Why You Should Start Your Job Search Now
About 16 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment benefits. In some states, they stand to lose them if they don’t actively search for work. That’s because some states have reimposed work search requirements that were waived in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, job search activities can be safe and socially distant in ZipRecruiter’s online employment marketplace. While the requirements can be fairly minimal, unemployed Americans can find better opportunities and speed up their return to work by going beyond what’s required and really ‘leaning in’ during their job search process.
Active Work Search Requirements
Work search requirements differ across states. But typically, they involve job seekers making a minimum of between one (in Delaware) and five (in Florida) “work search contacts” per week with employers who might reasonably be expected to have openings.
States also typically require claimants to fill out a “work search log.” Some states require claimants to submit those logs weekly or monthly, whereas others require that claimants keep them on file in their own records for one year with the expectation that they may be requested at any time.
Examples of Active Work Search
There are several kinds of activities that qualify as work search activities for the purpose of maintaining eligibility for unemployment benefits. Each state’s unemployment handbook provides specific details. But qualifying activities typically include:
- Applying for a job online (on ZipRecruiter or through a state job board), in person, or by mail
- Registering for work and reemployment services with a state career center
- Interviewing with potential employers in person, by phone, or by video (whether on-demand or live)
- Registering for work with private staffing agencies
- Attending job search seminars, career networking meetings, or job fairs
Meeting Work Search Requirements is Easier Now than Ever Before
The coronavirus pandemic has made face-to-face job search activities more challenging. Many stores and offices are closed, and transportation options may be limited, making it harder to make in-person visits to employers.
But online and mobile job search have dramatically expanded since the last recession and are easier now than ever before. ZipRecruiter’s smart matching technology, for example, simplifies and improves the job search experience for millions of people every month in a number of ways:
- Speed. Once job seekers create their profiles, our powerful matching algorithm creates instant matches between job seekers and nearby jobs using information about a job seeker’s skills and location. It then sends a notification to the matched candidate encouraging them to apply quickly. Employers may also reach out to the job seeker directly, inviting them to apply.
- Transparency. Job seekers are informed when their resume has been viewed or has been rated ‘thumbs up’ by a hiring manager.
- Opportunity. ZipRecruiter helps job seekers ladder into jobs and industries they may not have considered by mapping transferable skills and matching them to jobs accordingly.
- Mobile first. We have optimized our job search product for mobile, which is increasingly the platform of choice for job seekers. ZipRecruiter is the #1 rated-job search app on iOS & Android.
Why Every Unemployed American Should be Searching for a Job Right Now
Over half of states have now reinstated their work search requirements. Even before the requirements go into effect, however, there could be benefits to beginning your search early.
Job seekers who are active, engaged, and responsive now will have a distinct advantage over those who wait and rejoin the labor market when it is more competitive. That’s because job search intensity has been fairly low since COVID-19 outbreaks began in the U.S.
The pandemic made some forms of work more dangerous, public transit risks and restrictions made getting to work more difficult, and school closures made business as usual untenable for many working parents. Expanded unemployment benefits also eased the pressures on unemployed workers to find new jobs immediately.
Furthermore, the vast majority of people who lost their jobs were on temporary layoff and didn’t see a need to find something new because they expected to go back to their old jobs.
Over a year into the crisis, however, many temporary layoffs have turned permanent. And it is becoming clear that other temporary layoffs will last longer than initially expected. With many layoffs likely to outlast unemployment benefits, workers will need to find new opportunities—even if only in the interim. And while the current labor market environment is tough for job seekers, we expect it will only grow more competitive in the coming months.
Work Search Requirements by State
Details are up-to-date as of publication on May 7, 2021. Updates will be made periodically.