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Unemployment benefits are available to working Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. The federal government and your state of residence jointly run the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program. Apply for unemployment benefits through your state department of labor. You may have many things to worry about when you lose your job, including whether filing for unemployment benefits will affect your career.
Employers make lump sum payments to the state unemployment fund based on the size of the company and other state criteria. They do not make individual payments for an employee when he leaves a company. Filing for unemployment compensation, therefore, does not have any direct effect on your former company or on your career. However, the time that you are unemployed can be a black mark on your resume.
Filing for unemployment benefits should not make a significant difference to your career if you are able to secure another position relatively quickly. The actual period of unemployment is more significant than whether you file for benefits. Long periods can put you out of the networking loop and make your knowledge and skills rusty.
Filing for unemployment compensation can actually help you with your career. The money you receive every week will help to keep the bills current. Employers can refuse to hire someone with bad credit, according to Job Bank USA, so someone without much in savings should file. By filing for unemployment, you may qualify for job-retraining programs or other assistance that would not otherwise be available to you. Job retraining can give your career a nice boost, especially if your job has been permanently outsourced.
While you are collecting unemployment, stay in the networking loop. Most people find new jobs through networking. Volunteer your talents and skills to help others while you are looking for a job. You may meet someone who can help you. In addition, put volunteer work on your resume instead of mentioning that you received unemployment benefits, according to Smart Money.
Some people choose not to file for unemployment to hide the fact that they lost a job. However, if not filing for unemployment benefits would cause financial disaster, this could be more detrimental to your career than revealing that you were laid off. Financial mishaps stay on your credit report for seven years, and potential employers have access to such information. It would be better to file for benefits and take advantage of any job-retraining opportunities than risk financial ruin.
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Diane Perez is a writer who contributes to various websites, specializing in gardening and business topics, and creates sales copy for private clients. Perez holds a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Miami.