How to Complete Your Job Search While on Unemployment

At some point, UI claimants will need to participate in the unemployment job search once they are accepted into the program. After petitioners successfully enroll in unemployment insurance (UI), they will also receive a list of tasks they need to complete on a weekly basis. This is due to the fact that UI, which is also called unemployment compensation (UC), requires claimants to recertify their eligibility each week they are enrolled in the program. Since UI is only available to enrollees for a limited time, the program requires petitioners to actively search for reemployment opportunities in order to collect funds. Each state has its own specific requirements that petitioners must follow, and candidates must complete these tasks before they may obtain their weekly allotments.

Claimants must contact their local unemployment office in order to learn about their state’s regulations. Generally, there are several different unemployment requirements that petitioners must meet in order to collect funds. However, completing these work search activities is one of the most important tasks for petitioners because their efforts directly relate to their future success outside of the program. Most UC plans only support enrollees for 26 weeks during a single calendar year. Claimants who do not have any job placement prospects when their benefits expire will be left with limited resources to support themselves. Therefore, it is imperative that claimants take their UC work search requirements seriously so they do not find themselves without sources of income once they leave the program.

Learn About Unemployment Job Search Requirements

Petitioners who wish to collect unemployment benefits have job search requirements they must complete. However, specific tasks and the number of contacts enrollees need to complete can vary from state to state. Throughout the country, unemployment work search requirements are in place to help motivate UC enrollees to search for reemployment opportunities while they collect funds. Petitioners may need to complete a set number of these tasks each week. Depending on the state, suitable activities may include:

  • Submitting a completed application for a job opening.
  • Attending a virtual or in-person interview for a job.
  • Conducting a job search online and creating a list of potential contacts.
  • Completing supplemental application materials or testing, as requested by the possible employers.
  • Contacting potential employers to inquire about job opportunities.

However, petitioners must remember that their unemployment office may require them to submit documentation that proves they completed these activities. This is especially true when claimants state that they applied for specific job postings or otherwise contacted human resources offices or supervisors. As a result, some states require claimants to submit an unemployment job search log that details these specific search efforts. Within these forms, claimants may need to report:

  • When they contacted the prospective employers.
  • Whether they made contact via telephone, email or had in-person conversations with these representatives.
  • Where the employers’ offices are located and the companies’ phone numbers.
  • If the contact produced any results or further communication with the businesses.

Learn About Unemployment Office Work Search Services

During this process, claimants may ask, “Is there an unemployment office near me?” Sometimes, petitioners may need to visit these facilities for specific programming requirements or check-ins. The unemployment insurance office can also be a valuable resource for candidates searching for reemployment opportunities. By connecting enrollees with a local American Job Center, many states encourage UC enrollees to visit these locations to:

  • Enroll in adult training programs to help UI recipients develop their skills, even when they are not working.
  • Obtain one-on-one career counseling from trained professionals.
  • Access an updated list of jobs that they can apply for in their areas.
  • Receive resume feedback and advice on how to fill out compelling applications to send to potential employers.

There are various American Job Centers and related unemployment office locations throughout the country. Therefore, petitioners hoping to find job placement opportunities should contact these facilities and arrange times when they can visit and obtain some individualized assistance.

Find Out About Free Job Training Programs for Unemployed Workers

UI recipients may be eligible to enroll in job training programs in their local areas. The American Job Center network manages these listings, and UC beneficiaries may be eligible to enroll in these programs if they fulfill specific requirements. Examples of programs and resources include the following:

  • Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers: This program is available for workers who lose their jobs because of increases in foreign imports or due to work being outsourced to other countries.
  • Dislocated Worker/Rapid Response: This collection of unemployment programs and services help to connect workers who were recently laid off with valuable information about their new circumstances. This program ranges in services, from providing information on health care options to offering access to skill-building workshops for unemployed workers.
  • Division of Indian and Native American Programs (DINAP): This division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) offers specific work search assistance to Native American populations across the country.
  • Refugee Social Services: With this program, refugee workers obtain access to job training programs that are specifically designed to help them overcome employment barriers that may come with their immigration statuses.

What happens if you get a job while on unemployment?

In some cases, petitioners are no longer eligible to claim unemployment benefits if they receive new work opportunities. This is especially true for candidates who receive full-time employment offers. However, claimants who obtain part time work may still be eligible to collect UC. In any case, applicants must be sure that they contact their state UI office or service center and notify the department of employment updates. Petitioners with new full-time jobs must report this information so the state departments know to discontinue their funding. Similarly, claimants with part-time work need to report this information to their state departments because their weekly benefit amounts (WBA) will likely be reduced.

Unemployment programs are only intended to support enrollees financially while they are between jobs. Therefore, petitioners need to know that the amount of funds they earn each week will directly affect how much they can collect with their unemployment benefits claim for that period of time. In some states, beneficiaries who earn less than their WBAs will not receive reduced funds. However, claimants who earn more than their WBAs will have the difference between their earnings and their WBAs deducted from their benefit total for that week.

Regardless, petitioners who are claiming benefits for unemployment need to remember that they are obligated to report any new job opportunities they receive. Whether intentionally or by accident, enrollees who do not report their work offers or any income they earn are committing fraud. Workers who fail to report or who underreport their earnings will be overpaid during those claim weeks. They will then be responsible for paying back the money they were not entitled to collect.