Almost everyone collecting unemployment insurance (UI) benefits must actively look for work. Each week you claim benefits, you must make at least 2 work-search contacts while seeking full-time work.
How will I know if I am required to look for work?
Always assume that you must look for work. You must make an honest effort to find work each week you claim benefits, unless told otherwise.
Your work-seeking requirements will be emailed to you. You must agree to review these requirements when you apply for benefits.
If you have any questions about your searching for work, call us at (208) 332-8942.
How do I report my work search?
Log in to the Claimant Portal and file your weekly certification. Each weekly certification you file will ask you to add your work-search contacts.
We will ask you how you applied and for information on the employers you contacted.
You must report work-search contacts honestly. Idaho Labor will check these contacts with the employers. Lying about your work search is fraud and will result in penalties and denied benefits.
You can use this Work Search Log to track contact information for your weekly report.
Do I have to look for work if I have a seasonal job?
It depends. Seasonal workers must look for work if more than 16 weeks will pass between lost hours and a return to full-time work. There are no exceptions to this rule in the state of Idaho.
If you don’t have a date for returning to work with 16 weeks of a layoff, you must seek other work. You can still return to your employer, but you must look for other work to get UI benefits.
Some seasonal workers find another job in the off-season for their regular work. For example, a U.S. Forest Service lookout might drive a school bus in the fall and winter months.
If you are told to look for work when you file your claim, your Work Seeking status isn’t job-attached. You must look for work to get benefits. Please call us with questions at (208) 332-8942.
Do I have to look for work if I belong to a union?
It depends. Your work-search requirements may be waived if you are an active member of a union that regularly refers you to full-time work.
You will be asked about your union membership when you file your claim. Your information will decide your Work Seeking status.
What if the weekly certification requires work-search contacts, but I am job attached?
Never assume you are job attached. If you are unsure about your job-seeking requirements, call us at (208) 332-8942.
Where can I find work-search contact requirements?
You can find your work-search requirements on your online application. When you apply, you must acknowledge that you understand these requirements.
You can also find work-search information starting on page 10 of the UI Claimant Guide. This pamphlet will be mailed to you after you apply for benefits.
What is a valid work-search activity?
There are many valid ways to look for work. The most common work-search activity is applying with a resume or cover letter. Other valid and invalid activities include:
- Applying to an open position.
Applying is a valid contact if the employer is accepting applications. If the company says they aren’t hiring but would accept an application, you must apply for this to be a valid contact.
- Applying for positions in a specialized field.
You can apply to any type of job if you are able to make at least 2 contacts per week. If you are looking for specialized work and run out of options in your market, expand your job search.
- Emailing someone with hiring authority.
Sending a letter of interest to a hiring manager is a valid contact only if that person has the power to hire you. Sending a cover letter, resume, or application is recommended but not required.
- Following up with a company that asked you to contact them again.
If an employer asks you to check back with them about an application, following up is a valid contact. Contacting the same employer each week without being asked to do so is not valid.
- Interviewing with the employer after applying.
An interview for a job is a valid contact. The application could count as one contact and the interview could count as the second contact for the same week.
- Meeting with an Idaho Labor workforce consultant.
Using our job seeker services counts as a valid contact. We offer employment preparation classes, job search workshops, mock interviews and more.
- Registering with a staffing service.
Applying with a recruiter or placement agency counts as a valid contact.
- Attending a job seeker event.
Going to a job fair, virtual job fair, networking opportunity event or employer-sponsored workshop is a valid contact.
- Completing an employer prerequisite for hiring.
Many jobs require a skills test, background check or drug test. You can report these tasks as a work-search contact.
- Researching without applying.
Looking through job listings without applying is not valid. If you can’t find any jobs, you must expand your search. Send an application or resume for an open position for your search to be valid.
- Following up with a past contact.
Checking in with an employer about a job opening repeatedly or without being asked is not a valid contact.
- Following up with a staffing agency.
Staffing agencies are treated like other employers. Applying with an agency is a valid contact. Following up with one is not.
- Contacting your part-time employer.
Your part-time employer is not a valid work search contact. You must make 2 job contacts each week even if you are working part-time.
- Asking for more information about a job positing.
Emailing a question about a job found on Craigslist or a similar job board is not a valid contact. This is the same as researching without applying. To make the contact valid, you must apply.
- Getting a job referral.
You may get job referrals from Idaho Labor or staffing agencies. These are not valid contacts unless you follow up on the referral.
- Pursuing self-employment work.
Contractor or “gig” work does not count as a valid work search contact. This includes work with companies such as Uber or Lyft.
- Contacting friends or relatives without hiring power.
Sending resumes or applications to people you know is not valid contact unless they have the authority to hire you.
» Read more about Work Search Requirements here (for Spanish, click here).
Is there anything else I have to do?
Yes. You must register for work at idahoworks.gov or with the Department of Labor in the state where you reside.
You may also be required to speak with a workforce consultant. This interview is meant to help you get back to work as soon as possible. The consultant can help you improve your resume and look for work.
If you don’t complete a required interview, your benefits will stop.
Make your contacts count:
Please call or visit your nearest local office for work-search help. We offer many free services, including workshops on specific work search topics.
We have tools to help you understand unemployment. For more information on your rights and responsibilities, visit the Unemployment Benefits page.
Return to unemployment insurance FAQ Back to top