Employment at USPS
The United States Postal Service, commonly referred to as USPS or the U.S. Mail, represents the national independent agency of the federal government which is responsible with all tasks related to postal services in the country. The agency was formally founded in 1971, but its roots can be traced back to 1775. As a matter of fact, during that time, Benjamin Franklin was named the first postmaster general. According to official sources, USPS is one of the very few government agencies that have been explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution.
USPS handles a plethora of general domestic services such as delivering postcards, letters, large envelopes & packages. Other basic services include priority mail, priority mail express, first-class mail (for 2-3 day deliveries), media mails or library mails. Bulk mail services are also offered to individuals or companies who meet the following criteria: minimum number of items sent, weight limits met, readable bar codes, tray/bundle/pallet portioning according to destination etc. For additional information regarding bulk mail services we urge you to visit the company’s official website (www.USPS.com).
At present, The U.S. Mail offers the following services for additional fees:
- Collect on Delivery (C.O.D)
- USPS tracking
- Certified mail
- Restricted delivery
- Return delivery & receipt
- Signature confirmation
- Special handling
Even though the company has direct access to “U.S. Mail” marked letter boxed and personal letter boxes, it still meets competition from private package delivery services such as FedEx or UPS (the American Expediting Service). In 2006 the Congress of the United States passed the Postal Accountability & Enhancement Act, which decreed that 5.5 billion dollars would be placed into an account every year in order to cover employee benefits & retirement costs for USPS workers. The problem was that revenue for USPS started dropping abruptly soon after 2006, due to a decline in mail volume. This forced the company to look for alternative sources of revenue, all while struggling to cut costs to overcome the budget deficit. Ultimately, The United States Postal Service lost approximately 5 billion dollars in 2014.
Despite these problems, USPS remains the second largest civilians’employer in the United States. A staggering 626.764 (489.727 career) people are part of the work force, according to January 21, 2014 statistics. As you would expect, workers are divided between different departments according to their specialization (post offices, delivery and processing centers, post offices etc.).
Working with USPS can be a great experience career-wise because it offers opportunities for growth, but also because employees are protected by various labor unions such as the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) – a labor union representing motor vehicle, postal clerks, mail equipment, distribution centers, facilities services employees, IT and accounting -, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA), among others.
United States Postal Service Application
There are many reasons to want to work with USPS, but the first step to getting hired is actually starting to search for a jobs. There are several ways to apply for USPS careers. The first one would be to apply in person. Given that there are thousands of post offices in various locations around the United States (examples: California, Michigan, Seattle, Richmond, San Diego, Philadelphia, Virginia, NYC, Florida, Texas, Chicago, Houston, Massachusetts, Washington, Ohio, Oregon, Maryland, Utah, California, Michigan, Georgia, Oregon, Dallas, TX, Richmond, Colorado, Seattle, MA, CT, Wichita, Illinois, VA, Charlotte etc.), it would be a good idea to take a look at the page of post offices in the country.
Another method would be to submit for a job online. The US Postal Service has an excellent website dedicated to its employees and job-seekers. The official careers can be found at USPS.com. Job listings can be accessed through the www.liteblue.usps.gov site. Also, job listings can be seen and filtered here. More details on how to use the liteblueservice, and how to apply for USPS post office jobs can be found below.
Minimum Age for Employment at USPS
While it may be tempting to apply for a USPS job openings right on the spot, there are a few things you should consider before applying. One of them would be age requirement. Applicants will be taken into consideration only if they are 18 years old, or if they are 16 and with a high school diploma.
United States Postal Service Hours of Operation
It would be difficult to give an exact schedule for post offices, as most of them work independently. However, most offices work Monday to Friday between 7:30 Am and 4:00 PM, Saturday from 7.30 Am to 9.30 PM. They are closed on Sunday. Other offices have extended hours of operation – until 7:00 PM during work days.
Monday – Friday: 7:30 AM – 11.30 AM / 12:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday: 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Deliveries are made non-stop, and opening hours may vary.
Entry-Level USPS Careers and Income
Considering that there are approximately 650.000 employees for USPS at the moment, it is safe to assume that both entry-level applicants and candidates with higher education can find USPS jobs. Remember the classic American movies where the clumsy mail delivery boy always throws the paper in the wrong place? Even candidates as inexperienced as that can secure a USPS career.
