On the Job
Mail clerks sort, distribute, and prepare mail for offices or customers.
Mail carriers may be some of the most dedicated workers around. The inscription on many Postal Service buildings says it all: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." In addition to driving, biking, or walking house to house each day, some mail carriers go above and beyond to deliver the mail. In Fordsville, North Dakota the carrier assigned to Route 1 travels 176.5 miles each day to reach the 174 boxes on their route. In Arizona, some carriers use a mule train to bring letters and packages to the Havasupai Indians at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. To a mail carrier, this is all in a day's work.Mail clerks sort and deliver internal mail, such as memos and bulletins, as well as incoming mail. Mail clerks also prepare outgoing mail for delivery to the post office. Depending on the organization, this may consist of advertising, customer orders, or legal documents. Clerks also decide what type of mail service to use. For example, they may choose registered mail for an important letter, or third class for bulk mail.
Mail clerks use various machines to prepare outgoing mail. They operate machines that collate, fold, and insert print material into envelopes. They may operate addressing machines or use computers to make address labels. They operate postage machines and may sort large mailings by zip code. During these processes, mail clerks observe the operation of the equipment to be sure it works properly. They adjust machines and inspect the prepared mail for any errors. They stack bundles of bulk mail for shipment and load it into trucks. In addition, mail clerks keep records of incoming and outgoing mail. They often keep these records on a computer.
Some mail clerks work for private mailing services. These clerks deal directly with customers. When they receive letters or packages to be mailed, they inspect them to be sure they meet standards. They weigh letters or packages and compute the charges using rate charts. Sometimes they use scales that compute charges for them. In addition, these clerks answer customers' questions about shipping and mailing policies.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Sort and deliver internal or incoming mail.
- Prepare outgoing mail for delivery to post office and determine proper postage.
- Operate machines that collate, fold, and insert print material into envelopes.
- Operate postage machines. Group mailings by zip code.
- May operate addressing machines or use computer to make address labels.
- Observe machine operation to detect errors.
- Make adjustments to machines and inspect output for errors.
- Use computers to keep records of incoming and outgoing mail.
- Stack bundles of bulk mail for shipment. Load and unload outgoing and incoming mail.
- Answer customers' questions about shipping or mailing policies.
- Inspect outgoing packages and letters to be sure they meet standards.
- Weigh packages or letters, compute charges, and accept payment.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Handle and move objects.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Perform activities that use the whole body.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Control machines and processes.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Perform administrative tasks.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Inspect equipment, structures, or materials.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Process information.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a low level of social contact. They work mostly with mail and machines. When they do talk to others, it's by telephone or face-to-face discussions.
- Sometimes work as part of a team.
- Nearly always work indoors.
- May share the same work space with others.
- Must be very exact in their work and be sure all details are done. Errors could prevent important documents from being mailed on time.
- Repeat the same physical activities.
- Must allow their work pace to be determined by the speed of machinery.
- Must meet daily deadlines.
- May work part time or full time.
- Usually work regular business hours. May work evenings or weekends if employed by small mailing services.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Use hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Stand or sit for long periods of time.
- Repeat movements over and over.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Make fast, repeated movements of fingers, hands, and wrists.
- Use hands or fingers to grasp, move, or assemble small objects.
- Adjust body movements or equipment controls to keep pace with speed changes of moving objects.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with the body, arms, or legs. Sometimes these movements are made quickly and repeatedly.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Move arms and legs quickly.
- React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
- Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Use muscles to jump, sprint, or throw objects.
- Be physically active for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.