How to Find Your Work History (For Free)

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April 23, 2024
Edited by
Camille Trent
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min read

3 key takeaways

  • You can obtain official records of your employment history through the Social Security Administration office and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Online profiles like LinkedIn can help you compile a comprehensive and accurate record of your work history.
  • Teal’s AI Resume Builder lets you keep track of your personal employment history and toggle positions on and off for different applications and resume versions.

Knowing your full work history is important for job seekers. Your work history showcases your skills, experience, and achievements over time. More concretely, it demonstrates the progression of your career and responsibilities.

In this guide. you'll learn tips and strategies to uncover your complete work history, best practices for incorporating your work history into your resume in an impactful way, and what employers look for in background checks.

Struggling to land interviews with your resume? Get started with Teal’s AI Resume Builder for free.

What is work history?

Your work history includes all of the jobs, positions, and roles you’ve held over the course of your career. It's the timeline of your professional experiences and accomplishments.

Your work history typically includes:

  • Company names
  • Job titles and roles
  • Employment dates
  • Key responsibilities and duties performed
  • Skills developed and honed
  • Notable achievements and contributions

Some also include details like salary, reason for leaving, supervisor names, and more.

The importance of work history for your job search

Your work history gives employers insight into your background, capabilities, work style, and career trajectory. It helps them understand:

  • Your skill set and experience level
  • How you've advanced in your career
  • Responsibilities you've handled successfully
  • Results and impact you've driven in past roles
  • How you may add value in a new position

With a strong employment history, you can showcase achievements, back up your resume claims, provide references, and demonstrate progression. During interviews, employers will likely inquire about your work history to screen for qualifications and fit.

Your work history also influences your own career advancement.

Reflecting on past jobs can help you:

  • Identify transferable skills to break into new roles
  • Recognize gaps to fill through training or other education
  • Set goals for future growth and development
  • Discover patterns in your interests, strengths, and preferences

In many ways, your work history can be a personal stepping stone to your dream job.

How to find your work history online

Searching online can be one of the easiest ways to uncover details about your past jobs. Here are some tips on how to find your employment history online:

  • Check your LinkedIn profile: The jobs section of your LinkedIn profile may have employment dates, titles, responsibilities, and more already populated. This can serve as a great starting point for compiling your work history. Make sure to check for any missing roles.
  • Search through old emails: Check your inbox for any emails from past managers or companies related to your employment, like offer letters, promotions, or departures. These often contain key dates and job intel.
  • Look through old files and documents: Dig through computer files, cloud storage, or any physical paperwork you may have saved to find old resume drafts, performance reviews, tax documents, or other records with work details.
  • Browse through your contacts: Scroll through your email and social media contacts for connections from old jobs who may be able to provide insights into your history.
  • Google yourself: Search your name online to uncover any articles, awards, or announcements that mention your employment history.
  • Check the company website: Visit the sites of your previous employers to see if you're mentioned anywhere that could offer clues about your roles and tenures.

Thoroughly searching through your online presence and records can reveal a wealth of work history details you may have forgotten or lost track of over the years.

How to get your work history from the Internal Revenue Service

Requesting your tax return transcript from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is free but can take up with ten days to process. You can request transcripts showing your past employers and income information directly from the IRS website. This can help you verify your work history if needed.

To find your employment history transcripts with the IRS:

  1. Go to and click on "Get Your Tax Record."
  2. Choose to receive transcripts online or by mail. If online, you will need to create an account on the IRS website.
  3. Request a Wage and Income Transcript. This will show data from information returns we receive such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098 and Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information.
  4. On the transcript, each employer will be listed with the income you received from them for the year. You can request a transcript for previous tax years to build up your work history.
  5. If you need additional details like dates of employment, you may need to contact the employer directly or check other records you have. But the transcripts provide a good overview of where you worked in prior years.
Online IRS Wage and Income Transcript Request
Request for tax return and tax account transcript via IRS

Having IRS transcripts can provide reliable documentation of your income and employers, which is useful for reconstructing your work history. Just keep in mind it may not have complete details—like specific dates—so supplement with other records if possible.

How to get your work history from Social Security

You can request a copy of your earnings records from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help uncover your employment history.

The social security administration maintains records of the wages and self-employment income you've earned over your lifetime. This information determines your eligibility and benefit amount for Social Security benefits.

To get a copy of your earnings records, you'll need to fill out and submit Form SSA-7050-F4. This form is available on the SSA website.

Your earnings records include:

  • Your total wages earned each year
  • The names and addresses of your employers
  • Your total self-employment income each year

This can help you identify previous employers and specific dates of employment. It's especially useful if you're missing W-2s or tax documentation from past jobs.

Remember that earnings records may not include informal, cash-based, or short-term jobs. But they provide a great starting point for piecing together your work history timeline.

Reviewing your Social Security earnings records is free and doesn't affect your Social Security benefits. However, the SSA charges a fee to get a copy of your itemized statement of earnings.

Request for Social Security Earning Information
Request for Social Security earning information.

For further assistance or to locate the nearest Social Security office, contact the Social Security Administration office. This step can prove helpful, particularly if you're looking to clarify aspects of your credit report or need additional support with your earnings records.

How to get your work history from your previous employer

While not the most efficient option, another way to obtain your full work history is to contact your previous employers directly. Many companies keep records of past employees for a certain number of years.

You can call or email your old manager, human resources department, or payroll office to request your dates of employment and job titles. Explain that you are looking to verify your work history. Most will be happy to provide this basic information.

