Arrange your own job

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 to arrange your own job for co-op credit.

Arrange Own Job requirements

Waterloo’s co-op program requires jobs to meet standard or flexible requirements in order to be granted co-op credit for your work term.

In order to graduate, undergraduate co-op students must complete a minimum of three standard work terms, plus 1-3 additional work terms that meet standard OR flexible work term criteria (depending on your academic program’s study/work sequence). All work terms for Graduate students must be standard work terms. 

  • Standard work terms: Work terms with a single employer/position that meets the standard work term criteria.
  • Flexible work terms: Work terms with a single or multiple employers/positions that together meet the flexible work term criteria. Flexible work terms allow students to receive credit for a wider range of work experiences that don’t quite fit the standard requirements.

If your position does NOT meet one or more aspects of the standard/flexible criteria, please speak to your co-op advisor. We review each job opportunity on a case-by-case basis, so we may be able to make an exception depending on your situation and rationale.

Note: Due to safety risks, sales jobs that require students to travel door-to-door, solicit sales or provide services in public residential, retail or commercial spaces; will not be approved for a work term credit. If you have any questions, please contact your co-op advisor.

Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021 and Winter 2022 work terms

If you have a work term in Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021 or Spring 2021, please note that we have created flexible pathways to give you increased flexibility in your work search. This means that we’ll consider a wider variety of workplaces, positions and rates of pay for co-op credit.

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Steps to arrange your own job for co-op credit

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: 

Need accommodation assistance? Students may need accommodations for various reasons including disability-based barriers. Accommodations help ensure fair access during the interview process. If you need accommodation support, please contact us.

Students can expect to receive assistance with:

  • connecting to on and off-campus resources
  • understanding disability disclosure
  • exploring academic and employment accommodations
  • improving communication support with employer(s)
  • updating information in WaterlooWorks.

Need help with your search? Connect with your co-op advisor and visit our supports and resources section! 

For advice on how to talk to new employers or to download a Letter of Introduction, read through our tips for talking to employers about hiring Waterloo co-op students.

Step 3: Submit an Arrange Own Job Form If you have a firm job offer and intend to be employed in the role once the job is confirmed to meet our work term requirements, submit the AOJ form as soon as possible so we can process the form.

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:
  • Visit WaterlooWorks > Submit a form > Arrange own job > Select the appropriate sub-category.
  • Complete and submit the form with as many details as possible (you'll need to know the job title, start and end date, job description, rate of pay, your supervisor's name/department/contact information, etc.).
  • For tips on how to submit forms in WaterlooWorks, visit WaterlooWorks Help.
  • Check your AOJ Form's status and wait for our response.
To cut down on processing time, be sure to fill out your AOJ Form carefully and follow these instructions:
  • Submit your AOJ Form no later than seven days after the first day of your employment to receive credit for your work term.
  • Students who are participating in a multiple employer flexible work term will need to complete a second arrange own job form for the second employer. The forms will not be considered until both are received.
  • If you've worked for the employer previously as a Waterloo co-op student, contact your co-op advisor as this form may not be required.
  • If the position is located in the U.S. or internationally, review the steps for an arranged-own international job.
  • If the position is unpaid or underpaid and located within Canada or the U.S., you’ll need to provide details of any alternative remuneration/compensation you’ll be receiving to demonstrate how it meets our unpaid/underpaid guidelines.
  • Let the employer know that we’ll be reaching out to them. 

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.

To check the status of your form:

  • From your WaterlooWorks dashboard > Select "My Forms"

You can also check in with your co-op advisor if you have any questions.

Special case:
If your AOJ Form is approved during Cycle #1 and #2
If your AOJ Form is approved during Cycle #1 and #2 and you have other job applications and interviews in WaterlooWorks, your arranged own job will be added manually 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:

  • Complete the steps above to submit your AOJ Form at least five business days before the ranking deadline.
  • You can add up to one external offer to your ranking form each term.
  • We expect you to attend all scheduled interviews until the rank/match period. Please do not disclose to employers that you have received another offer - all interviews are great networking opportunities! 

Work with your Co-op Advisor, if you have an external offer you would like added to your ranking form.

Tips for talking to employers about hiring and supporting the cost of a co-op student

When approaching employers outside of WaterlooWorks who may not be familiar with our co-op program, it might help to mention the following in your communications, application documents and interviews:

  • Your interest in the specific company/position
  • Your relevant accomplishments and how they can be leveraged by the company
  • Any funding opportunities, tax credits and grants that may be available to help employers cover the cost of hiring you – many employers aren’t aware that these funding opportunities exist!

To help with your conversations with employers, we have a 'Broadcast Letter' and a UWaterloo-branded 'Letter of Introduction' to help you introduce potential employers to Waterloo’s co-op program and the many benefits of hiring a co-op student. Talking about funding opportunities can be particularly helpful when talking with potential employers or negotiating job offers as a “selling point” to make it easier and more cost-effective for them to hire you!

Download the appropriate 'Letter of Introduction' based on the employer’s location:

Request an interview space in the Tatham Centre

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.

Working as an independent contractor for co-op credit

Have you considered working as an independent contractor for co-op credit? We are now offering students to pursue these positions as long as they meet our work term requirements for co-op credit and as long as the student is located in Canada!

Protecting yourself from job posting scams 

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.

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