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After you’ve decided you want to teach in China and put your resume our there/applied for a few positions usually the first people you’ll be contacted by are recruiters. Recruiters are hired by schools to post advertisements, look over resumes, and basically be the middle man to ensure you meet the schools requirements before you’re hired. Some recruiters are legit and some are not, there are pages upon pages of threads dedicated to those non-legit recruiters over on Dave’s ESL Cafe.

Here is the number one thing to remember with recruiters: They should never, ever ask you for money and you should never, ever give it to them if they ask.

Recruiters are paid by the school. End of story.

Usually recruiters will ask you for a number of documents:

  1. Passport; they will want to see the first page of your passport with your picture, full name, etc.
  2. A copy of your university diploma.
  3. Recommendation letters from former employers or teachers.
  4. A recent picture
  5. A TEFL or TOEFL certificate if you have one
  6. Your resume/CV

Depending on the recruiter they may send you a number of positions which are open at a variety of schools in various cities. You choose the positions you are interested in and they will send on your documents to the school to see if they in turn are interested in you. Things in China happen fairly quickly and you should here back in a short amount of time from the schools that want you.

If none of the schools you applied at reply try a different recruiter, there are thousands to choose from.

Occasionally you’ll run into some extremely unprofessional recruiters. A friend of mine recently had an unpleasant experience dealing with a recruiter named Long Long at AiQinghai; “After not contacting a recruiter fast enough in China, this is the response that I received: “But I am sure that you are really a not professional teacher even a professional woman. You are quite unpolite a black african American woman. Go to fuck your father, and Please don’t contact me any more.”” (Just a heads up, don’t use this person for your recruitment).

I also recently dealt with a recruiter who told me I had a job then didn’t contact me for a week then replied via e-mail that the school had decided to go with someone else. Not even a phone call and that was the end of our contact.

I would love to say that this type of person is few and far between when looking for a job in the Middle Kingdom but unfortunately they seem to pop up fairly often, especially if you are a first timer in China. Have patience and try going through services such as Teaching Nomad, Angelina’s ESL Cafe, or take your chances on some job boards like EChinacities.


Next time… Contracts.