Payroll Specialist Resume Examples

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Professional Resume Samples for a Payroll Specialist

Tune up your resume with professional samples for a Payroll Specialist

Payroll Specialist Resume Tips and Ideas

A well optimized payroll specialist resume is your ticket to getting to the next step in your career in finance and bookkeeping. Companies all across the country are looking for reliable and trustworthy payroll experts to ensure their finances remain compliant with the law and that their bills get paid on time.

However, this is a competitive field and it’s possible dozens, if not hundreds of people, will be in the running against you for a single role. Your resume therefore needs to say a lot about your abilities to excel in a payroll position.

Your prowess handling payments, keeping reliable records and maintaining the financial compliance of a business is a lot to fit into a short document like this. However, don’t panic! The following guide is going to help you along the way.

It explains how to organize all this information on the page, how to design the layout to perfection and details what special features will give you a boost in getting picked by a hiring manager. Simply pair these tips with our online resume generator and quickly and easily create a resume that will get you interviews for the positions you’ve always dreamed of.

Top Tips

  • Reverse chronological
  • Write in a consistent 12 point font
  • Use a template that’s tidy and easy to organize
  • Avoid illustrations and graphics
  • Add a little neutral color to the design
  • Keep the writing legible

Not required



  • Contact information
  • Resume objective statement
  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Education


  • Certifications and courses
  • Honors and awards
  • Hobbies and interests
Resume Length

1-2 x letter pages (8.5” x 11”)


When most recruiters pick up your resume, the first thing they’re going to want to read about is your recent experience in the field. The resume format you therefore choose should complement this requirement. Because of this, one of the best choices of template you can pick is the reverse chronological format.

Firstly, this works well because it is designed to allow candidates to go into the most detail possible regarding their work history. Secondly, it places the information about your most recent work in payroll in a position on the page where the recruiter is likely to see it right away.


Designing a resume doesn’t require an art degree. In fact, over-designing your document is only likely to torpedo your chances of getting picked. Less is often more when it comes to resume design and with a few special optimization tricks you can get a much better response rate from your document.

One of the most important things to do is to ensure that the visuals make the document easier to skim read. This means selecting a clean and clear layout that leaves enough white space between each section. The readability can also be greatly enhanced by keeping the font size of the main text consistent and around a size 12.

The font you use actually counts for a lot more than you may have previously realised. It might seem boring to use Arial or Times New Roman as your typeface, however, these have stood the test of time precisely because they are very easy to read quickly. It will also come as a surprise to no one that writing your resume in comic sans is an absolute no-no.

Finally, to make your achievements really bounce off the page, it’s a good idea to break up longer blocky texts into bullet point lists. This will speed up the time it takes for a recruiter to read it and will help make your best achievements easier to pick out.


Some European countries like France, Germany and Spain require a photo to appear on a resume. However, if you’re applying for jobs in the US, UK or Canada this is not an expectation or requirement.

Sections of a Resume

It’s important to have a clear goal on what sections you’re going to include when you group together all the information about your career history and abilities. When applying for any payroll position you’ll need to include at least the following segments:

  • Contact information
  • Resume objective statement
  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Education

In addition to the essentials above, you should also seek to include a little extra detail that gives you an edge over the competition. This could include one or more of the following optional sections:

  • Certifications and courses
  • Honors and awards
  • Hobbies and interests

Resume Length

It can seem tempting to fill your resume with every single detail of your career thus far. But like with the design, less is often more. Keep the length down to just 1-2 letter pages by focusing only on the most relevant information desired by the company you’re applying for.

Payroll Specialist Resume Section Headings

Another way to give your resume a boost right from the get go is to include a resume objective statement. This short introduction should be focused precisely on the individual job you’re targeting.

It can be a good idea to use the job advert from the opening itself as a guide on what to include in this part. Then if you target exactly what the recruiter wants to see right away, they’re much more likely to keep reading further rather than putting your document in the reject pile.

