What Is An Employment History Report?

By Chris Kolmar - Feb. 9, 2021

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When you apply for a job, unemployment benefits, or some licenses, you will often need to provide a detailed description of your employment history.

This is often called an employment history report, and it can be a time-consuming task to complete if you’ve had a long career or many different positions.

Even if you already have the highlights on your resume, it can be difficult to remember the details of every job you’ve ever had, especially if the application is asking for detailed information about your wages or your supervisor’s contact information.

The good news is that it’s possible to piece together your complete work history.

Why Do You Need to Provide Your Employment History?

Often, the companies and government organizations asking for your employment history want to perform a background check on you, and having a report like this will help them do so more thoroughly.

Because they can confirm all of the details you give them, it’s important that you provide accurate information, as anything that doesn’t match the official records they look up will be a red flag for your hireability.

Beyond that, though, this report also gives employers a complete picture of who you are and what your qualifications are. They know that you won’t include everything you’ve ever done on your resume, so having a more detailed record will help them fill in the gaps.

What You Need to Include in Your Employment History Report

Often organizations that request your work history will provide a form with specific fields for you to fill out, but other times you’ll need to create your own report.

When you do this, there is some standard information that you’ll need to include for each job you’ve had, starting with your current one.

  1. Your job title. When you’re writing down your job title, remember to include the name of your department if it isn’t clear from the rest of your title.

    For example, if you were an administrative assistant for a large company’s financial office, you might put something like, “Administrative Assistant, Finance Department” or “Administrative Assistant, Finance.”

    Unless you really were the administrative assistant for the whole company, leaving the department out is too vague since there are usually many people with this title in a single company.

    If you’ve held multiple jobs within the same company, check out this article for advice on how to communicate that.

  2. Company name and location. Include the whole name of the company where you worked, including the name of the branch, if appropriate, and the location.

    When you’re writing the company’s location, you don’t necessarily need to include the whole address: The city and state or country are usually sufficient.

  3. Dates you worked in the position. This is one of the most important details to get right on your employment history report because this information is easily proven with just a phone call, and if you get it wrong, it will raise questions that may jeopardize your ability to get the position.

    You don’t need to write down the exact day you started and the exact day you left, but you should include the month and year for both. If you aren’t sure about these, take the time to confirm this information before submitting it.

  4. Supervisor’s name and contact information. This isn’t always required, so if it isn’t, use your discretion and only include it if you’re sure that your supervisor still works at the company and would be willing to give you a recommendation.

    Just be sure to either include it for every position or none at all, if possible, because it will look suspicious if you leave it off of one or two jobs.

  5. Position responsibilities. This section will look similar to your resume, with bullet points listing your main responsibilities in a position. Focus more on describing your responsibilities there and less on the accomplishments that you would include on your resume, though.

When you’re creating your work history report, be sure to check how far back you need to go. Some organizations will just want information covering the last ten years, while others may want more.

Employment History Report Example

Social Media Marketing Coordinator
Prairie View Public Schools
Topeka, Kansas
June 2018-Present

  • Researched new target market demographics and interests

  • Designed and ran social media marketing campaigns

  • Recorded and analyzed data to form best practice standards for future campaigns

  • Managed company pages on three social media platforms by posting updates and photos and responding to questions and comments

  • Created annual social media marketing plan and presented to marketing executive director

Communications and Marketing Specialist
Signs and Banners, Inc.
Wichita, Kansas
August 2016-June 2018

  • Designed, wrote, and sent out weekly marketing emails to clients

  • Created and implemented a marketing strategy for customer retention

  • Managed company Facebook page

  • Increased SEO ranking for the company website

  • Updated product fliers and distributed to the community

  • Redesigned storefront display

Administrative Assistant
PurePaper Printing, Marketing Department
Wichita, Kansas
August 2015-August 2016

  • Managed departmental purchasing and invoicing

  • Kept company’s Google My Business information up to date

  • Checked and edited company website to maintain accuracy and consistency

  • Wrote and posted bi-monthly blogs on the company website and social media

How to Find the Rest of Your Employment History

If you realize that you’re missing details about your employment history when you start to write it down, don’t worry, because it is possible to find them.

There are many services that will do this for you for a fee, but there are also a few ways you can do it on your own for no (or at least a much lower) cost.

  1. Look at your tax records. If you have copies of your past tax returns or W-2 forms, you can find much of the information you need about your past jobs from those documents. If you don’t have them, you can request copies of them from the IRS for free.

    These can be especially helpful if you need to provide any salary information on your work history report.

  2. Talk to your state’s unemployment agency or tax department. If you worked for companies headquartered in your state, it’s likely that you can get a copy of your work history for those employers from your state unemployment agency or tax department.

    What you’ll actually get and how far back it goes may vary from state to state, but most of them offer this service in some form.

  3. Contact the Social Security Administration. This is the only option on this list that charges a fee, but it’s also the most thorough report you’ll get. The SSA can send you your work history report, which will include dates, employer names and addresses, and even your salary information.

    The SSA has all of this information because employers have to connect your records to your social security number when they hire you to make sure you’re legally eligible to work.

    The process of getting these reports can take a few months to complete, so keep this in mind and make sure you leave yourself plenty of time if you take this route.

  4. Call your past employers. This is one of the most effective ways to get the information you need, especially when it comes to details such as dates and job titles. The human resources department will have records of all of this, so it’s just a matter of asking them to look it up.

  5. Do a Google search. It might take some good detective work, but searching your own name can bring up more useful information than you might think.

    From professional profiles that have employment dates to publications that will jog your memory about a particular position, a quick search might be what you need to finish piecing together your work history.

Keeping Track of Your Employment History for the Future

If you want to avoid doing this work again, or if you’ve just started your career and want to stay on top of your records, start recording your employment history as you go.

Create a master resume where you can add every position as you get it. Regularly revisit it and record your start and end dates, major responsibilities, accomplishments, and supervisors’ names and contact information.

This master resume will be far too long to submit with a job application, but you can pull the most relevant information from it to use on the resume that you’re actually sending to a company.

Putting Your Employment History on Your Resume

While an employment history report should be as thorough as possible, and you should also have an employment history section on your resume, you don’t need to include every job you’ve ever had on your resume.

Instead, you should focus on the positions relevant to the job you’re applying for, whether they were in the same industry or simply gave you skills that will transfer to this new position.

When you apply for a job, you should tweak these parts of your resume to make sure you’re providing the most applicable information possible. Never lie or stretch the truth, but make sure your precious space is used to its greatest potential.

Creating that master resume will allow you to do this, as it will give you a thorough record that allows you to pull what you want onto your submittable resume. After all, it’s much better to have too much information to choose from than not enough.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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