Rhode Island to Unemployed: No Online Resumé, No Benefits

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As Rhode Island continues to report the nation’s highest unemployment rate, it’s no surprise that the Ocean State has sought new ideas and tactics to help decrease the percentage of state residents out of work, which stood at 7.9 percent in June.

This month, state officials announced that they’re making a move some states have used to ensure claimants are being more proactive in their job search.

A new rule implemented by the state’s Department of Labor and Training mandates that any new unemployment claimant after Sept. 1 must post their resume on the state’s EmployRI.org website within six weeks or they’ll be denied jobless benefits.

“Our evidence and experience show that customers who take full advantage of Employ RI, and post sharp resumes highlighting their skills and using the right keywords, find jobs faster than those who don’t,” DLT Director Charles Fogarty told WLNE-TV earlier this month.

In recent years, the department, according to The Providence Journal, has recommended unemployed state residents use the state’s website, which offers free online courses and other job-seeking resources, including a searchable repository for resumes. Now, posting and updating resume on Rhode Island’s job portal will be required.

But there are some technical concerns about the new mandate.

As the Journal reports:

Steve Colella, who runs the popular and well-attended Job Club RI, also raised concerns about whether the DLT is equipped to help what could be an onslaught of people who don’t have the skills or know-how to create resumés and post them online.

There’s no question that job seekers should be online these days, Colella says. But in a world where business recruiters use LinkedIn to find new employees, Colella’s not convinced that employers are poring over the employRI.org system.

“Most recruiters worth their salt source LinkedIn every day. They’re looking for talent,” Colella said. “I don’t know how many recruiters or hiring managers are sourcing DLT. I don’t want to say none, [but] it’s like the difference between going to [McCoy Stadium in] Pawtucket versus Fenway Park. It’s the minor leagues versus the major leagues, in my opinion.”

The department’s spokesman told the Journal that  its jobs portal is a good tool for job-seekers and employers searching for job talent and that the state is ready to deal with the new resume-posting requirement and equipped to assist unemployment claimants having problems.

Ohio recently implemented new unemployment regulations that mandate that claimants upload  their resume on the state’s job-search site, OhioMeansJobs.com, within eight weeks of filing a new claim and keep it updated, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

But the roll-out was not seamless. Ohio temporarily suspended those new requirements in June when those using the state’s jobs portal had password problems — including issues trying to distinguish zeroes from the letter “O” — when trying to update their resume.

Other states with online resume requirements include Alaska, Hawaii and Wisconsin.

(Image via spirit of america/Shutterstock.com)

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