While I have excellent records my recent jobs (past six years) relevant to the business field I am applying to, but the current application database I am filling out on is insistently asking for all my work history, including supervisor information, and unemployment information from the past ten years. These first four years include a string of diner work and other odd-jobs as I put myself through college. And therein lies the problem.

I just don't remember much save the companies names, and dates. Not the supervisors, and definitely not the wages (far enough back that I no longer held the tax records), and some are no longer in business at these locations.

Should I just put unknown under supervisor and list the company's corporate office number? I think this is all for background check mostly, and as such, that should cover it, no?

  • 1
    Does the application form say "List all jobs (including part time)"?
    – Nobody
    Nov 21 '14 at 3:40
  • 4
    Do you really have to mention the diner work? I'd guess that your supervisors are long gone and that some of the diners are out of business by now. The restaurant industry is not known for stability either of employment or of the business itself. In other words, even if you had the information from back then, it wouldn't do your prospective employer's HR much good. What your employer's HR CAN and should verify is that you were in university at the time and that you were not doing time in jail. Nov 21 '14 at 4:02
  • Just fill in Don't remember, Out of business, Records older than 7 yr deleted or whatever applies. This 10-year period sounds more like a stupid design decision than that they care about 8+ year old references
    – user8036
    Nov 21 '14 at 10:08
  • 4
    Frankly I would only worry about those jobs if you are applying for government work that involves a high security classification. How does the from you are filling out know you haven't included something?
    – HLGEM
    Nov 21 '14 at 14:04

Ignore the request to enter all work. Enter the relevant work. The instructions are likely aimed at those who just enter their most recent work experience. As an interviewer, unless your restaurant work is relevant, leave it out. It draws attention away from your more recent work. If needed, you can always put it on your CV, mention it during the interview or put it in the "Notes" or "Other comments" section (if one exists).

I am not an expert in the restaurant industry but chances are that your supervisors no longer work at the restaurants, anyway. Even if you could remember their details, chances are they would not be available to verify your employment. Restaurant jobs also tend to be high turnover so, even if they were available, they may or may not remember much about you.

Edit: Responding to a few of the down votes.

I am not saying your employment at the restaurants is not important. Experience dealing with difficult customers, for example, could be very helpful. However, by filling in the form, you are not committing to a complete and total record of your life. You are merely applying for an interview and, chances are, your restaurant experience is not relevant. If you are accepted into an interview, everything on your CV and everything you fill in the form is less important than what you say in the interview, anyway.

  • _However, by filling in the form, you are not committing to a complete and total record of your life. _ I don't agree. Applications can indicate that omitting or misrepresentation of information can lead to termination, and that all work must be entered. In that case, available information should be entered.
    – SeraM
    Nov 22 '14 at 23:44
  • 2
    @phaedra That clause usually refers to people pretending to have qualifications and work experience they lack. I cannot imagine a company firing you if you omit casual restaurant jobs during college, as the OP states. You can always follow up verbally afterwards or discuss it in the interview. However, chances are it is HR that cares, not the hiring manager. Employers are not places to be feared. Yes, they make you jump through hoops (mainly to cover their own ass) but employment is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Work together and things are rarely a problem.
    – akton
    Nov 23 '14 at 0:00

Just write "2004-2008: different student jobs during college (dishwasher, paperboy, gogo-dancer, ..)".

Leave the amout of money out, nobody really cares how much you earned there or better said how much you did not earn, or who your manager was, etc.

With many different short term jobs it would be too much information to parse through, so any interviewer will be happy if you condense it.


First of all check all the instructions, sometime they don't care about things before a certain age. Many times this information is needed as part of the background check.

They are looking for evidence of work problems. They do know that the older the job the less likely they can find somebody that can remember you. They also know that many corporations only verify the dates of employment and job title, they don't offer opinions regarding your work performance. For these types of requests they don't want you to skip work history based on weather you think it is relevant.

You need to provide as much information as you can. If you don't know a name or phone number, let them know on the form. You should spend some time trying to look up what information is available, provide the address, and phone number of the business if you can. If the business is gone tell them, don't just skip it. Also keep a list at home with what you find so the next time you do this the process is quicker.

The company made the form because they want/need this information as a part of their hiring process. For some applicants this is easy: they have worked for the same company for decades; for others it is hard: they jump jobs every year; for still others it is frustrating: they have none of that historical information. Your job is to provide what you can, research what you can find, and answer the question the best you know. Let them sort out what they can from your answers.

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