utmost sincerity.

Chen started to listen to Guo Degang’s monologues on radio which was a relaxing thing for him after a day of intense study at the school for the national university entrance examination, the most important exam for the Chinese high school students if they choose domestic universities to study. Now he is a regular audience of Guo’s talk show TV program “Fei De Will Watch” (非常了得).

“His comic dialogues are more humorous. But his monologues contain some truth about life, such as ancient Chinese swindlers, ancient Chinese ghost stories, karma stories and so on. It gives you a feeling, though not a specific impact, that you are actually cultivated by the art as you listen more and more. And I think Guo is an honest man and dares to tell the truth.”

Chen liked computer when he was a child and his dream was to become a programmer. “But one’s dream may change as time goes by,” he said. Like millions of people living in the city with ever rising cost of living, Chen, working hard in his dream career, too has to think about his future direction.

A file photo of Guo Degang, left, giving comic dialogue performance with his longtime partner Yu Qian(于谦).

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