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The job history, or work history, section of a resume is an account of the applicant’s current and/or previous jobs. For each position listed, an applicant typically includes the title, dates of employment and the name of the employer.

Employers normally ask for job seekers to supply their work history on their resume, a job application, or both. Whether online or in document form, an application typically asks for details on an applicant’s most recent jobs. Some applications may only ask for the last two to five jobs, while others may ask applicants to list their entire work history.

Sometimes, an employer will ask for a comprehensive employment history and significant detail on the jobs held as part of the candidate selection process. Requested information can include names and contact information for past supervisors.

What to look for

Employers will review job history to determine whether jobs the candidate has held, and their experience, are a good fit for the position. Hiring personnel typically look at how long each job was held. A work history with many short-duration jobs can signal the candidate is a ‘job hopper’ – someone who may not stick around long if hired.

That being said, the work history on some resumes can be misleading. For example, a recent college graduate might list internships along with part-time jobs. This kind of applicant, who balanced school, an internship and part-time jobs to pay the bills, should be the sort of applicant companies want to hire.

Hiring managers also use job history to confirm the information on a resume, specifically by contacting past employers. When contacted by a hiring manager, some employers will give comprehensive information on a candidate, but others won’t. The degree of information given depends on the business. Most employers will not share a lot of detail due to liability concerns.

Some applicants may not list their entire work history on their resume and this should not be grounds for automatic elimination from consideration. A background check can include the entire employment history of candidates. If it does and it reveals key omissions, this could be held against the applicant in question.

Other than those pertaining to issues of discrimination, there are no federal regulations that restrict what can be asked about a potential employee. State laws vary, however, and those conducting background checks must be aware and follow any relevant laws.

Outsourcing the checking of job histories

At a large business, the human resources department normally conducts checks of candidates’ job history, but some businesses will have a third party conduct checks instead. Some employers, or the companies they contract, will conduct comprehensive background checks that include checks of credit history and criminal past. The degree of the background check usually depends on the position and laws regulating what a background check can look into.

Partner with Cornerstone Staffing Solutions!

At Cornerstone, we conduct background checks on a daily basis as per the instructions set by our clients. If your company is currently looking to outsource part of its hiring process, please contact us today.


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