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Request for a certificate of employment

Request for a certificate of employment

Request for a certificate of employment


I currently need a certificate of employment from one of my previous employers. This a standard administrative document that states my role, period of service etc.

I have been chasing the relevant employer / HR personnel for about 3 weeks now to receive such document and through various channels (phone calls, friendly emails/reminders). I thought originally that the reason for this could be people being extremely busy with their stuff - which I do understand. But 3 weeks is a long time for a task that basically requires to fill in some standard template and revert it to the former employee.

What is frustrating is that I left the company in question in very good standing and I still get in touch from time to time with previous co-workers there. I was very dedicated/committed to my work and I had to leave for personal reasons.

I do not understand what kind of obscure reasons could be behind the HR (or is it just pure madness?) delaying the process or not answering my queries. I called my former manager to expedite the issue as I still have their contact references, the answer was that it should not be a problem to get the document. But who do you trust?
Now still waiting for the HR to react. Nothing is moving.

It is vital that I attach the subject certificate into an official application I am submitting but this situation is holding my progress.

What are my options?
-keep on calling / sending reminders?
-request assistance of a former co-worker?
-escalate to the ombudsmen as a compliance problem ? not sure how it is going to end up nor the leverage I would have as external person to the company.

Sorry for bothering you with such administrative (and even stupid) problem, but I feel powerless.
Thanks for any suggestion.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Have you try to send formal letter of request (which is also "standard administrative document")?
Maybe they need paperwork to start the paperwork? (It happens)

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Do you have some contact for the job you are applying to? If you can, it couldn't hurt to let the potential employer party know of your interest but that there are some intervening circumstances. I had a similar issue once because the company I left had a 2 person HR group and the person that did this type of work was on vacation and the other person was unaware of my need.

I personally wouldn't stop sending reminders until you at least got a reason why your emails are seemingly falling on deaf ears. If I knew a former colleague that would approach the HR group on my behalf to help me out, I would ask that person with a promise of a drink; don't be shy to ask for help is my motto (the corollary being don't be shy about helping). Not sure about that the third option, I don't think it could hurt you to try, but it might ruffle some feathers on the corporate side because it would be a blemish on the record.

I will keep my fingers crossed in hopes that chance will favor your path from now on.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Find a standard template, fill it out for them, tape it to a box of donuts. Give to a friend/previous coworker to get an HR signature on it. Leave instructions to not open box of donuts until it is signed.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Be aware that some companies just do not do those certificates.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Why not just forget about HR and ask you direct supervisor (whom it sounds like you are in contact with) to fill it out? HR is just a gigantic waste of space anyway.

I'm not sure I've ever even heard of a "certificate of employment" in the first place. For licensure, I just sent previous employers reference forms to fill out (by my direct supervisor(s)). For a job reference, I just sent the company I was interviewing with contact info for those same references.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Thanks for the suggestions. Appreciated.

"Employment certificate" is I guess a matter of terminology. The organism requesting the document calls this "reference letter". But it does the same, what I mean is that the content is stipulated quite clearly: job title, role description, period of service and some other administrative details.

When I was part of the company, I had two managers; one was a direct supervisor (technical / remote HQ office) while I was at the same time reporting in dotted line to a local manager (i.e. local office) who was a kind of CEO. Operationally I was dealing with the technical manager say 90% of the time. So for my request, I contacted the technical manager first with whom I still keep in touch since almost a decade now. This manager directed my request to HR asking for assistance(in good faith and partly because of the way my request was formulated.) ; it is then that my problems started.

First the request bounced and was routed to the local office HR. Their first reaction was : "we have issue with our archive system", tell the employee to send copy of work contract, salary slip etc. Got a copy of that email and was flabbergasted.
Anyway, I started sending scans of such documents which I usually keep for my own record (you never know). But I found this suspicious or at least strange. I know for sure all my details are kept on record in their gigantic database. The inboarding/offboarding processes are all done electronically via workflows. Mind you, this firm is a top major engineering firm employing staff beyond a six figure number.

Seeing nothing happening, I then contacted the dotted line manager for assistance. Less convivial exchange, which surprised me a bit, anyway the manager seemed cooperative and was positive about providing their support.

I am thinking to go back to the first technical manager and ask for statement letter (avoiding anything that would resemble to "employment certificate") . I donĀ“t know if it is going to succeed because of the very fact that HR got activated on this and I am also really shy to bother this manager again (a really nice person).

PS: jari001, thanks for crossing fingers, I hope this is going to resolve!

