Mail Clerk/Machine Operator  What They Do

Just the Facts

Prepares incoming and outgoing mail or packages for distribution and mailing.

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

A person in this career:

  • Sorts letters and packages into sacks or bins.
  • Seals, addresses, and affixes postage to letters or packages, by hand or with machines.
  • Stamps the date and time of receipt on incoming mail, and sorts and routes mail to appropriate persons.
  • Opens and reads incoming mail to determine its proper destination.
  • Maintains records of information, such as the destination of insured, registered, or c.o.d. packages.
  • Wraps packages and bundles by hand or using a tying machine.
  • Weighs packages and letters, computes charges using a weight scale and rate chart, and dispatches mail.
  • Places identifying tags on sacks and bins according to their destination.
  • Answers inquiries regarding shipping and mailing policies.


Watch a one-minute video showing what it's like to work in this career or related careers

Mail Clerks, Except Mail Machine Operators and Postal Service

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

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 --