FAQ Friday – How do I know if my work search contacts are valid?

Editor’s note: This article was updated on July 3, 2017, to clarify content under Invalid Contacts.

If you are unemployed and collecting benefits you are now required to make and report two valid contacts with potential employers each week for full-time work. Not sure what counts as a valid contact?  Read on:

Valid Contacts:

Asking someone with hiring authority about employment opportunities and submitting an application when the employer is not accepting applications or resumes. If you list this as a valid contact and the company says they aren’t hiring but would gladly accept an application, then we expect you to submit an application.

• Applying for positions in a very specialized area. The department does not dictate what type of work you must apply for as long you are able to find and report at least two contacts per week, you meet our requirement. If you are looking for specialized work and exhaust your opportunities in that field, you must expand your job search.

Emailing an acquaintance (with hiring authority) to ask about positions. We recommend attaching a cover letter, resume or application to employment inquiries, but it is not required in order to be considered a valid contact. Emailing someone with hiring authority and attaching a resume or application for a specific position is valid.

Emailing  or calling an employer with a  request for an application is a valid contact as long as you submit a completed application if one is provided.

Sending a letter of interest.

• Interviewing with the employer where you previously applied. The application would count as one contact and the interview would count as a second contact.

 Invalid Contacts:

Looking through the newspaper or online for jobs but not finding anything. Just opening the newspaper to see what jobs are available and not taking any action is not considered a valid contact.

Surfing the internet and looking at job postings, even on specific employer websites and not submitting an application or resume does not count as a valid work search. Ever.

Looking at a job described on an employer’s website that has requirements you do not meet. If you look at job postings on a website, decide you don’t meet the criteria for any of them so you don’t apply, that is not a valid contact.

Checking in with a staffing agency.  Staffing agencies are treated like other employers. The initial application is valid, but repeated follow ups with the same employer is not.

Contacting your part-time employer. You need to make two job contacts each week, even if you are working part time.

 • Emailing about a job found on Craigslist to ensure the posting is legitimate before sending an application or resume. You are halfway there, but at this point you are just researching positions. If you use Craigslist for contacts, you need to follow-through with the application instructions.  Looking online but not submitting an application or resume is not valid.

Getting a job referral from the Department of Labor, but not actually following up on the position. This is similar to the Craigslist contact. You must attempt to make contact with the employer about the position. Simply getting a referral with no follow up is not a valid contact.

Following up with a previous contact. While it is good practice to check back with employers, repeated contacts are not considered valid.

• Contacting friends or relatives who work for the company you are applying with is not a valid contact unless they have the authority to hire you.

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.

Unemployment References:

Unemployment can be complicated, but we have tools to help you. For more information on your unemployment insurance rights and responsibilities, visit labor.idaho.gov/uitips. For more information about work contacts, check out this blog post.

3 thoughts on “FAQ Friday – How do I know if my work search contacts are valid?

  1. Jeff Yousey

    A point this page and the booklet fail to mention is that your sent emails will be used to verify work search contacts meaning the Compliance department will contact you requesting you to forward sent emails you have sent potential employers. If you are using Yahoo mail, there is a good chance that, by default, it will not be setup to save sent emails meaning you will not have the requested information they are looking for. Failure to produce sent emails to employers will result in being denied benefits from unemployment insurance, which I am experiencing now. To avoid these types of problems, use Google’s G-mail as it saves your sent emails by default and gives you the tools to verify work search contacts for the Idaho Department of Labor.

  2. Pingback: FAQ Friday – Why Are Work Search Contacts Required Now? | idaho@work

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