Some companies may be able to give you more detailed records, such as:

  • Employment verification letter: hire date, job titles, duties, salary, etc.
  • W-2 forms or pay stubs: income and withholdings
  • Performance reviews: feedback and achievements
  • Training certificates: professional development
  • Recommendation letter: individual contributions

If the company has gone out of business, try contacting former coworkers who may recall your tenure. You can also search state archives for dissolved business records.

The key is being polite but persistent when requesting your work history. Most human resource (HR) departments will work with you, as they understand the importance of accuracy and are frequently collecting this information themselves when running background checks on candidates.

How to write your employment history

When it comes to writing your employment history on your resume, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

Quantify your employment history

First, you'll want to write clear, concise descriptions of each role you've held. Focus on highlighting your responsibilities, achievements, and skills gained. Quantifying your experience can help demonstrate the scope and impact of your work.

Employment history achievements example:

  • Increased sales by 30% over 2 years through implementing a new lead generation strategy.
  • Managed a team of 5 sales representatives, exceeding quarterly targets by an average of 15%.
  • Led redesign of the company website, resulting in a 20% increase in site traffic.

 Learn more about how to quantify your resume.

Tailor your employment history for each application

It's also important to tailor your employment history for each job you apply to. Identify the skills and experience most relevant to the role, and emphasize those details. You don't need to include every job or task—be selective.

For example, if you're applying for a marketing role, highlight marketing campaigns you led or executed. If you're applying for a management role, focus on team leadership experience.

Carefully tailoring your resume ensures you put your best foot forward and stand out from other applicants.

Incorporate your work history into your resume

Incorporating your work history into your resume is crucial for showcasing your experience to potential employers.

With Teal's AI Resume Builder, the process is easy.

Teal's Resume Builder offers AI tools that analyze your work history and provide helpful suggestions for optimizing your resume content. These recommendations enable you to highlight key achievements, skills, and experiences that align with the job description.

Plus, Teal's Matching Mode allows you to customize your resume according to the requirements of various job descriptions.

For more tips on how to incorporate your work history into your resume, check out this guide on resume work experience.

How to use Teal's AI resume builder to manage your work history

First, you can upload or import your work history from your LinkedIn profile.

That becomes your base resume. Think of this as a resume template you can iterate on, creating multiple versions tailored to various roles.

After analyzing the keywords and requirements mentioned in the job posting, Teal's AI helps users optimize their resume content accordingly. This customization allows individuals to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and achievements that align with each job they apply for.

match the keywords within the job description to your resume

For more tips on how to showcase your work history, check out our guide on the LinkedIn experience section.

Employment history checks

When applying for a new job, it's common for employers to conduct an employment history check to verify your previous work experience and qualifications.

Here's what you need to know:

How employers check employment history

  • Call previous employers: Many employers will call your past employers to confirm your employment dates, job titles, and responsibilities. They may also ask about your performance and eligibility for rehire.
  • Request records: Employers can submit written requests to your previous employers asking for documentation of your employment. This may include dates, positions, salary, and other details.
  • Check references: Your listed references may be contacted to provide information about your employment history and character. Choose references who can vouch for your character and background.
  • Background check agencies: Some employers hire third-party agencies to conduct background checks, including employment history verification. Agencies have access to databases to look up past jobs.
  • Online searches: Employers may search for your name online to find additional details about your employment history from sources like LinkedIn or company websites.

How to prepare for employment history checks

  • Get your records in order: Compile your own detailed records of all past employment with exact dates, titles, duties, and contact details.
  • Refresh your memory: Review key projects, accomplishments, challenges for each role so you can accurately discuss your experience.
  • Notify references: Contact references ahead of time to let them know they may be contacted for an employment check.
  • Explain gaps: Be ready to briefly explain gaps in your employment history or other notable discrepancies. Focus on the positives.
  • Update online profiles: Make sure your LinkedIn, website bios, or other online presences align with your official employment history.

Staying prepared for potential employment history checks helps you put you feel confident and avoid  surprises in the hiring process.

Document your work history to easily update your resume

Knowing your full work history is crucial for showcasing your skills, experience, and achievements to potential employers. You'll be prepared to highlight relevant accomplishments and provide proof of your background by keeping thorough records of your employment history and former employers.

While it can be difficult to find your employment history, especially if you have long career gaps, doing so will pay dividends in your job search and career advancement.

A tool like Teal's AI-powered Resume Builder can be invaluable for compiling and organizing your work history in one place. It provides an easy way to input your employment details, toggle different jobs on and off, and tailor your resume to each application. The Resume Builder helps take the guesswork out of presenting your background effectively.

With the right strategies, you can uncover your complete work history.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a database that shows employment history?

Yes, several resources can serve as a database for your employment history. For example, requesting your earnings records from the Social Security Administration (SSA) office or transcripts from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can provide documented insights into your past employment. Additionally, using digital platforms like LinkedIn or a resume builder tool like Teal can help you consolidate and track your work history online.

Does my Social Security Number (SSN) show employment history?

Your Social Security Number (SSN) does not display your employment history. However, you can use your SSN to request a copy of your earnings records from the Social Security Administration. These records maintain a log of your wages and self-employment income over your lifetime, which can help piece together your employment history.

Is there a way to see your work history?

Yes, there are multiple ways to view your work history. You can request earnings records from the Social Security Administration using your SSN, obtain wage and income transcripts from the IRS, or import your LinkedIn history or old resume to a resume builder like Teal to mange your employment history and add experiences to your resume.

Nathan Thompson

Nathan is a professional content marketer who's been lucky enough to write for some of the best SaaS brands on the planet, including Twilio, Trello, OptinMonster, TrustPulse, and more. When he's not obsessing over performance metrics, Nathan spends most of his time wrestling around with his kids.

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