F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions?

How Do I Find Post Office Jobs Hiring Opportunities?

Visit our Post Office Jobs page to locate hiring info, jobs requiring exams, and corporate positions.


Where Can I Find 473 Postal Exam Information?

473 Practice Exam Info, test schedules, and Postal Exam study materials and resources can be found on in our book  “Post Office Jobs” and on  the 473 Postal Exam Page. The Postal Service does send out a short sample exam with the notification that you will receive after your reply. A complete practice exam is included in the 4th edition of “Post Office Jobs” that you can use to prepare for your exam. The book sells for $19.95 however, if you are short on cash visit your local library to review the study guide and prepare for the exam. The higher you core the better your chances of being called for an interview.


What Are the Post Office Pay Scales and Earnings?

Visit our Pay Tables Page.


Who is www.USAPostalJobs.org?

We are the companion web site for Dennis Damp’s new 6th edition of Post Office Jobs: The Ultmate 473 Postal Exam Study Guide and Job Finder. Bookhaven Press LLC is the publisher and host of this web site.


What Are The Step by Step Instructions To Get A Post Office Job?

First make sure you qualify by reading the Overview section of our website. If you are ready to apply, you can check out our How To Apply page.


 

Do I have to pay to take a Postal Exam or to obtain job information?

Don’t be enticed by Postal Exam scams. You don’t have to pay anyone to schedule or take a federal Postal Exam. To find out if exams are currently being offered in your area go to our “Postal Exams” page and follow the links to the Postal Services’ exam site on our resource page. You apply online through the Postal Service to take a postal exam for your area. We do offer a comprehensive study guide titled Post Office Jobs: Explore and Find Jobs, Prepare for the 473 Postal Exam, and Locate ALL Job Opportunities”  for $19.95 that you can purchase from us online or at your local book store. If you can’t afford our book it should be available at your local library in their reference section. Just make sure they have the 4th edition that covers the new 473 exams.

Overview

Thousands apply each year for postal jobs, and those who understand the hiring process and study for entrance exams – when required – will dramatically improve their chances. The Postal Service never charges fees to take an exam or to apply for jobs. Don’t be misled by ads that offer postal employment and charge a fee for their services. You will find what you need on this site and in our Post Office Jobs Study Guide.

This site provides an overview of what is available, including many jobs that don’t require written tests, and how to apply for them. Over half of all workers are mail carriers and clerks; however, postal workers are employed in hundreds of diverse occupations, from janitors and truck drivers to accountants, personnel specialists, electronics technicians, and engineers.

Post Office Jobs Overview

  • Introduction
  • Employee Classifications
  • Hiring Process
  • Qualification Requirements
    • Age Limits
    • Entrance Exams
    • Citizenship
    • Physical Requirements
    • State Driver’s License
    • Drug Testing
  • Postal Employee Benefits
  • Postal Service Pay Scales
  • eCareer Web Site – USPS job search instdructions and links
  • Rural Carrier Update – Rural carriers must now pass the 473 exam

Introduction

Getting in is half the battle. If you are qualified in an occupation that currently has no openings, apply for positions that require the 473 exam for entry level positions such as Postal Clerks and Mail Carriers to get in the door. You can also apply for related occupations that you meet the qualifications for. The Postal Service generally advertises jobs in-house first to offer qualified workers opportunities for advancement. If the position can’t be filled in-house it advertises the jobs to the public. You will have the opportunity to bid on other jobs if you have the qualifications and a good track record.
 
Another option is to apply for supplemental work as a casual or transitional part time employee. The Postal Service hires many casual workers to assist with mail-delivery during peak periods, and hires transitional employees to backfill for career carrier positions. You don’t have to pass an exam to be hired, and if you do well in the position you will be able to take the 473 exam when jobs do open up. Many current employees started out as supplemental workers. Casuals can work two 89-day employment terms and 21 days during the Christmas holiday each year and transitional employees can work up to one year to backfill for letter carriers. Also consider applying for rural carrier positions in your area.

Supplemental workers earn a fair wage, and you will get exposure to what the Postal Service has to offer. These jobs are demanding and have flexible schedules and often require long hours on short notice.

Adding benefits, overtime, and premiums, the average bargaining unit annual compensation rate was $72,099. The Postal Service is huge by any standard, employing over 671,000 workers with an annual operating revenue of $67 billion. It pays over $2 billion in salaries and benefits every two weeks to workers in 300 occupations for positions at 37,000 post offices, branches, and stations throughout the United States. Hiring is needed each year to backfill for retirements, transfers, deaths and to replace employees who choose to leave for other reasons.

