A mail handler job description calls for an individual who can work on his or her feet and walk for long periods of time. These individuals may work directly for the United States Postal Service or for another company, sorting mail before it is delivered to its employees.
A mail handler works in five various task categories throughout the day: preparing mail, dumping mail, loading containers, moving equipment, and operating vehicles; he or she prepares mail for delivery by mail carriers.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Mail Handler
- Operates sorting and other machinery to sort packages.
- Operates vehicles for the purpose of loading mail onto trucks.
- Works the front counter of a post office as a clerk to sell stamps, boxes and other items.
- Works with the general public to answer questions at the post office.
- Organizes mail according to address and location before it is provided to the mail carrier who will actually deliver it.
- Weighs packages and applies the correct postage for consumers.
- Ensures that mail brought in by mail carriers is properly routed so that it can get to the correct destination.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Demonstrates the ability to work on his or her feet for long periods.
- Possesses the ability to regularly lift 50 or more pounds.
- Displays manual dexterity and the ability to use his or hands quickly in order to achieve the desired result.
- Shows the ability to pay close attention to detail, particularly when working with heavy or dangerous machinery.
- Possesses time management skills and the ability to perform more than one task at a time.
- Shows the ability to perform tasks in chronological order and according to a set system or set of rules.
- Displays the ability to almost instantly determine differences and similarities between sets of letters, documents, postcards and packages.
Education and Experience
A mail handler is not required to have any formal education outside of a high school diploma or a GED. While mail handlers who work internally for corporations may not be required to do so, those who work for the USPS are required to take a test in order to prove that they understand the complexities of the job. Many of these individuals receive all of their training on the job and participate in short-lived apprenticeships to prove their capabilities. Corporations hiring mail carriers typically do not require candidates to have any experience in mail handling as long as they are able to handle the tasks assigned to them.
While a mail handler will spend much of his or her time indoors sorting and routing mail, he or she may need to venture into the elements from time to time to load mail trucks. Since large machinery is used during the sorting process, the job does have the potential to become dangerous; employees will be instructed in safety protocols on the job. The employee will be required to stand for eight or more hours per day, but rarely do shifts exceed eight hours; mail handlers do not usually work more than 40 hours per week.
The average mail handler salary is about $48,750 per year in both the USPS and other industries. Some of the things that influence the amount of money a mail handler earns include his or her experience, level of education and proficiency at the job.