Go on Google and type this: “finding a job in China”. You are going to be presented with a long list of websites offering tips, tricks, and job offers in China. It is, however much less straight forward than it may seem at first. Not only are there tons of schools out there willing to hire foreigners, but there are also a lot of jobs that are maybe not published or not very well indexed by Google’s search algorithms. Smaller agencies and recruitment websites, especially in China, are very well search optimized for attracting local Chinese talent, but will not likely show up in your Google search.
When I have been looking for jobs in China, I have been searching primarily from two sources. A recruitment website called Dave’s ESL cafe (i’ll put links at the bottom of my post), another website called SeriousTeachers HorizonEslChina and GoldStar TEFL Recruitment. However, I often found that, maybe because of my nationality, I never got many responses from my applications, and so what I did instead, was starting to contact recruiters and recruitment agencies in China, who specialized in placing foreign teachers with Chinese schools.
Using recruitment job boards is good for reaching a wide area in China. Especially if you do not have a preference in terms of city or province. However, if you want something more local and concentrated on one specific area, I would definitely recommend finding a recruiter you trust to help you find schools in his area.
Recruitment websites are quite easy. Basically, schools pay to post their vacancies, and they leave their contact details on the website. You go online, find a job offer that you think sounds good, you shoot them an email, and wait to hear back. Be selective, but don’t be picky. You might not be able to find a perfect spot in a perfect school right off the bat, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen later. Start small, get into the country and work from there.
Recruiters are, I think, personally a better choice. They often know the area that they live in, have connections with the recruiters sitting at the schools and you can tell them roughly what you are looking for and they will present you with job offers that match your criteria as much as possible. They will also present you to the school up front, which helps as a kind of recommendation. Many agents or recruiters will do an interview with you first, also to kind of match you up with prospective schools.
Many of the recruiters that I have talked to, do not necessarily have websites, they are private people doing this, as a part time job. You do not pay the agent, he gets a commission from the school you sign with, through him, so while he has a motivation to sign you with any school, he also wants to send to you a school you’d like, because that means more business for him in the future from people that you know, as well as the school considering him a trusted source. I find most of my recruiter contacts on places like Facebook and LinkedIn. I’d be happy to refer you to the agents that I have used in the past if you’d like.
The safe thing to do, would be to hit as many places as possible. I could make a long list of recruitment websites on here, but I will just list the ones I have personally used. If you search for ESL Job in China, or just Job in China, you’ll surely find a lot more. But if you contact me directly, I will help you as much as I can, to get in touch with someone who can find you a job!
Now, for the links I mentioned earlier:
- http://www.eslcafe.com/jobs/china/ – Dave’s ESL Cafe: China Job Board
- http://goldstarteachers.com/ – GoldStar TEFL Recruitment
- http://seriousteachers.com/ – Seriousteachers
- http://horizoneslchina.com/ – Horizon ESL China
A recruiter that I would greatly recommend is an american called Christopher Ribeiro. He has helped me look for work here in Chongqing where I work now, and being an American he has more of a sense of what westerners would like and knows how to pair that with prospective schools.
He has his own website, called http://www.eslsuite.com/