Postal Service Mail Sorters, Processors, and Processing Machine Operators

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Also known as:
Flat Sorter Operator, Flat Sorting Machine Clerk, Mail Forwarding System Markup Clerk, Parcel Post Distribution Machine Operator, Post Office Markup Clerk, Postal Service Mail Processor, Small Package and Bundle Sorter Clerk

ABOUT POSTAL SERVICE MAIL SORTERS, PROCESSOR, AND PROCESSING MACHINE OPERATOR CAREERS
Video transcript

The U.S. postal service handles more mail than any other postal system in the world. Organizing this vital stream of letters and packages is the responsibility of postal service sorters, processors, and machine operators - also called mail processing clerks. In small post offices, mail may be sorted by hand. In larger facilities, huge electronic letter sorting machines and computer scanning equipment are used.

These federal workers make sure each and every item of mail has the proper postage and is routed to the correct destination. This is a job that requires a sharp memory, good coordination, and the ability to read quickly and accurately. Many tasks are performed while standing, and there's plenty of lifting and reaching involved.

Sorting and processing an endless flow of mail can be repetitive, and during peak mailing periods, challenging. Night and weekend shifts are common. Most postal workers are trained on-the-job, but you must meet specific criteria to obtain a position in this field and competition is high.

You need to be at least 18 or a high school graduate, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien. In addition, you must be physically fit, and pass the postal service exam, as well as machine aptitude and drug screening tests. Then be prepared to wait a year or more before even a part-time position becomes available.

This is a career that will continue to attract more applicants than it has openings because of its relatively low training requirements, good benefits, and job security.

SNAPSHOT
Prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution for the United States Postal Service (USPS). Examine, sort, and route mail. Load, operate, and occasionally adjust and repair mail processing, sorting, and canceling machinery. Keep records of shipments, pouches, and sacks, and perform other duties related to mail handling within the postal service. Includes postal service mail sorters and processors employed by USPS contractors.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
LOW
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
LOW
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
HIGH
Daily tasks

Operate various types of equipment, such as computer scanning equipment, addressographs, mimeographs, optical character readers, and bar-code sorters.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
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.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
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.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
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.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
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.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
TOP SKILLS
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
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.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.