I'm completely confused. I am trying to apply to the post office and the application won't let me go on to the next page because they are asking for 5 years of work history, without date gaps. How does that work if you've worked at the same job for 4 years?

For example I started my job 10/2012 and quit 5/2016. How do you do that with no date gaps?

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    Presumably 8/2011-10/2012 <<something>>, 10/2012-5/2016 <<job>>, 5/2016-8/2016 <<something>> Aug 26 '16 at 1:01
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    Right. They mean "Don't leave anything out, and if you've been unemployed for any noticeable time in that period expect us to be concerned about it and either toss your application aside or ask about it during your interview."
    – keshlam
    Aug 26 '16 at 1:20
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    Is that that 4-year job your only one in the past five years?
    – user8036
    Aug 26 '16 at 7:47
  • Put in what you were doing before that. If you don’t have a good answer, you could write “personal development” or something like that. Nov 7 '17 at 20:21

If you find yourself with a gap, then you have to fill it with "education" or "unemployed" or, for a short enough gap, "vacation".

That's what they mean.

Just be sure that if you do put in "education" you will probably need to be able to provide evidence of the course you undertook.

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    Agree with this answer - having worked in government for several years, "without gaps" isn't punitive or searching for negative spots on record, but simply means fully account for all time over five years. Where I have gaps between employment I put "period of educational pursuit" and list the academic and self-taught courses I attend during that time. Aug 26 '16 at 13:56

Your employment history in the past five years should show continuous employment, for one or several employers.

Having worked for one employer for four years, for example, would be 4 years of work history without gaps. To make this the necessary five years, you simply provide information showing you were also employed (by probably a different employer or employers, but potentially the same) for at least a year in total prior.

The purpose of such a screening criteria is to ensure you have not spent significant time out of the workforce within (what they consider to be) a reasonably recent period, and as an additional indicator of those who may not be reliable or committed employees.

The date on which you start a new job should ideally (for them) be the same as the date on which you end the previous one, for all starts and ends of jobs in the time period. However, it will not probably be an issue if gaps are rare, or are very short (i.e. less than two weeks).

  • This doesn't answer the question
    – HorusKol
    Aug 26 '16 at 7:40
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    I think it is wrong to say that they are trying to screen out people with large periods of unemployment. Since this is a government job, I would bet that this information will go towards an extensive background check. For that they want to know everything, not just your favorable jobs. They are testing your honesty, to make sure you don't lie about where you have worked.
    – David K
    Aug 26 '16 at 11:55
  • A person who can't prove they've managed to hold a job consistently for five years is not going to be a suitable candidate for public service (in particular, and also for many jobs); too much investment in training for governments to want them walking out in two monhs. They test honesty by pulling up a criminal record; anything more than a speeding ticket is often enough to stop someone getting further.
    – user53718
    Aug 26 '16 at 12:02
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    @Nij You're dead wrong. There are lots of good, hardworking people who became unemployed and unable to find work for some period of time through no fault of their own.
    – DLS3141
    Aug 26 '16 at 15:21

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