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Competing for Co-op Jobs

Co-op Hiring Process

The hiring process for co-op jobs is similar to what you’ll find in the "real world": jobs must be won in competition with all applicants for the position. That includes other University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) co-op students and possibly students from other universities if the employer chooses to post with multiple schools. 

On this page:

How to Succeed in Your Job Search

As partners in your success, we’ll make every effort to support you in your career training and job search. However, it’s important that you play an equally active role. Over the years, we’ve noticed a few common trends with our most successful students and have compiled them for you:

  1. Actively attend and participate in your co-op courses
    We all know that life can get busy, but ensuring that you set time aside to attend the COPB52, COPC98, and COPC99 courses can help to develop your job search savviness, and helps maintain your job search as a top priority.

  2. Check CSM every day and apply to jobs frequently
    Kick-start your job search process by regularly checking CSM from the moment that you get access to job postings. To secure a job, you need to apply to several positions, so increase your chances of being hired by applying to as many jobs as possible early in the semester. How often should you check and apply for jobs? We recommend checking CSM daily, if possible, and then applying to as many jobs in each week as you can. 

    Did you know: Half of the jobs are usually posted in the first month of the job search term, so it's a prime opportunity to apply and secure a job quickly. 

  3. Communicate with your Work Term Engagement Coordinator
    Your work term engagement coordinator is your point person for support, advice, and encouragement, so stay in close contact with them. The better they know you, the more they can help (and possibly even point you in the right direction for a new posting that you haven’t seen yet!).

  4. Be available to meet in person
    You never know when you’ll be invited to attend an interview or a meeting, so it’s important that you stick around Toronto to be there in person. If it’s unavoidable and you know you’ll be out of town during your search, let your Work Term Engagement Coordinator know.

  5. Read posting details and deadlines carefully
    Start a relationship with your potential future employer off on the right foot: apply on time, and don’t miss the application details. Make sure that you read each job posting carefully before you apply, taking careful note of the application method and deadline. We cannot accept or forward late applications to the employer.
  6. Be open-minded about the jobs you're applying for
    You may have a very clear vision of your dream job, but please keep in mind your co-op jobs will help you build towards that role. You'll need to improve your skills and build a portfolio of varied experiences first. To do this, we recommend that you consider each opportunity and even companies that you may not have heard of, look for jobs outside of the GTA, and read the full job description rather than just the title.

Inactivity During Your Job Search

If maintaining a high level of activity is a challenge for you, it’s best to reach out to your Work Term Engagement Coordinator to help develop a job search action plan. If inactivity continues, they’ll reach out to you to discuss options to defer your work term.

Finding Co-op Jobs Through CSM

As an Arts & Science co-op student, you'll have access to high-quality, reliable opportunities that have been carefully reviewed and approved through CSM. Once we have confirmed your eligibility to participate in a job search cycle, you'll gain access to the job postings that are relevant to your academic program. The positions posted on CSM are with organizations that have partnered with the Arts & Science Co-op Office to hire co-op students. All roles have been vetted by our office and will meet co-op program requirements. Students are encouraged to use CSM as their primary source for co-op job postings.

Access CSM »

Independent Job Search

From time to time, students choose to conduct an independent job search in conjunction with a search for a pre-approved co-op job on CSM. If this is an option that you’d like to consider, please discuss this with your Work Term Engagement Coordinator. 

At the time you have received an offer, you will need to submit the following information to your Work Term Engagement Coordinator for review and consideration by the department to determine if it will qualify as a work term.

  • Position Title
  • Company Name
  • Start and end dates
  • Duration of the work term (must be a minimum of 12 weeks and a minimum of 420 hours)
  • Full job description
  • Proof that this is full time work (minimum of 30 hours per week)
  • Pay is at least minimum wage
  • Address of the work location
  • Name and contact information of your supervisor
    *note that a member of our Business Development Team will be in touch with this individual to verify and finalize details for the work term
  • Confirmation that you have discussed this as a work term opportunity with your future employer
  • Your rationale indicating why you would like this position to count as your work term and how this position relates to your program of study

Please note that if your work term is outside of Canada, additional documents will be required. Your Work Term Engagement Coordinator will advise you of this.

Upon receiving these details, the Co-op Office will review and determine whether your work term is approved. The Co-op office may connect with the employer as part of the approval process.   

Entrepreneurial Work Terms

Entrepreneurial work terms are a possibility! However, these will require an in-depth review through the co-op office. Should this be something you want to consider, please discuss it with your Work Term Engagement Coordinator.

Why Are Some Jobs Available to Other Co-op Students?

The world of job seekers is a competitive one, where recruiters look to obtain the widest possible pool of applicants. This type of competition also extends to co-op students across Canada; no matter what program or university, co-op students are sometimes in competition with others for similar roles. 

So what's the advantage? As a U of T co-op student, you receive an unparalleled amount of training and preparation — over 55 hours! — before you even begin your first work term. The job search tools, knowledge, practice and preparation, coupled with U of T’s academic prowess, will set you apart from the rest. By far, this is your biggest asset.

What happens if I don’t secure a work term?

If you’ve undertaken an active job search and haven’t secured a position, you’ll automatically be entered to seek into the next semester.

An active job search includes:

  • Consistent engagement and application to positions on CSM, externally, or both throughout the semester;
  • Communication with your WTEC providing updates on your situation; and
  • Attending interviews requested.

You’ll then develop a plan of action with your Work Term Engagement Coordinator designed to support your success during the next available job search cycle.

If you haven’t engaged in an active job search, you won’t be permitted to seek in the next semester and will have an alternate work term sequence set by the Co-op Office. This could impact your academic progression through the program or delay your graduation date.

Out of Sequence Work Terms

If you find a work term outside of the set work term sequence, you can submit a request for the Co-op Office to consider the position as a formal work term. For this to be considered, the job will have to be accepted as a suitable work term experience (please refer to the external job search section) and you will have to meet the academic work term prerequisite requirements noted in the calendar for your Co-op subject POSt.  The Co-op Office will then determine how to proceed with completion of Co-op work prep course requirements.