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North Carolina Unemployment Job Search Requirements

North Carolina Unemployment Benefits

What are NC unemployment work search requirements?

When you applied for NC unemployment, you agreed to be able, available, and actively seeking work. North Carolina has developed work search requirements to encourage claimants to look for new employment.

To ensure you remain eligible for NC unemployment benefits, you must contact at least three different employers each week, and keep track of your job search activities.

Keep a record of your work search activity online or by filling out the NC Work Search Record form.

One work search requirement can be satisfied by participating in an approved reemployment activity. For example, if you participate in a reemployment activity at your NCWorks Career Center, that would count as one job contact for the week.

Work Registration Requirement

You also need to sign up with a jobseeker account on, North Carolina’s online hub for services related to employment and training. Once you create an account, you can upload your resume, search and apply to job openings, access useful information about the labor market, and find opportunities for workforce training.

How to contact an employer

Wondering about acceptable ways to reach out to employers? Here are some methods:

  • Apply for jobs by submitting an application or resume either directly to the employer or through an employment website like NCWorks.
  • Speaker to employers over the phone. But be aware that simply leaving a voicemail or message doesn’t count.
  • Arrange a meeting with potential employers. This can include making contact at job fairs, participating in video interviews, or attending similar events.
  • Sign up on gov. The week you register can count as a work search contact, but only for that specific week.
  • Respond to a blind job ad, which is an advertisement that doesn’t provide the company’s name. It could be found online or in a newspaper. Be sure to keep a copy of the ad for your records.

Approved Work Search Activities

You can perform one approved work search activity per week. This replaces one required job contact, but you must make two other job contacts to be eligible for NC UI benefits.

The following work search activities can count as one of your work search contacts.

  • Training courses that improve your skill set, offered by NCWorks Career Centers or partner agencies.
  • Interactive workshops such as resume writing, interviewing techniques, job searches through social media, and personal branding.
  • Training focused on soft skills, like professional etiquette.
  • Industry-specific or occupation-specific training, like CPR courses.
  • Educational classes available on org.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to enhance language proficiency.
  • Job searching on employment websites, for example, Indeed.
  • Telephone-based reemployment assistance offered at NCWorks Career Centers or by partnering agencies.
  • Career counseling sessions that provide job-seeking advice and basic interviewing techniques.
  • Career Explorer, an interest and skills assessment tool available on NCWorks.
  • Self-assessments that evaluate your job skills, personal skills, and workplace skills.
  • Job Clubs and networking groups recognized by NCWorks, partner agencies, or within the community.
  • Improving your resume.
  • Participating in a job fair, either virtually or in person.

Work Search Record

You must keep a thorough record of your weekly work search activities. Make sure to keep these records for a period of five years in case you are audited.

You can download a blank Work Search Record form.

Your Work Search Record should include the following details:

  • The date of when you contacted the employer or when you attended the reemployment activity.
  • The name of the company you reached out to, or the reemployment activity you participated in.
  • The job position you’re aiming for.
  • The name of the person you contacted, if applicable.
  • How you made the contact: it could be in person, via phone, email, online, fax, etc. If you made contact online, make sure to attach confirmation emails or numbers.
  • The contact information of the company or activity. This might include the website, email address, fax number, phone number, or physical address. If you’re using an employment website like NCWorks, provide the name of the employer you’re applying to and the name of the employment website.
  • The outcome of your contact or activity. It could be that you submitted an application, had a second interview, completed an activity, or found out they’re not hiring.

Here is an example of a work search record:

Work Search Record

Refusing a Suitable Job Offer

If you refuse a job offer, you may lose your benefits if the job is considered suitable. NC DES uses the following guide to determine if the work is suitable. You can be a little picky during the first 10 weeks you collect unemployment insurance benefits. But after 10 weeks, you must become more flexible.

Rules for unemployment claimants during the first 10 weeks:

  • Evaluate the risk level associated with the job to your health, safety, and personal values.
  • Consider your physical fitness and previous training and experience.
  • Think about your chances of finding work in your usual field within your local area.
  • Assess the distance from your home to the job openings available.
  • Reflect on your previous earnings.

Rules for Unemployment Claimants after the first 10 weeks

  • You must consider any job offer that pays at least 120% of your weekly benefit amount.

What happens when I find a job?