Starting pay is $20.94 per hour, $43,555 per year, for part-time flexible mail carriers. Mail handlers start at $15.65 per hour, $32,553 per year, and clerks start at $19.19 per hour, $39,915 per year. Workers are initially hired under the part-time flexible pay scale and typically work 40 or more hours per week.

The largest pay system in the Postal Service is predominantly for bargaining unit employees. There are also executive and administrative annual Pay-For-Performance schedules for non-bargaining unit members that pay from $21,293 up to an authorized maximum of $110,329. The PS pay scale is the largest pay system in the USPS and is predominately for bargaining unit employees.

Employee Classification

Bargaining unit employees initial appointments are either casual or transitional (temporary) or Part-Time Flexible (Career). Hourly rates for Part-Time Flexible employees vary depending upon the position’s rate schedule. Some positions are filled full-time such as the Maintenance (Custodial) classification. Corporate non-tested positions are classified differently. Click here for Corporate job information.

Full-Time and Part-Time Flexible (career) employees compose the Regular Work Force. This category includes security guards. Part-Time Flexible employees are scheduled to work fewer than 40 hours per week and they must be available for flexible work hours as assigned. Part-Time Flexible employees are paid by the hour. Hourly rates vary from $16.72 for PS Grade 3 Step BB to $31.62 for PS Grade 11 step P. See page 15 for a complete pay scale listing.

A Supplemental Work Force is needed by the Postal Service for peak mail periods and offers casual (temporary) employees two 89-day employment terms in a calendar year. During Christmas an additional 21 days of employment can be offered to Supplemental Work Force employees. Transitional (temporary) employees can work up to 360 days in carrier positions

College students may be considered for casual (temporary) employment with the Postal Service during the summer months. The rate of pay ranges from $6.55 to $22.50 per hour. Tests are not required and appointments can not lead to a career position. Apply early for summer work. Contact Post Offices in your area by no later than February for summer employment applications. Casual temporary positions are also advertised on the Postal Services’ employment and job listing web site. Visit the “Resources” section for direct links to their site.

Qualification Requirements

Various standards from age restrictions to physical requirements must be met before you can take one of the Postal Service exams.

  • Age Limit
  • Entrance Exams
  • Citizenship
  • Physical Requirements
  • State Driver’s License
  • Drug Testing

Age Limit

You must be 18 to apply. Certain conditions allow applicants as young as 16 to apply. Carrier positions requiring driving are limited to age 18 or older. High school graduates or individuals who terminated high school education for sufficient reason are permitted to apply at age 16.

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Entrance Exams

Applicants for clerk, carrier and other specific jobs must pass an entrance exam. Specialties such as mechanic, electronic technician, machinist, and trades must also pass a written test. The overall rating is based on the test results and your qualifying work experience and education. Professionals and certain administrative positions don’t require an entrance exam or written test. They are rated and hired strictly on their prior work experience and education. 

The Postal Service schedules exams for applicants who apply for specific jobs online at http://www.usps.com/employment. Exams are scheduled within 14 days from the date you first apply and you can use that same exam results to apply for other vacancies.

The 473 Postal Examination covers the following entry level positions:

  • City Carrier
  • Mail Processing Clerk
  • Mail handler
  • Sales, Services, and Distribution Associate

The 473 Postal Examination covers the majority of entry level hiring, although some offices also maintain custodial registers which, by law, are reserved for veterans’ preference eligibles. The USPS also maintains motor vehicle and tractor trailer registers and some highly skilled maintenance positions such as building equipment mechanic, engineman, electronics technician, and general mechanic. All the skilled maintenance positions require examination 931. A separate announcement, examination 932, is required for Electronics Technician positions.

Eight sample exams are presented in Chapter Four of Post Office Jobs, and a sample 473 Battery Test is included in Chapter Five, along with a comprehensive study guide. The 473 examination and completion of forms will require approximately three hours. Jobs with the U.S. Postal Service are highly competitive due to the excellent salary and benefits offered. It’s essential that you pass the test with the highest score possible to improve your chances. The higher your  score the better chance of being hired.

Citizenship

Applicants do not have to be U.S. citizens. If you have permanent alien resident status in the United States of America or owe allegiance to the United States you can apply for Postal Service jobs.

Physical Requirements

Physical requirements are determined by the job. Carriers must be able to lift a 70-pound mail sack and all applicants must be able to efficiently perform assigned duties. Eyesight and hearing tests are required. Applicants must have at least 20/40 vision in the good eye and no worse than 20/100 in the other eye. Eyeglasses are permitted.

State Driver’s License

Applicants must have a valid state driver’s license for positions that require motor vehicle operation. A safe driving record is required and a Postal Service road test is administered for the type of vehicle that you will operate.

