Work Search Requirement


Under Maine law, anyone filing for unemployment benefits must show that they are actively seeking work in order to receive benefits each week. This was temporarily waived in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All claimants must conduct at least one work search related activity. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to actual or potential COVID-19 exposure.

All unemployment claimants are required to have an active account on the Maine JobLink: https://joblink.maine.gov/. The Maine JobLink is an easy-to-use tool where you can post a resume, search for a job or training opportunity, research labor market information to help target your job search, and much more. You can also use any other methods of searching for jobs in addition to JobLink. Please note, simply browsing the JobLink does not satisfy requirements for work search.  

MDOL is holding virtual JobLink workshops multiple times a week, at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These workshops walk participants through how to create and use a JobLink account. More information on how to register for a workshop can be found at http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

In response to the pandemic, the Department has expanded possible work search related activities. In addition to the usual activities of applying and interviewing for jobs, work search will temporarily include activities that could enhance an individual’s marketability during these challenging economic times. The world of work is changing, and people may need to learn new skills or enhance skills they have. Skill development is an allowable work search related activity.

Work search related activities are:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

Note: Browsing the Internet is a good way to find potential job openings or leads but does not by itself count as a work search activity. More information on how to register for a workshop can be found at http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml
People who are working with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation on job-related education or skills development activities should count this as their work search related activity.

Coursera is providing up to 5,000 unemployed Mainers with free access to 3,800 online courses. The registration period for Coursera has been extended through October 31, 2020. Learners enrolled will have until the end of the year to complete the courses. A video on how to file work search related activities questions if taking a Coursera course can be found here: YouTube video.

Maine State Library

Career and job-related resources are also available through the Maine State Library. The tools are available to any Maine resident and using these resources will count as work search related activities for unemployment insurance benefits. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.  

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel 

  • Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson 
  • Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software 
  • Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills 

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll 

  • Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally 
  • Other than English, the languages most frequently used in Maine are: French; French (Canada); Spanish; Somali; Portuguese; Haitian Creole; and, American Sign Language. All are available through this service.  

Peterson’s Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp 

  • Resume development 
  • Career exploration 
  • Other job-related guidance 

You’ll need to create a separate account for each of these services. No information will be shared with the Department. 

If you use the Digital Maine Library, take a Coursera course, or participate in some other work-related learning activity, you would select the option for participating in a “job-related education or skills development” program in your weekly work search questionnaire.  


For more information on how to sign up, please contact a CareerCenter: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov.

Self-employed individuals will need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business. Examples of this could include, but are not limited to: marketing your business, attending networking events, participating in relevant workshops, meeting with the Office of Business Development to understand the resources available to small businesses. If an individual was previously self-employed but has no plans to return to self-employment, they will be required to do a work search or work search related activity.

If you have a definite return to work date within six weeks, you may qualify for a six-week work search waiver, during which time you do not need to participate in work search related activities. If your return to work date is unknown you would still need to participate in work search related activities, which include other options besides looking for work.

Work search related activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development*
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

You would still need to participate in work search related activities, which include expanded options that can be done from home at your convenience.

Work search related activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development*
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

Note: Browsing the Internet is a good way to find potential job openings or leads, but does not count as work search activity. More information on how to register for a workshop can be found at http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml
People who are working with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation on job-related education or skills development activities should count this as their work search related activity.

Coursera is providing up to 5,000 unemployed Mainers with free access to 3,800 online courses. The registration period for Coursera has been extended through October 31, 2020. Learners enrolled will have until the end of the year to complete the courses. For more information on how to sign up, please contact a CareerCenter: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov.

You would still need to participate in work search related activities, which include expanded options that can be done from home at your convenience.

Work search related activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development*
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

Note: Browsing the Internet is a good way to find potential job openings or leads, but does not count as work search activity. More information on how to register for a workshop can be found at http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml
People who are working with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation on job-related education or skills development activities should count this as their work search related activity.

Coursera is providing up to 5,000 unemployed Mainers with free access to 3,800 online courses. The registration period for Coursera has been extended through October 31, 2020. Learners enrolled will have until the end of the year to complete the courses. For more information on how to sign up, please contact a CareerCenter: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov.

Working part-time counts as a work search related activity. The weekly certification will ask if you worked during the week. If you are working, if prompted for the name of an employer you sought work from in your weekly certification, type in the name of your current employer.

If you have been told by a medical professional to quarantine for a set amount of time due having been potentially exposed to COVID-19, you do not need to perform work search related activities for that period of time. Not working due to being in a high-risk category is not a medical quarantine.

You are required to participate in at least one activity each week. You must document your work search contacts and activities on your weekly certification. The bureau recommends you keep a record of your work search activities for weeks filed, as well as any supporting documentation related to the work search activities as you may be asked to provide them at a later time.

Each week you will identify the type of activity you performed. If you contacted a potential employer, you will need to provide the names of individuals you spoke with and the contact information for the businesses. Work search activities are subject to random audit, so please maintain documentation of your activities. If you are unable to document your activity, benefits may be subsequently denied for that week.  

The first time you do not complete a work search related activity, you will receive a reminder letter explaining the requirement and options for completing it. If otherwise eligible, benefits would not be denied for that week.

If you fail to complete a work search related activity a second time, MDOL will contact you for further information about why you didn’t complete one of the activities.  Based on this fact-finding, MDOL will determine if you are eligible for benefits for the week. If benefits were already paid on a week that is later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for the week would have to be repaid to MDOL. You have the right to appeal the decision.

Note: Not participating in work search related activities for the week would only result in a denial in benefits for that particular week.

MDOL is required to conduct random work search audits to validate the job search activities provided in your weekly claim. You should maintain documentation of your activities. If you are unable to document your activity, benefits may be subsequently denied for that week. 

When you go back to work or start a new job, and the hours are comparable to those you worked prior to becoming unemployed, all you need to do is stop filing weekly certifications.

You do not need to call or let the Department know that you no longer need unemployment benefits. If you become unemployed again, you would just need to call 1-800-593-7660 to reopen your claim.


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