Career summary

Details for Postal Service Mail Sorters, Processors, and Processing Machine Operators


Description

Prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. Examine, sort, and route mail by State, type of mail, or other scheme. 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. Must complete a competitive exam.

Tasks

  • Clear jams in sorting equipment.
  • Operate various types of equipment, such as computer scanning equipment, addressographs, mimeographs, optical character readers, and bar-code sorters.
  • Sort odd-sized mail by hand, sort mail that other workers have been unable to sort, and segregate items requiring special handling.
  • Direct items according to established routing schemes, using computer-controlled keyboards or voice-recognition equipment.
  • Check items to ensure that addresses are legible and correct, that sufficient postage has been paid or the appropriate documentation is attached, and that items are in a suitable condition for processing.
  • Bundle, label, and route sorted mail to designated areas, depending on destinations and according to established procedures and deadlines.
  • Move containers of mail, using equipment, such as forklifts and automated "trains".
  • Open and label mail containers.
  • Load and unload mail trucks, sometimes lifting containers of mail onto equipment that transports items to sorting stations.
  • Distribute incoming mail into the correct boxes or pigeonholes.
  • Rewrap soiled or broken parcels.
  • Train new workers.
  • Dump sacks of mail onto conveyors for culling and sorting.
  • Search directories to find correct addresses for redirected mail.
  • Weigh articles to determine required postage.
  • Cancel letter or parcel post stamps by hand.
  • Accept and check containers of mail from large volume mailers, couriers, and contractors.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Knowledge

Skills

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