Unemployment job search requirements - everything you need to know

Last updated: June 16, 2024
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Lara Grant
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Unemployment job search requirements - everything you need to know
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Unemployment work search requirements are complicated. Generally, you need to be ready, willing, and available to work, and actively applying for jobs. With the huge increase in unemployment claims due to the coronavirus pandemic, many states simplified the claim process. However, as is the case with Florida, this may be changing.

Requirements vary by state, so you’ll need to check and stay up to date on your state’s website for specific qualifications, but here are some general guidelines for unemployment job searching.

For more unemployment info, check out the unemployment resource center here.

You must be available for work

When claiming unemployment benefits, you’ll need to affirm that you are ready, willing, and able to work. Essentially this means that you are mentally and physically capable of working and starting employment immediately.

For instance, if a lack of childcare or transportation would prevent you from working, this could impact your unemployment eligibility. Additionally, if you are suffering from an illness or injury and not able to work, you might not be eligible. However, if you have a disability recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and would be able to work with reasonable accommodation, you would qualify for unemployment.

You must be actively looking for work

You must be actively looking for work to receive money for unemployment. Again, specific requirements are determined by each state, but broadly this means you are searching for jobs each week.

Some states accept the following as searching for work:

  • registering to an online job board
  • going in-person to businesses and inquiring about available positions
  • applying online through an employer’s website
  • attending a job fair
  • registering with temp agencies
  • contacting potential employers

You need to keep a record of job searches and applications

States will verify your job search in different ways. Some may simply ask you to check a box saying you’re looking for work, while others will require you to prove you’re looking and applying for work.

This may mean sending in a list of employers that you’ve reached out to or application confirmations for specific jobs, or inputting it to a state’s online unemployment portal. Some state websites say that they will verify any work search records you submit.

Job search burnout is real: 3 tips to overcome it

Why you might be exempt from requirements

There are certain instances where you would be exempt from searching for work while still eligible to receive unemployment. Though you’ll need to confirm with your state’s unemployment officials that you’re exempt from this very common requirement.

You may be exempt if any of the following apply:

  • You are on a temporary layoff or furlough, and have a definite return-to-work date.

  • You are a union member who must obtain work through the union.

  • You are participating in a training program approved by the state unemployment agency.

Furlough: What it means and what to do

Always check your state’s website for specific rules and instructions, and call an employee if you’re unsure of anything.

Keeping an accurate log of your work search is important for streamlining your unemployment claim process. If you have access to Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, these spreadsheet programs can help you outline the following info:

  • Weeks you’re claiming unemployment
  • Any online or in-person job search activities
  • Any job applications

Be sure to include relevant information like the company name, the point of contact (probably a hiring manager) and their email address or phone number, the date you applied, where and how you applied, and status of job (interview scheduled, rejected, etc).

Some job search sites like Monster.com, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn keep track of jobs that you apply for through their site, which you may find helpful.

Get ahead of expiring unemployment with these job search tips


Do you have any unemployment work search tips to share?

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Chris Espinoza
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Sealcoat And Striping Foreman at Higrade Asphalt

bet if were trying to fraud something or someone youd be pushed right through

23w
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Earline Brown
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I never receive my benefits

3y
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beth beth
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Cashier at Khlols

lara what do I need to to keep getting my benefits thanks

3y
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Etta Wright
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Accounting AR/AP

Have even dropped off resumes, any other ideas to help?

3y
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Etta Wright
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Accounting AR/AP

I am actively applying online and mailing resumes, having difficulty due to my age, 72. Any advice?

3y
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Nicola Wilson
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Houseingkeeping at Tanner Hospital

They had me doing all that stuff sending my information in then they lock me out,I had a interview with someone on zoom still got nothing .

3y
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Nicola Wilson
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Houseingkeeping at Tanner Hospital

I know ,I am working now,just stared my job,but when I was out of work can I get last month money I was out on medical lead.

3y
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Nicola Wilson
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Houseingkeeping at Tanner Hospital

I was out of work last,I did everything I suppose to do u but I am still lock out I been trying to talk to someone. Out in June and half of May. Still haven't heard from no one.

3y
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Bryce Macki
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How do teachers provide documentation for looking for jobs. School secretaries just ask with you if you have an application on line and go away. In so many words. Don't call us we'll call you. Teaching jobs are on each district web site. And checking the boxes is about all you can do. Then wait and hope to get a call for the job you want. I the old days I would go to the school and often get to speak to a school admin person. Sometimes hired on the spot.

3y
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Glenyss nock
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Security Officer at Muscarelle Museum

Since covid started my hours have been cut I've been drawing unemployment my year ended my hrs are still cut I re registered for benefits again 2 months have gone by and I still have not recieved any money what is going on?

3y
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