Mail Sorter Job Description
Mail sorters open and sort mail and packages to ensure that items are going to the right recipients. Mail sorters must also inspect all incoming and outgoing mail. Mail sorters work in corporate office environments, shipping businesses, and for the government at U.S. Postal Service branches. Typically, people in this career work daytime weekday hours and report to mailroom supervisors or managers.
Mail Sorter Duties and Responsibilities
Multiple types of businesses, including the government, hire mail sorters to work in busy mailroom environments. In all industries, the essential duties for mail sorters remain the same and include the following:
Route Mail to the Right Recipients
Primarily, mail sorters sort and deliver mail to the addressees or place it in boxes or baskets for addressees to find. They must work quickly and efficiently because they’re often responsible for handling hundreds or thousands of pieces of mail every single day.
Review Outgoing Mail
Mail sorters must review all outgoing mail to ensure that proper postage is applied and that all address information is complete and written legibly.
Keep Mail Room Clean and Organized
Mail sorters are also responsible for keeping the mail room clean and well-organized, which requires performing some light custodial work.
Return Problem Mail
When mail is found to be damaged or incorrect in any way, mail sorters must route this problem mail to the proper department or return it to the postal service that delivered it.
Mail sorters must inspect all incoming mail for signs of tampering or potential damage, due to the fact that dangerous items are sometimes sent through the mail.
Wrap Packages and Stuff Envelopes
Mail sorters may also be required to wrap packages, apply shipping labels, and stuff envelopes to be sent out for delivery.
Mail Sorter Skills and Qualifications
Whether mail sorters work for private or government businesses, they are required to perform certain core duties regularly. Companies hiring mail sorters seek those with these essential skills:
- Reading comprehension – mail sorters must absorb a great deal of information quickly by glancing at envelopes and packages, so strong reading comprehension is highly desired by employers
- Detail oriented – mail sorters review all incoming and outgoing mail, so people in this profession need to be very detail oriented
- Physical stamina – because mail sorters lift and move packages and must work quickly, a certain amount of physicality comes along with the job
- Vision – mail sorters must have good vision in order to review labels and envelopes, which may be written in very small letters
- Time management – speed is everything in the mail room, so all mail sorters must be able to work quickly and prioritize well
Tools of the Trade
In addition to envelopes and packages, mail sorters work regularly with the following tools:
- Electronic postage meters
- Scanning equipment (laser guns)
- Software (shipping label software, postage software, address spreadsheets)
Mail Sorter Education and Training
Mail sorters do not need any special education, but employers of all types require employees to have a high school diploma or equivalent for this job. Candidates applying to the U.S. Postal Service must also pass an exam in order to qualify for a government mail sorting job.
Mail sorters receive on-the-job training to help them become familiar with the position and the company for which they work. It may take several weeks of training before mail sorters are familiar with everyone who works at the company and know where to deliver mail within the business.
Mail Sorter Salary and Outlook
Based on statistics and data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, postal service workers earn a median annual salary of $56,790. This equates to an average of $27.30 per hour, though the hourly salary at a private company may be significantly less for this no-education-required position. Through 2026, the available jobs in the postal service industry are expected to decrease by 13 percent.
Mail sorters can expect to receive a full benefits package whether they work for the private sector or the government. Benefits include health, dental, vision, and life insurance, along with retirement options. Paid vacation and sick days are often included with the benefits package for employees who have worked for the same company or post office branch for a period of one year.
Find out how to get and maintain a job as a mail sorter using these resources:
National Association of Presort Mailers – NAPM provides resources, news, and information for mail sorters and other professionals who work in mailroom environments
Postal Service Mail Sorter, Processor, and Processing Machine Operator Career: The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview & Getting Promoted – this book is written in straightforward, clear language to serve as a guide for professionals who want to find a job in the mailroom and move up the corporate ladder
Mail Systems Management Association – MSMA is a large network of mailroom professionals. Its website shares career opportunities and other information of interest to mail sorters and other mailroom workers
Conquering Your Workplace: From Mail Room to Board Room – a Sourcebook for Today’s Workforce! – discover how to turn a mailroom job into a stepping stone to bigger and better corporate career opportunities
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