Careers at USPS
Careers at USPS are numerous and varied, largely falling into two categories: Delivery & Operations and Corporate, with dedicated recruitment tracks for students, graduates, and transitioning military.
There are four programs offered for students and graduates, the duration of which is between ten weeks and two years:
- Professional Development Program
- Intern Program
- Operations Industrial Engineer
- Emerging Professionals Program
To apply for any of these roles, applicants must be 18 years old by the date of starting work, or at least 16 with a high school diploma, as well as a citizen or permanent resident of the United States (or other US territory).
Various roles require a driving licence, and candidates must also be able to pass a criminal background check, drug screening, and medical assessment.
USPS Application Process
Online Application Form
USPS Postal Exam
To apply for a USPS vacancy you will need to create a Candidate Profile on the USPS Online Job Application System. This will then allow you to search and apply for jobs across the entire system.
All applications start with the completion of an online application form, followed by taking the USPS Postal Exam, the exact version of which will be determined by the role to which you have applied. Successful candidates are then invited to attend interviews.
USPS online application
The online application form is submitted on the USPS website; it’s possible to apply for more than one vacancy at a time. No changes may be made to applications once submitted, although if the recruiting period is still open you may cancel and resubmit the application.
The online application form for USPS asks for a number of details in support of the application including your personal details, relevant work experience (and graded levels of roles where appropriate) as well as a text box in which you must give a summary of your accomplishments in roughly 6,000 characters.
Make sure to only use the Summary box as a concise summary, using the Work Experience section to go into further details. Ensure you use the STAR (or SMART) technique when describing accomplishments: e.g. situation, task, action, measurables, and outcomes, rather than just listing what you did.
USPS Postal Exams
Each role in USPS requires a pass of the online virtual entry assessment, or Postal Exams, which are identified by number.
There are new updates to these numbers, so make sure you are confident which exam you will be sitting when you are preparing (note that USPS Postal Exam 473 is obsolete and will not count to your application, even if you have taken it in the past).
These tests assess the skills and aptitude of candidates and you may need to take more than one, depending on the role. There is no time limit as such, but you will need to complete the exam(s) within 72 hours, with each one taking around 45 minutes to complete.
You must score at least 70%. If you miss this target you will have to wait one year before taking the exam again, although you will be eligible to apply for other roles that require different exams.
Virtual Entry Assessment MC 474
This is the Mail Carrier Exam 474 and is required for any role that involves the carrying of mail. This exam has three parts:
- Work Scenarios
- Tell Us Your Story
- Describe Your Approach
The Work Scenarios segment of USPS MC 474 is a situational judgment test, with nine questions in which you will be assessed on how you might approach workplace scenarios and how you might perform. It looks at behavior, leadership, and teamwork.
The ‘Tell Us Your Story’ test comprises twenty questions based around how you might have dealt with situations in previous employment, and extrapolates from that how you might behave in the future.
The ‘Describe Your Approach’ section is a personality test with 56 questions. You should answer honestly, while keeping in mind the requirements from the job criteria as to the kind of person USPS is looking for in the role.