Postal Clerks


Employment Prospects


About 75,700 postal clerks work for the United States Postal Service (USPS). The USPS has few openings and is projecting to decrease its workforce by 21 percent from 2018 to 2028. More opportunities will exist with commercial delivery companies such as FedEx and UPS.

Starting Out

All new U.S. Postal Service employees serve a one-year probationary period during which their job performance and general conduct are closely observed. New employees generally spend a considerable amount of time memorizing postal regulations and operational procedures so that they may become proficient, accurate workers as quickly as possible.

After they have met the general job requirements and received a job appointment, most postal employees begin their careers as substitutes. These substitutes, who are listed on a roster in order of examination scores or by veterans' preference, may be called in as replacements for regular workers or to supplement the workforce. Vacancies in the permanent staff are filled by promoting the substitutes to regular employment according to seniority. The number of vacancies that occur depends on the size of the post office and the number of employees needed, as well as on the economic growth and population increases in the postal area served.

Package delivery companies prefer to promote employees from within the company, so the best way to enter is to start with an entry-level job as a package sorter. To advance to the level of account executive at UPS, prospective employees should have some college experience or a bachelor's degree in any field of study.

Advancement Prospects

Although the advancement opportunities for postal clerks are considered better than for mail carriers, they are still rather limited. Large numbers of postal clerks do not move up to higher-level positions; however, as they accrue seniority, individuals may bid (by written request) for more preferable assignments, such as window jobs or other work on the day shift. Assignments to any higher-level positions are based on merit, with consideration given to the employee's education, experience, training, and aptitude on written examinations.

Employees of UPS who want to advance to the position of account executive will most likely first hold a job as an administrative assistant to gain experience assisting customers.

Tips for Entry

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