Use the right “experience” at your Chinese job interview
It seems like everyone is interviewing for a job in China these days. And such interviews are often in Chinese. One word will separate the winners from the not-quite-winners: “experience.” There are two words for it in Chinese – 经验(jīngyàn) and 经历(jīnglì) – don’t mix them up!
经历 and 经验 are essentially interchangeable in cases where you’re talking about a bunch of personal experiences. For example, either could be used here:
“hěnduō rén dōu yǒu zhèyàng de gòuwù jīngyàn“
“Many people have these kinds of shopping experiences“
But in a job interview, you should probably use 经历 for 2 reasons.
First, in interviews you often talk about a specific experience, eg. a previous job. In that case you must use 经历. And use the measure words 次 or 段:
“rúguǒ měicì jīnglì zhǐshì jiǎndān de miáoshù hé gàikuò,jiù shīqù le zhǔnbèi jiǎnlì sùcái de yìyì “
“If each experience is just a simple description and summary, then there’s no point to preparing resume materials”
“jīngguò zhè liǎngcì jīnglì hòu, lín xiānshēng tíxǐng guǎngdà chē zhǔ 。。。”
“After those two experiences, Mr. Lin reminded all of the car owners…”
Second, 经验’s most common meaning is actually the knowledge that comes from experience. Perhaps this is a cultural thing relating to humility, but Chinese people are more likely to reserve that 经验 for others.
“tā háobùlìnsè de yǔ dàjiā fēnxiǎng tā de chuàngyè jīnglì hé jīngyàn“
“He unselfishly shared with everyone his experience and knowledge in entrepreneurship”
“é méi: é wàijiāo huíguī dōngfāng, jíqǔ zhōngguó fāzhǎn jīngyàn“
“Russian media: Russian diplomacy returns to the East to absorb Chinese experience (and knowledge) in development”
“xīwàng mǎbùlǐ néng yòng zìjǐ de jìshù hé jīngyàn dàidòng quánduì sùdù”
“(We) hope Marbury can use his skills and experience (and knowledge) to bring up the speed of the whole team”
Also, another difference worth noting is that only 经历 can be used as a verb.
“mǎyún:táobǎo shāngchéng jīnglì le 9 nián bú zhèngcháng “
“Ma Yun: Taobao mall experienced 9 years of abnormality”
Example 8 )
“qìchēyè jīnglì le zhàohuí jīngjì wēijī,dàn jīhuì réng cúnzài”
“The automobile industry experienced the recall economic crisis, but opportunity still exists”
“kǎméilún:ōuyuánqū huò jiānɡzài jǐzhōu nèi jīnglì jīngjì zāinán”
“Cameron: the Eurozone will probably experience an economic crisis within weeks”
We hope that one day this will help you out on a Chinese job interview!
Please let us know if you have any questions, comments, or requests!
P.S. Like this post? Check out our other Chinese Vocabulary posts!