When you find a new job, report it as soon as you begin working again. Do not wait until you receive your first paycheck or you will be required to pay back any overpayments. Do not keep collecting North Carolina unemployment compensation as that would constitute unemployment fraud.

To report your return to work, call 888-737-0259.


North Carolina Job Training Programs

On the Job Training

In North Carolina, the On-the-Job Training program helps jobless workers find employment, and it helps employers find qualified employees. OJT is not just a job, but also a unique training program. It allows you to learn new skills right on the job. For employers, it offsets some of the costs of training new employees.

Participating businesses receive wage reimbursements to help with the costs of training. The amount of this reimbursement can range from 50-75%, depending on the size of the business. Small businesses with fewer than 250 employees stand to get the highest percentage of assistance.

On the Job Training won’t last longer than six months. Before you even start, an individualized training plan will be crafted with your employer. This plan ensures that you have ample time to develop the required skills and competencies for your new job.

OJT isn’t just about finding a job. It’s also about continuing education and enhancing your skills for the betterment of the community.

Customized Training Program

North Carolina offers a unique initiative to provide free and tailor-made job training for new and already established companies experiencing job growth. This job training program is known as the “Customized Training Program”.

The Customized Training Program is sponsored by the state’s extensive network of 58 community colleges and is geared towards full-time positions in production, technology support, or direct customer service created in North Carolina. The program offers custom training to bolster three aspects of a company’s health: job growth, technology investment, and productivity enhancement.

Based on a set instructional period, the community college responsible for providing the customized training can even reimburse the company up to $30 per hour for the actual hourly wages of select trainers.

Incumbent Worker Training

The Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) program helps employers cover the cost of training employees who have been working for six months or longer. The program increases the skill level of employees so they can advance in their careers and create job openings for less experienced employees.

To qualify for the program, employees must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age and are paid employees of your business
  • Meet the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for an employer-employee relationship
  • Have been a part of your business consistently for six months or more
  • Be a United States citizen or have the legal right to work in North Carolina

Employers looking to boost the skills of their workers should consider applying for the Incumbent Worker Training Program. It’s an effective way for companies to develop human resources while also contributing to economic development in the community.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

Through your local NCWorks Career Center, you could be eligible for Scholarships for Workforce Training Services through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Along with these scholarships, there are many other valuable career services.

These benefits are available through the Adult and Dislocated Worker Program, which was created under WIOA. In this program, you would have a one-on-one consultation with a WIOA Case Manager to determine your eligibility.

Depending on your needs and the funds available, you can get financial assistance for many different aspects of your education and career. This can include tuition, books, fees, and supplies for your training program. You can also receive help with support services like transportation, childcare, background checks, uniforms, tools, immunizations, and certification exam costs.

To learn more, visit your local NCWorks Career Center and ask to talk to a career counselor about training opportunities. The counselor can help you explore all your options and choose the best path for your career and future.

Apprenticeships – ApprenticeshipNC

ApprenticeshipNC is North Carolina’s apprenticeship program. It is managed by the North Carolina Community College System. 

NC apprenticeship programs come in a variety of forms. They can differ in duration, technical education level, and the extent of employer investment. The structure of these programs can make them particularly appealing to workers who are already part of an employer’s existing workforce, veterans, or students in high school or college.

If you fit into any of these categories, an apprenticeship program could be an excellent way to gain valuable skills and training opportunities. Find more information about these programs at your local NCWorks Career Center or by visiting

  1. I want to know if there is a program that help me to get the classes to become a CDL truck driver, I really need to know if there is options for this as a unemployed person looking for a training and to expand my employment options, also if this is available can you help to get a job after the class and the CDL is in my hands??? thanks for the info you can provide and the details.

  2. I relocated to Charlotte in September 2019 due to my partners relocation for work . I am 65y/o and claiming UI from my previous state of residence. My ui will run out approx March 2020

    I am now permanently resident in NC to which dept do I apply for senior job retraining.

    Thank You

  3. I am a Home Care Nurse in NC. I had two spinal surgeries at same time, 10/2018. Unfortunately I have numbness from left knee, down leg through left ankle. The Neurologist and Neurosurgeon cannot clear me since I require a cane in order to walk due to numbness. Can I collect UI in NC? I have worked steady prior to surgery.

    • Anna,

      Unfortunately, personal reasons such as health issues are not considered. UI benefits are only offered to claimants who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  4. Why does the NC unemployment site link to “work at home” sites, some of which charge a fee to get you started? Isn’t this a scam?

