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USPS Careers in 2022

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If you are looking for a new career opportunity, then you should consider the variety available within the United States Postal Service (USPS).

It is not just being a postal worker – within the USPS there are a wide variety of career opportunities available, for all levels of experience.

The USPS is the second-largest employer in the US and careers with them are highly sought after.

This is likely because the post office has an effective career development program, designed to help all staff achieve the career that they want. Many people are drawn to the job security of working for such a large national employer.

The USPS is also highly regarded for its internships and professional development programs.

What Is the USPS? A Quick Overview

Here is a brief look at what the USPS is and why you may want to work for them:

Number of Employees

496,934 (as of 2019)

Employment Requirements

Be a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident. One of the reasons why the USPS is highly regarded as an employer is because USPS careers are accessible to all, including veterans and those with disabilities.

To apply for a USPS job, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Successful candidates must pass a criminal background check, as well as undertake a medical assessment.

If the post office job that you are applying for requires a driving license, you must have a safe driving record.

Career Opportunities

USPS jobs are broken down into two distinct subgroups – delivery and operations and corporate. There is a wealth of job roles available in each group:

Delivery and Operations Corporate
Automotive mechanic Accounting
Automotive technician Business
City carrier/city carrier assistant Finance
Custodian Logistics
Industrial engineer Marketing
Mail handler assistant Sales
PSE mail processing clerk Human resources
PSE sales & SVCS/distribution associate  
Rural carrier/rural carrier associate  
Tractor trailer operator  

Why Do People Want to Work for the USPS?

The USPS is known to be a great employer. Workers benefit from a variety of career opportunities, a clear career development pathway and an open and honest work culture.

2020 showed that working in a US Postal Service job will always be stable employment – the workers were considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic and so were not furloughed or fired.

Because the USPS only require a school diploma, those who have not had the same education opportunities are as eligible to apply for a post office job as anyone.

From an employment perspective, this means that the USPS is actively seeking to improve diversity and inclusion. Further, they pledge to offer career progression for all career employees regardless of their level of seniority.

USPS employees can also benefit from a wide range of employee benefits such as:

  • Annual and sick leave days
  • Employee assistance program
  • Employee wellness program
  • Health and life insurance
  • Relocation benefits (if required)
  • Retirement savings plans
  • Tuition assistance (if required)

Also, some USPS locations may offer access to fitness centers and parking privileges.

What Qualifications and Skills Will You Need to Work for the USPS?

While the only minimum requirement for getting some positions within the USPS is a high school diploma, the required qualifications will depend on the specific post office job that you are applying for.

After all, you can anticipate that a human resources manager may require different qualifications than a postal worker.

However, the USPS is committed to being open to all.

The USPS has an extensive employee training program that will allow you to develop new skills and gain further qualifications through on-the-job training.

To help your application for a USPS job to stand out, you may wish to use your cover letter or resume to highlight any particular transferrable skills relevant to the job role.

For example, if you are applying to work in a corporate role, you could use the skills section on your resume to highlight experience in Microsoft Office (particularly if you are asked to pass an MS Word or Excel test).

You may also want to use your cover letter to briefly reiterate certain key skills that might be relevant to the role. For example:

Remember: your cover letter should make the recruiter want to read your resume, not regurgitate the entire thing.

When you are starting your application process for a post office career, make sure to take the time to read about what is expected within the job role, as well as the job description itself.

Once you are clear about what the role is, you can tailor your application to highlight the most relevant skills.

What Graduate and Internship Opportunities Are Available Within the USPS?

The USPS has received plaudits for its graduate and internship opportunities.

Young people are drawn to a post office career because they trust the USPS brand – they know that they will be given ample opportunity to achieve their ambitions, regardless of what post office job they are working in.

Why Do People Want to Work for the USPS?

The USPS is known to be a great employer. Workers benefit from a variety of career opportunities, a clear career development pathway and an open and honest work culture.

2020 showed that working in a US Postal Service job will always be stable employment – the workers were considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic and so were not furloughed or fired.

Because the USPS only require a school diploma, those who have not had the same education opportunities are as eligible to apply for a post office job as anyone.

From an employment perspective, this means that the USPS is actively seeking to improve diversity and inclusion. Further, they pledge to offer career progression for all career employees regardless of their level of seniority.

USPS employees can also benefit from a wide range of employee benefits such as:

  • Annual and sick leave days
  • Employee assistance program
  • Employee wellness program
  • Health and life insurance
  • Relocation benefits (if required)
  • Retirement savings plans
  • Tuition assistance (if required)

Also, some USPS locations may offer access to fitness centers and parking privileges.

What Qualifications and Skills Will You Need to Work for the USPS?

While the only minimum requirement for getting some positions within the USPS is a high school diploma, the required qualifications will depend on the specific post office job that you are applying for.

