Why the Postal Job Search Function Does Not Work

Note: This complex topic requires a detailed explanation. Pathfinder therefore asked T. W. Parnell, author of its Postal career guides, to personally explain the issues involved.

Due to technical problems and chronic posting errors, the new online Postal job search function simply does not work. This horrific dilemma is the result of two fundamental issues: (1) When converting to an electronic hiring and testing system, the Postal Service used a generic program that was not specifically designed for their organizational model. (2) Each of the over 30,000 Postmasters nationwide posts their own jobs, and posting errors are rampant due to lack of training.

When looking for open job postings on the Postal Service website, you are supposed to be able to search by text (job title), by state, and by functional area. Unfortunately, as explained below, none of these search functions really work as intended.

The Text Search is for searching by job titles, but text searches typically fail because of the odd job titles and because of chronic posting errors. Nobody outside of the Postal organization knows the weird official job titles they use. The front counter clerk job is called Sales, Service, and Distribution Associate. Depending upon the circumstances, mail delivery jobs can carry many different titles … City Carrier, City Carrier Assistant, City Carrier Assistant 1, City Carrier Assistant 2, Rural Carrier, Rural Carrier Associate, Temporary Relief Carrier, Casual Carrier, etc. Did you know these titles? Of course not. But if you do a job search without using the official Postal job titles, your search will fail. Now imagine how many errors can be made when over 30,000 untrained Postmasters are all posting their own local job openings. They don’t have preformatted selections to choose from; they must key in every letter, number, and word themselves. There’s no end to the mistakes, spelling errors, and abbreviations that crop up. Even if you know to search for an official title like Rural Carrier Associate, you can look all day long and never find a job opening if the Postmaster used the common abbreviation RCA, misspelled anything, or made any other mistake. And mistakes are unfortunately rampant. Even worse, every posting is assigned an identification number like NC58632107, and some Postmasters simply post this number without any job title whatsoever. You will absolutely never find a posting like this when doing a Text Search.

The Location Search is supposed to search for jobs by state, but it is unable to work for the most part due to a limit of 100 postings that can be reported for each search. If you do a Location Search and 100 jobs are reported, this means that you are looking at only the first 100 open jobs posted for that state. If 100 jobs are reported, this automatically means that there were more, but the search function was unable to report them because it maxed out at 100. Are there 10 more that you missed … 50 more … 100 more? Is the very job that you wanted at your local Post Office one of the missing ones? Who knows? There are often more than 100 jobs posted for any state, so you are frequently going to miss postings when doing a Location Search.

The Functional Area Search is supposed to enable you to search by job function, but it rarely works due to the chronic posting errors. There are 39 official functional areas, and every job opening is supposed to be posted under its assigned functional area. But the over 30,000 untrained Postmasters often post jobs under incorrect functional areas. For instance, delivery jobs are supposed to be posted under the functional area Customer Service / Delivery. However, we have found delivery jobs posted under 12 completely different functional areas. And it is not unusual for a job to be posted without designating any functional area whatsoever, which means that the job will never be reported regardless of the functional area searched.

If you cannot trust any of their search functions, how can you be sure that you find all the open jobs? After months of experimenting, I came up with a way to trick the job search function into really working. My method involves a multi-tiered and filtered approach using a mixed bag of their search functions in ways that they were never designed for. It takes several pages in my new book How to Really Get Postal Jobs just to explain this approach. The bottom line is that the only way to make absolutely sure you find all open jobs is to use my job search tips in How to Really Get Postal Jobs.

T. W. Parnell