There are various US postal service employment opportunities available for interested candidates. The multi-billion dollar organization offers countless of offers for meaningful careers with a plethora of specializations including technical, administration and deliveries.
Examples of USPS jobs: letter carrier, mark-up clerk, distribution clerk, postal clerk, general mechanic, mail handler, custodian, delivery boy, safety officer, distribution manager, branch postmaster, administrative manager, accounting manager, truck driver, quality inspector, grader, customer service representative, labor relations representative, electronic engineer, industrial engineer, technical writer, delivery expert, computer programmer, computer system analyst, stationery engineer etc.
It would be impossible to list all the entry-level USPS careers, so we will settle for the three major crafts within the company:
- Mail Handlers & Processors: are responsible with the preparation, loading, unloading, separation and organization of mails and parcels to various zip-codes, stations and delivery areas. Mail handlers & processors usually work with larger mail facilities or plants. Their job responsibilities and duties include creating reports of packages deliver, keeping track of mails and taking orders.
- Mail carriers: they are often referred to as mailmen or letter carriers. This is probably one of the most common careers within the postal office. Mail carriers are divided in to major categories: city letter carriers – represented by the NALC, and rural letter carriers – represented by the NRLCA. The advantage of working as a city letter carriers represents over-time pay for every extra hour after the 40 hours of weekly work duty. On the other hand, rural letter carriers are required to have excellent physical condition and work regardless of weather conditions. City carriers will often carry three bundles of mails (letters in hand, magazines in the other & additional documents such as advertisements in their bag). Parcels and other delivery items are checked at different scanpoints en-route. Every parcel has mailbox barcodes that are checked every 30-40 minutes, in order to keep better track of the carrier’s whereabouts and activity. Rural carriers are paid under a form of salary called “evaluated hours”. This means that over-time and extra hours are calculated as part of their basic salary. In general, all packages and deliveries are counted after two or three weeks and evaluated with the help of a special formula.
- Clerks: can be found in any post office. They also serve other available positions in distribution centers and smaller scan points. Clerks have dual function, depending of the area & department that they are assigned to. For example, window clerks must handle customers directly. Therefore, social skills and a positive attitude is required for employment consideration. In addition to this, window clerks must sort mail, first class letters and prepare packages for carriers on the work floor. Other clerks work alongside handlers in larger handling facilities. This means that they do not come in direct contact with customers. These operators will encode address information and assist carriers.
USPS Average Salary for postal service jobs:
- Accounts Payable Clerk: 34.000$/year
- Administrative Assistant: 38.000$/year
- Cashier/Clerk: 40.000$, roughly 15$ per hour
- Casual Clerk: approximately 11.00$ per hour
- Mail handler: approximately 11.00$/hour
- Customer Care supervisor: roughly 15.00$/hour
- Customer Care Representative: 35.000$/year
- Data technician: 57.000$/year
- Distribution: 57.000$/year
- Electronic technician: 60.000$/year
Additional non-managerial US Postal Service Jobs:
If you are interested in other career paths with the United States Postal Service there are several industry-specific jobs for engineers, analysts, programmers etc. Here are a few examples:
- City Carrier Assistants: In the past, PTF city carriers were hired. This position was abolished with the DAS arbitration award. At the moment, TE City carriers can become CCAs (city carrier assistants). CCAs are non-career employees (approximately 130.000 of the company’s employees), who are hired for a 360 day contract. These individuals benefit from annual leave and they also have access to full-time USPS career opportunities.
- Maintenance & custodians: Are responsible with the cleaning & sorting of mails, machinery, general facility equipment etc.
- Transitional Employees: They are basically employees under clerks, but with a different contract. They usually operate in plants or special facilities.
Corporate & Management USPS Careers
Besides entry-level positions, the company also offers USPS careers in the administrative department. As you would expect, applicants for management positions are required to have some level of education or experience in the managing department. Due to the broad scope of USPS careers, most of the working conditions that you have grown accustomed to in the private sector also apply to the public one.
