Are you struggling to understand employment history and why you should include it in your resume?
You’re not alone! Many people find this part of the job-seeking process confusing and daunting, especially if they’ve been working for an extended period.
Submitting inaccurate information or omitting essential details can jeopardize your hiring chances. You can recreate your employment history even if you don’t remember the exact jobs and dates you worked.
Read on to learn more about the different types of employment history and how you can find your own.
- What Is Employment History?
- Why Is Employment History Important?
- How Do You Find Your Employment History for Free?
- How Is an Employment History Check Done?
- What Should You List for Employment History?
- What Do You Put for Employment History if You Have None?
- How Can You Prove Your Self-Employment History?
- How Do You Get a Certificate of Employment?
- Wrapping UP
What Is Employment History?
Employment history is a record of past employers or companies you’ve worked for, job titles, positions held, duties performed, dates of employment, and salaries.
All this helps the recruiter determine your qualifications and suitability for the job. Your employment history is the most important thing to list in your resume.
Below are important employment history aspects.
- What Is an Employment History Document? It is an official document issued by past employers that serve as proof of an individual’s work history. You’ll find basic information such as job title, responsibilities, dates of employment, salary, and other job-related information.
- What Is an Employment History Report? An employment history report is a comprehensive account of an individual’s past job history, including detailed descriptions of the positions and duties performed.
- What Is an Employment History Check? This is the process of verifying an individual’s past employment history, typically conducted by an employer as part of the hiring process.
Why Is Employment History Important?
Ignoring your employment history as a job seeker can cost you dearly.
Employers want to know your capabilities by looking at your past experiences, skills, and accomplishments. It helps them determine if you’re the right fit for their company.
In short, this part of your resume provides the following vital information.
Shows Hiring Managers Your Work Experience
Your recruiter wants to know the roles and responsibilities you had in previous positions.
It gives them a clear understanding of what you can bring to their organization and your potential contributions.
For instance, have you handled similar tasks in your past positions? And if so, did you produce desired results?
An impeccable work experience also makes you stand out from the competition and increases your chances of getting hired.
Shows Hiring Managers How Long You’ve Stayed in Positions
An applicant who has managed to stay in the same job for a long time demonstrates commitment and reliability.
Even better if they’ve progressed in the same role or company.
Reveals Information About Your Training and Skills
Some positions require specific technical and soft skills.
By looking at your work history, recruiters can assess your competency and expertise in the field.
For example, what special training or certifications did you acquire while working in previous roles?
How Do You Find Your Employment History for Free?
Finding your employment history can be hectic, especially if you’ve worked for several employers or in temporary positions.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can access this information for free.
1. Can You Get Your Employment History Online?
Social media and professional networking sites like LinkedIn can be great tools for finding your past employers.
You can connect with former coworkers and ask for references or search for job listings at companies where you’ve previously worked.
You can also make it easier for potential employers to find your professional experience and qualifications by adding a resume to LinkedIn.
2. Request a Copy of Your Wage and Income Transcript From the IRS
Every year, United States employees must submit an income tax return using Form W-2.
The IRS maintains a copy, which you can request for free via their Get Transcript tool. Here, you’ll find your employers’ names, addresses, and dates of employment.
3. Request It From Social Security
The U.S. Department of Social Security also provides you with prior work history but at a small fee.
Just visit their website to download Form SSA-7050, fill it out, and mail it for processing.
4. Check With a Former Employer
It doesn’t hurt to reach out to your previous employers directly.
The human resources department should have a file of your work history and can provide it upon request.
5. Use Your Tax Returns
If you’re fortunate enough and have copies of your tax returns, use them as a reference.
They include the names, addresses, and dates you worked for each employer.
How Is an Employment History Check Done?
An employer checking and verifying an applicant’s work history prevents the risks and costs of hiring the wrong person. The process typically involves doing the following:
Reaching Out Directly To Former Employers
Instead of relying solely on references, prospective employers may contact former supervisors or HR representatives for verification.
They will ask about what’s not captured on a resume, such as job attitude, professionalism, attendance, and overall performance.
