Postal Service Mail Sorters, Processors, and Processing Machine Operators

Description

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.

Tasks

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

Knowledge

Food Production
Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Building and Construction
Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Biology
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Philosophy and Theology
Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.

Skills

Science
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Equipment Selection
Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Technology Design
Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Management of Financial Resources
Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
Management of Material Resources
Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.

Abilities

Spatial Orientation
The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Peripheral Vision
The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one's side when the eyes are looking ahead.
Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Night Vision
The ability to see under low light conditions.
Glare Sensitivity
The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.
Sound Localization
The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.

Interests

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.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

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.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Work Values

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.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Assorter
Automation Clerk
Computer Forwarding System Markup Clerk (CFS Markup Clerk)
Data Conversion Operator
Dead Mail Checker
Distribution Clerk
Distributor
Equipment Operator
Flat Sorter Operator
Flat Sorting Machine Clerk (FSM Clerk)
Letter Sorting Machine Operator (LSM Operator)
Mail Distribution Scheme Examiner
Mail Distributor
Mail Handler
Mail Handler Sorter
Mail Opener
Mail Processing
Mail Processor
Mail Sorter
Mail Weigher
Mailing Section Clerk
Parcel Post Distribution Machine Operator (PDPMO)
Postal Clerk
Postal Transportation Clerk
Registry Clerk
Small Package and Bundle Sorter Clerk (SPBS Clerk)
Sorter
Sorting Machine Operator
Window Clerk
ZMT Operator (Zip Mail Translator Operator)

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$25.52 hourly, $53,090 annual.
Employment (2008):
134,230 employees