This February, Ali Baba invested HK$ one billion (approximately US$130 million) to set up a foundation for young startups. In China, entrepreneurship in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have developed fiercely. Entrepreneurs are fighting for speed, innovation and funds. The commercial potential of the Internet alone already surpassed US$ 30 billion.
Big players from various industries are also generously offering aid. For instance, Innovation Works founded by Li Kai-fu, Alibaba’s Baichuan Dream Startup Base, the Tencent business incubator and a vast amount of young entrepreneur communities are all waiting for the next Zuckerberg.
But the Himelight Startup Team, operating from the “NTU Garage,” noticed young job hunters are having trouble highlighting the advantages they have over other applicants. They decided to start a “resume export” website to improve the critical writing abilities of young and inexperienced people to help them find good internships and jobs. The team’s next target is the vast market in China.
So why did this group of youngsters decide to dive into the Chinese ocean of entrepreneurship and not head towards the Silicon Valley?
Friends are different from business partners
Four years ago, high school students Yang Kai-hao and Zhuang Meng-ru originally wanted to enter a computer modeling contest for food and beverages services, but accidently entered one for food and beverages startups instead. They invented their own dessert food truck and designed a business plan, which in the end won first prize. In the beginning, they were quite interested in starting their own business and participated in all kinds of activities to prove their potential as entrepreneurs. As a result, they got to know (Himelight co-founders) Di Hou-xiang and Zheng Yi-ming at the YEF (Young Entrepreneurs of the Future) competition organized by the Times Foundation.
With the help of the prize for Best Business Idea, awarded by the National Chengchi University during the Competition of Entrepreneurship for Sustainability, the four partners originally planned to start a laundry detergent business. But because of problems with the machinery and manufacturers, they decided to focus on a more familiar field, Apps.
During a contest hosted by a computer association, the team ran into Guo Tai-yi from the Monte Jode Science and Technology Association of Taiwan, who subsequently became a partner. At this event, they also found Zeng Tai-lun, a former intern at Yahoo, and his brother, and both joined as well. Later on, because of a lack of professionalism regarding innovation and design, the team invited Cai Yu-zhen, who they had met during a commercial design contest, to join the team.
After the new team was formed, they initially wanted to develop the management of online business cards. But because most of the people who use traditional business cards are not that familiar with modern technology, they decided shortly afterwards to focus on the difficulties of young people writing resumes. Based on your internship requirements, they will create a resume and personal brand name management.
The team began to interview professors, mentors, people in human resources and career advisors. They also consulted institutes abroad, including the career centers at Harvard and MIT, to build a guide for systematized resume making.
Creating a resume applicable for the world’s 500 largest companies
“If there are any mistakes in the layout of your resume, you will not get an interview. Companies will think, ‘If you’re not even able to correctly set the font size, how can you be able to handle huge responsibilities?’”
Himelight is a Taiwanese team consisting of seven talented young entrepreneurs who all have a background in subjects related to the Internet. Their combined expertise in data, sales, business and design complement each other and they are determined to help inexperienced job hunters find great internships and jobs.
The team created Himelight – a Futuristic Social Network Community, which help users through a design of interactive webpages to complete a professional and aesthetically pleasing resume. It is exported in a format the user prefers by following a step-by-step guide.
You only have to fill out your personal information once and you can immediately maintain relationships with industries and create opportunities, which enables you to adapt to the demand of the labor market.
When a user completes his or her Himelight resume, it can be directly delivered to companies that work together with Himelight. Companies that are registered with Himelight can also come in contact with applicants, and are therefore able to find partners that fit their business culture even better. At the moment, the companies that work together with Himelight are mostly startup businesses, hoping to gradually reach out to the financial sector, the science and technology industries, as well as the traditional industries.
“Highlight every one, highlight every me!”
