North Carolina Work Search Requirements

To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you must seek work with at least three potential employers each week and maintain a detailed and verifiable record of your work search. If you cannot prove you looked for work, you may be considered overpaid and required to repay benefits.

You must look for work that meets your skills and needs.
You must keep a detailed record of your work search activities and save this information. A blank form will be mailed to you or you can download a Work Search Record from the DES website.
Your records will be reviewed in person while you are receiving benefits and may be audited even after you stop filing for unemployment benefits. You should maintain these records for five years after filing your unemployment claim.
Your inability to prove you looked for work during each week claimed may result in a denial, delayed payment or overpayment of benefits.

Work Search Guidelines FAQs

What is the current law regarding work search?
In order to receive unemployment benefits, you are required to contact at least three (3) potential employers during the week.

What happens if I can’t make my required number of contacts in a week?
The law is very specific about the work search requirement and does not provide DES the ability to waive work search. Failure to make the required number of contacts in a week will result in a delay or denial of your benefits for that week. Understand that your work search records are checked and you can be asked to produce your work search records for up to 5 years after you have filed a claim for benefits. Providing inaccurate or false statements to DES is considered fraud and may be punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.

How long must I keep my work search records?
You should keep your work search log for at least 5 years.

How do I document my work search?
For any week that you file for unemployment benefits, you must keep a detailed record of your work search activities. A Work Search Record form may be downloaded from the DES webpage . Click on the ‘Downloads’ tab, then ‘Form for Individuals’. The work search record must provide the following information:

Date of submission or contact;
Company Contacted;
Contact Method (In person, telephone, email, online, fax);
Contact Information (Physical address, telephone number, e-mail address, website address or fax number of contact);
Position seeking;
Results of Contact (ex. Not Hiring; Submitted Application; Interview; Second Interview).

What are acceptable methods of a valid job contact?

A valid job contact can be done by:

SUBMISSION of an APPLICATION OR RESUME, LETTER OF INTEREST, ETC. - through Employer or Employment Website (including NC Works).
TELEPHONE CONVERSATION with Employer – Message left on voicemail or answering service is NOT sufficient.
IN-PERSON MEETING with Employer – May include contacts at job fairs or similar events or video interviews.
INITIAL REGISTRATION via (only applies for week registration was completed).
BLIND ADVERTISEMENT (An online or newspaper ad that does not give the company name) - A copy of a blind advertisement may substitute for employer name, name of contact, and job title. You must keep a copy of the advertisement for your records.

You may use the same employer more than once during a week only if you are applying for more than one job with the employer or if you are at a different stage in the hiring process.

What is not considered a valid job contact?
Failure to provide documentation of your work search activities on your work search record will not be accepted as a valid job contact.>
Contacting the same employer regarding the same job more than once during a week with no change in the status of an application for a job.>
Contacting an employer regarding a job despite lacking required qualification, knowledge, ability or skill to perform the duties.>
Leaving a message for an employer. If you contact an employer by phone, you must speak with an individual and record the name and title of the person you spoke with. The person you speak with must be an employee of the company who is authorized to make hiring decisions.

Can I refuse a job if it is offered to me?
If you refuse an offer for work, DES must determine if that offer was ‘suitable’ work based upon information provided by you and the potential employer. If the offer is deemed ‘suitable’ you may be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.

What is suitable work?
To determine whether a job is ‘suitable’ or not, DES must consider the guidelines contained in G.S. 96--‐14.9(f):

Guidelines for Claimants during the first 10 weeks of their unemployment claim.
The degree of risk involved to the individual's health, safety, and morals.
The individual's physical fitness and prior training and experience.
The individual's prospects for securing local work in the individual's customary occupation.
The distance of the available work from the individual's residence.
The individual's prior earnings.

Guidelines for Claimants after the first 10 weeks of their unemployment claim.
Consideration of any employment offer paying one hundred twenty percent (120%) of the individual's weekly benefit amount.