If you want an indoor job with relatively routine work and decent pay, mail sorter might make a good fit. Mail sorters earned an average annual salary of $48,750 as of May 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; they manage much of the behind-the-scenes operations at a postal service location.
Mail sorters receive packages and letters dropped off in containers from mail trucks. Once you unload the containers, you check that packages and letters have clear and legible addresses. If not, the items are returned to the sender if possible or set aside. You also check for correct postage. If postage is insufficient, the sorter attaches a "postage due" label before processing the mail piece. You also ensure packages are durable and taped well enough to survive processing and transport.
Sorting and Routing
A core duty of a mail sorter is to process income mail and route outgoing mail. Each postal facility has its own equipment and procedures. Generally, though, outgoing mail is sorted based on the zip code and prepared for transportation to another postal zone. Incoming mail is usually sorted based on the routes assigned to drivers at the post office. Each driver is usually responsible for sorting the mail for each address before going out for delivery.
Equipment Operation and Maintenance
Sorting is completed through the use of processing equipment. The sorter loads the mail into the process for sorting. The equipment periodically requires adjusting to ensure accuracy. If the adjustment is small, you can often fix it yourself. If equipment runs down or requires more extensive work, the sorter lets the postmaster know to arrange for repair or replacement.
You also have record-keeping and coordination responsibilities as the mail sorter. You keep track of shipments so that other post offices know when to expect receipt. This is done through electronic tracking systems. The mail sorter is also responsible for ensuring each route carrier in the post office gets the mail for her route, and has pouches, sacks and necessary supplies for route sorting and delivery. During downtime, a sorter helps with a number of other organizational and cleaning duties in the backroom of the post office.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.