A mail clerk is responsible for managing the delivery and posting of mail coming in and going out of a facility. This typically includes packages and other types of mail, in addition to written correspondence. He or she may be employed in the private sector, or for a government agency, such as the postal service. Of course, virtually every brick and mortar business sends out and receives mail, with many also shipping goods to its customers. If the business is large enough to have a mail or shipping department, then it is likely to employ at least one mail clerk to oversee operations.
In order to perform these duties efficiently and cost-effectively, it is necessary for a mail clerk to be up-to-date with the current postal and shipping rates of the carriers their employer uses. It’s also important to weigh and prepare mail carefully since a package that isn’t wrapped, addressed, and metered according to a carrier’s shipping policy may be returned at the company’s expense. Aside from wasted time, postage, and materials, this kind of error can also lead to lost business. In addition, a mail clerk is expected to be familiar with regulations and procedures regarding bulk mail in order to take advantage of the best rates and control unnecessary spending.
The mail clerk also handles incoming mail. This may involve simply sorting materials in mail slots by department or office to be picked up by designated personnel. This may or may not include actually opening each piece of mail that comes in, depending on company policy. Some clerks may be required to deliver mail personally to each office or department, or even to separate buildings on the same grounds. In fact, this is often the case with large corporations, medical facilities, and universities.
In terms of working environment, a mail clerk employed in a large facility may find the atmosphere to be quite noisy from automated sorting machines and other related equipment. They can also generally expect to spend a good deal of time standing in one place while preparing items for shipping. However, in small business settings, much of the work may be done manually, which may be quieter but can equate to repetitive wrist motions and a fair amount of paper cuts on the hands and fingers.
There is usually no special training or level of education required to become a mail clerk beyond a high school diploma or equivalent. However, it may be necessary to know or at least be capable of learning how to work with various computerized equipment, such as those used to print postage and shipping labels. It’s also helpful to possess basic math skills and the ability to communicate well with others.