    • Patricia,

      The agency seems to have tied up with private partners to offer employment opportunities. If you have a grievance, please contact the Unemployment Office.

  5. Moved to north Carolina 3 months ago from Mass. left my job in good standings. Haven’t been able to find work, 60 yr old auto mechanic, savings are almost depleted, is there anything you can do to help?

    • John,

      You can be eligible to apply if the reason for separation from the previous employment was due to involuntary reasons.

  6. I am only temporarily unemployed. I will be going back to work to the Chick Fil A that I worked at in about 3 weeks. Do I still need to look for a job and if so who’s going to hire me for 3 weeks?

    • I am not sure if you can be eligible to claim UI benefits for temporary off from work.

      Please report the nature of your unemployment by calling the claims center.

  7. If a person get laid off from a job and decides not to go back to work because they are 62 and older and have applied for social security benefits, can the person still receive unemployment benefits while they are waiting on their SS benefits and if so do they still have to look for a job while receiving the unemployment benefits.

  8. I have just moved here from out of state and collect uib through the other state while seeking work here. yes I have completed the change of address,,my question is while collecting uib will unemployment fund my schooling for truck driving? theres seems to be a huge demand for cdl-a drivers and obviously it would be something needed to get a specific type of job.

    • No they will not fund courses. You may want to check with them to see if they have schooling related to truck driving as a sponsored course.

  9. Do I have to go to an unemployment office to register for unemployment and use their job search or is there a website I can register and search for jobs on?

  10. Just graduated college, no luck in finding a job. Degree is in Sports Marketing. Open to a full time position in any career field. CPF certified, life guard for past 6 six years, life guard manager trained. Would like job in gym, YMCA, Aquatic center, banking, etc. Not picky.
    Interviewing skills would be helpful.
    Can you help? What do I need to do.

  11. I”ve recently relocate here I had applied for unemployment in New York however came here top charlotte before I received any benefits. do I need to reach out to them or can I reapply here in Charlotte. Also how long will it take to receive funds.

    • Please call the labor dept in NY before making any further move.

      If all the paper work is in place, it may take up to 10 working days for payment receipt.

  12. I applied for NC unemployment benefits almost a month ago. I have done my weekly certifications but haven’t heard anything. My status says active with issues but when I try to call and speak to someone I only get recordings. Once I got a prerecorded message that said they didn’t need anything from me at this time but why is it taking so long and why can’t I speak to a real person?

  13. I am 16 and currently looking for a full-time job I am leaving the household and no longer will be living with my parents. Could I be aided in finding a job or placed directly into one?

  14. Do the two reported job searches you report each week have to be in-person? There are virtually no professional jobs that work that way anymore – everything is done through online submissions to HR Depts. Please clarify.

    • As far as my knowledge goes,they need not be in person.You must keep proofs and acknowledgments handy for reference after you make these contacts.

  15. can I get retrained in truck driving and do I have to see if I can get retrained by unemployment and help to pay for it.

    • Travis,

      Please elaborate.Each state provides vocational and other training as a value add to its citizens.You may contact the customer service for more info on this.

  16. I am a military spouse who had to leave employment due to military orders. We were in KY but we have moved to NC. I filed everything with KY but they said I need to file the job search in NC because that’s where I will be trying to find employment. Is this correct? Thank you


    • I am now longer receiving any unemployment insurance however I still need some help in job training and trying to look for either a full time job or a second part time job…I am currently working part time about 20 hours a week but need more hours…I there anyone or a service that I can look into for some help

      • Please contact your local Unemployment Office for details surrounding existing programs relating to job training. I suggest you visit the department’s website to explore the options online. Below is the link.

  18. If I know my last paycheck will be received August 31st, do I apply for unemployment September 1st or now? I’ll want my benefits to start as soon as possible.

    • As soon as your hours are reduced or you are totally let go, call the unemployment office. Let them know of the 8/31 check at that time.

  19. If I am newly unemployed in NC do I have to take the first job I am offered? Will I still get unemployment benefits if I turn down a job.

    • Depending on how close the job matches the job you lost. Everyone is expected to accept suitable employment. What is considered suitable is defined differently by different states and also based on the individual employee’s qualifications and, in addition, can change overtime for the same individual. Make choices in your own best interest and you should be ok.

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