Mail Carrier Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Mail Carrier, or Mailman, is responsible for delivering letters and packages to commercial and residential areas along a particular route. Their duties include sorting and processing mail at a post office, collecting packages and return mail from drop-off points and traveling by car, bicycle or on foot to take each piece of mail to its intended destination.

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Mail Carrier Duties and Responsibilities

In particular, Mail Carriers are responsible for:

  • Helping to sort and prepare the mail for delivery
  • Deliver mail to mail boxes, receptacles and other designated areas
  • Retrieve outgoing mail from businesses and residences
  • Collecting of monies for COD’s (Cash on Delivery) as well as mail marked “postage due”
  • Obtain signatures from customers for all mail that is registered, insured or certified
  • Lifting, carrying and delivering heavy bags of mail as well as packages of all sizes and leaving notices for packages that are undeliverable

What Does a Mail Carrier Do?

Mail Carriers work for federal and private mail delivery services to reliably deliver parcels and letters from the sender to the recipient safely and in a timely manner. They plan out efficient mail routes and prepare mail bags by organizing letters based on where along the route they are going. Mail Carriers systematically load packages onto mail trucks and secure fragile packages to protect their contents. They identify which packages need a signature to confirm delivery and post notices if the recipient is not home instructing them on how to receive their package.

Mail Carrier Skills and Qualifications 

There are many skills a Mail Carrier would benefit from, including:

  • Interpersonal communication: Since they must interact with an array of employees, managers and patrons each day, Mail Carriers must be friendly and skills in written and verbal communication. 
  • Strength and stamina: Mail Carriers must deliver mail in all types of weather. They must be able to walk and stand for long periods of time, while also carriers heavy bags and packages. 
  • Ability to work alone: Although they do interact with many people throughout the day, Mail Carriers must be highly comfortable working alone. 
  • Ethics: Given that Mail Carriers are tasked with handling an array of valuables and sensitive information, they must be highly ethical. 
  • Reliability: The timely delivery of mail and packages is important for an array of reasons. Therefore, Mail Carriers must be highly reliable. 

Mail Carrier Salary Expectations

The average Mail Carrier makes $19.06 an hour. This amount can depend on their level of experience, the area they have been assigned to and the hours they work. Additionally, since overtime is so common, the average postal worker makes $6,667 a year in overtime pay. The typical tenure for a Mail Carrier is one to three years. 

Mail Carrier Education and Training Requirements

The position of postal carrier is limited to U.S. citizens, citizens of U.S. territories, as well as permanent resident aliens. While 16-year-old high school students are occasionally hired, the average Mail Carrier is 18 years of age with a diploma or G.E.D. Additionally, mail-carriers must past an exam that tests their general knowledge of Mail-Carrier procedures as well as assess their attention to detail. Once they have passed the exam and acquired the position, they must pass a drug test and physical exam. They must also pass a background check and have a safe driving record. 

Mail Carrier Experience Requirements

In general, most Mail Carriers begin their careers as part-time employees. They then go on to become full-time employees and make bids for preferred routes, which are awarded based on the availability of positions, seniority as well as general skill level. They also have advancement programs that allow them to become eligible for supervisory positions in the future. 

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

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Frequently asked questions about Mail Carriers

 

What should you look for on a Mail Carrier resume?

A Mail Carrier’s resume should emphasize their reliability and dedication. They should be able to accurately and reliably complete competitive tasks and be able to complete their route regardless of the weather. Their resume should also highlight their driving skills and ability to navigate. Experience in administrative roles or other jobs where they have to stay organized can indicate a top candidate.

 

What makes a good Mail Carrier?

Good Mail Carriers enjoy having a routine in their job and getting to know the people along their route. While some Mail Carriers handle multiple routes, many Mail Carriers dedicate themselves to a single specific mail route, allowing them to make fewer mistakes or accidental deliveries. Successful Mail Carriers are detail-oriented, helping them avoid common mistakes such as delivering a package to a similarly named street. Good Mail Carriers are highly organized, able to quickly locate a specific letter or package when they arrive at a particular destination.

 

How many hours a day do Mail Carriers work?

Mail Carriers generally work during regular business hours eight hours a day, delivering mail every day of the week except for Sunday. In some areas, Mail Carriers only work five days a week and do not deliver any mail on Saturday or Sunday. Mail Carriers often work overtime during busy mail seasons such as Mothers’ Day and Christmas to deliver all packages on time by the intended date. Some Mail Carriers work shorts or longer days depending on their route and the volume of mail each day.

 

What is the difference between a Mail Carrier and a Delivery Driver?

Mail Carriers specifically deliver packages that have been shipped to a third party, acting as an intermediary between two people. The work for the U.S. Postal Service or a shipping company. Delivery Drivers can work for shipping distributors or as employees of a retailer or restaurant. People use Mail Carriers to transport packages to another person, while they use Delivery Drivers to have consumer goods delivered to their own home from a store. For example, many restaurants have Delivery Drivers to bring people food and furniture stores have in-house delivery to take large items to a customer’s home.

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