What is Employment History?

Includes a full definition and frequently asked questions about employment history.

What is Employment History

July 22nd, 2020

Employment history is an individual's work history that includes companies worked for, positions held, length of time worked, and even salary earned. Detailed employment history is sometimes required during the employment verification process.

What's Included in Employment History?

  • Companies worked for.
  • Job titles.
  • Dates of employment.
  • Salary/compensation earned.

Why Does Employment History Matter?

Detailed employment history can tell you a lot about a potential employee's past. When you are reviewing someone's employment history, look for things like:

  • Gaps in time between jobs.
  • Short terms (less than 1 year) in a role.
  • Discrepancies in compensation levels.

While the candidate may have perfectly reasonable explanations for all of the above, items like these may also be a red flag that signals an individual's lack of commitment or enthusiasm for their work. Above all, a detailed work history acts as the ultimate proof of someone's experience and qualifications.

How to Obtain Employment History:

There are a few different ways that you can get your full employment history.

1. Use your tax returns.

One of the most straightforward ways to piece together your employment history is to use your tax returns. If you've kept copies of your tax returns for the last few years, which most people do, you already have all of the information that you need to give a detailed record of your employment.

2. Contact your state's tax office.

In many states, it's possible to obtain a full history of your employment through the state tax department. Granted, this method won't work if you've moved from one state to another during the time period in question. Your state may have a request form that you need to fill out in order to access your records. Keep in mind that the scope of the state's records may be limited in terms of how far they go back and how detailed the employment information is.

3. Request information from Social Security.

Since your Social Security number is used to track Social Security contributions that are made through your wages, you can request your employment history from the Social Security Administration. This will cost $34 or $91 depending on which option you choose (certified or non-certified). Fill out this form to submit your request.

4. Contact previous employers.

If you're unable to gather all of the information that you need regarding previous jobs, you can contact old employers and ask them for a record of your time with them. Most employers keep information regarding previous employees on file for situations exactly like this.


How do I find my employment history?

If you have kept up with your taxes, the easiest way to get your employment history is to look at copies of old tax returns. Tax returns include employer information, earnings, and other relevant data.

Does employment history show on a background check?

It depends on the service that the employer uses to check your background, but some if not all of your employment history is likely to appear on a background check.

How do I get my employment history from the IRS?

You can't get a full employment history from the IRS, but you can request a wage report which outlines your income for the last ten years. A wage history transcript can be requested through the IRS Get Transcript online portal.

Can you lie about employment history?

It is never acceptable to lie about your employment history. Not only is this misleading to a potential employer, but they are likely to find out about it when they are verifying your employment.