Drug Testing (Substance Abuse)

The Postal Service maintains a comprehensive program to ensure a drug-free workplace. A qualification for postal employment is to be drug free, and this qualification is determined through the use of a urinalysis drug screen. When you are determined to be in the area of consideration for employment, you will be scheduled for a drug screening test.

Rural Carrier Update

The Postal Service eliminated the Rural Carrier 460 exam in 2008. They must now take the same 473 exam that mail carriers and handlers must pass. You will find rural carrier jobs listed on the Postal Services job search page and you can sort by Sate and city.

 

Hiring Process

Post Office Jobs Hiring, Recruitment And Career Exploration

The Postal Service implemented major changes to its recruiting program to automate the hiring process. It expanded its internal eCareer application system to include new hires. 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.

  • Recruitment
  • Jobs – Vacancies and How to Apply
  • Interviews
  • eCareer Recruitment Program

Recruitment

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 concerning 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.

Interviews

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.

eCareer Recruitment Program

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.

Interviews 101

The job interview is usually a two-way discussion between you and a prospective employer. The interviewer is attempting to determine whether you have what the Postal Service needs, and you are attempting to determine if you would accept the job if offered. Both of you will be trying to get as much information as possible in order to make those decisions.

The interview that you are most likely to face is a structured interview with a traditional format. It usually consists of three phases. The introductory phase covers the greeting, small talk and an overview of which areas will be discussed during the interview. The middle phase is a question-and-answer period. The interviewer asks most of the questions, but you are given an opportunity to ask questions as well. The closing phase gives you an opportunity to ask any final questions you might have, cover any important points that haven’t been discussed and get information about the next step in the process.

Also, explore and apply for all job vacancies in the government and private sectors to improve you chance of employment.

Structured Interview

In a structured interview, the interviewer explores certain predetermined areas using questions which have been written in advance. The interviewer has a written description of the experience, skills and personality traits of an “ideal” candidate. Your experience and skills are compared to specific job tasks. This type of interview is very common and most traditional interviews are based on this format.

The Postal Service hires the best qualified candidate for the position with the abilities and talents they need. The interview is where they make that final hiring decision and you must be prepared. It is up to you to demonstrate at the interview that you are the person they want. Most don’t prepare for an interview and that is a mistake.

Before the Interview

Prepare in advance. The better prepared you are, the less anxious you will be and the greater your chances for success.

  • Role Play. Find someone to role play the interview with you. This person should be someone with whom you feel comfortable and with whom you can discuss your weaknesses freely. The person should be objective and knowledgeable, perhaps a business associate.
  • Use a mirror or video camera when you role play to see what kind of image you project

Research the Postal Service. The more you know about the Postal Service and the job you are applying for, the better you will do on the interview. Get as much information as you can before the interview.

Professional applicants and applicants for positions that do not require entrance exams should have extra copies of their resume or application available to take on the interview. The interviewer may ask you for extra copies. Make sure you bring along the same version of your resume or application that you originally provided. You can also refer to your resume to complete applications that ask for job history information (i.e., dates of employment, names of former employers and their telephone numbers, job responsibilities and accomplishments.) During the interview don’t make negative comments about anyone or anything, including former employers.

Arrive early at the interview. Plan to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. Give yourself time to find a restroom so you can check your appearance.

It’s important to make a good impression from the moment you enter the reception area. Greet the receptionist cordially and try to appear confident. You never know what influence the receptionist has with your interviewer. With a little small talk, you may get some helpful information about the interviewer and the job opening. If you are asked to fill out an application while you’re waiting, be sure to fill it out completely and print the information neatly. The 6th edition of Post Office Jobs includes an interview preparation guide that includes sample question that you may encounter.

Assess your interviewing skills.

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? Work on correcting your weaknesses, such as speaking rapidly, talking too loudly or softly, and nervous habits such as shaking hands or inappropriate facial expressions.
  • Learn the questions that are commonly asked and prepare answers to them. Career centers and libraries often have books which include inter-view questions. Practice giving answers which are brief but thorough.
  • Decide what questions you would like to ask and practice politely interjecting them at different points in the interview.

Chapter Six of Post Office Jobs by Dennis V. Damp is devoted to interview preparation including sample interview questions that you may encounter at your interview and steps that you can take before, during and after the interview. You can also visit your local Library’s Reference Department to review this informative book or order a copy on-line.

During the Interview

The job interview is usually a two-way discussion between you and a prospective employer. The interviewer is attempting to determine whether you have what the Postal Service needs, and you are attempting to determine whether you would accept the job if offered. Both of you will be trying to get as much information as possible in order to make those decisions.

