In many cases, when you receive unemployment benefits from your state unemployment insurance program, those benefits come with a caveat: You must make a set number of contacts with potential employers as you search out a new job. While the type of job you seek may limit the number of contacts you may be required to make -- and some union members simply must report to their union hall and not search for jobs -- most states require you to document your contact with potential employers.
Definition of Contacts
Your state's laws, your profession and the state of your local economy may impact the number of contacts your unemployment agency requires you to make each week. Although each state's regulations are slightly different, most require a contact to be actual communication with an employer. For white-collar jobs, this may simply be mailing or emailing a copy of your resume with a cover letter to a human resources officer. For other jobs, you may need to visit a job site and fill out an application. Simply looking for jobs in the classified ads and online listings usually doesn't meet requirements.
Each time you make a contact with a potential employer, you should log the interaction. Some unemployment agencies may require you to periodically submit your logs, while others will only examine it if you're audited. Either way, it's essential to record the name and address of the employer, how you contacted him -- submitted an application in person, a job fair meeting or an emailed query, for example -- the name and contact information of the person and the results of your query.
In times of high unemployment, locating enough contacts to complete your job search through advertisements may not unearth enough to meet the minimum number of contacts your state unemployment agency requires you to make. You may also contact your former employers to inquire about returning to work for them. Sitting for civil service exams that qualify you for government jobs may also qualify as a contact in some states. In most instances, registering for work with an employment agency or placing a resume online don't qualify as a contact.
Repeat Contacts and Out-of-Profession Contacts
Most states don't allow you to use the same employer as a contact in more than one week unless he told you to report back at a later date when work would be available. In this case, the second contact may be counted again if your records from the first contact indicate a date to return. In some cases, you may need to contact employers outside of your normal line of work if your unemployment insurance case worker determines there is no work in your field in your area.
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