During the height of the pandemic, unemployment reached 14.8 %. Millions of Americans filed for unemployment insurance. During the midst of the pandemic the requirement to look for work was waived. However, that’s not necessarily the case anymore. States are beginning to require that if you are receiving unemployment you must actively be searching for a job. If not, you stand to lose your benefits.
While search requirements differ from state to state, most require at least one to five potential job contacts per week. These contacts must be with employers believed to be hiring or have openings. Often a work search log is required weekly, monthly, or by request. NOLO has a great resource for rules and regulations regarding unemployment insurance by individual states.
How to do a job search for unemployment will differ depending on what state you live in. However, here are some quick guidelines you can use no matter where you live.
- Register with your unemployment agency.
Many states require you to register with a state employment agency. The purpose of state employment agencies is to assist you in finding work. Their services are free of charge. Additionally, state employment agencies can assist you in finding employment out of the area or referring you to training programs that will increase your marketability. Some state agencies also offer testing to help determine what careers are best suited for you.
- Keep a running log of your job search.
I recommend using a simple spreadsheet. Keeping too much information is better than not having what you need. At a minimum you will need the date, company name, contact person and their contact information, and what type of contact you made, i.e.: submitted resume, phone call, interview, etc.
Some states require a much more extensive log including the position applied for and results of the contact – were you hired or not.
A spreadsheet will also help keep you organized (a bonus!). As positions renew you can check your log to see whether you’ve already made contact. You might find you can reach back out to the same company and maybe land a job the second time around.
- Report your search as required per your state.
Reporting requirements vary drastically from state to state. You’ll need to find out what the requirements are for your state. At the very least, you will need to keep a personal record of your job search. Again, this will help you follow up on your own, so you can get back to work quickly.
More than half of the states in the U.S. have reinstated their work search requirements. With the economy recovering, there is a distinctive advantage to beginning your job search now. You will get a broader “pick of the litter” instead of taking a job left over. The job market will be competitive as unemployed workers lose benefits or their benefits run out. Getting a jump on the competition will only benefit you.
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