There are several ways to find your 10-year employment history if you can’t remember the details. These range from pulling your tax records and contacting the Social Security Administration, to contacting prior employers. If you’ve been asked to list all the jobs you have held for the past 10 years, it’s important to do so accurately, especially you’re listing your employment history as part of a background check for a new job.
Review Your Tax Records
If you’ve kept copies of your tax returns, you should have copies of your W2 forms as well, or Schedule SE Form 1040 if you were self-employed and paid tax on your earnings. Your W2s will specify the company you worked for, and you can use them to figure out your dates of employment. The Internal Revenue Service can supply copies of lost tax records including copies of any W2s and Form 1040s that were attached to your tax return.
Simply fill out form 4506, available on the IRS website (see Resources). The fee is $50 per return, and you can access records going back six years. It can take the IRS up to 75 days to process your request.
Check With Social Security
Request a statement of your employment history from the Social Security Administration by completing Form SSA-7050, available on the SSA website. You’ll receive detailed information about your employment including periods of employment or self-employment, earnings, and the names and addresses of employers. An itemized statement of earnings, including details on employers, costs $115. Add an extra $33 if you want the statement certified.
Check With Prior Employers
If you can remember the names of previous employers, it’s worth contacting the human resources department and asking the HR officer to verify your start and end dates. Ask if the company kept your job application or resume on file, as this may contain details of the jobs you had before you applied for that position. Unfortunately, there’s no national database for employment history verification. Instead, you’ll have to contact every employer you worked for to get your dates of employment.
Go Through Your Bank Records
If your employment history is especially complicated, for example, you’ve had periods of traditional employment interspersed with short contracts, self-employment or freelance work, see if you can piece together the timeline using your bank records. Look for the first and last dates that checks or deposits were made from each employer, and then adjust for how long it took to get the check after you started working. This exercise may not give you precise start and end dates, but it should help fill the gaps in your employment history.
Jayne Thompson earned an LL.B. in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “Big Law” firms before launching a career as a commercial writer. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts.