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Washington Unemployment Job Search Requirements

Washington Unemployment Benefits

When you receive Washington unemployment insurance benefits, it is mandatory to actively search for full-time employment. This means you need to keep a record of your job search activities every week that you request benefits.

Work search requirements for the Washington unemployment insurance program

To demonstrate your readiness and availability for full-time employment, you must reach out to at least three potential employers or perform at least three job search actions at a WorkSource Washington location each week—so long as it adds up to three activities. This shows that you are actively seeking and open to full-time job opportunities.

You will need to keep a record of these activities and write down the following information:

Employer contacts

  • Contact date
  • Employer job title or reference number
  • Employer or business name
  • Method of contact
  • Type of contact
  • Employer contact information

WorkSource Actions

  • Activity completed
  • Documentation
  • The office where you completed the activity

The Washington Employment Security Department has created a work search log to help you keep track of your contacts and activities. It’s important to maintain this log, as the department may request it during their audits to prevent unemployment fraud.

It is recommended that you keep this log until 30 days after your benefit year or until you receive your last payment or a benefit extension—whichever date is later.

While you will not necessarily submit this log to the department, you will need to supply the same information with your weekly claims.

What is considered a work search activity?

Employer Contacts

It is important to take all necessary steps to apply for a position when inquiring about it—this includes submitting a resume and cover letter, filling out an application, or emailing a hiring manager about a job opening.  If you find out later that the employer is not hiring or accepting applications, you can still consider your inquiry as an employer contact if you were unaware of their hiring status at the time.

Be sure to note this in your job search log. It is crucial to record all the required details for each type of contact you make, such as email, fax, internet, mail, phone, in-person meetings, virtual meetings, or using an employer’s self-service kiosk.

Certain activities like browsing the internet, posting resumes without submitting applications, and relying on others to find work for you do not count as employer contacts.

WorkSource Actions

WorkSource Washington, an American Job Center affiliate, is a free resource for job seekers. It focuses on helping people with various aspects of their job search, such as learning job search strategies, creating a resume, and developing job interview skills.

In-person work search activities, like attending classes or workshops, can help you find new employment. However, it’s important to check with the staff at the WorkSource Washington office or your local American Job Center to ensure that the activities you choose are approved and count towards your work search requirements.

Work Registration

When you apply for unemployment benefits, you will be automatically registered with your local American Job Center, known as a WorkSource office, in Washington state. The specific WorkSource office assigned to you will be based on your zip code.

If you reside outside of Washington, you are required to register for work at your local American Job Center within one week from the date you receive your first unemployment benefit payment.

If you initially filed from Washington, but have since moved within the United States or to Canada, as long as you continue to meet all the eligibility requirements, you will still qualify for benefits. However, it is important to note that you must actively search for work and register for work in your current place of residence.

Do I have to accept any job?

It is important to accept a job offer that is suitable for your skills, abilities, and other relevant factors within your local job market. If there are a limited number of job opportunities in your occupation or area, you may need to broaden your job search. This could involve considering virtual job options or exploring different fields or locations.

Washington Unemployment Job Training Programs


Washington offers a robust apprenticeship program that provides valuable training and hands-on experience in various industries. These programs combine on-the-job learning with classroom instruction to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge needed for successful careers.

Apprenticeships in Washington cover a wide range of fields, including construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology, providing opportunities for individuals to gain specialized skills and secure well-paying jobs.

Commission Approved Training

Washington’s Commissioner Approved Training programs are designed to help unemployed workers enhance their skills and increase their employability. These programs provide training in a variety of industries and occupations, allowing participants to gain new skills or upgrade existing ones.

Commission Approved Training programs are carefully reviewed and approved by the Commissioner of Employment Security to ensure they meet the necessary standards and provide valuable training opportunities. By participating in a Commissioner Approved Training program, you can improve your chances of finding suitable employment and advancing your career.

Dislocated Workers Services

Washington’s Dislocated Workers Services provide comprehensive support to people who have lost their jobs due to layoffs or other involuntary reasons. These services aim to help dislocated workers navigate the transition to new employment by offering various resources and assistance. This may include career counseling, job search assistance, skills assessment, training opportunities, and access to job fairs or networking events.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

The Washington Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is an agency dedicated to assisting individuals with disabilities in achieving employment and greater independence. They provide a range of services, including vocational assessments, job counseling, skills training, and job placement assistance. The DVR works closely with individuals to develop personalized plans that address their unique needs and goals, helping them overcome barriers and succeed in the workforce.


WorkSource Washington plays a crucial role in assisting farmworkers in finding new employment opportunities. They offer specialized services tailored to the needs of farmworkers, such as connecting them with agricultural job openings, providing training and skills development programs related to farming and agriculture, and offering support in navigating the job search process.

Additionally, WorkSource Washington collaborates with local agricultural employers to identify job openings and ensure a smooth transition for farm workers seeking new employment in the industry.

