How to obtain your employment history (With examples)

Updated 31 March 2023

Your employment history is an important part of your CV and the job application process. Often, prospective employers check your work history to see if you're a good fit for the position for which they are hiring. They want to ascertain where you worked, for how long, what your duties were and how reliable you are. In this article, we discuss work history and how to obtain exact information about it to help impress your future employers.

Explore jobs on Indeed
Part-time jobs
View more jobs on Indeed

What is employment history?

Employment history shows your previous employers the title of the position you've held at each company, the dates you worked there and your duties. You can compile this information yourself or obtain it through HM Revenue and Customs. Your work history also includes any gap years or periods of unemployment, which you can explain in an interview.

Related: What is work history? (With what to include)

What to include in your employment history?

The end goal of providing your work history is to obtain the job. Hence, include your responsibilities and any skills learned during your employment. While making your list, keep the following questions in mind:

  • what types of companies did you work for?

  • what were your responsibilities?

  • how long did you work for each company?

  • did you receive any promotions?

  • what were the key projects you worked on or accomplishments you achieved?

The points below elaborate on the specifics of your work history:

1. Company name and location

Include the full name of the company and the location where you worked. The company may be operating as a DBA. If the opportunity exists, reference the company name online to make sure. You can do this by searching for the company's website, then scrolling to the bottom of their homepage to view the official company name.

2. Manager name and email

If you have worked directly with your manager in any type of training role or as a part of their team, mention this detail. Simply including the name and email of your manager without other details is fine. A company email of your supervisor is appropriate. Perhaps you were working on an intranet inside the company, but most managers can also receive and send emails outside the company.

3. Your title within the organisation

Include the title you maintained throughout your time with the company. If you received a promotion in a small or big way, make sure to include this title. Elaborate about your promotion in the section on responsibilities.

Example: Customer service representative, assistant supervisor

4. Duties and responsibilities

This is where you specify the details of your role within the company. Explain the responsibilities included with your job title and any promotions. Make it thorough but to the point. You want to retain the interest of the reader. If you directly assisted your manager with any duties, include this.

Related: What to include in your CV

5. Start and end dates

Many employers wish to know the months of your start and end dates, but it's possible that you don't recall the exact information. Make a few calls to the human resources departments of your previous places of employment to obtain your start and end dates. They usually keep these particulars on file.

Related: CV objectives: tips and examples

Work history example

Including details about your work history can significantly aid your potential for obtaining the position because they demonstrate that you are a knowledgeable and able candidate. To help you create your own work history, here's an example:

College Hospital, London, June 2010-present Supervising RN, Trauma Unit

  • Oversaw a team of 16 nurses in a trauma unit

  • Monitored all activities related to nursing in the department to ensure operational standards met

  • Provided budget information annually and monitored departmental costs

  • Wrote and implemented regulations procedures that outlined nursing guidelines

College Medical Center, Southampton, April 2008-June 2010 Registered Nurse, NICU

  • Monitored patients and maintained detailed records on treatments

  • Performed testing and procedures on patients as advised by physicians and supervising RNs

  • Participated in efficiency-based care management systems

Peace Corps, Cape Town, South Africa March 2007-March 2008 Medical Services Volunteer

  • Worked closely with physicians, nurses and other medical service providers to deliver treatment to local residents

Can employers find out your work history?

An employer requires your consent before requesting your background or work history from government bodies or a third party organisation. Many companies use third-party background check companies to verify application and CV information provided by a candidate. When the employment is in the field of security or when the candidate might work with client funds, a company usually conducts routine background checks. These may include employment or credit history.

If you consent to companies recording this information about you, you can also make a subject access request so that you can view it yourself and keep it for your records. This means you can ask and receive any information an organisation holds about you and know from where it comes. Having this information at hand could aid your job search or ease the process of gathering the requirements about your work history.

Related: How to request an employment verification letter in 4 steps

How can I find my work history online?

The best way is to apply for the information via the government. Online, you can fill out the Data Protection Subject Access Request from HM Revenue & Customs. This form requests your personal information, including your name, National Insurance number, current and previous addresses. The form also requires the start and end dates for the employment information you request, as most requests are for a five- or ten-year period. There usually is no fee to conduct this process. You can also request the information by phone or in writing.

After filling this form, you generally receive the information you requested within one to two months. If you request a full report, you may receive your work history plus a record of your earnings, tax payments, contributions paid to National Insurance, benefits received and a record of your communications with the office. You can file these in your personal records.

Does my previous employer have my work history?

Yes, they might. If you request a previous employer to provide any data they are holding on you, they are obligated to reply. If you consented to a background check, this information might include your previous work history. Try to ask as soon as possible, because many companies destroy the information on employees if there is no possibility of a lawsuit that references the information.

Subject access request from a non-government organisation sample

If you choose to do a SAR for your work history or obtain other information from an employer, it's good to draft a written request and keep a copy for your records. In general, even if you are using an online form with the government, take a screenshot for your records before you submit the information. You can refer to the following template:

[Name of your manager]

[Company name]

[City, County]



[Date of issuance]

[Full name of hiring manager]

[Company name]

[Street address]

[City, county, postcode]

Dear [Full name]

Subject access request

[Your full name]

[National Insurance number]

This is a formal request for you to please, as per the data protection law, submit to me the personal data about me which you are holding.

I would like access to:

  • my personnel file

  • background checks, including work history

I would like this information mailed to my physical address. [specify if you prefer to receive it through an electronic address] Please let me know if I can provide any further information.

Please respond to this request within one calendar month as required by the data protection law.


[Physical signature]

[Printed signature]

How to make work history requests

The SAR process to obtain work history is simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind if you're requesting one from an employer:

1. Verbal SARs

A SAR can be verbal, although it's best to make a written request. Find the right point of contact, be they the hiring manager or a data protection officer. Speak with the person politely and inform them about why you would like a copy of your work history if it's appropriate to your situation to supply this information. Keep the focus on your request and be straightforward while remaining courteous.

2. Using the organisation's standard SAR form

Organisations issue the form to have the information necessary to process your request. Once you have completed the form, take a clear photograph of it with your mobile phone for your records. Using an employer's SAR form is not compulsory.

3. Making third party SAR requests

A third party could request on your behalf if you issued a letter of authorisation or a power of attorney that the employer can view before divulging your records. The third party can be a relative, friend, solicitor or any person you choose. This person sees personal information that belongs to you. Therefore, ensure the relationship is one of trust.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore your next job opportunity on IndeedFind jobs

Related articles

How to write your CV employment history with an example

Explore more articles

  • 90 of the best CV buzzwords to make your CV stand out
  • How to include volunteer experience on a CV (With examples)
  • Guide for how to write a banker CV (with template)
  • How to choose the best font size for cover letters
  • 8 additional information application examples (With tips)
  • A list of the best words to use in a personal statement
  • How To Write an Engaging Football Coach CV in 8 Steps
  • How to write a supervisor cover letter (with examples)
  • The 15 most valuable teaching assistant skills for CVs
  • How to write an operations manager cover letter (With examples)
  • How to write a customer service advisor CV (with examples)
  • How to create an ATS-Friendly CV (With example and template)