What Qualifies as a Job Search for Collecting Unemployment?
How to Meet Job-Search Requirements While Receiving Unemployment Benefits
Most people who qualify to receive unemployment benefits must meet ongoing requirements to continue to receive those benefits. One such requirement is to make a specified number of job searches every week. But what qualifies as a job search?
Is Submitting an Application the Only Thing That Qualifies as a Job Search?
Lots of people believe that only an application submitted to a prospective employer qualifies as a job search, but that is not true. There are many different activities related to your job search that are acceptable to your unemployment office as efforts to obtain full-time employment.
For starters, be sure to register for work with your state unemployment office. Being registered with this office is usually a requirement in order to qualify for unemployment benefits. Be sure to keep all information on your account (e.g., your address, phone number, and so on) current. Check the information regularly to make sure it is up to date as proof that you are seriously and actively searching for employment. Your unemployment office keeps a computer record of how often you review your information for accuracy, so be sure to do that at least once a month (or sooner if any of your information changes).
Each of the 12 activities listed below counts as one job search in the state of Texas. Each state runs its own unemployment office, however, so requirements, rules, and laws may differ somewhat from what is listed here. Most or all of these actions may count in your state as well, but be sure to check with your local unemployment office to confirm this. They should have a list either in print or online to guide you. Be sure to keep a good record of the date you engaged in each activity and exactly what you did.
Policies May Vary by State
The items listed here count as job searches in Texas. Each state runs its own unemployment office, so requirements, rules, and laws may differ somewhat from what is listed here.
12 Actions That Count as Job Search Activities
- Get Job Referrals and Follow Up on Them
- Attend Instructional Workshops
- Participate in Skills Assessments
- Access Labor Market Information
- Attend Job Fairs and Similar Events
- Register With Temp Agencies and Private Unemployment Agencies
Apply for Jobs and Send Out Resumés
- Contact Potential Employers
- Keep Track of Your Interviews
- Use an Online Job-Search Site
- Visit and Talk With Potential Employers
- Check the Help Wanted Ads and Follow Up on Them
Note: Each of these activities is described in detail below. Read on to learn where to go, what to do, and what records to keep in relation to each of these actions.
Job-Search Activities You Can Do at Your Local Unemployment Office
Most state unemployment centers offer a variety of resources to help you find a job that meets your needs. The following four activities should be done at or in conjunction with your local unemployment office.
1. Get Job Referrals and Follow Up on Them
Be sure to register with your local state unemployment office as soon as you apply for unemployment benefits. Registering for work is usually a requirement for qualifying for these benefits. Once you have registered for work, many state unemployment centers will match your previous work experience and stated job skills with known available job listings. Job referrals will then be placed on your account so that you can follow up on them. Be sure that you do follow up on them and keep a detailed record of the results as proof.
Be aware that you are expected to follow up on all job referrals, and failing to do so can be detrimental to the future of your unemployment benefits. That does not mean you must apply for every job referred to you, but it does mean that you must act on each referral in some way. You may be expected to give reasons why you are not interested in certain referrals. Each referral you follow up on counts as one job search.
2. Attend Instructional Workshops
Take advantage of instructional workshops at your local unemployment center. Learn how to write a great resumé. Learn how to ace a job interview. Take advantage of all of the expertise your state unemployment job center has to offer. Every time you participate in one of these workshops or receive private instruction from one of the unemployment center’s specialists, it counts as one job search, plus you improve your job-search skills and your chances of finding a suitable job. Keep a detailed record of your workshop activities and any consultations or instruction you get from work center specialists.
3. Participate in Skills Assessments
Take advantage of skills assessments for the purpose of matching you with the best occupations to fit your skills. Each time you participate in one of these assessments, it counts as one job search.
4. Access Labor Market Information
Your state unemployment office has the most recent labor market information, and that information will tell you who in your local area is hiring, what positions are open, what job skills are required, and a host of other important information that can help you find a new job. Every time you take advantage of this information, it counts as one job search.
