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How to Find a List of Previous Employment

by Grace Ferguson, studioD

If you’ve had numerous jobs in the past, it might be impossible to remember them all. If you decide to rely on your memory, you risk recalling incorrect information. During certain business transactions, such as with a lender or prospective employer, you need accurate employment records. There are several ways to get employment records in case you need them.

Social Security Administration

For a complete record of your employment history, request a “Certified or Non-certified Detailed Earnings Information” report from the Social Security Administration. The report has the names and addresses of your past employers and periods of employment. Go to the SSA website to access the “Request for Social Security Earnings Information” form. When completing it, check the “Detailed Earnings Information” box on line 2 and state the number of years you need. If you want the information certified, check the respective box on line 2. Use the enclosed fee chart to figure your cost, which is based on the total number of years you are requesting. As of April 2013, a fee of $15 applies if you want the information certified. Send the form and your payment to the address stated on the form. Give the agency up to four months from the date of your request to respond.

Internal Revenue Service

You can order W-2 transcripts from the Internal Revenue Service to obtain certain employment data. The transcript does not give exact employment dates. However, it has the names of employers that filed a W-2 on you, the respective tax years, and your federal gross wages and taxes withheld for the years in question. You can request transcripts for up to the last 10 years from the IRS using Form 4506-T. Allow the IRS up to 45 days to process your request. You can also order a transcript online via the IRS website, though in this case transcripts are available only for the present and previous three years. Give the IRS five to 10 business days to send you the information. If you prefer, call the IRS to order transcripts.

Background Check

When filling out a job application, you are asked to state your prior employment history. If a prospective employer wants to hire you, it will likely run a background check on you. You can get your employment history by running a background check on yourself. A more in-depth check can give you additional information that your employer might look for, such as your education. A request for your work history gives you the names of previous employers, dates of employment and job titles. To run a background check on yourself, US News & World Report recommends using online resources such as TalentShield, BeenVerified, CVCertify and Social Intelligence.


If you remember the companies you've worked for but not the exact dates, contact your previous employers' human resources departments to confirm your dates of employment. You can also track your employment history yourself for free by keeping copies of your pay stubs, W-2s, tax returns and resumes. Or simply create and maintain a spreadsheet that shows your employment history.

About the Author

Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.

Photo Credits

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