How to change jobs within China

How to change jobs within China

🐉 China Life

If you're already in China and need to know what to expect when you switch to a new job somewhere else in China this is for you.

If you are already in China and you need to do a domestic job transfer, this article should be of use to you. If this doesn't apply to you, and you are looking to start your first job in China, I will write an article in the future that will address the general process.

Without further ado, let's start.

Step 1: Outscoure, Spray and Pray

Add every job search agent from every WeChat job group you know. See if you have friends in your desired city and ask if they can invite you to that city's job groups. You may also use LinkedIn but it is a little slower but still a good way to diversify your portfolio for using this technique. Of course, you DO have the option of finding jobs by yourself at the same time, and you should but it's really slow. Outsourcing the search to headhunters speeds up the process exponentially.

💡 Tip: Once you add the agents on WeChat, what I like to do is change their alias from "[agent name]" to "Job Search : [agent name]" so that I can use the WeChat search function to get back to them.

As soon as you find an agent(s), send them your CV, an intro video, and make sure to copy and paste an answered version of the "Agent FAQ" below  to save the back and forth for each and every agent you encounter.

Hello, Thank you for adding me. To save time, and since many agents ask similar questions, I am going to go ahead and tell you everything you’ll need to know about me below. I hope we can find a suitable job together. Also, I will send my CV and an intro video in the message following this one.

1. ⁠Full Name:

2. ⁠Passport country:

3. ⁠Current location:

4. ⁠Subjects taught:

5. ⁠Teaching experience (years/age/subject):

6. ⁠Education and major:

7. ⁠Owns TESOL or TEFL:

8. ⁠Working experience:

9. ⁠Current visa type: Resident Permit,  Z visa, or something else?

10. ⁠Expiration date of visa:

11. ⁠Work visa documents available?: Yes

💡 Tip: If the Chinese translations are included with your legalized documents, the process will go much faster! If you don't have it, say yes anyway. In the meanwhile, contact your old school and ask for it as they used it in your former place of employment. Some schools will make you buy the translations from them.  You may let your new HR handle this later in the application process; but I would buy it out of my own pocket, because you only have to do it once and future job transfers will be easier.

12. ⁠School Type preference (e.g. Pre-K/Primary/Middle/High/Uni etc.):

13. ⁠Expected location:

💡 Tip: Be very specific about which part of the city, so they don’t send you to the outskirts of the city. But if that's where you like it, feel free to accept.

14. ⁠Open to other cities?:

💡 Tip: I recommend you to still be specific unless you're OK to live anywhere.

15. ⁠Expected start date for work:

💡 Tip: Either the HR or the agent will ask this. Obviously say a date that's after when you finish your work at your former job.

16. ⁠Expected salary:

💡 Tip: If you're from what the local bureau deems a "native English-speaking country" (I believe they mean Canada, USA, the UK, and New Zealand) then Google the average salary of foreigners in that city and that's what you should be aiming for. It's good for pre-tax especially if they will pay for your residence. You may try any Chinese individual income tax (IIT) calculator on the internet to see how much you need to pay. Feel free to check out my own IIT  video here if you're curious about the math:

Step 2: Cancellation and Release

Your current job will need to give you 2 or 3 pieces of paper. It goes without saying that one of them is a recommendation letter; so, make sure you get a stellar letter of recommendation from your superior! The other two letters are about cancellation of the contract. Both of these letters are standard procedure in domestic job transfers.

Release Letter Example Photo
Example picture of Application for cancellation of Work Permit. Your HRs will help handle this for you, you just need to sign and date.

Ask your HR for the date that these  release and cancellation letters will be available. Then inform the HR at your new school.

Step 3: Recommendation Letter and Reference Contacts

You will need 3 references. Make sure to have their name, school email, and phone number at hand depending on what the employer will ask you. If they don't have a school email per se, it is alright, but it may be looked down upon.  

In summary

  • Find a new job like you normally do. Outsourcing to agents and using WeChat is the most efficient way. CV, intro video, and copy-paste the agent FAQ.
  • Make sure you get all your documents including the translation for a faster process.
  • Get your release, cancellation letters and inform the new employer of the dates.
  • Get a stellar recommendation letter and 3 reference contact information ready upon request.

I wish you luck!

Photo by Eirc Shi / Unsplash