Frequent users of Himelight other than graduate students, this year’s graduates and those who have just started to look for a job, also include first and second year undergraduates that have realized the importance of gaining experience and resume building. The team believes if students start to plan their career early on and constantly evaluate their own abilities, it will prove to be a great help when looking for a job four years from now. But Himelight is not only limited to job hunting. It integrates one’s entire school life. Only by gaining more experience, will you have a direction and knowledge in the future.
Himelight works side by side with the career development office at NTU. Together they established a database of alumni in which students can find alumni with a similar background and from who they can learn and start developing various networking opportunities. Students who have graduated can also engage in conversation with the younger students, provide internships and share their experiences.
The team is also helping Woosh and the ING (Inspire Next Generation) Project with their recruitment of Asian students for a six-month internship at an international company and training in starting a business in Vancouver.
Must-know resume tips and tricks
During one of the interviews, a resume expert pointed out three important aspects of a resume: legibility, listing and data provision.
1. Enable the reader to focus on the content that you want to emphasize.
2. List all your work and achievements you have been responsible for.
3. Digitalize all your relevant achievements and accomplishments.
He said that, for example, when looking for a sales job, you have to place your sales experiences at the top of your resume and highlight your special qualities relevant to this particular job. His partner added that human resources generally make the first selections and after that your resume gets send to the person conducting the interview. Claims that the fancier resumes are better are simply myths.
The team hopes they can help users gain a competitive edge over the vast amount of other applicants during job interviews by offering an eye-catching and professional resume.
Building a bridge of talent mobility
This June, the Himelight participated in the Cross Straits Young Entrepreneurs Employment Investigation and Communication Group, and visited the Alibaba Group and the Technology Innovation Centers of Shanghai and Fuzhou. They found many Chinese startup companies showing great interest in young Taiwanese talent or even wanting to establish business relationships.
Last July and August, Himelight started developing a concept and begun to execute it in September. This May, a beta trial version officially launched online and a Chinese media interviewed them this June. The article mentioned that within a month, 3000 people registered with the resume builder platform, indicating an urgent need for help among the society and Taiwanese students when looking for a job.
The team is currently connecting cross-strait talent mobility and helping young people who want to work or start a business in China through a new channel. By understanding the Chinese business climate beforehand, the Himelight resume becomes one’s own personal cross-strait internship travel ticket.
It’s just a part of the world, but one that happens to account for one-fourth of the world population
“The environment that you need varies from person to person, but I might consider going to China. No one knows what will happen in the future.”
The Himelight team has already entered a few Chinese entrepreneurship competitions and their potential has gotten worldwide recognition. Currently, they are actively trying to gain ground in China and looking for a gap in the market. In a broad sense, they have a lot of competitors like LinkedIn and zhaopin.com, but the amount of competitors who operate in their niche is actually very small.
Because of China’s large population, the Chinese test market’s effectiveness is quite high. In combination with the now widespread use of online micro-payments, it seems that their future cash flow will not be a problem. Of course, market scales differ greatly and so do investment risks. Although competition in China is fierce, it does not necessarily entail a lower success rate of startups. In fact, because of the bigger amount of available resources and high market variability, it becomes more exciting.
This year, around 7.5 million Chinese university students will graduate. Even though university graduates only make up 30 percent of China’s population, competition on the labor market remains cutthroat. Himelight points out that if they enter the Chinese market, the amount of Chinese users in the future might be more than ten times higher than the current amount of Taiwanese users.
Another important aspect is the Chinese mentality of the marketing plan. Taiwan is generally leans towards Europe and America, and the Taiwanese tend to have only the Silicon Valley in mind. At first, the team was no different from others. But after making some inquiries, they found the Silicon Valley was not as friendly towards foreign teams as expected. However, relevant Chinese venture capital investors are often those who returned to China from the Silicon Valley. Stepping out of Taiwan, one gains more language and cultural advantages.
The startup community in China has a better, integrated planning. Other than front-end developers, they also have something called the nursery stage incubator, a business incubator similar to the Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park. There are various teams of innovative entrepreneurs in the incubator and founders of successful startups can also come back to invest, forming a healthy business ecosystem.
