Getting Hired as a Payroll Administrator

Choosing a career in payroll can mean steady work and a handsome paycheck. A payroll administrator is especially valuable, and in larger companies they may head up a department that includes many staff members.

Payroll itself can also be a more challenging and rewarding career than you may imagine. Rarely does a payroll administrator only enter payroll data into a computer and make sure that paychecks are issued; he or she often conducts audits, prepares reports, and helps with overall financial planning. Their day can be varied and challenging in many different ways.

Of course, to have a fulfilling career as a payroll administrator you need to get hired! In many cases a company may hire from within, promoting a payroll manager or clerk to the position of administrator. However this doesn't mean that you cannot be hired to a company as a payroll administrator outright. To help improve your chances, consider a few tips in this regard.

In many cases a bachelor's degree is required but additional schooling is also helpful.


Of course you need the right education to work in payroll. This is not something you can simply learn as you go, as payroll means adhering to various laws and being compliant with government regulations. Handling payroll means not just paying people their salaries but withholding certain taxes and making sure those taxes get paid to the government on a timely basis.

This means that a payroll administrator needs to have the proper education in order to understand not just the fundamentals of payroll but also to understand these legal requirements.

In many cases a bachelor's degree is required but additional schooling is also helpful. Many payroll classes may include such forums as working with a multi-state employer, handling payroll through mergers and acquisitions, garnishments, local tax compliance, and preparing for year-end reports.

Payroll is also computerized just about everywhere today, and there are a few standard programs used for payroll administration. Your expertise with computer programs is necessary, so this too should be stressed on your resume and during a job interview.

The more education you have, the more valuable you will be to an employer. If possible, take additional classes and forums above and beyond your degree, and demonstrate to a potential employer your willingness to continue with your education as necessary.


Believe it or not, a payroll administrator may work as part of a team more often than not. This is because a payroll administrator may be called upon to work with other departments on different projects. The business owner or manager may want to trim costs, cut personnel, or reduce their tax liability. These things often mean that several department heads need to work together to come up with different scenarios and suggestions. A payroll administrator needs to be able to cooperate and work effectively with a wide variety of personalities.

Additionally, a payroll administrator may be in charge of the entire payroll department, which may be somewhat large for larger companies. This may also mean that the administrator needs to be able to work in a team environment.

When applying for the position of payroll administrator, it's important to stress your ability to work with a number of personalities and to work on a team. If you worked in study groups while getting your degree, note this on your resume and during your interview.

These are a few things to consider in order to put you ahead of the competition when it comes to applying for a payroll administration position. If you understand what employers are looking for and what they find valuable in their payroll department today, you will have an advantage over other applicants.