The interview that you are most likely to face is a structured interview with a traditional format. It usually consists of three phases. The introductory phase covers the greeting, small talk and an overview of which areas will be discussed during the interview. The middle phase is a question-and-answer period. The interviewer asks most of the questions, but you are given an opportunity to ask questions as well. The closing phase gives you an opportunity to ask any final questions you might have, cover any important points that haven’t been discussed and get information about the next step in the process.

After the Interview

You are not finished yet. It is important to assess the interview shortly after it is concluded. Following your interview you should:

  • Write down the name, phone number, e-mail address, and title (be sure the spelling is correct) of the interviewer.
  • Review what the job entails and record what the next step will be.
  • Note your reactions to the interview; include what went well and what went poorly.
  • Assess what you learned from the experience and how you can improve your performance in future interviews.
  • Follow-up with a phone call if you haven’t heard anything after several weeks.

 

473 Exam – Parts C & D

The 473 Battery Exam

Review Chapter Four in “Post Office Jobs” to improve your test scores and to become familiar with the test taking process and strategies, application forms, answer sheets, and sample questions. The 473 examination and completion of forms will require approximately two hours and fifteen minutes.

Chapter Five presents a complete 473 study guide with practice exams, including sample answer sheets. The following sample questions are excerpted from “Post Office Jobs.”

473 Exam Parts C & D

  • Memory & Coding Test Questions (Part C)
  • Personal Characteristics and Experience Test Questions (Part D)
  • Study Guide (Complete Full Length Sample 473 Exam)

Memory & Coding (Numbers Series ) Test Questions Part C

The coding and memory sections both use the same “Coding Guide.” You have to assign a given address to the proper delivery route for 36 questions in 6 minutes for the coding section. The coding section is open book and you will refer to the Coding Guide while answering your questions. The Memory Section of Part C requires you to remember the coding guide you used in the Coding Section and assign delivery routes without looking at the guide.

Excerpted from Chapter Six in “Post Office Jobs”

secc473

Address Range – The Coding Guide is divided into two columns. The first column is the Address Ranges for each route. If you look at the first address range of Route A notice that all addresses from 400 through 499 Amherst Avenue are included in route A. Route B picks up the remaining Amherst Avenue addresses from 500 to 799.

Delivery Route – Each delivery route has multiple addresses assigned to that carrier. Route B includes the addresses from 500 to 799 Amherst Avenue and from 30 to 199 Sutton Way. For example, if a letter was addressed 101 Sutton Way you would select Route B for the answer.

Delivery Route D includes all addresses not assigned to a specific route. If you are given the address 332 Canton St. or 1905 Fifth Avenue you would select Delivery Route D as your answer. These addresses are not included in routes A, B, or C.

secc2

You are permitted to look at the Coding Guide while answering the Coding questions in this section. Use the sample answer sheet for the practice exams. Note that the Delivery Routes are listed A through D to the right of the questions in the exam booklet. Don’t get confused during the exam and mark your answers in the exam booklet. ONLY MARK YOUR ANSWERS ON THE ANSWER SHEET. If you neglect to use the answer sheet your answers will not be graded.

Sample Question Answers

Question 1 – The address 425 Amherst Ave. Is in the address range as noted on the Coding Guide for Delivery Route A. You would darken answer A on the answer sheet. Remember to NOT put your answers in the exam booklet. Place your answer sheet next to the questions and darken the answer “A” on the answer sheet.

  • CAUTION: When you get to the memory section this will be even more critical. Note the spelling for the street address in this question. It is spelled “Amherst Ave.” You will run into answers that are very similar to the street address. For example Amherst can also be spelled “Amhurst.” Look at the entire address. If the street address in question 1 would have been spelled “Amhurst” the answer would have been D, not A.

Question 2 – Sutton Way is located in range A and B for street numbers from 1-199. The address in question two is 202 Sutton Way which is beyond the range of either route A or B. The answer is “D” (all mail that does not fall in one of the address ranges listed in A, B or C)

Question 3 – The answer for this question would be “C.” You will find the address range from 191 – 299 Canton St. In Route C.

Question 4 – You will find a Rural Route in Route C. However, it is Rural Route 5 not Route 6. The correct answer is “D” (all mail that does not fall in one of the address ranges listed in A, B or C)

Question 5 – The correct answer is “B.” 67 Sutton Way is in the address range of 30 – 199 Sutton Way in Route B.

Question 6 – 2601 University Blvd is listed in Route C and the address range is 2500 – 2699. Therefore, the correct answer is “C.”

A full length Coding practice exam is included in Chapter Five of “Post Office Jobs”. You will have 6 minutes to complete this full length section. Copy the answer sheet in the back of this section and place it next to your book. Time the exam to see how many question you can answer in the time allotted. The Coding Guide was repeated on this page and on page 132 so that the questions would be next to the Coding Guide. You are permitted to use the Coding Guide for this section.

