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You might need to reconstruct your past employment history for a number of reasons – completing an application for a new apartment, updating your resume or filling out job applications. If you’ve been working for many years and for multiple employers, this can be tedious and time-consuming. Don’t use ballpark dates for employment, though, since potential landlords or employers might be calling references to verify accuracy. You have several strategies available for finding your employment history.
The Social Security Route
Whenever you start a new job, employers are legally required to obtain your Social Security Number so that they can report your income and pay their share of Social Security taxes. Because of this, the Social Security Administration has a great bird’s eye view of your employment history. You can fill out a form called the Request for Social Security Earnings Information, which helps the administration access you previous employment record. To complete the form, be prepared to list basics such as your name, address, Social Security Number, and the years for which you’d like a search on your employment. This service does require a fee.
Accessing Tax Records
Your tax records provide additional insight into your past employment history. Haul out your tax records, looking for information about previous employers. Tax documents list your employer, the dates of employment, your employer’s address and how much money you earned.
Resume Detective Work
Run a search on your computer or email inbox to see if you can locate an old resume. Although you might have written the resume years ago, it’s worth a try to see what information might already be at your fingertips. Although the resume might be incomplete or outdated, it can be a good starting point before continuing your research. It’s also possible that you’ve created an online resume or professional profile on job-related social networking sites. If it’s been a long time and you’ve forgotten your username and password, these sites can sometimes send a link to your current email address to establish new log-ins.
Contacting Previous Employers
If you can recall your previous employers but can’t remember the dates of employment, call or email the human resources departments to get the information. If you’re job-hunting, this strategy can serve double-duty since you can also give the department a heads up that prospective employers might be calling to verify employment. As you call each employer, make note of the relevant dates and use these to rebuild your employment history.
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Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.