Data Conversion Operator
Test required: Postal Exam 710
Starting Wages: Starting wages in 2009 were $13.12 per hour.
This is a long-term temporary job. Data Conversion Operators (DCO’s) are hired for a 360 day term, and can be reappointed for additional 360 day terms.
To prepare mail for automated sorting, a DCO (1) reads a typed or handwritten address from the image of a letter on a monitor and then (2) selects essential information from the address and types this information using a keyboard so that (3) the computer can covert the address information to a bar code to be applied to the actual letter. Hence the job title…DCO’s operate a computer to convert typed or handwritten data into bar codes that can be scanned and sorted by automated equipment. This job obviously requires typing or data entry skills.
DCO jobs are only available at facilities called Remote Encoding Centers, and the Postal Service only has two of these facilities – one in Salt Lake City, UT and one in Wichita, KS. These two facilities handle the data conversion funtion remotely and electronically for the entire country. Each of these facilities has anywhere from several hundred to over a thousand employees.
DCO jobs are not career positions and do not come with benefits. However, as explained below, this job does offer several distinct advantages for those seeking a career position:
- This is one of the few temporary Postal jobs that can work directly in to a career position. At any given Remote Encoding Center, there are typically a larger number of temporary DCO’s and a smaller number of career employees. There is only one way to get a career position at one of these facilities. When a career job becomes available, it is offered to the DCO with the highest 710 exam score. So, with this job, your exam score is twice as important as with other jobs. You need a good score just to get hired as a DCO in the first place, and the score is just as important later if you want progress into a career position.
- The goal of most DCO’s is to get a career position, so they continually search for full-time job postings and apply for any feasible opportunities. And they can apply with little effort since they have already gone through the monumental effort of creating an online profile in the Postal application system. Here’s where the advantage of a DCO job comes in…They take the job’s required exam, and as long as their score is high enough to get an interview invitation, they have it made. They will breeze through the interview without question—assuming of course that they have been a valued and productive employee while working as a DCO. The interview will be a mere formality. When comparing a known productive employee against several unknowns, a Postmaster/interviewer will choose the known productive employee every time.