For This Issue
Some Postal Jobs Open
Some openings throughout the country. Written exam required for most. Practice is the key to scoring well. Click here to take practice exam.
The Postal Service has a huge workload. It delivers hundreds of millions of messages and billions of dollars in financial transactions each day as it serves eight million businesses and 305 million Americans.
Historically USPS employment levels have continued to rise as a result of its growing business. Increases in mail volume have historically led to increased hiring of both career and non-career or temporary, also called "Casual" employees. At present however postal volume has declined due to the recession and hiring is reduced. Few new hires, outside of casuals, are made in mail handler positions, although mainteance, truck driver and other non-mail handling jobs remain open. Hiring is expected to resume as mail volumes increase.
USPS employs 750,000 workers, including 235,985 veterans and 47,937 employees with disabilities.
The Postal Service has three separate categories for its employees. Workers fall under the titles of Career Bargaining, Career Non-Bargaining and Supplemental Work Force, or "Casuals."
Supplemental Work Force
Casual jobs run for a maximum of 90 consecutive work days. Casuals can be hired for two 90-day periods and one 21-day period over the course of a year. Candidates can serve these terms consecutively, meaning that a person could work 200 days in a calendar year. Individuals can serve as casuals for as many years as they desire. These positions are exclusively part-time and perform the same work as Career Bargaining jobs.
Supplemental Work Force salaries are paid on an hourly basis, with rates being determined by location and demand (up to $10.57 per hour). Those numbers work out to $21,985 annually for 200 days work (assuming an eight-hour work day and one-hour lunch as a casual). No exam is required.
Career Bargaining Jobs
Career Bargaining jobs include the largest group of Postal Service occupations, such as Clerk, Mail Handler, and Carrier. A majority of employees at these positions are paid at the PS-5 (Postal Service) or CC-5 (City Carrier) level. Salaries at the PS-5 and CC-5 grade levels start at $39,379 and reach just over $40,620 annually without overtime. Career bargaining employees work some 232 days per year (after deducting vacation, holiday and sick days).
Individuals interested in working for the Postal Service have different paths to follow according to the category for which they are applying.
Casual workers can simply go to the local Post Office at which they wish to work and apply. Casual workers are usually in demand during heavy mail seasons, especially Christmas. Large metropolitan areas also have a frequent need for casual workers during vacation season.
Candidates for Career Bargaining positions are required to take the Postal Exam. They can approach any local Post Office to find out if an exam is being offered. A list of locations offering the Postal Exam in coming weeks can be found on page 22 of FJD. Applications for Career Non-Bargaining openings must contact the District Office (listed in local telephone books).
Listed below are the steps that need to be followed to apply:
Step 1 - Apply for an Exam
Apply online or
Apply by phone - Call 1/866-999-8777 and follow the prompts. Announcement numbers are needed to apply.
Applicants need apply only once; duplicates will not be accepted. Applicants can get the announcement number by visiting the above website.
Step 2 - After applying for an exam
Applicants will be sent a package that includes the exam date, time and location, along with materials to help prepare for the exam.
Step 3 - Take the Exam
Applicants must receive a passing score of 70 on the written examination to receive further employment consideration.
Step 4 - Complete Supplemental Application
After passing the exam, applicants will be required to complete, within a specific time frame, a supplemental application describing knowledge, skills and abilities.
Step 5 - Employment Consideration
Candidates who are determined to be qualified, will continue the process for employment consideration.
The Post Office exam tests the applicants number sequencing ability, reasoning powers, and English competence. Applicants must be 18 or older and literate in English to take the test.
The Post Office offers ongoing examination opportunities. Individual Districts announce and administer testing and recruiting. There are 85 Districts nationwide, and often 20 or more subsidiary Post Offices report to a District. Each District maintains a Register of prospective postal employees, which is a ranking of candidates who passed the current test. The ranking is ordered by test scores, with the highest-scored tests first on the list. Applicants with a test score of 95 or above have a good chance of being hired. Veterans with preference points of 5 or 10 should score between 85 to 90 respectively to increase the probability of being hired. As the Post Offices in the District report vacancies, the District calls up, in rank order from the Register, candidates for appointment. When the number of candidates on the Register declines, the District schedules another examination.
The Post Office does not give much advance notice of exams due to the large numbers of applicants who have turned up for exams in the past. Anticipated exam dates are a closely guarded secret. Exams are given usually between 14 and 24 months apart.
Exams are announced a few days or a week before filing time. Applicants may apply either by phone or the internet. See previous information.
Improving Your Chances
One strategy which may help applicants obtain a job in the Postal Service faster is to take the exam in a less competitive area.
Generally, suburban and rural areas, as well as affluent areas (where postal salaries are less competitive and therefore attract fewer candidates), are less competitive than major cities. This strategy can result in a position involving a temporarily substantial commute. However, successful candidates put in a transfer request back to the originally desired location after serving the minimum time (usually six months) in the area where they took the exam.