Personal Characteristics & Experience Test Questions (Part D)

This section takes 90 minutes to complete and has 236 questions. The Postal Service evaluates your personal experience, characteristics and tendencies. You will be asked your likes and dislikes, whether you have experience in certain areas. You really can’t prepare for this section, it’s your personal profile. if you answer the questions honestly the Postal Service will be able to identify the job that is best suited to your characteristics.

The answers are multiple choice. The question “Do you like to work in groups” would have the answers (A) Strongly Agree, (B) Agree, (C), Disagree, (D) Strongly Disagree. A question similar to “Are you willing to work rotating shifts” would have the answers (A) Very Often, (B) Often, (C) Sometimes, (D) Rarely.

Content and Structure

Part D is divided into two groups. The first group of questions includes multiple choice questions or statements with the following possible answers:

secd473

The second group of questions can have as few as four to as many as nine answer choices. You choose the answer that best describes your personal feelings and concerns.

Several typical question/statements are listed below so that you will know what to expect:

S1. You like to work independently without interruptions.

A. Strongly Agree
B. Agree
C. Disagree
D. Strongly Disagree

S2. You like to carefully prepare for events or activities in advance.

A. Very Often
B. Often
C. Sometimes
D. Rarely

S3. What type of activities do you like the most?

A. activities that require planning and attention
B. activities that require little planning
C. activities that are physical and challenging
D. activities that are done while sitting
E. activities that don’t require much thought
F. outdoor activities
G. not sure

Answer the questions honestly and pick the answer that represents your thoughts. If several answers seem to fit pick the one and ONLY ONE reply that best represents how you feel about the question or statement. There are no right or wrong answers on this part of the exam. You can only select one answer for each question. Use your entire background, including work experience, volunteer work, school work, military service, anything from your background that will help you relate to the question.

 

473 Exam – Parts A & B

The 473 Battery Exam

Review Chapter Four in “Post Office Jobs” to improve your test scores and to become familiar with the test taking process and strategies, application forms, answer sheets, and sample questions. The 473 examination and completion of forms will require approximately two hours and fifteen minutes.

Chapter Five presents a complete 473 study guide with practice exams, including sample answer sheets. The following sample questions are excerpted from “Post Office Jobs.”

The Four Key Testing Areas:

  • Address Cross Comparison Test Questions (Part A)
  • Forms Completion Test Questions (Part B)
  • Memory & Coding Test Questions (Part C)
  • Personal Characteristics and Experience Test Questions (Part D)
  • Study Guide (Complete Full Length Sample 473 Exam)

Address Cross Comparison Test Questions – Part A

ADDRESS CHECKING – PART A

Part A includes 60 questions and you have 11 minutes to complete this section. You will be tested on how fast and accurately you can compare two lists. Postal workers must be able to differentiate between two addresses to determine if they are the same or different destinations. Address differences include different spelling or transposed numbers. The questions are multiple choice.

Questions include an address with street or P.O. Box, city, and state in the first column of each list and a ZIP Code in the second column. The example below shows the address on the left and the Zip Code on the right in each list. You will compare the Correct List on the left to the List to be Checked on the right. You are required to determine if the address to be checked is exactly the same or different as the address and Zip Code on the Correct List. You must determine if the address and Zip Code is exactly the same or different including the numbers, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. You will make your selections from the list below:

  • A is selected if there are no errors, everything is exactly alike.

  • B is selected if only the addresses are different.

  • C is selected if only the Zip Codes are different.

  • D is selected if both the address and Zip Code are different.

Prior to starting the actual exam you will be given two sample exercises of several questions each to familiarize you with the process. The examiners do this to introduce you to what is expected on the exam and the answer sheets for these practice exams are in the exam booklet, not a separate page. Complete the four sample questions that follow to better understand the process.

Excerpted from Chapter Six in “Post Office Jobs”

Seca473

Question S1

You will discover that the street, city and state are identical. However, the ZIP Code is different. The third and fourth digits in the zip code on the List to be Checked are reversed. Mark answer “C” for Zip Code Only.

Question S2

You will find the addresses have different spellings. McAuthur is spelled McAuther on the List to be Checked. The Zip Codes are identical. You will mark “B” on the sample answer sheet.

Question S3

The address and Zip Code of both lists are identical. Mark “A” on the answer sheet.

Question S4

You will find the street address and Zip Code numbers are different. The Correct List street number is 19150 and the list to be corrected street number is 19105. The last two digits of the first five Zip Code numbers are reversed. Also, the Zip Code’s last 4 digits are not the same and the name Kalamazoo is misspelled. In this case you would mark “D” for both.

