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    Learn how Illinois Skills Match can sharpen your job searching skills.

    The Illinois unemployment rate has dropped for the eighth consecutive month to 9.6 percent. In the last year, November 2009 to November 2010, Illinois has created over 32,900 jobs. This good news is well overdue for a state that has been hit as hard as Illinois by the the financial crisis of the last three years. However, this does not mean Illinois workers as a group are out of the woods. There are still 641,000 unemployed workers in Illinois struggling to find work.

    Ironically, the drop in the unemployment rate makes it even more important for some unemployed workers to find a job quickly. This is because the number of Emergency Unemployment Compensation weeks a state receives is dependent on its seasonally adjusted three month average unemployment rate. States with an unemployment rate of below 9.5 percent get 13 weeks less of Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. If this trend continues unemployed workers might not qualify for tier 3 emergency unemployment compensation.

    The Illinois Department of Employment Security has opened an official job search website called “Illinois Skills Match” to help unemployed workers connect with companies looking to fill work positions.

    HOW DOES IT WORK?

    Illinois Skills Match is a free internet-based employment search engine. Employers introduce new job openings and categorize them by the education, skills and experience required.

    Unemployed workers also register and introduce their resumes, salary requirements, address, how far they are willing to travel and their contact details.

    The website engine automatically matches employers with workers and sends you a list of the job openings you may qualify for.

    If an employer is interested in employing you, the website will either contact you or give your contact details to the employer so you can arrange an interview.

    However, it is important that you visit the website regularly. If you do not log onto the website with your profile for over 45 days, your account becomes inactive and you no longer receive the benefits of the site.

    BENEFITS

    The Illinois Skills Match website is free to employers and workers. This is a clear advantage from commercial job search websites which charge premiums to either or both employers and job searchers.

    The systems automatically matches your skills and experience with employers requirements.

    You can write, view and update your profile whenever you want, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    It also allows you to create and print your own resumes and job seeker profiles.

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