Job-Search Activities You Can Do Elsewhere
The following actions also count as job searches for the purpose of maintaining unemployment benefits, but they can be done from home or elsewhere instead of at the unemployment office.
5. Attend Job Fairs and Similar Events
Take part in job fairs and career club meetings and attend job-search seminars and job-related workshops that will help you improve your job-search skills and expand your professional skills. They may also inform you of job openings you would not otherwise hear about.
These events need not be sponsored by your state unemployment office. They may be sponsored by private employers and organizations or may simply be a group of unemployed people who get together regularly to share job-search information.
Networking with other people will often pay off better than cold calling or even answering ads in your local newspaper or online, especially if you can say you were referred by an employee that is already a valued part of their workforce. Each time you attend one of these events, it counts as one job search. Keep good records of any events or programs you attend.
6. Register With Temp Agencies and Private Unemployment Agencies
Register for work with temporary employment agencies or private unemployment agencies. The act of registering counts as one job search. Every day you contact one of these agencies to learn if they have any suitable leads, it counts as one job search. If you contact one such agency asking if they have found any job matches for you every single workday Monday through Friday, you will have made five qualifying job searches. If you contact two different temporary or private employment agencies every single day Monday through Friday to learn if they have any leads for you, you have made 10 job searches.
Be sure to keep good records. Include what unemployment or temp agency you contacted, the date and time of your call, the name of the person you spoke to, what the conversation included, and specific information about any job leads you may have received.
7. Apply for Jobs and Send Out Resumés
When you mail, fax, or email a job application or resumé to an employer as directed in a public job notice/help wanted ad/job-opening listing, that counts as one job search. Each additional resumé or application sent counts as an additional job search.
8. Contact Potential Employers
Contacting an employer who may be reasonably expected to have openings in work you are qualified to do—even if that employer has not listed any specific job openings—counts as one job search. Large employers often have several job openings at any given time. Be sure to keep a good record as to whether you contacted the employer by phone, mail, or email. Did you send the employer a resumé and cover letter? Keep a note of that along with all other pertinent details.
9. Keep Track of Your Interviews
There are so many applicants for most job listings nowadays that the human resources departments of many businesses choose to narrow down the most favorable applicants through a series of several interviews, often starting with a phone interview. Every time you have an interview, whether it is a phone interview, group interview, or private interview, it counts as one job search. Even if you interview with a particular company five or more times, each interview counts as one job search.
Keep good records. Take a notebook to your interviews and also keep a notebook near the phone where you can jot down important information like the names of the people who are interviewing you and their titles. Always record the date, time, and place of interviews and whether they were over the phone or in person. Sometimes, a company representative will conduct a short phone interview and then schedule you for an in-person interview soon afterward. That call counts as one job search even though it was a combination of an interview and the scheduling of a future in-person interview. The in-person interview also counts as a job-search activity.
10. Use an Online Job-Search Site
Register with online job search sites like Monster.com, Simplyhired.com, Indeed.com. or others. Registering for one of these sites counts as one job search, and each additional site you register for counts as well.
Every day that you go to an online job search site, it counts as one job search. If you have registered to receive notices in your email when new job listings that you are qualified for become available, then every time you open and examine a notice, it counts as one job search.
For example, if you are registered to receive new job-listing alerts with five different job sites similar to Monster.com or Careerbuilder.com, all five job-search sites send you a notice every day of the week (Monday through Sunday), and you open every alert notice and review the jobs listed, that counts as 5 job searches every day, or 35 job searches in a week!
If you apply over the internet for any jobs, whether they are on the website of a prospective employer or on a job-search site like Monster.com, it counts as one job search for each application sent. If you apply for three different jobs through an online job-search site, each application counts as one job search.
11. Visit and Talk With Potential Employers
If you walk into a place of business that might reasonably have a job opening that meets your job qualifications and needs, and you talk with the receptionist, an agent in the human resources department, or anyone who works at that place of business about whether there are job openings and what they are for, that counts as one job search. If you fill out an application on-site, as you might do at a fast-food chain or other similar business, that also counts as one job search.
