Why do some graduate schools require an employment history for their application forms? Additionally, is it likely that they verify said history via one's social security number?

  • 3
    Is it possible to verify employment history with an SSN?
    – JeffE
    Dec 18, 2013 at 2:54
  • Thanks for your comment. I know that it is possible. But wonder if it the department or admission office cares to verify it. For example, I might not be interested to share one dramatic employment history..So I wonder what if I don't mention it
    – trxw
    Dec 18, 2013 at 2:57
  • 2
    @trxw The only way I know would be for someone to have access to the IRS or SS databases. Unless that information is reported to the credit bureaus (as an employer I never reported any of my employees anywhere other than the IRS, state and federal, and SS office). For some reason, you seem to think that with someone's SSN everyone has access to all information about that person's past. If you have evidence of that, please cite it because I do not believe that to be the case.
    – earthling
    Dec 18, 2013 at 8:15
  • 2
    It is much more likely they will use your SSN to verify your legal status.
    – Ben Norris
    Dec 18, 2013 at 14:48
  • They could pull a credit report to get employment history, but that’s illegal (without permission) in the US and the hard way.
    – Bill Barth
    Nov 12, 2020 at 18:41

2 Answers 2


Why do some graduate schools want to have employment history on graduate school application forms?

I can think of a few things:

  1. If you're not coming directly from undergrad, they want to know what work you've been doing. In some cases, it may be entirely irrelevant, but nonetheless, they ask. While references are typically obtained from academic institutions, if you've been in industry for a while, one of your recommendations may come from your employer...
  2. If you are coming directly from undergrad, you may still have been employed during school or have completed some number of internships. Again, while they may not be relevant, there's no reason not to ask, especially if they can positively affect your application.
  3. Either way, employment, depending on what you did, could demonstrate responsibility, leadership, potentially research ability, etc.

Is it likely that they verify it with SSN?

This almost seems like you're trying to determine if they can catch you in a lie--they do not need a SSN to do that. Don't fabricate anything.

  • 2
    Agreed. Also, the people who make decisions on your application probably will not even get your SSN. As an example from a hiring committee I was on, my university wanted SSNs (or equivalent) to verify the applicant could legally work in the United States and to verify that the applicants did not have something nastily criminal in their past. Human Resources did that before we got the applications (and presumably did not forward us the problem applications). We did not receive SSN information.
    – Ben Norris
    Dec 18, 2013 at 14:44
  • Thanks for your answer. I am not trying to tell a lie, rather I want to keep some of my work history private. That is a right for privacy, I think.
    – trxw
    Dec 18, 2013 at 17:52

It is unlikely that something will be verified but still its best for you not to write anything which is not true.

And your employment history tells a lot about you, here is a list of some points apart from those mentioned before:

  1. It shows that you have the capability to handle industry environment
  2. If its a really good company then it shows your excellence because you got through a very difficult interview process
  3. It shows your communication skills and people management skills
  4. It shows your ability in analytic tools also.

So it will be good if you mention all your employment history, be it in a education institute.

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