Arrange your own job

There are lots of different ways to find a co-op job! You can apply for co-op jobs on the Full-Cycle Service job board, Employer-Student Direct job board and outside WaterlooWorks with the Arrange 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. We assess all AOJs on a case-by-case basis to ensure they meet our standard or flexible work term requirements to be eligible for co-op credit.

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.

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 co-op Full-Cycle Service and Employer-Student Direct job boards. 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 access our supports and resources

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 for a job posted outside of the Full-Cycle Service and/or Employer-Student Direct job boards and you believe it meets work term requirements for a standard flex term, submit the AOJ form as soon as possible so we can review your job details and process the form.

Note: If you have also applied to any jobs on the Full-Cycle Service job board, submitting this form removes you as an applicant for those jobs, including any interviews or rankings. Follow the steps below to submit an AOJ form before the due date to be removed from any interviews or rankings.

To submit an AOJ form:
  • Visit WaterlooWorks > Submit a form > Work Term Employment Offer > 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.).
    • Note: If you submit your form by the due dates below, and have any active applications on the Full-Cycle Service job board, we will remove you as an applicant and from any interviews or rankings.
      • Interview due date - 12 p.m. ET (noon) one business day before scheduled interview
      • Rankings due date - 12 p.m. ET (noon) two business days before student rankings open
    • If you do not submit your form before the due dates above, you must attend the interviews or go through the rank/match process as planned.
  • Co-op will review the form to ensure the job meets our work term requirements.
  • 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 as soon as you accept a job offer but 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 AOJ 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. 


  • 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’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.
  • If you receive an offer from an employer on the Employer-Student Direct job board, follow the Employer-Student Direct process.

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 AOJ from your WaterlooWorks dashboard, select "My Forms".

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

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:

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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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