I’ve already briefly addressed how the USPS job search engine works when showing you how to get a job at the post office in 6 steps. When I did that, I also mentioned that that search engine isn’t exactly the most efficient tool. That’s why I want to take the time to properly explain what might go wrong when you use it to search for a postal job and how to get the most out of it anyway.
Problems with the USPS job search engine
Before we have a look at the USPS jobs search engine, there’s one thing that’s important to know: you will never get to see all available US postal service job openings. No matter what search criteria you use or don’t use – even you leave all the search criteria fields empty – you will never get all available job openings because the postal job search engine limits search results to 100. Always.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s go have a look.
To get to the post office job search engine, go to USPS.com > Careers (at the bottom of the page) > Search Now or click this link.
You’ll see that the postal search engine has three search options:
- full text search
- location search
- functional area search
Let’s look at these a little closer.
1. Full text search
Full text search allows you to input any kind of keyword you can think of. That can be a city name, a postal code, a postal job name, part of a postal job name… This field isn’t case sensitive, but other than that it isn’t very smart. In the full text search field, you can’t use
- quotes (” ” or ‘ ‘)
- the word “and
- the word “or”
- the word “not”
In other words, you can’t use the full-text search field to combine search queries or exclude certain search results. Not cool, I know.
There’s another problem with the full-text search. It’s meant for city names and USPS job titles; However, unless you really studied what the different United States Postal Service jobs are, you’ll never know what they’re officially called.
You might want to become a mail deliverer and so you search for “mail deliverer”. However, what you should search for is “city carrier”, or “city carrier assistant”, or “rural carrier”, or temporary relief carrier”, or… You get my point.
On top of that, there are ten thousands of Postmasters across the United States inputting postal job openings and they have to do this input letter by letter, word for word. If they had some kind of drop-down menu with post office job titles, their way of inputting would be the same across the board, but they don’t. This means that the search results contain spelling errors, abbreviations or another input mistake.
Lastly, all job openings have an identification number which consists of a long string of letters and numbers. Occasionally, that string gets inputted instead of the job title, which makes the opening entirely impossible to find.
2. Location search
The location search allows you to search for job openings within a certain state or states. You can look at multiple states by selecting one state, holding the ctrl key and then selecting another, but I highly recommend you not to do that. Why not?
Well, as I explained, the search engine only shows a maximum of 100 search results. The chances of there being more than 100 search results is bigger when you search in multiple states at once than when you limit your search to one step. So to make sure you see as many job openings in one state as possible, only search within that state.
3. Functional area search
The functional area search allows you to look for United States postal jobs openings within a certain “work area”, for example, Delivery or Human Resources. Sounds great, right? You get to look for only the US postal jobs that really interest you.
If the system worked well, that would indeed be the case. However, there is no uniform way or set of rules that need to be followed went a new job opening is put into the system and Postmasters aren’t trained to input postal service jobs. That means that the Postmaster at Post Office A might add a US postal service job under “Communications” while the Postmaster at Post Office B might add a job opening with the exact same description under “Administrative Support”.
So when you look for postal service job openings using the functional area search, be sure to check all the functional areas the job you have in mind might belong to. And even then you might get unlucky if a certain job was inputted without having a functional area assigned to it.
Tips on looking for USPS job postings
It’s clear that the US Postal Service jobs search engine leaves a lot to be desired. To conclude, here’s a list of tips that will help you get the most out of it regardless.
- Don’t use “and”, “or”, “not” or quotes in the full text search field.
- When searching by state, stick to one state only and repeat your search to get results for different states.
- Hit the “reset” button after every search to make sure that none of your previous search criteria are taken into account for a next search.
- Whenever you get 100 search results, know that you’re not seeing all results and that you need to refine your criteria. You can do so by defining the state you’re searching for or by defining a functional area.
- But don’t refine too much. It’s better to do multiple searches than it is to combine too many criteria and miss out on US postal job openings.
- Check all possible functional areas if you have a specific job in mind.
- You can save search queries in your Candidate Profile so that you can run them again later. This way, you don’t need to remember every possible search criteria combination each time you look for postal jobs.