There are lots of different ways to find a co-op job! You can apply for jobs on the WaterlooWorks Co-op job board and also search for opportunities outside this portal at any time during the co-op employment process. This is what we call "arranging your own job" (AOJ).
Just like when searching for jobs on WaterlooWorks, there are certain guidelines that you must follow in order to receive co-op credit. To be eligible for credit, all AOJs are assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure they meet our standard or flexible work term requirements.
If you receive an offer from an employer outside WaterlooWorks and you think the job meets our requirements, follow the steps below to arrange your own job for co-op credit.
In order to graduate with a co-op designation upon graduation, at least three of your co-op work terms must meet our standard work term criteria, and the rest can be approved under standard OR flexible work term criteria.
Flexible work terms: If you're interested in a co-op work experience that doesn't quite fit our standard work term requirements, a flexible work term might be for you! Flexible work terms allow students to receive co-op credit for a wider range of work experiences (e.g., jobs that fall outside your traditional discipline, underpaid positions, multiple part-time experiences combined into a single work term, etc.).
Remember: All arranged-own jobs are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Requirements may be modified for international AOJs located outside Canada or the U.S. If you have questions about arranging your own job, please contact your co-op advisor.
|Requirements||Standard work term||Flexible work term|
|Pay||You must receive actual remuneration (i.e., some sort of pay) for your co-op work term. Canadian co-op jobs must pay at least the provincial minimum wage.
Note: There are some exceptions for jobs in specific industries/settings that meet the unpaid/underpaid guidelines.
|Must be paid at least minimum wage in the location you are working OR meet our unpaid/underpaid guidelines.|
|Hours||Job must be full-time (35-40 hours per week).||You must work at least 420 hours over the span of your work term (should not include extended breaks or time off).
To meet this requirement, you can work one job or combine two part-time jobs.
|Work term length||Job must be for the full 16-week duration of the work term. However, depending on the circumstances we might approve a work term between 12 and 16 weeks (assessed on a case-by-case basis - contact your co-op advisor).||Job(s) must be for the full 16-week duration of the work term or meet the minimum requirement of 420 hours.|
|Supervisor relation||You must not be supervised by a family member (can work for a family business as long as your supervisor is not a family member).||You must not be supervised by a family member (can work for a family business as long as your supervisor is not a family member).|
|Performance evaluations||Job must have a supervisor or coordinator to evaluate and submit your performance evaluation (cannot be submitted by a family member or another co-op student).||Job(s) must have a supervisor or coordinator to evaluate and submit your performance evaluation. If you have more than one employer, we’ll collect evaluations from both but will record them together.|
|Relation to your studies and career goals||The job should be related to your field as defined by your program of study. First work term students may pursue jobs outside of their program as long as the job will provide transferable skills toward future work terms.||You will need to provide a strong rationale for how the job will help you meet your career goals. These will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.|
|Step 1: Update intentions||If you know you'll be searching for jobs outside WaterlooWorks, update your intentions to let us know how you'll be looking for jobs.|
|Step 2: Search for jobs||Apply for jobs outside the Hire Waterloo Co-op job board - you cannot target jobs that are currently posted on this portal. Some other avenues to consider:
For advice on how to talk to new employers about co-op at Waterloo, read through our tips below!
|Step 3: Submit an Arrange Own Job Form||If you've received an offer, submit an Arrange Own Job (AOJ) Form as soon as possible so we can assess whether the job meets our work term requirements.
Note: If you’re returning to a company that you previously worked for as a registered co-op work term, you don't need to complete the AOJ form. Please send a message to your co-op advisor in WaterlooWorks.To submit an AOJ Form:
Note: the submission of an AOJ Form does not guarantee credit for employment. The approval process typically takes about seven business days from when we first receive your form, though it can sometimes take a little longer if we need more information or if the employer is hard to reach.
If you have any questions about work term requirements, please connect with your co-op advisor.
|Step 4: Check the status of your form||Once submitted, you’ll be able to check the status of your form on WaterlooWorks. You can also check in with your co-op advisor if you have any questions.|
If your AOJ Form is approved during First Interview Cycle
|If your AOJ Form is approved during First Interview Cycle and you have other job applications and interviews in WaterlooWorks, your arranged own job will automatically be added to your ranking form so you can accept it during the rank/match process.
In this case, your status will remain as "UI" (Unemployed: Interview Process) until match day so you can continue to interview and consider the job alongside other potential opportunities.
To add an external offer to your ranking form:
If you have questions about adding an external offer to your ranking form, contact your co-op advisor.
You can check your AOJ Form's status while you wait for your response (see below). If you have questions, send a message to your co-op advisor!
|AOJ Form Status||Description|
|Under review||Your co-op advisor has received your form and is reviewing it.|
|Job content accepted, pending employer confirmation||Approval in progress – your form has been reviewed and the job content has been accepted. Someone will reach out to the employer contact listed on the form to verify the details of the job. While we check with your employer, your status will be changed to "Unemployed-Awaiting Decision."|
|Employer confirmation in progress||We are in the process of confirming your work term details with your employer.|
|On hold – pending more information||Approval has stalled – more information is required. You will receive a message if further action is required of you.|
|On hold – pending employer confirmation||Approval has stalled – we contacted the employer listed on the form for verification and are awaiting their response.|
|Job approved||Your arranged-own job has been approved! All requirements for work term credit have been met, and the employer has verified all job details.
Your job will now be registered on WaterlooWorks and your employment status will be changed to “EJ" (Employed: Jointly Arranged) or "ES" (Employed: Student Arranged).
|Job declined – job not accepted||Your arranged-own job does not meet the requirements for co-op credit and cannot be approved. You will be notified that the job content was not accepted for credit, and may resubmit your form for further consideration if the details of the job change.|
|Job declined – no response from employer/student||The approval process has stalled due to a lack of response from either the employer or student when asked for further information. If we receive the required information, the process may begin again. You may resubmit your form if circumstances change.|
|Cancelled/Withdrawn||The AOJ Form was withdrawn by the student or cancelled by a staff member if the circumstances did not require a form to be submitted.|
When approaching employers outside of WaterlooWorks who may not be familiar with our co-op program, it might help to write targeted cover letters outlining:
- Your interest in the specific company/position
- Your relevant accomplishments and how they can be leveraged by the company
- The benefits of hiring a Waterloo co-op student (visit this link for some ideas!)
- Any grants, tax credits and funding opportunities that might help the employer cover the cost of hiring you
Co-operative and Experiential Education also has standard letters designed to introduce employers to our co-op program that are available for students to use. Connect with your co-op advisor to request one of our introduction letters tailored for employers in Ontario, employers across Canada and employers located internationally.
If you have a scheduled interview for a job you found outside WaterlooWorks, you can still request to use one of the Tatham Centre's interview rooms!
Please note that space in our building is limited, but we will try to accommodate your request based on the volume of interviews/activities taking place on the day of your interview.
For instructions on how to request an interview space in the Tatham Centre, visit our contact us page.
When searching for jobs both within and outside WaterlooWorks, it's important to think critically and protect yourself from potential job posting scams. A growing trend in this area targets students and new grads seeking employment, both on public job boards and university employment portals.
Learn more about how to protect yourself from potential job posting scams by accessing the resource below.