Keeping Accurate Records


BS00076_After you start working, it is a good idea for you to keep copies of important records.You should start a file where you keep all of you employment records for the year.This is important for a couple of reasons.While most employers are not out to cheat you, errors can be made.If you do not keep a copy of records, you may never notice that you are not being paid what you owe and if an error is made, the longer it takes to notice the more difficult it will be to correct.††† Secondly, it is useful to keep records in order to assist in preparing for filing taxes.As a general rule, you should keep the copy of your pay stubs for one year.If there are no errors or they have all been corrected, you may then discard all but the last pay stub of the year, which will include the year-end totals for your income and all deductions.

Pay stubs

Each pay period when you get your check, you should carefully review it for accuracy.Verify your number of hours worked, pay rate, and any deductions (equipment, insurance, retirement etc.).Also verify that your vacation and sick time (if any) is accruing appropriately.The figure below is an example paycheck.Yours may look different but will contain the same basic information.




































Other Paperwork

If your employer offers insurance or retirement plans, you will receive information about the plans and the various options available to you.You should read each over carefully and decide which of the plans are best suited for your needs.If you have questions ask.If you are working for a small company, you can likely get the information from your supervisor.If you work for a larger company they will likely have an HR (Human Resources) department or benefits office that will be able to assist you.In most cases, full-time employees are eligible for benefits by 90-days.



j0234050If you followed the advice above, you already have the paperwork you need to estimate your taxes.While your tax forms are not due until April 15th each year, if you are receiving a refund the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your refund check.Many people are intimidated by filling out the tax forms but with a little time and patience, most people can file their own forms and save the cost of paying someone else to do it (usually $50 - $150 or more).

Tax Forms

The tax forms are available in January from the IRS office, libraries, and post offices.In most cases you will be filing the state short form (40S) and the federal short form (1040EZ).You can generally use the short forms as long as you meet the following requirements:

         You are single or married filing jointly and do not claim any dependents

         You do not claim a student loan deduction

         Your taxable income is less than $50,000

         Your taxable interest earned is less than $400

j0149345By January 31st, each of the employers you worked for in the previous year will send you a W-2 form showing the total wages earned and the total taxes paid.They will send these forms to the address they have on file for you so if you have moved, it is important that you let them know or complete a change of address form at the post office so they will arrive in a timely manner.While the year-end pay stubs you saved can help you prepare your taxes, you will need to include the appropriate copy of each W-2 when you file your taxes.If you do not receive W-2s from each of your employers by February 15th, contact them and make sure they have your correct address.If you have not received them by March 1st, contact the employer and ask for a duplicate to be sent.

Filing Your Taxes

Once you have all your paperwork, carefully follow the directions included in the front of the state and federal instruction booklets.If you are eligible for a refund, you will receive a check in the mail or direct deposited in your bank account.Depending on when you file your return, your refund will take 4-12 weeks to arrive.If you owe money, you will need to send payment in full no later than April 15th.

If you are having difficulty completing your tax forms, you can pay a professional to do it for you (it costs $100 or more), ask a trusted friend, or in many areas, there are tax assistance programs where you can get help at little to no cost.Check the local paper for times and locations in your area.With all of your paperwork together, you will need approximately 2-3 hours to complete all the forms and get them ready to mail.Before you send the completed forms in, it is a good idea to make a copy and keep it for your records.You should keep your tax records for at least 10 years.You may find it helpful to purchase a plastic portable file box to keep your important records in.

Other Records

Employment Summary

Any time you fill out an application or update your resume, you will need to have an accurate list of previous jobs including your job title, supervisorís name, duties, wage, and the dates you were employed.You can keep this information on a single sheet of paper and update it as you change jobs.

Educational Records

If you have completed High School or your GED (and when you get your AA or Bachelors Degree), keep your diploma or certificate of completion in a safe place.Occasionally employers will ask to see proof you have completed school.You may also wish keep a copy of your class work to show potential employers what classes you took.


You will need to show proof of who you are and that you are legally able to work.Your ID or driverís permit or license as well as your birth certificate and Social Security card will meet these requirements.It is important that you keep your birth certificate and Social Security card in a safe place and never carry them with you unless you need them.


As you receive important records from your doctor, work, school and other places, keep them in your folder or portable file box.


What is a resume?

Some people think of a resume as their "life on a page," but how could anyone put everything important about herself on a single piece of paper (or two)? Actually, resumes are much more specific, including only relevant information about yourself for specific employers.

Like a life, however, a resume is always growing and changing. As your career goals shift or the job market changes--as you grow personally and professionally--chances are you will need to re-write your resume or at least create new versions. Writing a resume is a lifelong process.

How do you know what in your life--past, present, and future--is most relevant to prospective employers? How do you select which information to include? The quick answer to both these questions is "it depends." It depends on your individual career goals as well as on the professional goals of the companies hiring in your area or field of interest. In the end, only you, through research, planning, questioning and self-reflection, can determine the shape and content of your resume, but the strategies below along with those on the job search, can help you ask the right questions and begin exploring your options.

Why write a resume?

