A Federal Career Fair – United States Postal Service Style

My internship gave me the assignment of reporting back to them on the United States Postal Service Career Fair (USPS) and writing up a piece on it for their web-site. I thought it would be interesting to share my observations.

When a college graduate or prospective employee thinks about working for the USPS, the first image that probably comes to mind is being a mail carrier or working in one of the post offices for a local town or city. One of the goals of the USPS career fair held on November 14, 2007 at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel was to dispel that popular reputation.

First impressions always carry a lot of weight and the career fair was certainly designed to impress. Held on the second floor of the hotel in the Monet room, the USPS had a large number of current employees ready to help anyone who needed assistance in a friendly and helpful manner. The room was neatly organized into tables with different departments of the Postal Service represented at each table, similar to how other career fairs are run. What set this one apart, however, was the presentation. Immediately, one realized that there was more to the Postal Service than delivering and organizing mail. There were representatives from government relations, engineering, supply management, labor relations, global business, postal inspection service/forensics (like CSI post office style), marketing, finance, safety/environmental and health resource management, human resources, delivery and retail, law department, network operations, public affairs and communications, diversity and employee development, strategic planning, and information technology. Almost every department had a sleek, flat screen television that showed videos of what the department does and what it has accomplished.

USPS said that 3,000 people were registered to attend the career fair, but many were from out of state. They believed a successful outcome would be 300-500 attendees. Every person who shows up helps out the Postal Service because the organization looks to hire 140 employees every month. Of course not all these hires come from job fairs like this. Doug Green, a ranking manager with the Postal Service, mentioned that job boards and web-sites that post job openings as well as resumes, college recruitment days, and even the Partnership for Public Service help aid the organization in accomplishing its recruiting goals.

As for what sets USPS apart from other government agencies, Mr. Green brought attention to the relative independence new hires are given saying that “they are expected to use their skills immediately.” In addition, USPS is working to decrease the length it takes to hire a candidate, while at the same time, providing ample opportunity for management training, and giving competitive benefits to employees.

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