Before starting the actual practice exams for address checking there are a number of techniques you can use to improve your score and to improve your efficiency so that you will have more time to devote to the exam. These techniques and a full length practice exam is printed in the 4th edition of “Post Office Jobs.” You can purchase this book online or at your local bookstore.

Forms Completion Test Questions – Part B

This section includes 30 questions that have to be completed in 15 minutes. There will be 6 questions for each of five different forms on the exam. Before starting the actual test the examiners will give you a 2 minute exercise with several questions that you will answer. These questions are not graded. After the introductory exercise you will start the actual exam.

Refer to the Domestic Return Receipt form on the next page to answer the first two sample questions for practice and use the same for the first six questions of the timed exam.

Excerpted from Chapter Five in “Post Office Jobs”

secb473

Sample Questions

S1. Where do you enter the address for the recipient on this form?
A. Box 3 (Front)
B. Box 10 (Back)
C. Box 3 and 10
C. None of the above

ANSWER: The recipient’s address is entered in Box 3 and the correct answer is A.

S2. The letter will be sent certified. Each certified letter has an article number. What two blocks must be filled out to designate a certified mailing?
A. Box 1 and 2
B. Box 10 and 1
C. Box 4 and 5
D. Box 3 only

ANSWER: The correct answer is C. Questions can be tricky if you read more into the question than what is presented. In this example, all certified mailings are assigned an article number that is listed in block 4 and you would check the certified box in block 5. Even though the remainder of the form must be filled out before it can be processed, the question is only asking about what must be filled out to designate a certified mailing. Focus on what they give you in the question, the known facts.

Study Guide

For a complete practice exam with guidance and ways to score higher on your test pick up a copy of Post Office Jobs. Also, explore and apply for all job vacancies in the government and private sectors to improve you chance of employment.

Postal Exams 101

Carrier, clerk, mail handlers, and distribution associates are required to take and pass the 473 Postal Exam. Other applicants including motor vehicle operators, mechanic, clerical, electronic technician, machinist, and trades must also pass a written test. Your rating is based on the test results, your education, and qualifying work experience. Other occupations, such as corporate and professionals, don’t require a written exam and are evaluate under the Postal Service’s Rated-Application Examinations process. They are rated and hired on their prior work experience and education listed on their application and how well they do on the interview.

All tests, including the 473 and 473-C/E exams, are scheduled when you apply online. When you apply you will be asked to register, complete an application, and take an initial online unproctored exam. Many occupations also require you to take a proctored exam at a testing facility in your area. The Postal Service will schedule you for the exam, and you have 14 days to complete your application, assessment, and exams from the date you apply.

Post Office Exams

Examinations cover the majority of entry level hiring although some offices also maintain custodial registers which, by law, are reserved for veteran preference eligibles. The postal service no longer uses the 460 Battery Examination for rural mail carrier positions, rural carriers now must take the 473 exam. The USPS also administers exams for motor vehicle and tractor trailer operators and some highly skilled maintenance positions such as building equipment mechanic, engineman, electronics technician, and general mechanic. All skilled maintenance positions require examination 931. A separate announcement, examination number 932, is required for electronics technician positions.

The 473 Major Entry Level Jobs Exam may also be referred to as the 473 Battery Exam. The main difference between the 473 and 473-C/E exam is the target audience. The 473-C exam is used when the Postal Service is recruiting large numbers of City Letter Carriers, and the 473 and 473 E exam is used to cover all the other job categories listed below . All of these exams are essentially the same.

Skills Tests

Ability and skills tests (performance tests) are designed to predict future success, both in job training and job performance. The Postal Service uses these tests to obtain an indication of your potential to learn and perform particular job responsibilities. Skills tests measure specifically what you know about and can perform in a particular job—they test your mastery of tasks. The Postal Service administers skills tests when it is interested in filling a position with an applicant who knows the basics of the job and can perform job tasks as soon as he or she starts. Some performance tests are: the road test for operators of postal vehicles, the typing test, and the test of strength and stamina for mail handlers.

473 Exam Outline

The Postal Service uses entrance exam titled Test 473 for Major Entry-Level Jobs. This exam is also called the 473 Battery Exam and it replaced the 470 Battery Exam and covers:

 

Test Unit Number of Questions Time Allowed Covered Subjects
Part A
Address Checking
60 11 minutes Determine if two addresses are identical
Part B
Forms Completion
30 15 minutes information identification for completing forms correctly
Part C
Section 1 – Coding
36 6 minutes Use the proper code to assign to addresses
Part C
Section 2 – Memory
36 7 minutes Memorize assigned codes for addresses ranges
Part D Inventory of Personal Experience and Characteristics 236 90 minutes Experience and characteristics which are job-related

 

Use the full length 473 practice exams in the book Post Office Jobs and the sample exam questions available on this site to prepare for the forms checking, address checking, memory and coding Parts A, B, and C of the new exam. Part D is related to your personal work experience and unique characteristics. For example, in Part D,  you will be asked your likes and dislikes, whether you have experience in certain areas. You really can’t prepare for this section, it’s your personal profile and if you answer the questions honestly the Postal Service will be able to identify the job that is best suited to your characteristics.

