Postal Service Clerks
Perform any combination of tasks in a United States Postal Service (USPS) post office, such as receive letters and parcels; sell postage and revenue stamps, postal cards, and stamped envelopes; fill out and sell money orders; place mail in pigeon holes of mail rack or in bags; and examine mail for correct postage. Includes postal service clerks employed by USPS contractors.
Sample of reported job titles: Bulk Mail Technician, Clerk, Distribution Clerk, Part Time Flexible Clerk (PTF Clerk), Postal Clerk, Sales and Distribution Clerk, Sales and Service Associate (SSA), Window Clerk
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Weigh letters and parcels, compute mailing costs based on type, weight, and destination, and affix correct postage.
- Check mail to ensure correct postage and that packages and letters are in proper condition for mailing.
- Sort incoming and outgoing mail, according to type and destination, by hand or by operating electronic mail-sorting and scanning devices.
- Obtain signatures from recipients of registered or special delivery mail.
- Answer questions regarding mail regulations and procedures, postage rates, and post office boxes.
- Transport mail from one work station to another.
- Sell and collect payment for products such as stamps, prepaid mail envelopes, and money orders.
- Keep money drawers in order, and record and balance daily transactions.
- Register, certify, and insure letters and parcels.
- Complete forms regarding changes of address, or theft or loss of mail, or for special services such as registered or priority mail.
- Receive letters and parcels, and place mail into bags.
- Put undelivered parcels away, retrieve them when customers come to claim them, and complete any related documentation.
- Respond to complaints regarding mail theft, delivery problems, and lost or damaged mail, filling out forms and making appropriate referrals for investigation.
- Provide assistance to the public in complying with federal regulations of Postal Service and other federal agencies.
- Rent post office boxes to customers.
- Provide customers with assistance in filing claims for mail theft, or lost or damaged mail.
- Set postage meters, and calibrate them to ensure correct operation.
- Feed mail into postage canceling devices or hand stamp mail to cancel postage.
- Cash money orders.
- Order retail items and other supplies for office use.
- Post announcements or government information on public bulletin boards.
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- Accounting software — Budgeting software
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Delivery operations information system DOIS
- Human resources software — Time and Attendance Collection System TACS
- Inventory management software — Inventory tracking software
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Point of sale POS software — NCR Advanced Store
- Time accounting software — Electronic Time Clock ETC
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- 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.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
- Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
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- 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.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- 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.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- 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).
- 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.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without “giving out” or fatiguing.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- 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.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
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- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- 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 materials.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Sell products or services.
- Collect deposits, payments or fees.
- Calculate shipping costs.
- Weigh parcels to determine shipping costs.
- Maintain financial or account records.
- Verify shipping documentation.
- Arrange insurance coverage.
- Prepare documentation for contracts, transactions, or regulatory compliance.
- Prepare outgoing mail.
- Sort mail.
- Receive shipments.
- Store items.
- Obtain written authorization to perform activities.
- Refer customers to appropriate personnel.
- Respond to customer problems or complaints.
- Explain regulations, policies, or procedures.
- Assist individuals with paperwork.
- Deliver items.
- Adjust office equipment to ensure proper operation.
- Load materials or equipment.
- Execute sales or other financial transactions.
- Order materials, supplies, or equipment.
- Provide notifications to customers or patrons.
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- Contact With Others — 90% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Deal With External Customers — 78% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 52% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 55% responded “Extremely important.”
- Physical Proximity — 54% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 56% responded “Extremely important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 47% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 44% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 37% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 65% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Telephone — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 66% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 66% responded “40 hours.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 30% responded “Very important results.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 32% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 32% responded “More than half the time.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 24% responded “No freedom.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 37% responded “Not important at all.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “Limited responsibility.”
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|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related 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.|
|Job 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.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|68||High school diploma or equivalent
|18||Some college, no degree|
|8||Less than high school diploma|
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Interest code: CR Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- 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.
- 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.
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- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
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- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$24.11 hourly, $50,150 annual|
|Employment (2020)||82,800 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||5,800|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
- Association for Postal Commerce
- National Association of Letter Carriers
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Postal service workers
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