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Employment Security Law N.C.G.S. 96-14.9(e) requires you to be registered for work on and to be actively seeking work each week to receive unemployment benefits. You are required to make contact with at least three potential employers each week you claim benefits. One of your three weekly contacts may be satisfied by participating in a reemployment activity, such as a workshop, self-assessment or career fair offered by an NCWorks Career Center or a partnering agency. For more information about valid work search contacts, review the Your Work Search Responsibilities page.

The law is 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 may be 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.

You should keep your work search log for at least 5 years.

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 website. 
The work search record must provide the following information:

  • Date of the employer contact or reemployment activity.
  • Name of the company contacted or reemployment activity attended.
  • The position you are seeking.
  • Name of contact person (if applicable). 
  • Contact method (in person, by phone, by email, online, by fax, etc.). Attach confirmation emails or confirmation numbers for any online contacts.
  • Contact information for the company contact or activity (website, email address, fax number, telephone number, physical address, etc.). If you are using an employment website, provide the name of the employer with whom you are applying AND the name of the employment website. 
  • Results of the contact or activity (submitted application, second interview, completed activity, not hiring, etc.).

A valid job contact can be done by:

  • Submitting an application, resume, letter of interest, etc., through the employer or an employment website, such as NCWorks.
  • Having a telephone conversation with an employer. Note: Leaving a message or voicemail is not sufficient.
  • Attending a meeting with the employer. May include contact at job fairs or similar events or video interviews.
  • Registering with Can only be used as a contact for the week registration was completed.
  • Responding to a blind job 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.

  • 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.

  • Skill Set Courses (Provided by NCWorks Career Centers and/or Partner Agencies)
    • Workshops (ex. Resume Preparation, Interviewing, Social Media Job Searches, Branding)
    • Soft Skills Training (Professional or Social Etiquette)
    • Industry/Occupational Specific Training (ex. CPR)
    • Alison Online Training
    • Classes
    • English as a Second Language (ESL) Classes
    • Literacy Courses (Reading and Financial)
  • Online Career Tools (Provided by NCWorks Career Centers and/or Partner Agencies)
    • Employment Websites (ex. Indeed)
    • features, such as Reality Check, Interest Profiler, Career Cluster Guide
  • Telephone Reemployment Assistance with NCWorks Career Centers and/or Partner Agencies
    • Career Counseling (ex. Job Seeking Tips, Interviewing Basics)
  • Career Explorer (NCWorks Interest and Skills Assessment)
    • Job Skills/Personal Skills/Workplace Skills (Self-Assessments)
    • Work Interests/Work Values (Self-Paced Inventories in NCWorks)
    • Career Counseling (ex. Job Seeking Tips, Interviewing Basic)
    • Job Clubs and/or Networking Groups (NCWorks/Partner/Community-Recognized)
    • Resume Preparation, Review and/or Assistance
    • Career Fair (Virtual and/or In-Person)
    • Job Search/Virtual Recruiter
    • Job Referrals

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.

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.