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Arrange your own job

Why arrange your own job?

  • You want to search for opportunities on your own or,
  • You are searching for a job as well as using the Co-operative Education employment process to optimize your opportunities.

Before you start

Talk about your strategies and their possible consequences with your student advisor immediately (or a career advisor if you have not previously had a work term).

If want to search for a job without using the Co-operative Education employment process, your co-op status will be changed to "Unemployed: Student Arranged."

You may not target Co-operative Education contacts at organizations that actively recruit through our employment process.


Adding external job offers to rankings during Main Round interviews (as of Winter 2018): External job offers received during the first interview cycle can now be added to your Ranking Form as part of the Main Match process. The Job Information Form should be submitted immediately. You will be notified via message when the offer has been processed and added to your Ranking Form. Students will be required to attend all scheduled interviews. You must accept the offer through the usual Rank/Match process. This process is time sensitive - contact your Student Advisor (Work Term Support – WTS) on WaterlooWorks immediately to let them know you have an offer that you would like added to your Ranking Form.

Note: Only one offer can be added to a student's Ranking Form per match.


The six requirements of an arranged-own job

1. Must be paid

  • You must receive actual remuneration for your co-op work term.
  • The job must pay at least the provincial minimum wage (in Canada).
  • In all other situations, if you are concerned about salary, please refer to the credit worthiness of unpaid co-op jobs and contact your advisor.

2. Must be full time

  • The job must be full time which means 35-40 hours per week of employment.

3. Work term length must be 16 weeks

  • The job length must be for the full 16 week length of the work term.  However, in rare circumstances (e.g., in cases where you start the job late due to difficulty in finding employment), the job length can be reduced to no less than 12 weeks.
  • Proposed work terms under 16 weeks are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

4. Supervisor must not be related to you

  • You may not work under the direct supervision of a family member (you can work for a family business as long as your supervisor is not a family member).

5. Must be related to your field of study

  • The job should be related to your field defined by your program of study.
  • Credit worthiness is determined by whether the job meets a minimum number of industry-based attributes. For example, Engineering defines these attributes as per the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) guidelines and says students must meet four of the attributes. For more information, please view the accreditation criteria for Engineering co-op jobs (PDF).
  • Contact your advisor in Co-operative Education if you are unsure if the job opportunity would be related to your field of study.

6. First work term Job will be considered eligible for credit if they demonstrate they will provide a foundation for future work terms

What is foundational employment?

  • A job in an environment in which a graduate in your field of study might ultimately work or,
  • It offers the opportunity to learn about subjects  and/or skills related to your field of study  (e.g.,  opportunities to learn practical lessons about implementing skills related to your program or about your program-related work environments, teams, careers).
  • Foundational work term jobs fall into these categories:  production, administrative, and labour.

Approval Process For Arranging Own Job

  1. Complete the Job Information Form
  2. Before submitting the form, if you have questions about the content and/or applicability of the job contact your student advisor (if you have been previously employed on a work term) or schedule an appointment with a career advisor if it’s your first work term.
  3. Submit the form online. Your advisor will provide a decision as to whether or not the job is appropriate for official credit.
  4. If your job is approved, your status on WaterlooWorks will be changed to Unemployed-Awaiting Decision (UA) pending receipt and validation with the employer of your job information form.
  5. If you have submitted applications for the First Interview Cycle, you are obligated to continue through the rank/match process. 
  6. When Co-operative Education has been able to verify the employment with your employer, your status will be changed to "Employed" and your employment information recorded in your profile on WaterlooWorks.

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Work search resources - finding a co-op job

Take a look at the work search resources in the Centre for Career Action’s CareerHub (login required)

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Combined job search

You can search and apply for jobs via WaterlooWorks, as well as search for jobs externally, on your own.

Meet with your student advisor (or a career advisor if you’re searching for a job for your first work term) to clarify job search strategies and to ensure you comply with Co-operative Education’s regulations and procedures.

Otherwise, you’re committed to all interviews granted until you’re matched with a job through the process.

If you have submitted applications for the First Interview Cycle, you are obligated to continue through the rank/match process. New Winter 2018 - you can add an offer to your ranking form to accept an arranged own job, all information must be submitted at least 5 business days prior to ranking deadline. 

To withdraw from any interviews scheduled through WaterlooWorks when trying to arrange your own job, you must first speak with your student advisor (or a career advisor if you’ve not yet had a work term).

Use letters of Introduction:

We recommend that you write targeted cover letters outlining your relevant accomplishments and show the employer that you understand how you could benefit them.

In those letters, you may wish to include a statement such as:

Hiring a co-op student can save you money directly. You can find out more about the Co-op Tax Credit and funding programs for employers within Ontario and Canada at Hire Waterloo.

[Note: Do not use the above statement if applying to employers outside of Canada.]

More importantly, hiring a co-op student can bring immediate value to your workplace.  The University of Waterloo runs the largest co-operative education program in the world and takes the professional development of its students seriously.  All co-op students complete mandatory professional development courses to help them adapt to new workplaces and begin contributing away.  Students are also evaluated by their co-op supervisors, and their rankings are visible to future employers.

Co-op Education will, upon request, provide you with an electronic letter of introduction that you may use to accompany your job search documents.

The letter of introduction provides prospective employers (not already actively recruiting Waterloo co-op students) with a brief synopsis of co-operative education at Waterloo.

If you would like to use a letter of introduction, drop in to see a career advisor (pre-first work term student) or request a letter from your student advisor.

Financial incentives for employers to hire you

  • When searching for your own job, use these benefits of hiring a Waterloo student and the cost savings to help convince the employer to hire you.
  • A key financial benefit to companies who hire a Co-op student is the Co-operative Education Tax Credit (CETC).
    • Companies are eligible to claim the Co-operative Education Tax Credit (CETC) which provides them with a 25-30 per cent cost savings (claimed as a tax credit), up to $3000 per work term per student hired.
    • See more information about funding support.
  • University of Waterloo faculty have the opportunity to take advantage of the Undergraduate Research Internship Programto hire you as a full-time co-op or regular student.

Note: Organizations not eligible for the Co-operative Education Tax Credit (CETC) are government (all levels) and other not-for-profit organizations.