After all, you can anticipate that a human resources manager may require different qualifications than a postal worker.

However, the USPS is committed to being open to all.

The USPS has an extensive employee training program that will allow you to develop new skills and gain further qualifications through on-the-job training.

To help your application for a USPS job to stand out, you may wish to use your cover letter or resume to highlight any particular transferrable skills relevant to the job role.

For example, if you are applying to work in a corporate role, you could use the skills section on your resume to highlight experience in Microsoft Office (particularly if you are asked to pass an MS Word or Excel test).

You may also want to use your cover letter to briefly reiterate certain key skills that might be relevant to the role. For example:

Remember: your cover letter should make the recruiter want to read your resume, not regurgitate the entire thing.

When you are starting your application process for a post office career, make sure to take the time to read about what is expected within the job role, as well as the job description itself.

Once you are clear about what the role is, you can tailor your application to highlight the most relevant skills.

What Graduate and Internship Opportunities Are Available Within the USPS?

The USPS has received plaudits for its graduate and internship opportunities.

Young people are drawn to a post office career because they trust the USPS brand – they know that they will be given ample opportunity to achieve their ambitions, regardless of what post office job they are working in.

USPS Careers
USPS Careers

USPS career progression is based upon four distinct training programs:

  • The Professional Development Program
  • Intern Program
  • Operations Industrial Engineer
  • Emerging Professionals Program

You can read more detail on their website but here is a quick overview of each one:

Professional Development Program

Length: 18 to 24 months

Eligibility: You must have graduated from an academic program within the last two years.

Ideally suited for Graduates with training in the following disciplines:

  • Business administration
  • Engineering
  • Human resource management
  • Industrial hygiene
  • Information technology
  • Marketing
  • Psychology

The USPS professional development program is highly competitive. Successful applicants get the opportunity to work in Washington.

It is designed to help graduates learn critical thinking skills and understand how they can improve their knowledge and practical skills.

During the course, you will have the opportunity to work closely alongside C-suite executive teams (such as the CEO) and at the end of the training, you will be placed into a full-time employment position.

During the training, you will have access to competitive salaries and benefits and will build a network of professional contacts who can help you to further your career.

Intern Program

Length: 10 weeks

Eligibility: Juniors, seniors and first-year master's students with 60 credits on their transcript.

Ideally suited for Students studying the following disciplines:

  • Accounting/finance
  • Engineering
  • Human resources
  • Information technology
  • Sales/marketing and supply

Key dates:

  Spring Summer Fall
Internships posted online September November February
Applicant interviews October January March/April
Applicants selected October/November January/February April
Internships commence February May September

The internship program is highly competitive, and applicants can use the experience to gain relevant work experience to add to their resume.

Internships with the USPS typically take place three times a year. They offer effective insights into the range of careers available with the US post office.

Your internship will align with your specialism and you will get to work alongside managerial teams on a variety of projects.

Operations Industrial Engineer

Length: 24 months

Eligibility: Candidates must have a bachelor’s/graduate degree in an industrial engineering or professional engineering program.

The course must be accredited by the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission.

Key dates:

  Spring Fall
Opportunities posted online Mid-January to mid-February September
Review applications February October
National hiring event March November
OIEs commence July January to June

During this two-year course, applicants will help to transform the USPS.

You will have the opportunity to work across all areas within the business, giving you greater access to the wide range of USPS jobs available.

You will use your industrial engineering knowledge to make rapid improvements and achieve a Lean Six Sigma belt certification.

During your two-year program, you will earn a competitive salary and have access to the wide range of benefits available for all USPS employees.

Emerging Professionals Program

Length: 24 months

Eligibility: Each department will have specific qualifying criteria.

Department Qualifying criteria
Controller Bachelors/graduate degree in accounting or a closely related field. You must have achieved a minimum of 24 semester hours of accounting, auditing, finance and business law coursework
Finance and Strategy Bachelors/graduate degree in finance, economics, statistics or a similar subject area
Pricing and Costing Bachelors or graduate degree in mathematics, statistics, economics, operations research or similar
Supply Management Bachelors/graduate degree in supply chain management, accounting, business, finance, business management, law, economics, asset management, logistics, material management
Treasury Bachelors/graduate degree in finance or accounting

During your two-year training, you will have the opportunity to develop your leadership skills.

The USPS recognizes that leadership skills are essential for the growth of the business, and they work hard to ensure that candidates can work across a range of projects.

Unlike the other career development programs offered by the USPS, applicants on the EPP program will receive salaries based on their experience and education.

Salaries may include performance-related bonuses and you may receive a pay rise upon completion of the program.

How to Find a Job With the USPS

The majority of USPS employment opportunities are listed on the USPS website.

