Keep a complete record of your work history

Typically, career coaches advise job seekers to showcase successes and accomplishments. If you do it right, your résumé will highlight where and when you hit those targets.

These days, no one can be sure that the job you work today is the job you’ll have for years to come. So it’s important to keep records of your work history – not only to demonstrate your worth to future employers, but also to validate your eligibility for unemployment benefits, if needed.

When you apply for unemployment benefits, Employment Security asks you to tell us when you worked and who you worked for in the past 18 months, and to provide addresses and telephone numbers.

Often, that work history includes multiple employers. And all too frequently, folks who need unemployment benefits can’t readily say exactly when those jobs started and ended. Unfortunately, this poses problems when we ask employers to confirm past employment. If you apply for benefits and don’t provide the correct information, the discrepancy could jeopardize your claim.

Intermittent employment can be a way of life, particularly in certain professions. One Seattle stagehand who recently called our claims center worked for 10 employers on 32 different jobs since he first opened an unemployment-benefits claim in November 2012. He records each job on a spreadsheet, so when he calls Employment Security’s claims center to update his work history, all he has to do is read it aloud.

His organization so impressed our claims agent that she recommended it as a model for others to follow – because if you worked for more than 16 employers in the last 18 months, there isn’t space to enter all those jobs in our online application form. So get your ducks in a row, then call the claims center at 800-318-6022.

Susan Gordon is a public information officer for the Employment Security Department.

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