Self-Directed Work Term Guidelines 

Developing Your Own Co-op Job

In addition to applying for positions from our online Co-op postings, Co-op students are encouraged to create their own Co-op work term specific to their unique interests and career goals with a new employer contact.

A new contact is an employer who has not previously posted a job with the SFU Co-op program.

Through creating your own self-directed work term, you will develop targeted job search skills that you will need after graduation. You will be supported by your Co-op Coordinator through this process.

We encourage every student to make a self-directed work search a part of their total Co-op experience.

A $100 SFU Bookstore gift card will be awarded to eligible students in recognition of their role in securing their own Co-op job.

Self-Directed Work Term Criteria 

  • Student must register as a Co-op student to receive Co-op credit.
    If you are not already in Co-op, you may be eligible to fast track your entry into Co-op through creating your own Self-Directed Work Term.
  • The employer must be a new contact (see section 1 above for description of new contact) 
  • The position must be full time, 12-16 weeks, minimum of 420 hours/semester 
  • The work term must pay at least minimum wage 
  • The employer must provide on-the-job supervision and training 
  • The work environment should be one that encourages you to learn new skills and is related to your studies 
  • Student must register in the correct Co-op practicum and pay the practicum fees

See your program for details.

Work Term Expectations

Student is required to submit a work report and completed student and supervisor evaluation forms, found on your Co-op program's Forms page

Student will receive a site visit during work term from a Co-op Coordinator

A four-month paid placement can be extended to eight months

We expect Co-op students to report any problems or out-of-the-ordinary issues that may come up during the work term to their Co-op Coordinator so that these can be addressed in a timely manner

Co-op employers to comply with federal and provincial employment standards and human rights codes

SFU holds its students responsible for the highest level of professional and personal conduct on the job

Contacting the Employer and Presenting Yourself

Employers are busy people; respect their time by preparing ahead of time what you will say or discuss. Indicate that you are a Co-op student exploring the possibility of a Co-op position within their organization. Discuss your approach with your Co-op Coordinator in advance. They will be able to assist you with ideas of how to approach an employer, provide a letter of support and can follow up with the employer to explain the Co-op program in more detail. If an employer is interested in meeting you, treat it like a formal interview by:

  • Doing research on the organization and industry ahead of time 
  • Dressing as you would for a formal interview 
  • Bringing copies of your resume 
  • Asking for contact names if there do not appear to be immediate opportunities available 
  • Indicating that you will follow up with regard to future possibilities 
  • Sending a thank you note/email, acknowledging the time and information they gave you

Accepting a Self-Directed Work Term

Consult with a Co-op Coordinator before this stage

Complete the Self-Directed Work Term Application and submit to your home Co-op program

Review the Co-op Student Guide, paying special attention to Partnership Responsibilities on page 13. Partners include the student, employer, SFU Co-op and the University