Management USPS jobs are available in the administrative, human resources, logistics, engineering and accounting & budget sectors. Individuals who shine through as natural born leaders or who have exceptional organization skills will be considered for one of the following positions:
- Information Technology – Business System Analyst, Information System Specialists, System Analyst
- Network operations – Transport Specialist
- Finance – Accounting manager, economist, mathematical statistician
USPS will regularly hire exceptional candidates for management positions, but it also has career development programs that will help regular employees achieve their career dreams. Here are a few programs worth considering:
- Associate Supervisor Program (ASP): great workers are selected and enrolled in this program. They will be trained for first-line supervisory positions. During the Associate Supervisor Program employees will learn operational administrative, technical and leadership skills with the help of on-the-job assignments.
- Advanced Leadership Program: This is a 3-week Executive Competency Model course. During training sessions employees will learn about business foundations & the essentials of becoming a great leader, business leadership & case presentation, personal development etc. Eligible candidates must be nominated by sponsoring managers & Vice-Executive presidents.
- Managerial Leadership Program: This two week program is based on the Managerial Competency Model. Employees will learn about interpersonal & developmental aspects of being a manager, team development and power & influence. Only high-potential managers seeking to improve their career, and who are not already in the Corporate Succession Planning (CSP) course are allowed to attend MLP.
Basic Tips for Applying at USPS
As mentioned above, there are two basic ways of applying for jobs. If you decide to submit your USPS application in person, it would be best to check out the closest locations beforehand. Applying a person can be a good idea especially if you follow-up with the hiring staff. This will prove that you are truly interested in a position with the company.
If you decide to apply online, the process is extremely simple. On the official website (www.usps careers.com) you can find information about anything related to careers, from requirements and positions to salaries and verification tests. Individuals who are already employees for USPS can check their status & other information on the lite blue gov website (www.liteblueusps.gov). The Liteblue community has tons of useful information for workers. You require login details (that you must fill in each box) in order to login on the website. For more information about the liteblue.usps.gov service you should check out the careers page.
If you are applying for the very first time you will want to go to the career website (wwwuspscareers com or www.united post office career.com). On this page you will see a side-bar with Job Search & Application, Employment Requirements, Career Development, Compensation & Benefits, Workplace Culture and USPS Employees. Navigate to Job Search & Application online once you are ready to submit your documents for USPS employment. You can search for jobs without registering an account. Simply use the filters (if necessary). You can do a full text search, or narrow down results with the help of Location & Functional Area filters.
The website will bring up results automatically. You can click on every result for more information. Once you have found a suitable position you can click on Apply to send in your USPS application.
Additional Qualifications for Employment:
- Applicants must be U.S. citizens, have a “green card” or be members of territories that ow permanent allegiance to the United States.
- English skills are an absolute must to be considered.
- Job Seekers for post office employment must undergo thorough criminal checks and drug screening.
- If you are applying for a driver USPS career you must have a safe record.
- Medical assessment tests are required for applicants who wish to work in the delivery & handling departments.
- Males born after 1959 must have registration with SSS (the Selective Service System).
- Upon application, individuals must submit their 10-year work history.
Advanced tips for Applying at USPS
On USPS-liteblue you can also find listings of internal jobs. These jobs are available only for USPS employees or summer workers. Starting with April 28, 2014, USPS has implemented a 4-digit PIN login requirement for its employees. With the help of this service employees can also leave their feedback or change benefit selections.
If you are a first-time applicant for United States Postal Service jobs here are a few tips that will help you nail the job:
- Before you submit your application for US Postal service careers you should learn a little bit about the company’s history and policies. This will not only help you during the interview, but it will also demonstrate to the hiring personnel that this is not just another job for you.
- Make sure that your application has no grammar or spelling errors. Considering that solid English skills are a must for any type of job, you should avoid potentially harmful errors.
- If you are applying for seasonal, part time, temporary or summer USPS careers you should clearly state the date that you wish to work in.
- Don’t forget to add your personal information, contact details (phone number, email, address etc.) in case you are considered for a position.
- If you are not 100% satisfied with your application we suggest that you wait one day before submitting it. You can also run it by a friend and ask for suggestions of improvement.
- Consider adding additional documents that will make your USPS application shine through: cover letter, complete CV, references etc.
- Considering that the U S Postal Service is the second largest employer of civilians in the country it is safe to assume that hiring managers have to go through hundreds of applications every day. This is why it is a good idea to make your introduction short, to the point and compelling. What sets you apart from other job-seekers? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What would trigger a reaction from hiring personnel?
