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Payroll Resume Examples to Help You Build Yours

Working payroll requires a good head for numbers and lots of constant attention to detail. How can you make sure those skills shine throughout your resume?

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By Ho Lin 4 minute read

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Payroll Resume Examples

Payroll processing is one of the most important behind-the-scenes elements of any job. After all, if people don’t get paid, they’re not going to keep working for a company. Here’s what you need to know about writing a strong resume for a payroll position.

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What to Highlight in a Payroll Resume

In the field of payroll administration, it’s typically best to highlight your skills. A detail-oriented nature as a payroll expert can help you avoid far-reaching consequences with the IRS, like audits and worse. When writing your payroll specialist resume, it’s crucial that you showcase what your skills can do for the company you’re applying to.

Structure of a Payroll Resume

Your payroll resume structure will depend on what resume format you use. The chronological format is most common, and highlights your work experience. If you’re short on experience, you may want to use the functional format or combination format. Regardless of the format you choose, you’ll include these sections.


At the very top of your resume is part of the resume design: the resume header. This section has your full name, your contact information, including your phone number, and your professional portfolio links, such as a LinkedIn profile.

Resume summary or objective

The first part of a resume that most hiring managers will look at is the resume summary or resume objective. This two to three-sentence paragraph highlights your best skills and talents. A resume objective also includes a statement of your career goals, and is better for first-time job seekers, or job candidates without much experience.


Here are a few payroll-related skills to include:

  • Auditing and its impacts
  • Ability to work with human resources
  • Noticing and removing discrepancies
  • Sending out paychecks
  • Utilizing different payroll systems
  • Monitoring payroll tax
  • Data entry
  • Processing garnishments and withholdings
  • Handling multi-state payroll accounting
  • Working with payroll software (QuickBooks, ADP)
  • Processing payroll data
  • Problem-solving
  • Timekeeping and usage of timesheets and timecards
  • Bookkeeping
  • Setting up direct deposit for employee payroll
  • Holding payroll records
  • Processing terminations

Your skills section needs to include both hard skills and soft skills that show off your technical knowledge as well as your ability to work with others.

Work history

Next is your work experience section. This should include all the experience you have in relation to payroll reports and related fields, like human resource management. Include up to the last ten years of experience in these related fields. You can also include elements like internships and volunteer work, especially if it’s recent, as long as they feature skills needed for the job.


Most payroll specialists only need a high school diploma, but many employers will prefer someone with a bachelor’s degree in a helpful field like business administration. Check out payroll specialist resume examples at ResumeHelp to see what education other people have been listing.

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Do’s and Don’ts for a Payroll Resume

  • Display a basic understanding of laws that might impact your profession, like tax law. This can make it less likely that you’ll go through something detrimental like an audit.
  • Discuss specific skills you’re most confident in, like working with a payroll team or being in charge of new employees. This can help recruiters understand your skills more effectively.
  • Include work experience related to payroll, like human resources work and other project management.
  • Disclose any individual employee data from previous jobs. Employee information is typically protected by privacy laws.
  • Discuss weaknesses in your resume. If your hiring manager wants to know about your greatest weaknesses, then they’ll ask in the interview.
  • List basic skills like Microsoft Office skills unless you have advanced knowledge of them. Hiring managers can tell when you’re just trying to pad a resume.

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FAQ: Payroll Resumes

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Yes. You should have a cover letter for all applications. If you want to show that you really care about getting a specific job, then it’s a good idea to write a cover letter, which lets you go over your experience in depth and provide more details on how you fit the job opening. If you want to include a cover letter, then use the ResumeHelp cover letter builder to create it.

Payroll workers don’t always need years of experience on a professional resume. If you don’t have much experience, then your best bet is to highlight skills and certifications. After all, for the most part, companies just want to know that you’re a certified payroll professional. The more skills and certifications you show off, the more a hiring manager might trust you.

You should never use the same resume to apply to multiple jobs. Instead, it’s important that you use resume keywords to modify these resumes. Keywords help you understand exactly what a recruiter is looking for, then allow you to mirror that information back to them. Just click on our resume keywords link for more tips on how to find keywords from the job description and use them.

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Ho Lin Profile

Ho Lin is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and editor with two decades of experience in content strategy, creation, and development. He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and his background includes experience aiding military veterans as they transition to civilian careers.

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