From mail handlers and carriers to executives and post office workers, more than 690,000 people work at the 37,000 United States Postal Service, or USPS, post offices, branches and stations. The USPS considers its full- and part-time workers career-track employees and offers them a range of benefits and opportunities. It also hires temporary or casual workers during busy times of the year. As of 2007, the last year for which USPS makes data available, women made up about 40 percent of the USPS carrier force, with 59,700 women working as city carriers and 36,600 working as rural carriers.
Clerks and Carriers
Full- and part-time employees, including security guards, make up the regular USPS workforce. Post office clerks or handlers and carriers perform many of the primary functions within the USPS. They sort and process mail and prepare it for delivery. Some clerks also work inside post offices, taking care of customer requests. Most full-time USPS employees start as part-time employees willing to work a flexible schedule.
The USPS hires a supplemental workforce to help during peak mail periods. The USPS calls these employees casual or temporary workers. Casual employees can work two 89-day terms in a calendar year, and can pick up an extra 21 days of employment during the holiday season. Casual employees do not need to take an entrance exam, but they are also ineligible to transition into career positions.
Sales and Marketing
With sales teams in 74 markets around the country, the USPS has positions available for applicants interested in sales and marketing careers. The USPS hires people into four types of sales and marketing positions – district managers of shipping and mailing solutions, shipping and mailing specialists, business solutions specialists and business alliance specialists. Candidates for these positions must meet eligibility and experience requirements. For example, the USPS requires its business alliance specialists have experience working with commercial business partners and vendors and a proven track record of closing large and complex sales.
The USPS offers development opportunities and training for its full- and part-time career-track employees. Employees who manage and maintain high-technology postal systems, vehicles and mail-processing equipment can train at the National Center for Employee Development. Applicants interested in supervisory positions with the USPS who meet eligibility requirements can take advantage of its associate supervisor program, which is a 16-week training program that combines classroom experience and on-the-job training. The USPS also offers employees the opportunity to enroll in managerial leadership and advanced leadership programs.
To work for the USPS, you must be at least 18. You can also start working for the USPS when you’re 16 as long as you have a diploma. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, and men born after December 31, 1959 must register with Selective Service. The USPS will run a background check on prospective employees and also requires them to submit to a drug test and health screening. If you want a job that requires you to drive, such as working as a city carrier or motor vehicle operator, you also must have a safe driving record. Certain positions with the USPS also require you to pass a postal service exam. The USPS posts jobs internally first and then posts them on external job boards and on its website.
- USPS: Employment Requirements
- USPS: Career Development
- USPS: Careers That Deliver
- Federal Jobs Network: Post Office Jobs and the 473 Postal Exam
- Federal Jobs Network: Qualification Requirement
- Federal Jobs Network: Post Office Jobs -- Clerks and Carriers
- USPS: USPS Employees
- USPS: Women Mail Carriers
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.