What Does a Mail Sorter Do? (With Job Responsibilities)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A mail sorter organises packages of all shapes and sizes into distribution systems. These systems determine the relative destinations of the packages. Understanding what a mail sorter does can help you decide if this career is right for you. In this article, we discuss the answer to the question 'What does a mail sorter do?', provide a guide on becoming one, review their national average salary, list their skills and assess similar careers in the postal industry.

What does a mail sorter do?

You can answer the question 'What does a mail sorter do?' by reviewing some of their typical responsibilities. A mail sorter usually gains employment in dispatch facilities specially designed for organising mail. Mail sorters receive packages from postal vehicles and organise the mail into different categories. These categories help mail sorters identify the final destination of each package.

Below, you can find more details on the typical duties of a mail sorter:

  • Receiving packages: Mail sorters may receive a bulk amount of packages and letters. When the mail reaches the facility, they process it through electronic and physical sorting systems.

  • Reviewing package information: Mail sorters may review package information and include this information in an electronic database. Package information refers to details such as order numbers, package weight, package dimensions and contact information of the sender and recipient.

  • Inspecting packages: Mail sorters inspect the condition of packages to identify any damages, missing information or evidence of tampering. They may also notify their supervisors of any suspicious packages that might contain illegal content.

  • Sorting mail: There are usually several sorting systems that a mail sorter may utilise to categorise packages. These systems may include processes such as preparation lines, letter indexing or mail sorting machines.

  • Preparing mail for distribution: Mail sorters may prepare packages for distribution after they detail the package information into electronic systems. They can prepare packages by replacing faded packaging information, such as fragile stickers or the recipient's address.

  • Updating distribution status: After a delivery driver receives packages for distribution, a mail sorter may electronically update the delivery status of the package. The status updates may include updates such as scheduled for dispatch or package in transit.

  • Maintaining mail systems: Some mail sorting facilities may utilise an automated sorting system with mechanical and electronic features. Mail sorters can review the systems to ensure they're operating as intended and may notify managers if they require maintenance.

  • Reporting mailing issues: Many sorting facilities can have a range of processes and machines that assist mail sorters in completing their responsibilities. Mail sorters may notify their supervisors of any issues that may affect workplace productivity.

  • Monitoring inventory: Mail sorters may use several consumables when completing their duties, such as pens, labels, boxes and stamps. Mail sorters usually monitor the levels of these consumables and notify managers when they require new inventory.

How to become a mail sorter

There are typically no formal qualification requirements for becoming a mail sorter, but there are some steps you can take to help you gain employment. It can also be important to understand that some postal facilities may provide you with on-the-job training if you're new to the industry. Below, you can find several steps to help you become a mail sorter:

1. Complete a certificate

Completing a certificate is usually unnecessary for becoming a mail sorter, but it can highlight your dedication and competency in the industry. Hiring managers may value your job application more if you have a certificate because it essentially provides proof of your knowledge and skills in administrative tasks. A certificate typically takes six months to one year to complete. A certificate can provide you with the fundamentals of organisation, time management and communication skills. Some certificates you might consider can include a Certificate IV in Warehousing Operations or a Certificate III in Business Administration.

2. Consider a university degree

You might consider a university degree because it can provide you with advanced skills and knowledge to develop your career in the postal industry. A university degree is unnecessary for the role of a mail sorter, but it can provide you with the knowledge to manage distribution centres and postal facilities. Some degrees you may consider can include a Bachelor of Business (Logistics and Supply Chain Management) or a Bachelor of Warehousing and distribution. Bachelor degrees usually take three years to complete or four years if you gain honours.

Related: What Is a Facilities Manager? (With Average Salary)

3. Gain work experience

Several careers in the postal industry may be available or have fewer employment requirements than a mail sorter. Some postal jobs you can consider may include a mail handler or postal delivery driver. You might gain employment as a mail sorter through one of these jobs, depending on the hiring organisation. In most situations, having work experience related to the career you're applying for can provide more value to your job application. Potential employers may identify your dedication and commitment to the postal industry if you already have related work experience.

4. Apply for a mail sorting job

Once you gain the necessary experience and qualifications, you may apply for a mail sorting job. You may decide the level of qualification and experience you want before applying because a mail sorting job technically has no employment requirements. As a mail sorter, you can expect employment in distribution centres and postal facilities. The most common postal organisation may be Australia Post, which is a government organisation. There are also private postal companies that you can apply for using online job boards.

The national average salary of a mail sorter

The national average salary of a mail sorter is $52,803 per year. This salary can vary depending on the hiring organisation and your level of expertise. There may be opportunities for you to increase your salary in the postal industry. You may gain employment in a managerial role within a distribution centre if you gain sufficient qualifications and experience. Management roles typically provide a higher salary than non-management jobs in the same industry. For example, the national average salary of a distribution manager is $83,665 per year.

Related: How to Write an Effective Letter for Promotion In 6 Steps

Mail sorting skills

Below, you can find several skills that can help you complete your duties as a mail sorter:

  • Attention to detail: This skill can help you determine issues with packages and minimise workplace errors. Your attention to detail can allow you to identify issues such as incorrect labelling and damaged packaging.

  • Time management: Your responsibilities and tasks as a mail sorter may involve deadlines and time frames. Time-management skills can help you plan your tasks and complete them within a given period.

  • Administration: Most of your duties as a mail sorter can include administrative tasks. Administration skills can help you identify logical sequences to organise packages and mail.

  • Computer skills: Many of the tasks you complete may involve computerised systems and administration software. Your computer skills can help you operate computer software with efficiency.

  • Teamwork: Mail sorting processes typically involve a variety of professionals. Your teamwork skills can allow you to work effectively with others and maintain relationships with team members.

Related: What Is the Importance of Soft Skills? (7 Key Reasons)

Similar careers in the postal industry

Below, you can find several careers in the postal industry that you may consider:

1. Package handler

National average salary: $53,890 per year

Primary duties: A package handler usually works in distribution centres for postal companies. When delivery drivers arrive at distribution centres, package handlers may unload the vehicles and transport the packages to the mail sorting facility. They may operate forklifts to transport heavy packages or handle packages manually. Package handlers may also assist drivers in loading their vehicles when packages are ready for distribution.

2. Delivery driver

National average salary: $76,491 per year

Primary duties: Delivery drivers may gain employment for a variety of organisations. Delivery drivers in the postal industry typically work closely with package handlers to ensure they load the correct items into the vehicle. Once they load their vehicles, they may transport the objects to another distribution centre or the object's final destination. Delivery drivers also have the responsibility of checking their vehicles to ensure there are no mechanical issues, such as damaged drive shafts or flat tyres.

Related: How to Become a Delivery Driver (With Development Skills)

3. Distribution manager

National average salary: $83,665 per year

Primary duties: A distribution manager in the postal industry oversees the distribution operation of mail facilities. They may review sorting systems and scheduling procedures to ensure the efficient organisation of mail. Distribution managers also monitor stock levels and purchase consumables to ensure sufficient inventory levels.

4. Operations manager

National average salary: $106,475 per year

Primary duties: An operations manager in the postal industry creates strategies and procedures to ensure efficient postal operations. These strategies can relate to several business aspects, such as employee structures, mail sorting processes and distribution methods. Operation managers may work closely with management teams and instruct them on how to implement workplace policies.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles