A Stack of Paperwork

January 4, 2006

Filling out the Personal History Form (PHF) is no joke. The form asks you to list every job you’ve ever had, and every domicile at which you resided since age 15. I was overwhelmed, so I called the folks at the City of Los Angeles for guidance. A friendly voice at the other end of the line told me that I should only be concerned with work history going back seven years, and residence history going back ten years.

As an added precaution, I did a background investigation on myself (online, around $40) and checked my credit report (you can do this for free). This helped me out quite a bit in filling out the PHF. Although the City of LA sent me a yellow-colored PHF to fill out, I found it to be much easier to download the PDF version of the same document from their website and type in my information. After spending roughly 20 hours on my PHF (a few hours here, a few hours there), it is now ready for submission.

I would recommend anyone going through this type of process to get an early start on things. Among other things, they want copies of your birth certificate, social security card and high school transcripts. It would behoove you to order these items early (if you’ve lost your Social Security card, for example, it will take the Social Security Administration two weeks to get you a new one), so you don’t look like a jackass when you show up for your initial background interview.

Now, it’s time for me to start thinking about what to pack. I’ll need my sharpest suit and shoes and a set of gym clothes and running shoes.


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