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

I've never heard of those certificates before...


RE: Request for a certificate of employment

You're not getting what you want because there is zero incentive for anybody at your former company to put even a minuscule amount of effort toward it.

Request it in writing and remind them a few times in writing. Report to the engineering board for unprofessional conduct if the don't reply to you? Any way you can get around it with who-ever is requesting this "certificate"?

This is a great example of why I can't stand working (and don't) at over sized companies. Almost as bad as working for the government.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Terratek, I completely agree.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

This is the cynic in me, but if your prospective employer can't trust you and needs papers to prove what you've already told them, it might be a red flag. There is no financial benefit for a previous employer in providing these kinds of documents.

This is probably something we should all consider when leaving a job. While you have their ear, request this certificate and keep it on file for the future.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

HR probably feels there are only disincentives to releasing any sort of information. You're probably dealing with a shitty HR department whose sole goal is to not be sued rather than make the company a place where people would want to work. A human being would just help you, knowing that that is something a good company would do and it would reflect well on them and in turn would help in recruiting others and maybe you back.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Are you still in the USA ? If you are then some state unemployment offices can supply a copy of your " Separation from employment " which the employer has to file to drop you from his unemployment insurance list. If one of these has not been generated file a claim for unemployment insurance. here is a link to Texas law: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/efte/types_of_work...

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Hi berkshire,

The employer is EU based. However thanks for the clever suggestion.

Also and as an update, I managed to get the said certificate, it took a while and the end product is not according to the requirement I expressed (there are even some typo here and there) - but at least I have something in hand and I will have to live with any missing info. At the end of the day it was really a fight and an energy drainer to get that done.

Lesson learned here. If I will ever live a company again, during the transition / notice period I make sure to ask for as much as possible documentation/information which I can store for my own personal record.

Once again, thanks to everyone for all the support and suggestions.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Hi rotw,
Glad you got a resolution on this. If I may add my 2 cents (perhaps only for posterity on this old thread), consider the value of a reference letter typed by HR, versus a reference letter sent by your previous supervisor.
If I was looking at one or the other for a prospective employee, the one with the most weight would come from the supervisor. I wouldn't expect the paper from HR to contain anything but a job description and dates of employment.


RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Its actually a good point.
I actually have two letters from previous employers (called recommendation letter or "testimonial"...) which at the end have been signed by HR.
Clearly these have been drafted by the technical supervisor. Its a bit disapointing that at the end they did not sign.
I tend to think that it takes courage to give something. Sometimes I have a different interpretation that I did not perform good enough to deserve the signature of the technical boss. Dont know which one is true.
Dont know either if the letter will not be conveying by design a secondary or weak signal that a specialist at the other end would have no difficulty in getting as a "no no" coloured as a "yes yes". An example also of secondary order effect more powerful/devastating than primary one.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

I once had a previous supervisor who broke his company policy ("no recommendations") and gave a recommendation to an employer considering hiring me.
That act in itself, regardless of what he had to say, probably played a role in my getting the job.
I was very grateful to him for that.

The witches in HR would never do that for somebody.


RE: Request for a certificate of employment

I had a similar event when a company (GD), I was working for shut its doors , HR announced that they would not do any letters of employment , or references.
My supervisor gave me 3 or 4 sheets of paper with the company letterhead on it, and said, " You type it up, give me a copy ,and I will sign it.", which he did.
This definitely helped me to get my next job, which I started sn hour after receiving my final pay check from that company.
So remember they are not all bad guys out there.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

They are not all bad guys out there but too few have courage. How hard is it to be a decent human being and help others in their employment endeavors?

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Request for a certificate of employment

Maybe give them your first and last pay stub? It should have your title on it too.

Many of your larger companies have policies on this sort of stuff. The smart ones only provide title and dates of employment. Anything else is subject to a law suit. Recommendation letters, as mentioned, is the best way to assure you get a good reference. Also, do it before you leave, well before you leave.

When you resign from a company, some of them do not react well. I resigned from a company in good standing, gave them a 2 week notice to accept another position. I had great reviews etc. Three or four years later, I interviewed with another company and I was sure I got the job but they had to check employment references. I never heard from them again. I hired a job reference checking firm to contact my previous employers to see what was going on. Turns out, this company was bad mouthing me in a huge way. I hired a lawyer and got it squared away immediately (I hired the reference company 2 more times after some significant time elapsed to make sure they were not bad mouthing me again). I would encourage anyone to do this if you are ever in doubt or even if you are not in doubt.
Good Luck!

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