Part D of the 473 exam is taken online when you first apply. All who pass the exam with a 70 or better score are added to the register and ranked with all others who passed the exam for the job vacancy. Exam results can be used to apply for other jobs for a specific time period as noted on your notification of results.

The 473 exam covers:

  • City Carrier
  • Mail Processing Clerks
  • Mail handler
  • Sales, Distribution Associate, and Services
  • Rural Carrier (This group previously took the 460 exam)

Also, explore and apply for all job vacancies in the government and private sectors to improve you chance of employment.

Examination List & Sample Tests

  • 473 Battery Exams (Sample questions for each exam section)
  • Other Exams
    • From Motor Vehicle Operator to Automotive Mechanic,

A full length sample 473 practice exam is in the book Post Office Jobs. To locate jobs on the Postal Service’s web site follow the guide that we developed on this site to help you navigate their application process.

Direct links to the Postal Service’s online exam schedules and jobs hotline phone number is available on our RESOURCES page.

The 473 Battery Examination covers the majority of entry level hiring although some offices also maintain custodial registers, which by law, are reserved for veteran preference eligibles. The USPS also tests for motor vehicle and tractor trailer registers and some highly skilled maintenance positions such as Building Equipment Mechanic, Engineman, Electronics Technician, and General Mechanic. All of the skilled maintenance positions require examination 931. A separate announcement, examination number 932, is required for Electronics Technician positions.

Click here for more information about the 473 Postal Exam.

Comprehensive sample 473 practice exams with answer keys are included in Post Office Jobs. 

Test-Taking Strategies

It’s often helpful to study with a partner, someone to read the question and check your responses. It can be a fellow worker, a spouse, or just a good friend. Try various study routines until you hit a combination that works. Try studying in 20 to 30-minute sessions, with 5-minute breaks in between, or stretch it out to hour intervals. A good study routine will improve your test scores.

The following strategies will help you improve your grades. Use these strategies on the practice tests in this book and when you take your actual Postal Service exam. If you practice these techniques now, when you take the postal exam they will become second nature.

  • Eliminate the answers in multiple-choice questions that make no sense at all. You can often eliminate half of the answers through this method. If you have to guess an answer, you improve your chances through the process of elimination
  • Be skeptical when an answer includes words like “always, never, all, none, generally,” or “only.” These words can be a trap. Only select an answer with these words in it if you are absolutely sure it is the right answer.
  • If two answers have opposite meanings, take your time and look closer. Many times one of the two is correct.
  • Place a mark next to answers that you are unsure about. After completing the remainder of the exam, go back and review these questions and make a final selection. Often, other questions that you’ve answered will jog your memory.
  • One word can dramatically change the meaning of a sentence. Read each question word-for-word before answering.
  • Don’t let the test get the best of you. Build your confidence by answering the questions you know first. If the first question you read stumps you, skip it and go on to the next one. When you’ve completed most of the exam you can go back ‒ if time permits ‒ to the questions that you couldn’t answer.
  • Get plenty of rest the night before the exam.

Visit your local Library’s Reference Department to review a copy of Post Office Jobs or order a copy On-Line. This book includes a coprehenisve 473 study guide with a full length practice exam.

Also, explore and apply for all job vacancies in the government and private sectors to improve you chance of employment.

 

 

How To Apply

This post office jobs eCareer orientation guide is presented here to familiarize job seekers with the official USPS hiring process so you will be able to navigate their site and apply for job vacancies. The USPS web site, listed below, is the ONLY OFFICIAL USPS employment web site. You do not have to pay anyone for this information or to take a postal exam. The Postal Service provides these services at no cost to applicants. This website and the book Post Office Jobs are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Post Office.

The screens in the examples below can’t be used to apply, they are only meant to provide an example with explanations of what you will find on the official Postal Service site. The post office site doesn’t provide clarifications and it can be confusing when you first visit without this orientation. Preview the screen shots we have and then use the links provided to go direct to the Postal Service’s online job listings.

eCareer Jobs Screens (USPS Emplyment Site Orientation Guide)

Review these instructions and then go direct to http://usps.com/employment to search for job vacancies. The following graphics are copies of the official USPS employment job search pages, go to the USPS official web site for links that work. To find jobs in your area and specialty click on Search jobs online, # 2 on the right side of the following screen. This will launch a popup on your screen and you will have to allow it by clicking on the  “Allow Popup prompt” that will show up the first time you use this system.

