How to write a payroll CV (with template and example)

Updated 12 April 2023

Organisations rely on their payroll team to handle the wages, salaries and payment of all employees based on their roles and working hours. This organisational function ensures employees receive fast, consistent payment for their services, which keeps morale and job satisfaction high. If you want to pursue a career in payroll, one of the first things to work on is a compelling CV to impress employers. In this article, we share some tips on how to write a payroll CV and provide a template and an example for you to use.

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What does a payroll officer do?

Working in payroll focuses on releasing payments for salaries and wages for employees in a consistent and timely way. Payroll officers contribute to compliance and tax responsibilities, job satisfaction and employee retention. They perform administrative duties on behalf of the organisation to maintain payroll records and calculate payments for employees based on their contracts. Although a career in payroll predominantly focuses on paying employees for their service, there're several duties that payroll handles, such as:

  • processing payments at the right time

  • maintaining employee salary and payroll records

  • calculating employee take-home pay by factoring in things like overtime, holiday pay and taxes

  • supporting employees by informing them about wages, salary deductions and tax considerations

  • handling requests for holidays and workplace absences

  • managing job titles, promotions and other changes to contracts

  • investigating any issues or discrepancies in payments

  • establishing organisational tax obligations by factoring in council tax, national insurance contributions and other relevant taxes

Related: What is payroll processing? (Types, how-to guide and tips)

How to write a payroll CV

If entering a career in payroll interests you, look at the steps below to learn how to write a payroll CV that employers notice:

1. Read job advertisements to learn about payroll

Research the different job advertisements for payroll jobs to learn about what employers want from candidates. This might include specific skills and experience, such as fluency in payroll software. Once you learn what employers look for in ideal candidates, think about how your skills and experience align with this. Develop your skills further in certain areas before applying for these jobs to give yourself the best chance of securing an interview.

Related: The ultimate guide to CV basics (with example)

2. Think about the right CV format for you

CVs use different formats to emphasise certain strengths or competencies in your application. For example, you might be new to the industry and lack much in the way of experience. If you have transferable skills, emphasise that over your experience. Choosing the right format for your CV ensures you showcase your best attributes that align with your desired job. Look at the CV formats below to determine which suits you:

  • Chronological format: A chronological CV format highlights your previous work experience. If you have some experience in payroll already, this might be the right choice for you.

  • Combination format: A combination CV format offers a balanced account of your work experience and skills that align with payroll. If you have good levels of experience and suitable skills for the job, this is an appropriate format to consider.

  • Functional format: A functional CV format emphasises your skills over your work history by placing the skills section prominently in your CV. If you have the right skills but lack sufficient experience in payroll, this is a suitable format to consider.

Related: The complete CV format guide: examples and tips

3. Include your contact information at the top of your CV

When you create your payroll CV, provide up-to-date contact information at the top of your CV. You can insert it as a header or just as an opening section, but make sure that it's the first piece of information available to recruiters or employers reading your CV. This ensures that if they like what they see or have questions, they can contact you easily. Remember to include your full name, your location, your professional email address and your telephone number.

4. Write a professional summary

The first section of your CV, after your contact details, is the professional summary, a brief outline of your suitability as a candidate. It concisely summarises your top skills, relevant work history and overall aspirations in your career. Try to align these with the job advert to make it as relevant as possible and to showcase your overall suitability for the job. Keep this section brief to hold the reader's attention and give them a reason to read the rest of your CV. Aim for no more than three sentences and keep them as relevant to the job as possible.

Related: 90 of the best CV buzzwords to make your CV stand out

5. Detail your work experience

Your work experience section creates a timeline of your previous roles that ideally align with the current role you seek. Create your work experience in a reverse chronological format, starting with your most recent employment and working backwards. Choose specific duties and responsibilities that relate to payroll in some capacity. For example, if you worked in human resources, then mention your compliance, administrative or communication skills related to working in payroll. For each role, include your job title, the name of your employer, any key duties and how long you worked there.

6. Add a section for education

Create a section dedicated to your qualifications and academic achievements to show employers and recruiters that you have sufficient education for a payroll job. As with the work experience section, start with your most recent qualifications before working backwards. Highlight any relevant learning outcomes, skills or qualifications that closely align with a job in payroll to improve your chances of securing an interview.

For this section, include the qualification earned, the name of the institution where you obtained it and the dates of attendance. Make sure it's as relevant as possible to the job, so include learning outcomes relating to things like payment processing or tax requirements for businesses.

7. Highlight your skills

Next, create a section that focuses on the skills that make you an ideal candidate for a job in payroll. Use your job advertisement research to help guide this and tailor your skills for the open position. If the job posting asks for good administrative and data entry skills, include them. Create this section by breaking down your skills into a bulleted list to make it easy for the employer or recruiter to identify your most relevant skills.

The skills section can include both hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills, or technical skills, include things like proficiency in specific software like Sage 50. Soft skills include interpersonal skills or character traits that help you in your roles, such as communication skills or teamwork. Make sure that these skills align with the job you're applying for and that the most relevant ones are nearer the top of the section.

Related: Essential HR skills

Template CV for a payroll officer

Use the following template for a payroll officer CV to act as a framework and help you create your CV with all the important elements and sections included:

[First name] [Last name]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City]

Professional Summary
[Two to three sentences that highlight years of experience, relevant skills, education or certifications and achievements as a professional].

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]

[Degree and major], [Name of school or university]
[Certification name], [Host organisation] - [Year completed or expiration date]

Example CV for a payroll officer

Here is an example payroll officer CV below that can help guide the creation of your own:

Luke Hutchison
01234 567 891 | | London

Professional Summary
High-performing human resources and payroll professional looking to focus on a career heading payroll departments. Good team player with strong communication and administrative skills. Competent with the latest tax regulations and payroll software.

Payroll Assistant | May 2020–Current
Blackthorn Gardening | London

  • help with the allocation and structuring of payments for a workforce of 50 people

  • handle queries relating to missed payments or other issues with salaries

  • support payroll department by assisting with administrative duties

  • train staff with the latest payroll software

  • implement new wage structuring policies for staff

Junior Payroll Administrator | April 2018–April 2020
Haddock Paddock Ltd | London

  • ensured all employee payment records were up-to-date and available for tax purposes and audits

  • responded to various payroll queries

  • identified a miscalculation in tax statuses that saved the organisation over £8,000 per year

Competent with Sage 50 and other payroll software | Communication | Customer service | Organisation | Problem-solving | Numeracy and IT skills

BSc (Hons) in Accounting, Riverwell University

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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