This is the best place to search for USPS jobs, as well as to submit your application.

When you search for any post office openings, you need to remember that the USPS is a nationwide employer. Therefore, you may wish to refine your search to your location. You can choose to search for USPS jobs by state or by city.

You may wish to register for an account so you can submit your application and save details of specific post office jobs that you are interested in.

Further, you can save specific search criteria, making it quicker and easier to return to any advertised post office jobs.

What Is the USPS Hiring Process?

The majority of USPS job applications also take place via the USPS website.

Pay close attention – When you search for a US post office job, you may have multiple jobs listed with the same location, salary and requirements. This may be because it is a role such as a postal clerk where there are multiple positions available.

In these instances, you should select the specific jobs you want to submit your application for.

The USPS hiring process is quite specific. You will be expected to provide at least seven years’ worth of previous employment history, or back to the age of 16 if you are younger than 23.

You will be asked to provide full employment details (dates and names of the employer) or to explain any gaps in your employment history.

You may be asked to complete a summary of accomplishments; if so, you must ensure that your answers relate to the tasks listed in the job description. The hiring manager needs to know that your skills are relevant to the job advertised.

At this stage of your application form, you are limited to just 6,000 characters.

Make sure that you take advantage of all the spaces allocated on the application form, such as the work experience and skills/association text boxes to add in the supplementary information.

It is important to remember that careers within the USPS are extremely competitive, and as such, hiring managers can be discerning with who they choose to select for the next stage.

You need to ensure that your skills are as relevant as possible to the application and that you meet all the requirements set out by the job advertisement.

Will I Need to Take a USPS Exam as Part of the Hiring Process?

This depends on what type of job you are applying for. If you are applying for a corporate job within the USPS, you are unlikely to need to pass an exam.

This is because the hiring manager will look at your resume and your previous career and academic history.

However, if you are applying for an entry-level post office job where you may have less experience, such as a clerk or a rural carrier, you may be required to pass a virtual entry assessment (VEA). These assessments have replaced the previous postal exam 473.

There are distinct types of exams for different job roles:

Job Type Type of VEA
Mail Carrier Jobs MC 474
Mail Handler Jobs MH 475
Mail Processing Jobs MP 476
Customer Service Clerk CS 477

Some exams will be proctored (meaning you take the test at a dedicated test center), while others will be non-proctored, allowing you to complete the assessment at home.

If you are looking for a technical maintenance role in the USPS you will need to take the Postal Exam 955 as part of the application process.

It should be noted that pass rates for post office exams are low; therefore, if you are applying for a role that requires an assessment, you should take the time to prepare in full to maximize your chances of success.

Frequently Asked Questions

To apply to work for USPS, you will need to search for current job opportunities on the USPS website. If you are looking for vacancies within a particular area, the website allows you to refine your search to reflect this.

Once you have found a role you are interested in, you will need to provide information such as your employment history and accomplishments. Depending on the job role you are applying for, you may be asked to complete a USPS exam as part of the hiring process.

USPS offers its employees a competitive pay and benefits package. Salaries vary according to job role and location, but typically starting pay is from around $30,000 per annum.

When it comes to postal exams 474, 475, 476 and 477, USPS says that 80% to 90% of test-takers fail. This means that the test is generally considered to be difficult by most test-takers. Adequate preparation will help you to feel more confident about sitting the exam.

To pass the postal exam, you will need to achieve a score of at least 70. A score of 80 is generally considered to be a good score. However, as the hiring process for postal workers is very competitive, you must strive to achieve the highest possible score.

The highest score on USPS exam is 100. For the best chance of success, you should aim to achieve a score as close to 100 as possible.

You can view your exam results immediately, but it may take several weeks or months to hear back from USPS after the exam. You should check your email account regularly for updates.

The pre-hire list for USPS is an early part of the hiring process. It begins after an applicant submits their application and completes the postal exam. During the pre-hire list period, anyone considered to be a good fit for the USPS ‘on paper’ is asked to attend a series of further meetings and assessments.

Final Thoughts

The USPS is a great employer that offers effective career progression for all employees regardless of their seniority or type of employment.

It is easy to see why so many people are drawn to employment opportunities within the USPS. You can expect stable employment, despite the increase in usage of emails and other forms of communication.

As an employer, USPS puts its workers first. It strives to create an inclusive, warm and welcoming atmosphere, and employees feel taken care of. The wide range of career development opportunities makes a career within the postal service a key target for many graduates.

If you are drawn to a career within the postal service, you should carefully consider the entry requirements. Competition is fierce so the USPS can afford to focus only on those applicants who meet every single requirement.

It is therefore important that before you start to apply for any postal service job, you take the time to consider the skills and qualities needed and carefully craft your application to stand out from the crowd.


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