The Chinese market is also huge. Startup teams are highly diversified and can successfully survive in the tiniest niche markets. Take graduate student Zhang Tian-yi from Peking University for example. From merely selling rice noodles from his hometown Hunan, he managed to receive an investment from the American IDG Ventures in the first significant round of venture capital financing (the so-called Series A round), subsequently making over $CNY one hundred million (approximately US$ 16 million) and will expand all over China. Even if you are selling noodles around Taiwan, you are still just a noodle chain store. But in China, you’re the Big Mac of the food industry and might just become the new and improved Master Kong.
Himelight’s Yang Kai-hao says, “For teams like us without any money or resources, China might very well be the place to find more resources and get more opportunities to go global. I believe that in the future there will be even more startup teams directly heading for China.”
The world’s opinion of Himelight
“When you have to write a resume yourself, a lot of people don’t know how to do it.”
In an interview with The News Lens, professor at the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering of National Taiwan University Hung Shih-Hao said that the Himelight team members were excellent students themselves and could have entered some well-known companies. But big companies often place the talent they have educated in positions it cannot develop further. Moreover, even with the resources provided by the NTU Garage, the opportunity cost of a startup (the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen) is still relatively low.
Professor Hung also shared his vision on writing a resume. At a certain level, the layout of your resume expresses your personal special qualities and way of thinking (For instance, the decisions you make regarding typeface and content presentation). Make the content of your resume easily verifiable, so there is no need to spend additional time confirming whether or not the content is relevant. It helps the interviewer in finding the most suitable applicant, especially in finding talent that meets the requirements of a particular professional field.
“A resume is a representation of a person. When someone has never seen you before, a resume is the first impression you make as an applicant. The reader might think, ‘If he or she cannot even write a resume, then this applicant might be wrong.’”
The teacher also mentioned the example of his friend who helped Facebook with talent recruitment. He said many applicants were eliminated in the first round by human resources because their resumes were not up to standard. But these last few months, Professor Hung has seen the remarkable progress of Himelight’s resume export website, especially the networking contact recommendations that appear when the users log in and the resume models users can take reference from. People also have the convenience of being able to adjust or export their resume whenever they want, make writing a resume fun. These are all reasons for the professor to recommend Himelight.
Silvia, who has just started her third year of university, heard about Himelight at a resume presentation organized by the National Taiwan University College of Management. She found the interface pleasant and clear, unlike using Word, where you have to constantly keep correcting and altering or filling out a bunch of time-wasting tables. She found the option of sending your resume to companies in different industries and the company matches on the platform very interesting as well. Silvia is currently working part-time and doing an internship at a startup company. She says, “Time is precious for everyone at a startup company. An easy-to-read resume can save us a lot of time in the selection process.”
The team of TV Food, an App that recommends restaurants through using reviews by the main food and cooking TV shows, says that when they were recruiting applicants, they used the Himelight platform and requested the applicants to send their resumes online, which was very convenient. TV Food also found the resumes sent by applicants who used the Himelight export software to be more terse, to the point and easier on the eyes compared to the resumes of applicants who didn’t use Himelight. They say, “It is very useful for beginners who want to create a strong resume.”
Himelight’s team of seven impressive men is very serious but full of humor. The second after they answer a question seriously, they will be joking around and the entire interview was filled with laughter. Apparently, they are also known as the Seven Fairies. The team jokingly says they hope they will become the Mysterious Lady of the Nine Heavens and that the fortune-telling Bodhisattvas Maitreya and Avalokiteśvara will watch over them.
The team is stationed in the ShuiYuan building, which happens to be right next to the notorious ShuiYuan Abo bicycle impoundment lot, a place students avoid like the plague. At the moment there are many innovative teams in the NTU Garage getting aboard the startup high-speed rail. Startup companies, whether big or small, are all competing to survive.
- Check out Himelight
Translated by Stijn Wijker
Edited by Olivia Yang