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, OR PROCESSING MACHINE OPERATOR CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
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 Expand
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.
Leadership
LOW
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Getting Information 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.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
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.
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.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
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.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Manual Dexterity The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Category Flexibility The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Information Ordering 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).
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Finger Dexterity The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
TOP SKILLS Expand
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.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
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.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
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