How To Look Up A Work History

A worker's search for information to write in a work history can start quick and find all the information a worker is looking for without too much work. Missing information can be looked up and fill in the work history for good.

Need the names and addresses of employers and past earnings for a resume or application? Missing information can make an employer mistaken on how much experience the employer can count on from an applicant for a hire or a promotion.

Look up all the information that an employer can use to make a decision. Then, the resume or application will show the experience that can seal a deal.

Six steps are enough for most workers. Or fewer. One extra step can finish off the work history for the rest.

1. Gather all employment information and records with employment information. A recent employment fact sheet is a good place to start. Find old applications and resumes. They might be in a file or in a box.

Old W-2 forms have employer names, addresses, and wages. Tax forms have the wages. If a tax preparer helped get the tax forms in order, they are a good person to ask for a copy of a missing year form and attachments.

A Social Security Earnings Statement lists the past earnings by year. The Social Security Administration sends these out each year.

2. Write down all gaps in the work history and any missing information. Include both a begin date and an end date for all periods that do not have a full work record. Describe exactly the information that is missing. A work address. A reason for leaving.

3. Call employers to get missing or additional information. If the names and numbers of past employers are known, give them a call and ask the boss or human resources department what information they kept on file. Full business names and addresses are easy questions to answer.

Do not remember the name or number? Look up the type of business and place in a business directory or the yellow pages or white pages. Try searching the Internet for the company website. Once the names and numbers are in hand, phone calls can finish the information gathering job.

Employers are the right source for past performance evaluations and the stated reason for leaving on record.

4. Request a detailed earnings history from the Social Security Administration. The federal administration can put together a detailed history. It costs a fee to order one. The request form is officially called a Request for Social Security Earnings Information. The statement has the periods of employment and the names and addresses of employers. It can be certified for an additional fee.

The administration takes 4 months to respond to a request after the form is mailed or a phone call is put in. Forms are available on the SSA website.

5. Request information on earnings and employers from the Internal Revenue Service. The information on earnings stated on the tax forms (e.g. 1040) are printed when a Return Request is made. W-2 transcripts can be added to the transcript report. The IRS form is called Request for Transcript of Tax Return, and is a available at the IRS website. The transcript costs a fee when not prepared for taxes.

Another form for actual copies of the return, W-2 and other attachments is available. Request for Copy of Tax Return. The returns and attachments have wages information and business name and address, but not the exact dates of employment.

Copies of forms and attachments are available for 7 years. W-2 forms can stay on record 10 years.

6. Put in a Public Information request at a state or local agency that handles labor, employment, or taxes. They keep records on employer hirings, firings, and pay. Labor and employment agencies collect yearly or quarterly employment reports from employers.

The typical business name, business address, earnings and employment dates information are the most common. Some records have the job description and duty statement, qualifications, performance evaluation, exit interviews and disciplinary actions. A work history might be on file for an employee.

The tax agencies keep the same information the IRS keeps.

7. Can not find an important piece of information? Or, missing an employer? Pay a fee and use a professional consumer reporting agency. The agencies can give a worker an employment verification that is the best background check for covering work history. A verification investigation can produce job titles, employment with begin and end dates, a salary history, and reasons for leaving.

The agencies use the source of information, Human Resources departments.

Both the Better Business Bureau and the National Association of Professional Background Screeners watch over the consumer reporting agencies to keep track of the ones that follow state and federal rules and provide accurate information.

An agency called Occuscreen offers both employment verifications and work license verifications for a price.

A complete work history is a credible history. Even an employer's evaluation will come down cleaner when the boss is fully informed.


Social Security Administration, Request for Social Security Earnings Information (July 2010).

Internal Revenue Service, Request for Copy of Tax Return (January 2011).

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners website (May 26, 2011).


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