Page updated 7/16/2016
The Postal Service's eCareer application system process is automated. Instead of applying to take a standardized exam for a specific occupation, you now apply for an actual job vacancy. This is far more efficient, and you will know within two to six weeks of the job announcement’s closing date whether or not you are being considered for the position. Thousands apply yearly and their online application system collects background information, education, and work history when you first apply. This information is saved in your personal online profile and can be reused to apply for other jobs that you apply for.
Previously, the Postal Service scheduled regional examinations for major occupational groups. Applicants who passed the exams with a score of 70 or higher were added in rank order to a hiring list for each area. These lists became outdated quickly as applicants found other employment, and it often took up to two years or longer before you were called for an interview, depending on when the Postal Service needed to hire and where you were on the list.
Most positions, approximately 80 percent of all postal jobs, require passing a postal exam. Most tested positions are for city and rural carriers, mail processing specialists, mail handlers, sales, service, and distribution associates. There are also examinations for vehicle operators, mechanics, electronics technicians and others. A list of tested occupations is on page 23, and sample examinations are presented in Chapter Four of Post Office Jobs. Chapter Five includes a comprehensive study guide for the 473 Postal Exam that is required for most mail handling positions.
The remaining 20 percent of jobs, mostly corporate positions, do not require a written entrance exam. Your work experience, education and accomplishments are evaluated to rate you for positions. These jobs require that applicants prepare a detailed professional postal style résumé. A postal style résumé is considerably different from a standard one-page private sector résumé. More information on this application process is included in Appendix B of Post Office Jobs.
The U.S. Postal Service is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Hiring and advancement in the Postal Service is based on qualifications and performance regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, age, national origin, or disability. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or have permanent alien resident status, or owe allegiance to the United States of America to apply for Postal Service jobs. The majority of positions require passing a postal exam. Corporate and professionals such as doctors, engineers, and others are employed through an application and interview process that is similar to the competitive federal civil service program.
Postal installation managers are generally appointing officials and are delegated the authority to fill vacancies by transfer, reassignment, reinstatement of a former federal or postal employee, promotion, or from an entrance register of eligibles. Regardless of the recruitment source, the applicant must meet the qualifications of the position, including passing the appropriate examination. Examinations can be either written or a rated application process such as that used for corporate and professional positions.
The demands of many postal jobs in today’s work environment have changed the Postal Service’s recruitment efforts. They updated their recruitment programs to hire qualified candidates through the use of fair and efficient employee assessment systems. Their goal for recruitment is to attract an adequate number of qualified applicants for vacancies as they occur or in anticipation of pending vacancies. Local management evaluates its hiring needs. Evaluation consists of forecasting future hiring needs, assessing existing applicant pools, considering other hiring options such as special emphasis programs, and reviewing any upcoming Postal Service organizational changes.
Detailed information for federal job announcements, suitability standards, selection and appointment practices are included in the all new fourth edition of Post Office Jobs. You can also visit your local Library's Reference Department to review this informative book or order a copy on-line.
The Postal Service conducts interviews as part of the suitability recruitment process. You need to be prepared for these interviews. There are generally a good number of high scoring applicants and the selecting official will use the interview process to determine the best candidates for the jobs. Click here for more information on the interview process.
The postal Service initiated many changes to its recruiting program in 2008 including doing away with central hiring registers, eliminating the 460 postal exam for rural carriers, and they offered early outs to 100,000 Postal workers. This major initiative will streamline their hiring process and under this new program they will fill jobs based on projected vacancies and hire through job announcements when vacancies exist. Previously, the USPS would conduct tests in all major metropolitan areas regularly to maintain a large central pool of applicants that they could call as vacancies developed. Now, they advertise when the need arises and they set up testing through third party providers to conduct entrance exams as needed. This system is similar to the competitive civil service system that the federal government has used for many years. Use our guide to steer you through the new USPS recruitment web site.