View all of the following 5 screens prior to visiting the USPS official employment site.

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Pop-Up Job Search Screen

Enter a search term in the Keywords box, I used mail carrier and limited my search to jobs in Pennsylvania for this sample. The results page displays all jobs in the category your searched in the area selected.

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Results Page

This search resulted in many openings and your search could result in anywhere from none to hundreds of openings for any given State. If you don’t find any openings try again regularly so you don’t miss out on opportunities. The USPS typically advertises vacancies for only a week because they receive so many applications.

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Typical Job Announcement

You will find the job announcement number at the top of the page just under United States Postal Service.  The announcement is several pages long with an APPLY link where you apply online for the position. Notice that the job announcement is only for a one week period, most jobs are advertised for short periods because of the large number of applicants.

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Apply Online Sample Page

Follow the instructions to register and continue with your online applications. If an exam is required the Postal Service will arrange for you to take the test locally. Once registered you can apply for multiple positions which I recommend to improve your chances. If you are applying for a mail carrier, rural carrier, mail handler or clerk position you will have to take the 473 exam and our study guide will help you prepare.

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Recruitment

Post Office Jobs Hiring, Recruitment And Career Exploration

The Postal Service implemented major changes to its recruiting program to automate the hiring process. It expanded its internal eCareer application system to include new hires. 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.

Recruitment

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 concerning 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.

 

Interviews

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.

eCareer Recruitment Program

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.

Occupations

The U.S. Postal Service delivers billions of pieces of mail weekly, including letters, advertisements, bills, and packages, through regardless of inclement weather. To achieve mail delivery efficiently, the Postal Service employs over 600,000 individuals who process, sort, and then deliver mail and packages as well as provide customer services and supplies in post offices. The majority of Postal Service workers are clerks, mail carriers, or mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators.

Postal clerks wait on customers at post offices, whereas mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators sort incoming and outgoing mail at post offices and mail processing centers. Mail carriers deliver mail to urban and rural residences and businesses throughout the United States. Yo also have a professional and administrative staff that are needed to manage and operate the over 37,000 postal facilities nationwide.

Occupations – Number Employed – Average Salary

Many of the following occupations are linked to related private sector job lists so that you can explore ALL options, even during this recession. The Post Office is recruiting for non-career casual, transitional, and temporary jobs and you will find information on these jobs on this web site.

Occupations List

Accounting Specialist – Tech – 478, $57,120
Address Management Specialist – 528, $57,787
Auto Technician – 2,267, $47,454
Auto Technician (Lead) – 1,202, $56,932
Bldg. Equipment Mechanic – 2,370, $55,962
Bulk Mail Technician – 3,017, $53,521
Carrier City – 181,909 $51,063
Carrier (Temporary Relief) – 4,715, $26,101
Carrier Technician – 27,217, $51,529
Casual Temporary – 11,368, $25,160
Clerk Special Delivery Services – 466, $52,528
Criminal Investigators – 429, $75,464
Customer Service Analyst – 605, $64,426
Data Collection Technician – 1,352, $53,401
Data Conversion Operator – 4,953, $30,956
Distributions Windows & Markup Clerk – 2,033, $52,448
Electronics Technician – 7,783, $60,479
Flat Sorting Mach. Operator – 2,958, $52,139
Human Resource Specialists – 648,  $61,873
Laborer Custodial, Custodian – 16,279, $47,831
Mail Handler/Tech/Operator – 52,918, $47,330
Mail Processing Clerk – 81,511, $51,907
Mail Processing Machine Operators – 1,422, $50,250
Maintenance Support Clerk/Tech – 1,435, $51,623
Maintenance Mechanic & MPE – 9,230, $55,485
Motor Vehicle Operator – 2,759, $50,533
Parcel Post Dist-Machine – 8,737, $51,765
PM/Relief/Replacement – 12,951, $24,355
Postal Inspector – 1,494, $78,950
Postal Police – 581, $51,114
Postmaster – 22,876, $65,000
Review Clerk – 621, $53,655
Rural Carrier Associates – 53,064, $37,493
Rural Delivery Carriers – 68,812, $52,843
Sales Services Associates – 50,993, $50,269
Secretary – 836, $50,980
T&A Payroll Clerks – 413, $53,661
Tractor Trailer Operator – 5,530, $52,599
Training Technicians – 450, $53,598
Transitional Employee – 13,232, $41,166