12. Check the Help-Wanted Ads and Follow Up on Them
Every day that you check your local newspaper’s help-wanted section to look for suitable job listings, whether in a hard copy or online, it counts as one job search. If you check the help wanted sections of newspapers from nearby towns to which you could reasonably commute, that counts as another job search.
In addition, every time you follow up on one of the newspaper listings that fits your skillset, it counts as a job search. So you get one job search for checking the newspaper listings and another for each job you follow up on. Be sure to follow up with jobs that meet your requirements and job qualifications.
Good Job-Search Records Are Imperative and Cannot Be Overemphasized
Always keep meticulous records of all your job-search efforts. It is not a matter of if your state employment office will ask for those records but rather a matter of when they will ask for them (as a condition of continuing your unemployment benefits). To save yourself a headache and a lot of stress, keep good records from day one.
Do not take shortcuts. Do what you are supposed to do to obtain another job. I think the different job-search activities listed above are fairly easy to accomplish, so it shouldn't take a lot of effort to accumulate several job searches every week. Most of the time, the state employment office only requires five or six job searches per week to qualify for benefits, so there is no reason not to make at least that many, and it's often quite easy to make many more. Of course, the more job-search activities you engage in, the quicker you are likely to find another suitable job.
Keep in mind that falsifying job-search activity can mean losing your benefits and even being prosecuted for fraud, so never do it. There are usually so many different activities a person can engage in that count as job-search activities with their state unemployment office that there is really no good reason for falsifying anything.
If you are serious about seeking a new job, as you should be, it makes sense to treat your job search like a job itself. Put in the same number of hours searching for another job that you would normally spend if you were working for someone else. The more determined you are and the more effort you put in searching for a new job, the sooner you are likely to find one that meets your needs.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
If I'm not able to go to a job fair, will I lose my unemployment benefits?
When you are receiving unemployment benefits, your local unemployment office may give you leads on jobs they think you may qualify for. You do not have to always follow up on every single lead, but you will need to give a reason why you aren't doing so.
Sometimes you may not have the necessary skills or requirements for a job or jobs your unemployment office has suggested. If that is the case, give that reason for not following up on the job. As far as the job fair is concerned, if you have a good reason for not attending at all, and it has been recommended by your unemployment office, make sure to have a good reason why you couldn't attend.
Do your best to follow up on as many job leads from your unemployment office as you can. Make sure to meet or exceed the number of job searches required each week so that if your schedule conflicts with the job fair, for example, you can show that you were not lazy and that you were involved in other activities that you hoped would lead to a job.
You need not follow up on every single job suggestion from your unemployment office, but do try to check out as many as possible along with your other job search activities, as proof that you are making a serious effort to find a new job. If you do that you should not run into problems with receiving your unemployment.Helpful 7
What is the minimum home-to-job distance for rejecting a job offer without losing unemployment benefits in Texas?
I have driven as long as an hour one way to reach my job. For some people that may be too long. It depends on one's physical health and other obligations one may have. I use time as a measure because how long it takes to drive 10 miles depends on the traffic you must deal with on a regular basis, plus the terrain and the weather. I was driving on Texas Interstate 35E. On a slow traffic day, I could do the same drive maintaining the speed limit in 25 minutes. In rush hour it took 50 or more minutes. It was impossible to maintain the speed limit, and there was always at least one accident tying things up
To get your best answer call your local unemployment office and discuss this issue with the people you will be dealing with if you make a claim. They will have the most current information.Helpful 4
What if I apply for several different positions for one employer? Is that acceptable?
You can certainly apply for as many positions from one particular employer as you wish. If it were me and I did that, I would still look for openings listed by other employers. I think if one truly wants to find a job that suits their wants and needs, it makes sense to do a thorough search so that one doesn't miss out on a great opportunity.Helpful 4
© 2012 C E Clark