Do You Know What Qualifies As a Job Search While Collecting Unemployment Benefits?
Submitting Job Applications Is Not the Only Way to Meet Job Search Requirements When You Are Receiving Unemployment Benefits
Most people who qualify to receive unemployment benefits must meet ongoing requirements to continue to receive their benefits. One of those requirements is to make a specified number of job searches every week, but what 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 relating to job search that are acceptable to your unemployment office as efforts to obtain full-time employment.
Let me caution you that every state runs their own unemployment office so requirements and rules (laws) may differ somewhat from what is printed here. This is specific to Texas, so I recommend that after you have read this article, be sure to check with your local state unemployment office regarding exactly what counts as a job search. They should have a list either in print or online to guide you.
Attending Job Fairs Counts As One Job Search Activity
Different Kinds of Job Search Activities at Your Local Unemployment Center That Your Unemployment Office Will Accept and Count As a Job Search
For starters, be sure to register for work with your state unemployment office. Be sure to keep all information on your account with your unemployment office 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 will check to make sure you have kept your information current and up to date and they will have a computer record of how often you have reviewed your information for accuracy and update, so be sure to do that at least once a month -- or sooner if any of your information changes. The information I am talking about is your address, phone number, and so on.
Being registered for work with your state unemployment office is usually a requirement or condition in order to qualify for unemployment benefits.
Most state unemployment centers offer a lot of different employment resources to help you find a job that will meet your needs. Each of the following activities at your local state unemployment center counts as one job search. That is correct, you can count each of the following activities as one job search. Be sure to keep a good record of the date you engaged in these activities, exactly what you did, and keep track of the results.
1. Get job referrals from your state unemployment office and follow up on them. Keep a good record of the results. 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 unemployment benefits. Once you have registered with your state unemployment office 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 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 you must act on each referral, and you may be expected to give a reason why you are not interested in certain referrals. Each referral you follow up on counts as one job search.
2. 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 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 the work center specialists.
3. 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. 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.
More Activities That Count As a Job Search
> Take part in job fairs, job club meetings, job search seminars, and job-related workshops that will help you improve your job search skills and/or improve and expand your work 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 be simply 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 adds in your local newspaper or applying for jobs listed 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.
> Register for work with temporary 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 (1) such agency asking if they have found any job matches for you one time every single work day Monday through Friday, you have made 5 work searches. If you contact 2 different temp 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 agency or temp agency you contacted, the date and time of your call, the name of the person you spoke to, what the main part of the conversation included, and specific information on any job leads you may have received.
> When you mail or Fax a job application, or resumé, as instructed in a public job notice to an employer who placed the help wanted or job opening listing, that counts as one job search for each resumé or application sent.
> Contacting employers who may be reasonably expected to have openings in work you are qualified to do, even though that employer may not have 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 described previously in this article as well as 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.
> 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 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 5 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 do a short interview and then schedule you for an in-person interview soon afterwards. That call counts as one job search even though it was a combination interview and scheduling for a future in-person interview.
> Register with online job search sites like Monster.Com and Simply Hired.com, and there are many more such sites. Registering on one or more of these sites counts as one job search for each site you register on.
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 that notice and check out those notices it counts as one job search.
For example, if you are registered to receive new job listing alerts with 5 different online job sites similar to Monster.Com or Career Builder.com, and all 5 job search sites send you a notice every day of the week (Monday through Sunday) and you open every alert notice and check out the jobs listed on the alerts from every one of the online job search sites, that counts as 5 job searches every day, or 35 job searches a week!
If you apply over the Internet for any jobs, whether they are on the website of the prospective employer, or through the job search site (Monster, Career Builder, Simply Hired, etc.), it counts as one job search for each application sent. If you apply for 3 different jobs, one after the other through the online job search site, each application counts as one job search.
> 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, or an agent in the human resources department, or anyone who works at that place of business about whether there are job openings, and if so what they are for, etc., that counts as one job search. If you fill out an application such as you might do at a fast food chain or other similar business, that counts as one job search.
> Every day that you check your local newspaper’s help wanted section, either the hard copy or online, looking for suitable job listings, it counts as one job search. If you check the help wanted sections of newspapers from nearby towns to where you could reasonably commute, that is another job search. In addition, every time you follow up on one of the newspaper listings that fits your job skills it counts as a job search. So you have one job search for checking the newspaper listings and another job search for every job you find and follow up on in that newspaper that meets your requirements and job qualifications.
Good Job Search Records Are Imperative and Cannot Be Over Emphasized
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 as a condition of continuing your unemployment benefits, but WHEN that state agency will ask for your records. To save yourself a headache and a lot of stress, keep good records from day one.
Do not take short cuts. 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 and do not take a lot of effort to accumulate several job searches every week. Most of the time the state employment office only requires 5 or 6 job searches per week to qualify for benefits, so there is no reason not to make at least that many, and often quite easy to make many more. Of course the more job search activity 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.
Texas Workforce Guidelines for Performing a Work Search
© 2012 C E Clark
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