Arrange your own job

If you're arranging your own job for Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021 or Spring 2021, the requirements and process have been altered to accommodate students searching for work in light of COVID-19

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.


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 (see below).

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 below.
  • Flexible work terms: Work terms with a single or multiple employers/positions that together meet the flexible work term criteria below. 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 below, 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.

Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021 and Spring 2021 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.

Requirements Standard work term Flexible work term
Job type • Single organization/position
• Job must be related to your academic/career goals
• Students can work as independent contractors if they are located in Canada
• Single or multiple organizations/positions (e.g., combining two part-time jobs)
• Rationale for how the job(s) will help you meet your career goals is required
• Students can work as independent contractors if they are located in Canada
Work term length • Job must be 12-16 weeks • Job(s) must be 12-16 weeks (as long as you work at least 420 hours over the span of your work term)
Hours • Job must be full-time (35-40 hours/week) • Job(s) can be full-time or part-time (as long as you work at least 420 hours over the span of your work term)
Pay • Position must be compensated to at least minimum wage (or usual local minimum practice) for where the organization is located, OR
• Job must meet unpaid/underpaid guidelines
• Position(s) must be compensated to at least minimum wage (or usual local minimum practice) for where the organization is located, OR
• Job(s) must meet unpaid/underpaid guidelines
Supervisor • 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 Evaluation • Your supervisor/coordinator must submit a Student Performance Evaluation • Your supervisor(s)/coordinator(s) must submit a Student Performance Evaluation (one per job)
Job location • Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021 and Spring 2021 work terms must adhere to current University travel policies for the Spring 2020Fall 2020, Winter 2021 and Spring 2021 terms.
• You must follow our existing travel advisory policy to ensure that the location of your job complies with the University’s travel requirements for the safety and protection of UWaterloo students. Work terms outside of Canada are always assessed based on the level of risk published by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) travel advisories, in conjunction with any overall directives from our central University leadership.
• If you're an international visa student, any work completed for a co-op credit must be done on a co-op work permit.
• If you're interested in working outside Canada, visit our working abroad webpage.

*Please note: some exceptions exist for Spring 2020Fall 2020Winter 2021 and Spring 2021 work terms. Please speak with your co-op advisor if you’ve found a position that you would like to pursue 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 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 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:
  • 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 the instructions below:
  • 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 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:

  • 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! 

If you have questions about adding an external offer to your ranking form, contact your co-op advisor


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
  • The benefits of hiring a Waterloo co-op student (visit this link for some ideas!)
  • 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!

Please connect with your co-op advisor to request access to these letters or discuss your job search more generally. For more tips on searching for work both inside and outside Canada, visit the links below!


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!

Review the resource below to learn more about some key considerations and implications of working in Canada as an independent contractor.


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. 

Learn more about how to protect yourself from potential job posting scams by accessing the resource below.

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