United States Postal Service Application Status
The USPS hiring process takes around two weeks to complete for entry-level positions. After approximately 5 to 10 days you will be contacted by a hiring manager in regards to your application. If you are still unsure how to apply for more jobs, you should read the information on the company’s official page. The United States Post Office has an extensive database of jobs, each of them with its specific requirements and job description and duties.
Assuming that you did not receive an answer after 10 working days, you should consider contacting the location that you applied for. Even if applications are not accepted, a hiring manager should be able to tell you about its status. You could also visit the location in person and drop your application, CV and cover letter. The only thing you should worry about is not coming across as desperate or pushy. Try to call or visit during working hours so as not to interrupt managers during their break. If possible, book an appointment.
Official site: www usps.gov
Benefits at USPS
As we already mentioned, there are various benefits associated with postal service jobs. Besides clear career opportunities and a positive working environment, employees will also be able to enjoy competitive salaries and several non-wage benefits.
Here are some of the most important non-wage benefits available as of 2009:
- Retirement & Flexible Spending: Employees with the United States Postal Service will benefit from great retirement plans through the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). This plan is extremely similar to 401 (k) plans. One year of employment is required before workers can enlist for the tax-free Flexible Spending Account (FSA) program.
- Paid Leave: Eligible candidates for USPS employment will also receive generous packages for annual leaves. The number of paid days is determined according to length of employment.
- Life Insurance: USPS offers basic life insurance coverage through the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Program. Value of coverage and payroll deduction will alter according to tenure.
- Compensation Bonus: We already mentioned competitive pay, but it’s worth mentioning again. Alongside regular salaries, the U.S. Postal Service also offers bonus payment for night shifts, differential packages, and premium pay increase of 25% for over-time work. In addition to this, regular salary and compensation increases will be given to constant & reliable workers.
- Other bonuses: Oh… but the bonuses don’t stop here! USPS also offers ten annual holidays, veterans programs, Medicare & Social Security coverage to its employees. Of course, uniform costs are supported by the company.
USPS Interview Tips & Hiring Process Information
Once you have submitted your USPS jobs and employment form there is not much to do but wait. If you are confident that you will receive a call back, you could start practicing for your interview, and if it is the case, employment test. Below, you can check some frequently asked interview questions for postal service jobs as well as tips.
- Dress business-casual or business. Considering that this is a government organization, a proper attire is mandatory for first impressions during an interview.
- Body language is very important during an interview. Make sure you stand up straight, offer a firm hand-shake and maintain eye contact.
- Try to answer questions concisely and to the point. Although emotions are normal, try to keep them at bay.
- Never lie to hiring managers. They have probably already conducted a background check on you.
- Highlight your strengths and talk about team work, ability to grow, flexibility and availability for long hours or weekend program (if you are available).
- Smile and be polite. After the interview is over thank the hiring personnel for the opportunity.
- Sit back and relax, you got this!
Frequently Asked USPS Interview Questions
There are several frequently asked interview questions. If you are applying for a specific job you should keep in mind that there are several exam & test phases that you might have to complete after the interview. For interview answers we recommend you to visit Glassdoor’s page on United States Postal Service jobs.
- Why did you apply for USPS careers?
- Do you work better in a team or alone?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- How fast can you start?
- Are you available for night-shifts or extra hours?
- If you caught one of your colleagues stealing from the office, what would you do?
- If you were faced with an unexpected inspection, would you alert the manager about serious problems or would you try to resolve them to the best of your abilities
- What is the difference between a postmaster and a mail carrier
- What do you know about USPS?
- What work experience do you have for years 2013 and 2014?
- How would you make a client feel welcome in the post office?
- Would you do a customer’s bidding if he was rude to you?
- How would you handle a rude customer?
If the interview is successful you will enter a testing period. If your work ethic proves compatible with USPS you will receive a permanent position. Upon hiring you will also receive an employee handbook with rules and regulations that you have to respect.
This concludes our list of tips & tricks for US Postal jobs. If you have further questions regarding testing, exam schedules, services, discounts or USPS passport feel free to check the official website: www.postoffice com. (website is mobile friendly)
Assistance & Hotline numbers: Call 1-800-ASK-USPS® (1-800-275-8777)
Address for Letter & Mail: –
News Page: https://www.usps.com/
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