Due to some unlucky happen-stance, losing boxes during a house move & hard disk crashes, I find myself without a copy of my current CV. I'm 50 and have moved jobs a number of times (including some temping & contact work), been made redundant a couple of times and had short periods of unemployment. I've got a general framework of where I've worked with rough dates, but I need to tie it all down better than that, especially the periods where I wasn't working.

Does anybody have any suggestions on how I could try and get more information? I've asked any ex-colleagues that I'm still in contact with, but obviously they don't have precise details of my employment, just their own.

Edit: Thanks all for the comments & suggestions, trying to get details through my NI contributions was probably the most useful. I was sorting through my loft at the weekend and I stumbled upon an old CD box that I'd forgotten I'd got which, along with installers for v.old OSs and various other stuff, contained a disk with a backup file of a computer from 2002. After much faffing trying to extract the data out of this file, it did indeed contain various versions of my CV from that period so I'm back up & running.

(Apparently I don't have enough reputation to actually close my topic)

  • 100
    Have you ever emailed someone your CV? Do you know anyone at one of your old employers who could get one from your file?
    – Kaz
    Nov 7, 2017 at 12:19
  • 7
    Do you have a LinkedIn profile or other job-seeker's website profile?
    – user44108
    Nov 7, 2017 at 12:44
  • 6
    If you have applied for a job online recently you should check out the website where you applied and see if you can log in and get a copy. I believe sites like Reed have this functionality. Nov 7, 2017 at 13:06
  • 10
    Maybe this will help: gov.uk/get-proof-employment-history
    – user7360
    Nov 7, 2017 at 13:30
  • 2
    Related to what Kaz already said, have you ever emailed your resume? If so, you could check your sent emails. You might find your resume attached to one of your emails sent to a potential employer. Nov 7, 2017 at 17:44

4 Answers 4


In general potential employers are only going to really be interested in the last 10-15 years of relevant experience.

So start at "now" and work backwards, as WorkerWithoutACause says approximate month and the year is really all the precision you'll ever need in the timings, it would be very unusual for slight inaccuracies in this to even be noticed much less become an issue and it's perfectly normal to generalize more as you go further back and in fact this is generally considered to be the "right" thing to do in order to keep the CV optimized!

  • 7
    Very much this. A CV isn't a magical fact sheet that gives you the right to work in a position. It's a document that's intended to give a prospective employer an idea of who you are and what you've done, to entice them into inviting you in for a job interview. During the interview you can further make it clear what your strengths and weaknesses are and what value you can add to the prospective employer, while also getting a sense of the company and deciding if this is a company you want to be adding value to.
    – Cronax
    Nov 7, 2017 at 13:08
  • 5
    @jimbo-ish - gaps are not for you to worry about. Last 10 years, plus summary of "previous experience", grouped NOT by years/employers/positions, but functionally, looks better on CV anyway(and dates you less). If they ask (they might not care) about being redundant 20 years ago, answer the truth (think about it and prepare/rehears the answer) but don't bring it yourself. Such mishaps is part of having such long working experience. Good luck! Nov 7, 2017 at 14:47
  • 2
    @PeterMasiar As someone in a hiring position, gaps are something for a potential employee to care about. I (and my manager) want to know whether it was just unfortunate, or whether you've got a track record of working for about 2 years and then resigning to take the next year off to go travelling. And if you were unemployed, we want to know you've spent that time doing something productive instead of just watching Jeremy Kyle in your jimjams. We don't care about exact dates though, so don't stress too much over that.
    – Graham
    Nov 7, 2017 at 15:14
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    @Graham - yes I agree with you that gaps are something for employer to worry about - but not for job applicant. mantra is: do not volunteer in CV any info damaging to you: let employer to ask for it (and have good answer prepared). Exactly like employer will not say in job description that position includes involuntary unpaid overtimes caused by marketing dept underbiding on a contract, or struggling on a death march project caused by incompetent management promised unrealistic deadlines to a key customer. OP should not lie, but also should not raise red flags. Nov 7, 2017 at 16:10
  • 2
    HR person here - with OP being from the UK, I would not underestimate this exercise. Our UK HR teams are routinely getting requests from agencies and prospective employers about people who worked 20 years ago or more for a company that a company bought that another company bought, after which we acquired it ourselves. And not unfrequently we are getting angry calls from said ex-employees about why we are unable to confirm the employment for back then and that it may cost them their job offer.
    – Eleshar
    Nov 8, 2017 at 14:48

For the past twenty years (give or take), you may have email records of when you started and ended certain jobs. If all else fails, you could try looking at your bank records. Depending on your bank, they may retain records from further back in time. It could give you an idea of when you were working in various places. It may take some time to go through decades of records, but it will be as accurate as you could ask for.

Online applications that ask for exact dates can be frustrating, but for a CV, just the month and year will suffice 99% of the time.

  • 4
    Bank records was a good idea (and the kind of thing I was after when I asked the question), unfortunately I've only got the last seven years available to me.
    – jimbo-ish
    Nov 7, 2017 at 13:31
  • 6
    Ah then I think pension or government records might be worth looking at next. They'll probably be keeping track of where your income has been coming from for tax reasons.
    – user34587
    Nov 7, 2017 at 15:28
  • 1
    I would try HMRC, they should have generally good overview who you were getting your salary from because they would be paying statutory deductions on your behalf.
    – Eleshar
    Nov 8, 2017 at 14:50

For CVs all that is needed is the month and year for start/end dates, e.g.

Jan-15 to present, Chief Widget Maker at Widget Co.

For people with lot's of experience, you can summarise anything older than 10 years in one catch all statement (which you may want to include the years), e.g.

15 years' widget building experience (2000-2015)

  • 2
    In some industries more detail than your "15 years experience" is required -- many jobs in finance for example.
    – Chris H
    Nov 7, 2017 at 13:51

Depending on your country you can check social security systems. When I log into their website, I see:

social security service:

  • list of all insurance times (including start-/end-date and which company). this does not include positions, times of not-reported work like unpaid internships or education

pension insurance service:

  • for each month I see which company paid how much into the pension insurance


  • list of employers per year and how much I was paid for the last 7 (?) years

The information you get from there is not complete and needs some reworking but at least it is a good starting point and help for memory. If you can't access the information directly it might be worth calling the corresponding institution and asking them.

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