Money Smarts Blog

The Three Lists Every Teen Should Start Today

Feb 23, 2021 || Nikki Dingman, Contact Center Agent

woman holding up resume

They wanted seven years. Seven. Seven full years of residence and employment history to run the employment background check for my new job. Dang, I thought, I’ve lived everywhere during the past seven years, I’m going to need an extra sheet of paper for this.

In case nobody has told you yet, the world of grown-ups is full of forms and applications. You’ll apply for jobs, of course, but you’ll also apply to rent a house or apartment. You’ll apply for loans, mortgages, and credit cards. You’ll fill out forms and applications for all sorts of other things, too. Want to adopt a dog? Background check. Want to be a Sunday School teacher? Background check. Each of these applications will generally ask for a residence and employment history, sometimes stretching as far back as the last seven years.  

You can save your future self a lot of hassle by starting a few key lists today. A paper list is okay, but having electronic copies makes it easy to cut-and-paste when you’re filling applications out online.

Pro-Tip: Password protect your lists to prevent someone else from having access to your sensitive information.

List One:  A Residence History

The information on this list is pretty straightforward: It’s a list of your current and previous addresses. Include the dates you identified this address as your primary residence. Even if you’ve been living in the same place with your folks for the past 10 years, go ahead and start this list. 

Pro-Tip: If you’ve already lived several places now, and you’re not quite sure about all of your previous addresses, check your Amazon account for prior addresses to help fill in the gaps.


List Two:  Employer Addresses and Wage History

This list will help you track of the details that don’t really belong on your resume but are still important.  Both loan applications and job applications will want specifics of where you’ve worked, including an address and phone number. To make things even easier for your future self, add the company HR phone number to your list. Job applications will also usually ask for a supervisor name and what your starting/ending wage was. This information is easy to forget, so be proactive and start tracking it now.  

List Three: A Master Resume

You’ve probably heard that you need a customized resume for each job application. What a daunting task! Creating custom resumes is a LOT easier if you keep a master resume that lists anything and everything you did at each job. To create your customized resumes, you can compare the job description to what’s on your master resume, and then select what’s relevant. You’ll never send your master resume to anyone, so don’t edit yourself when it comes to deciding what to add to it. 

If you’re currently employed, you should revisit your resume at least twice a year. If you’re out of the job market but currently seeking work, you should refresh your resume as often as possible and as soon as anything occurs that may make you a more competitive candidate.

Set a calendar reminder to update your resume with new skills each September (which happens to be “Update Your Resume Month). As you’re watching the leaves change, why not get a leg up in your professional career? When the time comes to job hunt, you will thank yourself!

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