Five things payroll managers look for on your CV

In a candidate market, the first thing to remember is that there may be one job opening with 100 applicants; therefore, it’s vital your application stands out from the competition. A payroll manager may only have a couple of minutes to look over your CV so ensuring the below is included will go a long way to helping you get that all-important payroll job.

1.    Concise summary 
The opening sentences on your CV are the most significant as this is their first impression of you! This is your opportunity to sell yourself to the employer, highlight your relevant skills and summarise the experience you possess. It is important you include the following:

  • -    A key achievement in payroll
  • -    Recent work history
  • -    Specialist skills

2.    Including the necessary skills & software experience
If a payroll manager requests knowledge of using a specific program, then you must document this, and your skills should be clearly listed on your CV. The payroll manager needs to be able to find they are looking for in the first few seconds, to want to read more.
Making sure you include a rundown of the skills you possess and incorporate relevant skills from the job description you have ensures the payroll manager that you have the relevant skill set they need to fill the roll. 
A good list of skills to have: 

  • A keen eye for detail
  • Enjoy working within a team
  • Strong basic math skills
  • Confident on the phone
  • Excellent communicator 

Confident with Excel Including the volume and frequency of your payroll work is a good display of whether you will be a good fit within the size of the company which you are applying for. 

3.    Payroll experience and achievements
Experience needed for a role depends on the organisation. No matter what level of the role you are applying for you must be able to demonstrate relevant and transferable experience on your CV to have the best chance of getting the job.
You should always state how long you have worked at an organisation for, but your priority should be focusing on the achievements that you acquired in the role. For example, it could be changes to the running of an organisation, a high level of satisfaction with a low level of processing errors, or improvements you made to the team which impacted on their efficiency. 

Struggling to think of achievements? Mention something of which you are especially proud of in a previous job or something you achieved while in education.
Also, if you possess a qualification or an accreditation such as one from the CIPP (Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals), then make sure to mention this. Payroll managers often desire this; however, many businesses will offer learning and development opportunities to gain such qualifications. 

4.    Display that you can work well with others
Working on a payroll team will involve daily interaction with others. Whether this is done via email, phone, or face to face, you must be able to make a good impression on both colleagues and clients. 

Rather than just stating ‘Excellent team skills’ on your CV, good payroll managers will look for evidence of this. Make sure you include examples of this in your achievement section or experience section of your CV. For example, were you the person that mediated conflict when your team was working under pressure? If so, writing something like this ‘’because of my ability to listen to others and mediate conflict, me and my team were able to complete payroll for the 1000 clients we have on time and accurately, despite the issues that arised within the team’’

This is important as it gives the employer an idea of how you work, and they can picture how well you will fit in with the rest of the team. If you can provide a cover letter in your application, then it is always best to do so and display examples of great teamwork there!

5.    Would you be a good fit?
It can be difficult for the employer to gauge whether you would be a good fit just by looking at your CV but if you find there is space then make sure to include a section about yourself. Sharing some interests, you may have will provide colleagues with some clues to help the employer understand you better, if you have anything in common with them and whether you will have a good relationship with the team.

Bonus Tip! - Do you ACTUALLY have good attention to detail? 
Having a career in payroll requires diligence as a mistake can potentially have financial consequences. For this reason, every payroll position will require candidates to have great attention to detail. You want your CV to be self-evident that it is a quality you possess, rather than it just being a statement on your application. 

For example, if there are grammatical errors in your application or spelling mistakes, then perhaps your attention to detail is not as strong as you may believe. You would be surprised how many perfectly competent individuals have had an application rejected due to a typo! 

To avoid any disappointment, once you have created your CV, make sure to proofread it for any errors.