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.
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 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.
Note: Due to safety risks, sales jobs that require students to travel door-to-door, or solicit sales 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.
- Visit our Spring 2020 work term webpage to see an updated list of work term requirements.
- Visit our Fall 2020 work term webpage to see an updated list of work term requirements.
- Visit our Winter 2021 work term webpage to see an updated list of work term requirements.
- Visit our Spring 2021 work term webpage to see an updated list of work term requirements.
- Visit our Winter 2022 work term webpage to see an updated list of work term requirements.
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:
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:
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.
Understanding your AOJ Form's status
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.|
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.