PE01582_A silly question--to get a job of course! But why else?

         to persuade your readers you are the best person for the job

         to construct a professional image of yourself and establish your credibility

         to provide a sample of your written communication skills

         to convince prospective employers you deserve an interview

In some cases if you have experience and know of a specific job you would like to apply for, you should consider adding a cover letter to the front of your resume.

What is a cover letter?

BD10519_A cover letter introduces you and your resume to an employer, and you should send a cover letter with every resume you submit. In your cover letter, state why you are writing, why you are the best person for the job, and when you plan to contact your prospective employer.

Many people think that a cover letter is not as important as a resume. Actually, a cover letter is very important, because it gives you the opportunity to draw your readers' attention to specific qualifications. A resume presents a lot of information about your past employment and education, while a cover letter is more specific, targeted to a specific job and allowed you to feature specific qualifications that you think will impress the employer the most.

A cover letter is also important because it provides a sample of your written communications skills. Showing you can write well will demonstrate your intelligence and help to establish your credibility. Always write cover letters with care, because, like resumes, cover letters create an image of who you are as a professional.

You should plan to write a new cover letter for every position you apply for, because cover letters should be tailored to the needs of your readers. An employer seeking an electrical engineer, for instance, will be impressed by a different letter than an employer seeking a mechanic. Always bear in mind that the content of your cover letter should change from job to job.

This hypertext will provide you with guidelines for writing persuasive letters that demonstrate who you are as a professional. It addresses the following questions: What do I include in my cover letter? How do I organize it? How do I read job advertisements carefully?

How do I organize my cover letter?

A cover letter has four essential parts: heading, introduction, argument, and closing.

         A heading provides your contact information (your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address), the date you're writing, and the address of the company to which you are applying.

         An introduction begins with a greeting, such as "Dear Ms. Dawson," followed by a statement of who you are and why you're writing.

         In your argument, you should describe the most important qualifications that prove why you are the best person for the job.

         A closing reveals what you plan to do after your readers have received your resume and cover letter. Your letter ends with a salutation and signature, such as "Sincerely," or "Sincerely Yours."

Sample Cover Letter




Christopher Jones

2945 Willamette

Eugene, OR 97403

Tel: (541) 683-5555



June 12, 2003



Nancy Thompson, Human Resources Manager

Circuit City

375 Hayden Bridge Road

Springfield, OR 97477



Dr Ms. Thompson


Please accept the attached resume as the first step in applying for the position of sales associate in the music department of your Springfield, Oregon store.I have two years of customer service experience and sales experience as well as experience working a computerized cash register.In addition, I was involved in my schoolís music program and have a good working knowledge of music from jazz, country, and classic rock to R&B, hip hop, and pop music.I can answer a wide variety of questions customers may have.


I am anxious to speak with you and discus my potential to contribute to your organization.If you have any questions or need additional information please contact me at (541) 683-5555 or by email at







Christopher Jones

Sample Resume




Christopher Jones

2945 Willamette Eugene, OR 97403

Tel: (541) 683-5555




To find a full-time job in the local area that will allow me to use and improve my skills in the area of customer service.



         High School Graduate, Sheldon High School, Eugene, Oregon - 2004; GPA: 3.2..

         Subjects studied: Business Studies, Computer Studies.



Sales Clerk, Foot Locker, Summer 2003

         Responsible for customer service, and product sales.

         Operated networked cash register.

         Assisted store manager with inventory.

         Assisted with store opening and closing.


Dishwasher, Eugene Community Center, Summer 2002

         Organized a local advertising drive that increased the number of elderly people coming to the center by 20%.

         Organized games for people attending in the afternoons.

         Escorted some of the elderly people to and from the center.



         Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Office XP (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access).



         Working out, mountain biking, hiking, reading, chess, movies, music and theater.





Employment Mod 3 Ė Worksheet

1.     What information should you verify on your pay stubs?____________________________________


††††† ___________________________________________________________________________________


Use the example paycheck on page 1 of the module to answer questions 2-5:

2.†† How often does General Packing pay? __________________________________________________


3.†† How many hours of vacation time has Mr. Adams accrued?_________________


4.†† How many hours of sick time has Mr. Adams accrued?_________________


5.†† How much is Mr. Adams putting into his retirement plan each month?_______________


6.†† If you have questions about your companyís insurance or retirement plans who should you ask?


††††† ___________________________________________________________________________________


7.†† Why might you want to file your taxes before the April 15th deadline? ________________________


††††† ___________________________________________________________________________________


8.†† When do employers send out W-2ís?_______________________________


9.†† What can you do if you donít get your W-2 by March 1st?__________________________________


††††† ___________________________________________________________________________________


10.What are two things you can do if you are having difficulty filling out your taxes?_____________


††††† ___________________________________________________________________________________


11.How long does it take to receive your refund after you file your taxes?______________________


12.How long should you keep tax records?_____________________________


13.What should you do with your completed tax forms before sending them in?_________________


††††† ___________________________________________________________________________________


14.List two of the reasons given to write a resume. __________________________________________


††††† ___________________________________________________________________________________


15.Why is a cover letter different than a resume?___________________________________________


††††† ___________________________________________________________________________________





Arrange with staff-on-duty to use the student computer to create a resume.Use the resume at the end of the module as an example or use your own appropriate style.Turn it in for additional credit of 1-hour.