Using Background Screening
Background screening involves running the applicant’s name through a database or personal references to verify that they’re what they claim to be.
These include drug testing, criminal records inspections, educational credential confirmation, and bankruptcy checks.
Employment Verification Services
Employers may seek the services of third-party companies to confirm the accuracy of applicants’ employment history.
It consists of verifying job titles, responsibilities, dates, lengths of employment, and reasons for leaving.
What Should You List for Employment History?
If the prospective employer or recruiter doesn’t specify what information they require in your resume employment history section, include the following:
- The Companies You Worked For: Provide the full names and locations of all the companies you worked for in chronological order, starting with your most recent. If you worked from home or remotely, simply write “Remote” instead.
- The Name of Your Position: Write the precise title of the position you held in each company. It should come below the company name to capture the employer’s attention.
- The Dates You Worked: You want to include the month and year you started and left each role here. If you’re still employed, put “Present” instead of an end date.
- Your Responsibilities: List your most important responsibilities for each job. Ensure they’re relevant and showcase your skills. Write them in the past tense except for your current position.
- Your Achievements: Highlight any notable accomplishments you’ve had, such as increasing sales or improving customer satisfaction. It can also include any awards or recognition you received or any specific projects or initiatives you led that positively impacted the company.
What Do You Put for Employment History if You Have None?
If you have no formal job experience, don’t leave blank spaces in your resume’s employment history section.
Apart from having references to vouch for you, also include the following:
- Volunteer Experiences: List any volunteer work you’ve done over the years, regardless of whether it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. Clearly describe the responsibilities you had in each and the skills gained. Also, take advantage of resume keywords to increase your chances of getting noticed by the hiring manager.
- Relevant Training or Certificates: Point out if you’ve attended any seminars, classes, or workshops or earned any certification or license. It depicts you as a motivated individual willing to pursue career growth.
- Skills: Highlight your special soft or hard skills and how they can benefit the company. It could be as simple as proficiency in a foreign language or as intricate as coding.
- Education: Remember to list your educational background to show that you have the basic knowledge necessary for the job. Include the name of the school, the degree or diploma you earned, and the dates of attendance.
How Can You Prove Your Self-Employment History?
For the employed, proving their work history is pretty straightforward. All they need is a W-2 form, usually provided by the employer or banks.
However, this can be more difficult if you’re self-employed (freelancers included). Fortunately, there are a few other ways you can go about it.
- Tax Returns: Your annual tax return, also known as form 1040, is the most credible document to demonstrate your self-employment history since the IRS legally recognizes it. Besides documenting your income, it provides physical evidence of your self-employment activity over the years.
- 1099 Forms: If you receive over $600 from an individual or business for services you rendered, the IRS requires them to provide you with a 1099 form. Like the tax return, it can help verify your self-employment history.
- Bank Statements: At the end of every month, lenders provide a monthly transaction summary to their customers or account holders, which you can use to demonstrate your self-employment history. The statements usually show deposits for services rendered and withdrawals for business expenses.
- Invoices: If everything else fails, you can always rely on your invoices. They’re proof of services rendered or a product sold. Ensure they have your company logo, details of your services, the amount due, the payment terms, and your contact information.
How Do You Get a Certificate of Employment?
A certificate of employment (COE) is an official document issued by your former or current employer confirming your employment history.
If you don’t have one, try the following:
- Write a Formal Request Letter: Begin your letter by stating the purpose of your request, followed by a list of details you want to include and when you need the certificate. Remember to provide your full name and contact information.
- Ask Former Employer: If you have left your previous employer, you can contact them directly. Like the formal letter, ensure you include your full name and contact information. Ask when you can expect the certificate and provide them with any additional details they may need.
- Ask HR: HR departments often keep records of employee work histories. You can contact them directly to request a copy of your COE.
A solid employment history can make all the difference when looking for a job. It demonstrates to potential employers that you have the skills and experience necessary to succeed.
If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to comment below, and we’ll be happy to assist.
Remember to always be truthful and transparent about your employment history, and emphasize your accomplishments, transferable skills, and additional training.