Postal Service Mail Carriers

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Also known as:
City Letter Carrier, Letter Carrier, Mail Deliverer, Parcel Post Carrier, Postal Mail Carrier, Rural Mail Carrier, Rural Route Carrier, USPS Letter Carrier

Video transcript

Postal mail carriers deliver mail to every business and residence in the country. Routes can cover just a few blocks in a city's central business district, several miles in small towns, or up to one hundred miles in remote, rural areas. Some carriers deliver the mail by foot, others use a vehicle - still others use a combination of the two.

Mail carriers may start work at the post office as early as 4 a.m., organizing the mail for their routes. Once in the field, carriers are on their own to complete their routes on time. Along the way, many have opportunities to meet and talk with people.

Mail carriers work mostly outdoors, in every kind of weather condition. They have to watch for hazards on their routes, such as wet roads or unfriendly dogs. The work is often strenuous. Carriers have to lift and carry heavy packages; some are on their feet for most of the day.

The volume of mail increases dramatically during the holidays and overtime is often required. To be a mail carrier, you must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You must pass a civil service exam, a physical exam and drug test. A valid driver's license and a good driving record is also required.

Local post offices and state employment offices have details and dates for the next round of entrance examinations. Mail carriers work full-time or part-time. Attaining full-time status means a high degree of job security.

Sort and deliver mail for the United States Postal Service (USPS). Deliver mail on established route by vehicle or on foot. Includes postal service mail carriers employed by USPS contractors.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Report any unusual circumstances concerning mail delivery, including the condition of street letter boxes.

Provide customers with change of address cards and other forms.

Turn in money and receipts collected along mail routes.

Sign for cash-on-delivery and registered mail before leaving the post office.

Record address changes and redirect mail for those addresses.

Bundle mail in preparation for delivery or transportation to relay boxes.

Maintain accurate records of deliveries.

Leave notices telling patrons where to collect mail that could not be delivered.

Return incorrectly addressed mail to senders.

Sort mail for delivery, arranging it in delivery sequence.

Answer customers' questions about postal services and regulations.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Sales and Marketing Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.