Finding a job in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult. Layoffs from economic reasons or due to business conditions have become the norm. It’s been rough on Americans and it’s getting worse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of permanent job losers is at 3.2 million, which is 1.9 million higher than in February 2020. To worsen the job finding morale, the number of discouraged workers—those who believed that no jobs were available for them—was 617,000 in June, up 216,000 from last February. Some people think there is no place for them to work, and the holidays coming up can sound depressing when you have no money for gifts.
Yet, there is a place that employs 2.3 million Americans, including 100,000 former military: the United States Postal Service (USPS). They are hiring, and good news is, USPS is accepting applications right now, in all American zip codes. To get ready for the holiday season, the post office needs help—taking on 1,500 new hires weekly. The pandemic meant record online sales and high demand for delivery. While small businesses were closing and their employees laid off, USPS hired 100,000 in the last two years.
So instead of being a statistic—lost in the numbers of discouraged Americans, why not apply to one of America’s growing industries? Put on your red and white hat, hang some mistletoe on your front door and get to work. You are needed this holiday season.
What does it take to be a USPS delivery driver?
Finding good work in 2021 is tough, no doubt about it. But if you go where the jobs are, you may just find yourself in a very good position. The pay is mighty fine and the benefits will put your mind at ease. The USPS invests in its employees. The starting pay, on average, is $21.00 per hour, and the average salary for full-timers is $72,320. Seasonal jobs can lead to other positions and advancement to a career with USPS.
On top of a great pay, the USPS offers federal healthcare benefits and a sweet pension after ten years of service. They offer paid vacation and leave programs, as well as a 401 K-type program called a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for dependent care expenses, which you can earn after one year of service. In addition, most employees receive regular raises, night shift differential, and Sunday overtime pay. USPS is good to those who serve as well; Veterans and reservists receive preference in the selection process and a high school diploma is not required.
That’s right, you don’t need a degree from high school or college. A GED will suffice. The post office will train you, so you don’t need experience either. The hiring process is easy. You apply online. Study for the Postal Battery Exam from some provided study materials (and do well, because the three highest scorers are invited to interview). Take the assessment. Hopefully pass the exam. Interview with the Postmaster (head of the Post Office you apply to). Then, once they realize how awesome you are, start working for the USPS. On average, there are between 10 to 20 people who apply for each job available, so don’t give up if you don’t get placed right away. Once you have applied for a job and scored well on the exam, you are entered into the USPS registry, and will be considered for upcoming positions. You got this.
Jobs are posted daily at the USPS site. You can find work all over the country. The post office hires entry level positions with all types of schedules, including full-time, part-time, and seasonal, so check the job title for what you are looking for.
The qualifications are pretty simple. You need to be a US citizen or possess a Green Card. You have to be 16 or older. You need to be able to speak English. Sounds easy enough, right? You also need to have correctable 20/40 vision in the best eye and a minimum of 20/100 in the other eye, and if the post office wants, they can request a physical exam, though they aren’t usually required. So basically, no wimps. If you want to be a delivery driver and they see you have pencil legs and uncooked spaghetti arms, USPS reserves the right to test your ability to lift some packages. The average weight of shoulder bags is about 35 pounds, but you need to be able to unload mail that can weigh up to 70 pounds, and a mail handler may be required to push rolling containers weighing up to 1,500 pounds. If you have a disability and can’t do the heavy lifting or the stairs involved in delivery, you may want to check out some of the other open positions at the post office. There are jobs at USPS for all Americans, so don’t worry if you aren’t able to do the physical job reserved for delivery drivers. But if you are fit, you can have an extra bowl of figgy pudding guilt-free, because the job is a workout.
What is a typical day like for a USPS driver?
Once you go through the hiring process you get placed as a mail carrier. The USPS calls their suburban or neighborhood delivery drivers Rural Carrier Associates (RCA). The RCAs have the highest starting pay of any of the entry level jobs at the post office, ranging from $17.76 to $27.54 an hour, depending on where you work. City Carriers deliver mail in the more populated areas of the US. They usually start at $19.93 per hour, depending on their location.
RCAs and City Carriers are responsible for making sure all packages and mail is delivered to each address within their assigned territory. It’s a friendly, fast-paced job. Think about all the holiday decorations you will get to enjoy. You will see cute dogs, friendly Americans who love getting letters, and racing squirrels who spy on you from the Oak trees. And the job is getting easier. Savvy USPS postal carriers have caught on to technology that helps plan their route in an efficient way. Most USPS carriers have learned about the number one route optimization app that sets them up for the promotion from seasonal worker to full-time, and it’s simplifying the delivery driver’s job in a way that’s transforming the industry altogether.
Why USPS seasonal drivers embrace the Straightaway app
The United States Post Office tends to promote from within. And seasonal workers who do a great job are the first on the list to move up. Top performance in efficiency and safety is why Straightaway route optimization is the delivery driver’s first choice for route planning. It gives them the edge they need to stay on top of their position, and even advance to better jobs, and better pay when the holiday season ends.
Route optimization is the most important factor in becoming the best delivery driver this season. It will make or break the successful delivery of millions of packages to their destinations. A delivery route planner will be used by every smart USPS delivery vehicle to bring packages and gifts to their ultimate end point. You’ll be getting the children their Lego sets by Christmas and their Polly Pockets in time to be wrapped. And the delicious gourmet turkey dinner in time for Thanksgiving. Isn’t it crazy that we can mail a whole turkey?
The efficiency of route optimization cannot be overstated in busy holiday times. A great delivery route planner cuts costs in time, gas, and helps you finish in time to wrap presents. For seasonal USPS drivers, your promotion success rides on the speed and accuracy of route optimization software. For this all-important task, there is only one software you can trust: Straightway Route Planner.
USPS delivery drivers use Straightaway because of the app’s excellent feature set, industry-leading route optimization, and seamless navigational integration. Straightaway incorporates the crucial elements necessary to ensure a streamlined postal delivery in the most efficient way possible:
- Add route stops with the snap of a photo: Simply take a picture of your list of postal addresses on your mobile device—from Hohman, Indiana to Whoville, the app’s got your back. In a twinkling instant, Straightaway maps the route on your screen so you are set to go.
- Optimize the fastest route in the quickest amount of time: Straightaway’s state-of-the-art route optimization algorithm can organize up to 250 stops in the quickest order in just seconds, all while accounting for holiday traffic (reindeer crossing), road closures, construction, speed limits, and Winter Wonderland weather conditions in real-time.
- Navigate safely without switching apps: Turn-by-turn navigation is built right into Straightaway, keeping your attention on the road and safely keeping you from toggling app screens from GPS to your route. Mrs. Claus would be proud.
With Straightaway Route Planner, USPS drivers can shave off an average of one hour over competing delivery route planner apps. Imagine how impressed your Postmaster will be when they hear you’ve been saving an extra hour on deliveries! You’ll be put on the good list! Why not maximize your opportunity this peak season, and be prepared with the best route planning software available for delivery drivers this side of the North Pole.