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Mail Clerk/Machine Operator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Prepares incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. Uses hand or mail handling machines to time stamp, open, read, sort, and route incoming mail; and address, seal, stamp, fold, stuff, and affix postage to outgoing mail or packages. Duties may also include keeping necessary records and completed forms.

This career is part of the Business, Management and Administration cluster Administrative Support pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Seals or opens envelopes, by hand or by using machines.
  • Affixes postage to packages or letters by hand, or stamp materials, using postage meters.
  • Verifies that items are addressed correctly, marked with the proper postage, and in suitable condition for processing.
  • Places incoming or outgoing letters or packages into sacks or bins based on destination or type, and places identifying tags on sacks or bins.
  • Clears jams in sortation equipment.
  • Weighs packages or letters to determine postage needed, using weighing scales and rate charts.
  • Sorts and routes incoming mail, and collects outgoing mail, using carts as necessary.
  • Determines manner in which mail is to be sent, and prepares it for delivery to mailing facilities.
  • Lifts and unloads containers of mail or parcels onto equipment for transportation to sortation stations.
  • Wraps packages or bundles by hand, or by using tying machines.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Canceling Machine Operator -- Tends machine that automatically seals envelopes and prints postage and postmark onto envelopes or tape to be affixed onto packages.
  • Shipping Clerk -- Prepares the packages that are going to be shipped out and maintains all the paperwork and records of each shipment sent.
  • Advertising Inserter --
  • Dead Mail Checker --