Veterans and Military Spouses

WorkSource Washington offers a range of resources and support specifically designed for veterans and military spouses. These include specialized job fairs and hiring events focused on connecting veterans and military spouses with employers who value their skills and experiences.

WorkSource Washington also offers career counseling, resume assistance, and job search workshops tailored to the unique needs of veterans and military spouses. They also collaborate with other veteran service organizations and government agencies to ensure comprehensive support for veterans and military families in their employment endeavors.

Self-Employment Assistance Program

The Self-Employment Assistance Program is designed to support those who are unemployed and interested in starting their own businesses. The program provides eligible participants with financial assistance, training, and resources to help them successfully launch and operate their own ventures. Participants receive guidance on business planning, market research, marketing strategies, and financial management. The program aims to empower individuals to become self-employed and create their own job opportunities while contributing to the state’s economy.

SharedWork Program

The SharedWork program is an alternative to layoffs that helps employers retain their workforce during temporary downturns. The program allows employers to reduce employee hours while providing partial unemployment benefits to affected workers. By participating in SharedWork, employers can avoid the cost of recruiting and training new employees when business conditions improve.

The program helps employees maintain their income and benefits while ensuring they remain connected to their jobs, which contributes to a quicker recovery for both employers and employees.

Trade Adjustment Assistance

Washington’s Trade Adjustment Assistance program is designed to assist workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade. It provides support to eligible individuals by offering reemployment services, training opportunities, and income support. The program aims to help workers transition to new employment and acquire the skills necessary for industries that are experiencing growth, ultimately promoting their long-term economic stability.

The Trade Adjustment Assistance program also provides access to job search help, job counseling, and relocation support to eligible workers seeking employment outside their local area.

Washington Training Benefits Program

The Washington Training Benefits Program is a state initiative that supports individuals receiving unemployment benefits to enhance their skills and improve employability. Through this program, eligible individuals can receive additional weeks of unemployment benefits while participating in approved training programs. The program aims to help unemployed workers gain new skills and qualifications, making them more competitive in the job market.

Participants may receive financial assistance for tuition, books, and other training-related expenses, providing them with valuable opportunities to develop their careers and secure sustainable employment.

Workshops and job fairs

WorkSource Washington offers a variety of workshops and job fairs to assist people in their job search and career development. These workshops cover various topics such as resume writing, interview skills, job search strategies, and networking techniques, while job fairs provide opportunities for job seekers to connect directly with employers and explore potential employment opportunities.

  1. If I am disabled and this severly limits what jobs I can apply for what are my options and after the september deadline can you get a extension if you have been on ui?

  2. My son applied for unemployment for the first time and was denied and told it was due to another Company showing up that he did not list. He had no idea what or where the info came from. He had been at the same company for a year and a half and his checks always had just one company name listed. He called the office he had worked at and they just said they didn’t know. Instead of stating this in an appeal, he thought he had to find out what was going on first so he spent his time trying to figure it out and missed the fact that there was a time limit to do the appeal. By the time he asked me to help him try to find answers I let him know there was a time limit and it was past. Neither of us knew there was anything he could do, thinking he was just out of luck at that point and had to move on. Just recently a friend of mine said she thought he could still go forward in the appeal court as long as he had a good reason for not doing the appeal on time in the first place. We still don’t know what direction to be able to do this. We are both pretty confused. Also, are there any local offices someone can go into in person to get help? Do the Work Force Offices offer this help? He is not working yet and pretty panicky that savings is gone and rent and bills are due now.

  3. I want to become interpreter. I need to become certify in order to get job. I have to wait to schedule for test month because schedule open up once a month. In meantime why do I have to look for job that doesn’t meet my requirement.

  4. If I get laid off because of no work and I get unemployment until work is available again do I still have to look for work?

    • I would apply anyways. The worst that can happen is they say “No”. Go to the WA Unemployment website and read their documentation.

    • That person may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

      If the illness is work related, the affected person can be eligible to claim Workers Comp.

  5. What if a company will be hiring me, but the start date is two weeks away? Do I still receive unemployment, and if so, do I still have to do search activity?

    • I am guessing you will be allowed to claim and receive until the start of employment.

      Please speak to the Unemployment Office for further instructions.

  6. I was laid off from my job after 39 years
    I company is having work done overseas
    What are my options for being retrained
    This was the only job that I have had

    • I suggest that you contact the Unemployment Office in your state or visit the local office for up to date details of the training programs available.

  7. I would like to know if a veteran can apply for and receive unemployment benefits while attending college/non-college degree program full time while receiving the GI Bill? Is there a program/policy that will allow them to receive the unemployment benefits without having to actively show they are looking for work…after all, they are attending school full time.

    • Please note that we are not a govt. website and have limited information on the courses offered in your state.

      You can call them or use their website( to find out more.

  8. I would like to know if a veteran can apply for and receive unemployment benefits while attending college/non-college degree program full time while receiving the GI Bill? Is there a program/policy that will allow them to receive the unemployment benefits without having to actively show they are looking for work…after all, they are attending school full time.
    Thank you.

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