The world of work has no shortage of important documents with legal implications, and there are plenty of occasions when you’ll have to get your hands on an employment verification letter.
An employment verification letter is quite straightforward: it’s used to prove your employment status.
There are plenty of situations where you’ll need to produce this kind of document, and we’ve explained those below – and explored what must be included in an employment verification letter, and how to request one.
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When do you need an employment verification letter?
There are loads of scenarios where you may need one of these straightforward documents. If you’re applying for a new job then your prospective employer may want a letter to verify the information you’ve included on your resume.
It’s also common to need an employment verification letter if you want to rent or buy a home, or if you’re applying for a loan or credit card. Indeed, financial institutions prefer to check people’s employment status so they can see if they’re able to handle any kind of repayment.
You may also need an employment verification letter if you’re applying for immigration status or working visas in certain countries, and government offices can sometimes request employment verification letters.
What’s included in an employment verification letter?
An employment verification letter differs from a resume or a reference letter because it just includes factual information rather than information about a person’s skills, work history or character.
Employment verification letters should include your job title, the date when you started your employment, and your employer’s address. It’s standard for one of these letters to include the name and address of the organization that has requested the letter, too. Your date of birth and social security number may also be useful to help with identification.
Sometimes these letters will include a statement that clarifies if your employer expects you to carry on working for them, and the requesting organization may also want information about your previous terminations.
There’s a lot of sensitive information here, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you’ve got to sign a release form that allows your current employer to share this information.
There’s some information that you should never see in an employment verification letter. One of these letters should never include information about health, sexual orientation, religion or relationship status. The letter shouldn’t go into detail about the subject’s job performance.
Financial information isn’t usually included unless it’s specifically requested, because it’s not always relevant to the situation.
Finally, don’t expect to see information about criminal convictions, drug tests, bankruptcies or credit score on a professional employment verification letter.
Any good employment verification letter should use the employer’s official letterhead, with the company address and name at the top of the page.
The letter should look like any professional letter, with the address and date at the top of the page and a subject line stating the letter's purpose. It should be signed by the manager who wrote or authorized the document, and a stamp can also add the data and company logo for some added veracity.
It’s also important that the sender’s contact details are included on the letter – if the recipient needs more information, they’ll be able to get in touch easily.
How to get an employment verification letter
If you need an employment verification letter from your current employer, make the request as quickly as possible – HR procedures often take a long time, and you don’t want to wait around.
Speak to your HR department to find out their process for requesting a letter, and make sure you provide the HR staff with the information they need from you to complete the letter – they may need your address or they may need the address of the requesting organization so they can send it directly.
Make sure that you follow up with your request, too – it’s easy for HR procedures to fall through the cracks, and you need to ensure that the letter has actually been produced and either given to you or sent to the relevant organization.
If you’re having trouble getting hold of an employment verification letter, there are third-party companies that can obtain a letter instead. Some companies also specialize in producing employment verification letters for use in immigration situations.
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Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has written for most of the UK’s big technology titles alongside numerous global outlets. He loves PCs, laptops and any new hardware, and covers everything from the latest business trends to high-end gaming gear.