Job Title: Administrative Assistant
Type of Company: I work for a bulk mailing company.
Education: Engineering, Puc-Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Previous Experience: I worked as a systems analyst at a university.
Job Tasks: Although I work as a administrative assistant, my duties go beyond that. Besides filing and answering phones, I do a lot of computer work. Every mailing that is processed by our company has to be analyzed, defined and a set-up has to be done.
Take as an example a letter that has to be mailed to 600 people. First we check the mailing database for completeness. The database is then processed by a computer program for CASS certification: each address will be checked this way for deliverability and converted to the Post Office standard format. (A database that has more than 90% of its addresses deliverable is considered a good one. The 10% that did not qualify might be delivered or not; they didn't qualify for a discount, but it's possible that they will make it to their destination. For instance, if your address is "Town Hall, Framingham, MA," the piece will be delivered -- even if it doesn't get to you -- because "Town Hall" is a known address.) After this step, we run the database through an NCOA database screen, which contains information about people who've moved in the last 48 months. If any of the addresses matches an address in the NCOA, the person or business has moved and the program replaces the old address with the new one.
The second part consists of analyzing the mailing for size, weight, thickness and post office requirements. This information is then entered into a program that will generate the barcode for each piece and determine the pieces' order, as well as the type and size of the postal tray to be used, the number of pieces per tray and the price for the mailing. The information the program generates is printed printed along with the tray labels and the job is ready for production. My tasks include checking the first piece that is printed for quality and correctness.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The worst part of the job would be the filing and answering the phones, as they're both a little boring. The best part is processing the mailing lists. Since they come from different customers, every list is a new challenge; the format and type of file can be different, and sometimes the data fields are not arranged the way they should be.
Job Tips: This is a job that requires a lot of attention to details and a knowledge of U.S. Postal Service requirements. And computer experience (not programming) is needed, as there are a lot of challengesto working with databases.
Additional Thoughts: One interesting thing about dealing with bulk mailings is that you learn to recognize your own mailing at home. By the way it was addressed, you have an idea of how many people are receiving the same letter as yours!
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