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
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.
Prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. 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 other duties related to mail handling within the postal service.
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
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Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
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.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People
Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
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.
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.
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.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
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.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
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.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.