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I have worked for 2 companies that closed. One company I still have the contact information for one of the former employees (who is now retired and not in all that good of health), who will vouch for me. I also have a website I can refer people to, which I built, but of one of the subsidiary companies.

The other, I have no contact or ability to contact, as the person who ran it disappeared without a trace. I have physical samples of the work I did in the form of newspapers. But eventually I'm going to run out of them or have to throw them out due to age. The website DOES show up on the waybackmachine, but not the downloads (you can see the page, but can't download anything)

At day's end I can say what I like, but if i have no proof, how will I be able to get a job, or if i DO get hired stay hired due to not having direct proof of prior work history?

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    I feel your pain--other than the job I have now the only employer of mine that exists is from the 80s. Jul 7, 2016 at 23:32

2 Answers 2

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1) Don't rely on scarce originals. Scan the relevant newspaper material, note exact date/issue/section/page info for each scan. Distribute those rather than originals; anyone who wants to authenticate can contact a good reference library or the paper's morge. In fact since the morgue itself is probably on line now you may be able to skip scanning and just give folks the appropriate search string there.

2) As far as proving your specific involvement with those items goes... if you don't have a reference who can confirm your portfolio then you have the same problem whether the previous employer still exists or not. But it's the same problem everyone, in every field faces, which means it isn't really a problem. If you can professionally discuss what you did and how that affected the outcome, that's the real review of skills that the employer is looking for.

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    the newspaper was a local sales rag, so I doubt very highly there was a "newspaper morgue" for its issues. We were different than others on the market in that we had actual (meaningful) content that had people willingly pick up the paper on their own, vs. sent via mail, delivered door to door. In regards to scanning the issues in... how would I go about doing so? These are newspaper sized pages. Jul 8, 2016 at 0:10
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    Many office supply stores these days have scan-and-print shops in lieu of their old copy centers; one of them may have a scanner which can handle those sheets.
    – keshlam
    Jul 8, 2016 at 0:46
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Hardly anyone will require proof of employment. In the US reference checks are common but even those are rare in Europe. There are people who fake their work history but those tend to give themselves away through other means and the truly dedicated among them set fake references. It's a good practice to document your work history in full detail and keep that file up to date throughout your life. It's a good basis for a tailor-made resume and can be important for financial or legal reasons. For the latter reasons you should also save your pay stubs in digital format. If you're in publishing or journalism you'll definitely want a digital portfolio that grows throughout the years.

But as for proving your employment, that's generally not required. Companies go out of business or move and hiring managers know that. What you should do is keep the contact details of your past managers because references can be important in a hiring process.

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  • It's actually becoming a serious problem. There are multiple cases of Medical Doctors having totally bogus references and certificates. Most of them do get caught, but not until a shocking 10 years (on average). Jul 8, 2016 at 7:36
  • @JuhaUntinen True, but that problem isn't solved by "proving" employment so its largely irrelevant to the question asked and I didn't want to go on a tangent.
    – Lilienthal
    Jul 8, 2016 at 7:38
  • What's funny is that I HAD talked to the owner a month prior on the business number. what caused him to close, I don't know. A courtesy call 'Hey, I'm going out of business, here's my cell" is out of order? Jul 8, 2016 at 13:30

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