Work experience

The work experience section of your payroll specialist resume is going to be your best friend in getting hired. This is the part of the resume that recruiters will really inspect carefully to see that you know how to do the work in a payroll department. For each previous job you’ve held include the following details:

  • The company’s name and location
  • Your specific job title(s) within the business
  • The dates of employment
  • The key roles and responsibilities you held there

When you explain the tasks you undertook in your previous positions it’s important to get specific. Detail the specific number of accounts and bills you processed per week, outline the key methods you used to save processing time or any discrepancy management you implemented that increased the accuracy of reports. Also, don’t forget to detail any and all financial savings you brought to the business as well as any major accolades you achieved within the business.


Employers will be looking out for more than just a good knowledge of mathematics when reading your resume. Your skills section should focus as much on your soft skills as it does on its hard abilities in payroll.

To work well in payroll specialist position you’ll also need to demonstrate exemplary people and organizational skills along with your knowledge of the day-to-day functional abilities. Your skills section therefore needs to include a mix of the following selection:

Hard skills:

  • Quickbooks
  • Mathematics
  • Financial reporting
  • HR
  • Tax filing
  • Leave accruals
  • Purchase orders
  • Bonus payroll
  • Bank reconciliation

Soft skills:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Organization
  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking
  • Accuracy


Whilst you can get hired with just a high school diploma for a payroll specialist position, some recruiters will be on the lookout for a relevant Bachelor’s degree. Therefore if you have a degree in Mathematics, Accounting or Finance, be sure to use this to your advantage in the education section of your resume.

Whether or not you have an appropriate degree in this field including an extra on the job qualifications either in the education section or in its own certifications section can make a big difference for getting noticed by recruiters. Probably the most recognized is a qualification accredited by the American Payroll Association (APA) such as the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP).

Payroll Specialist Resume Vocabulary & Writing Tips

Using the right words on the resume is often as crucial as including the right examples of your experience. Including the correct keywords demonstrates to the reader that you really know your way around the payroll profession and gives them a lot more confidence in your ability to fit the vacancy.

Furthermore, using the right key phrases has become especially important in recent times due to the rise of Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). Companies increasingly rely on these tools to manage the often huge volume of resumes they receive. These will often penalize documents that don’t use enough of these expressions and could lead to your application being rejected almost instantaneously.

Words to Use

  • Timekeeping
  • Discrepancy management
  • Invoice
  • Purchase orders
  • Credit union payments
  • Tax preparation
  • Leave accruals
  • Cashflow
  • Assets
  • Payroll reports
  • Electronic filing
  • Quickbooks
  • Tax withholdings
  • Bank reconciliation
  • 401K
  • Liabilities

Action Verbs

  • Consult
  • Update
  • Inform
  • Calculate
  • Fill in
  • Complete
  • Pay
  • Process
  • Manage
  • Assist
  • Research
  • Report
  • Lead
  • Input
  • Coordinate
  • Bill

Resume Samples

1. Candidate seeking a Payroll Specialist role

Organized and experienced payroll professional with a strong track record in processing payments, keeping accurate records and performing in depth financial analysis.

  • Reviewed all incoming invoices and PO requests before finalizing transactions
  • Successfully processed payroll of over 400 members of staff
  • Prepared in depth quarterly and monthly reports to assist with financial forecasting
  • Carefully analyzed payroll data for errors and discrepancies
Create your resume now
  • 3 years
  • HS
  • CPP

2. Candidate seeking a Payroll Specialist role

Adaptable and precise Payroll Specialist with proven skills in payments, a proactive attitude to problem solving and friendly approachable persona.

  • Prepared and inputted all data for outgoing payments within the company’s records
  • Researched changes in tax law and updated all company manuals on tax compliance
  • Maintained records of all leave accruals, sick days, holidays and other essential HR data
  • Performed regular reconciliation checks to ensure that correct data was being reported
Create your resume now
  • 2 years
  • HS
  • BS
  • Expert
    employment tax

Last modified on June 5th, 2020

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