Laid Off Postal Workers: How to Repackage Your Skills

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The U.S. Postal Service lost $8.5 billion this fiscal year.

And that was after the Postal Service had already cut 105,000 jobs. One of those jobs might have been yours. Obviously, with this latest loss, more postal workers are going to lose jobs. That reducition in force could affect you.

The good news is this: Civil servants have lots of experience, skills, and the right personality traits to sell to get your next job. The trick is, after years and years of being part of a large bureaucratic organization, to realize how marketable you are and then to put yourself through a mandatory career makeover.

The makeover starts with going over what you used to do or what you do now in the Postal Service and pull out what other employers want. That might include:

  • Passion for customer care, that is, the mail must get through. Retailer Best Buy has nothing on you. The legacy of service, particularly persistence in the face of obstacles, is something you own.
  • Ability to operate large organizations, with your special expertise in, for example, coordination, people management, course correction, or measuring outcomes. Be it start-ups or emerging industries like social media, administration is a growth industry.
  • Extreme endurance of pressure. That stress level is widely known, with the term "going postal" part of popular culture. You are hard-wired to operate in pressure-cooker work environments.

Remember, you are an X such as project manager or a Y such as supply chain expert, who was formerly a Postal Service employee. You do not present yourself as a postal employee who is trying to be a project manager or supply chain expert. In your head and in your job search materials that's a shift you make before you start hunting for other employment opportunities.

The next step is positioning and packaging [terms familiar to you] all that into the concepts and language your next employer uses. You find that out by reading closely the help wanted ads on sites like CareerBuilder.com for fields you might enter or jobs you'd like to try out. Match up, in the exact concepts and language they use, what you can offer with what they need. Where possible, quantify. For example, the social media department of an ad agency needs a coordinator. Your resumes and cover letters [you always have multiple versions these days] read:

Created systems for processing two million items daily, with error rate of two percent or below most of the industry. Monitored process in order to do immediate course correction.'

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