Will Collecting Unemployment Hurt My Job Search?

With thousands of jobseekers relying on unemployment benefits to carry them until they land their next gig, many are wondering whether the fact their reliance on unemployment benefits will jeopardize their chances with prospective employers.

But in today’s tight job markets, some job seekers are worried that their acceptance of unemployment benefits will jeopardize their standing with hiring managers since the unemployment insurance program is funded by employer payroll contributions.

Additionally, many job seekers feel stigmatized by their need to rely on assistance during the period of time when they are between jobs. If you’re not accepting unemployment benefits now, there’s a chance you may need unemployment benefits at some point in the future – so here are a few tips to help you understand the role unemployment insurance and benefits might play in your job search.

Isn’t unemployment just another word for welfare?

Unemployment insurance is just that – an insurance program financed through federal and state payroll taxes. Benefits are not connected to social services or other forms assistance that are provided by government agencies to those in need.

How can I qualify to receive unemployment benefits?

Eligibility for unemployment benefits is a concern for some job seekers. To qualify for benefits, workers must be unemployed through no fault of their own (e.g. a layoff) and must meet state-based requirements for earned wages and length of employment. If approved, the amount you will receive is based on your salary and applicable benefit caps.

Will collecting unemployment hurt my job search?

The fact that you have collected or are collecting unemployment insurance benefits should have no impact on your job search. In today’s society, unemployment is not the stigma it once was. Most workers will be unemployed at some point in their lives and it’s not uncommon for qualified, hard-working applicants to experience multiple layoffs do to corporate downsizing.

Can a potential employer find out if I have collected unemployment benefits?

If you’re still concerned about being stigmatized in the job market, relax. Although it’s possible that a former employer could divulge this information during a reference check, it’s highly unlikely. The simple reality is that most employers don’t care whether or not you have collected unemployment benefits.

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