How to Find Your Employment History
What Is an Employment History?
Your employment history is a comprehensive list of all the jobs you have held. This information will form an important part of your resume and is important to demonstrate your knowledge and experience.
It is important that your job history is an accurate representation of your experience because it can be verified by a prospective employer – and any mistakes might reflect badly on your application.
Confirming and completing your employment history can be difficult if you haven’t kept records up to date, but we have provided some ideas of steps you can take to find out the information you need.
Why Might You Need to Know Your Employment History?
Employment history information is needed when you are applying for unemployment benefits. It is also an important factor in your application for a new role, demonstrating your relevant knowledge and experience.
Job hunters need an up to date resume. The experience section should include all of the information related to each role to help prospective employers understand how your previous employment could make you a great choice for the role you are applying for.
An accurate record of your employment history might only need to be quite recent; but for some jobs, the requirement might be for the complete history – so making sure dates and contacts are correct is important.
Your prospective employer can use this information to verify your employment history and any inaccuracies can reflect poorly on your application.
What Does an Employment History Look Like?
Knowing what your work history should look like will help you to make sure that you have the right details and information – and know what you are looking for when you are updating your employment record.
You should include the following in your employment history:
Name of organisation – The company that hired you.
Location – Where your employment was based (especially important if a regional location of a big corporation.
Dates – When you started and when you left. Exact dates aren’t necessary but include the month and year.
Job title – Use your final job title if you changed roles.
Supervisor name and contact email – This is obviously subject to change if your supervisor no longer works there. Give the information you have to hand and remember that this is more useful for recent employment.
Duties and responsibilities – What did this role entail? What did you do on a day-to-day basis?
Promotions – If you started in one role and got promoted through your time in employment then add this too.
A comprehensive summary of your experience in each role is important to ensure that you can demonstrate you are a good fit for the role you have applied for.
You can find out more about making an effective resume for your job application here.
How to Keep Track of Your Employment History
Create a Master Document of Your Work History
A master document with all your work history, qualifications and other details is easy to edit and update, and you can pull relevant information from it to complete an online application form.
Save Copies of Your Master Document and Resumes to the Cloud
This master document should be kept somewhere safe, so cloud storage might be a good idea.
This means that you won’t have to go to the effort of finding out all the information again if your computer breaks or you lose the hard copies.
Cloud storage is an inexpensive and relatively safe way to save important documents.
Keep Online Profiles up to Date
As part of your job search, it is good to use online job and networking sites – and this can be a good place to combine all your work information.
LinkedIn is especially good for this, providing space for your employment record in your profile.
The job history function also exists on other social sites like Facebook.
How to Find Your Employment History
There are some simple steps you can take to complete your employment history and fill any gaps in the record.
Here are a few examples:
Look for Old Copies of Your Resume
This might seem obvious, but if you can get hold of your resume from previous applications then you can use this to populate your master document.
Check Important Documents Such as Tax Records and Pay Slips
If you have a filing system for important documents, you may have tax records and pay slips available to help you piece together dates.
All part-time and full-time employees in the US should receive a W2 form completed by their employers. This should provide you with details of your income, how much was set aside for taxes, the name and address of your employer and your employment dates.
You might have copies of letters or emails that included contracts and work agreements that might have some information that you can use.
Check Online Profiles for Key Information
If you have used online job sites, you are likely to have copies of your resume uploaded, and this should include employment history.
Sites like LinkedIn are also good sources of this information.
Ask Old Colleagues or Friends if They Can Remember Any Key Details
If you are still in contact with people you used to work with, they can be good sources of information for key details like dates – and they can help confirm contact details like postal and email addresses.
Contact Old Employers
Your previous employers should keep records of your employment, so they are a good source of information.
They may not have detailed information on hand, but they should be able to tell you when you started and left.
Obviously, this will only be relevant if the organisation is still in business.
Request Tax Records From the IRS Website
The IRS holds all the tax records based on W2 information from US employers, and you can request information from them to help you complete your work history.
They will have records of the dates of your employment, your income, the money paid in taxes as well as your employer’s name and address.
If you want to use IRS information, you need to download Form 4506 from the website.
You can fill it out digitally or by hand. To get the most information, have details about your previous addresses and be specific about the years for your request.
Request Social Security Information
Your employment is based around your Social Security Number – employers use this to make sure that you are authorized to work in the US.
This means that all your employment records will be connected to this number and you can therefore get a full picture of your work history.
The function to find out this information is to ask for a ‘Request for Social Security Information’ online.
For a fee, you can receive information including employment dates, earnings and employer details.
Some employers will ask for certified records, but non-certified information is good enough for your employment history in most cases (and is generally the cheaper option).
This can take up to four months depending on the workload of the department.
This information may also be available at your state’s unemployment office – and this can often be a free service.
Bear in mind that if you have moved through several states the information may not be complete, but it is a great starting point and is worth checking.
Get a Credit Report
Although your credit report does not usually record employment information, it may contain some useful information if you listed your employment on a credit application like a loan or credit card.
You can get a free report once a year from companies like Experian, Equifax or Transunion – these are credit aggregation companies that collate information about your credit.
The Annual Credit Report website is authorized by the Federal Trade Commission and is a good first place to start for this.
A comprehensive employment history is a record of your working life, and keeping good records makes it simple to complete job applications and resumes. It is also necessary should you need to apply for unemployment benefits.
If you don’t have all the information to hand, there are ways that you can find the missing details and create a full history – and this is worth doing as inaccuracies in your work history could be a red flag on your job application, if the prospective employer chooses to verify it.
Keeping a master document with full information in an online storage facility is a good way to keep it safe and make it easy to access from wherever you are.