Hiring activity in the payroll sector is on the rise, but that doesn’t mean you should take your sweet time applying. The sooner you send in your resume, the greater chance you can land a new job quickly. But a job hunt that doesn’t include preparation risks missteps that can easily derail your prospects. Read on for six tips about how you can impress hiring managers and get employed faster.
1. Do your research. Just because the salary and job title sound perfect doesn’t mean the employer will be a good fit. Research the company’s history, stability and non-wage benefits. Whenever possible, reach out to your professional network to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to work there. When you want to land a new job quickly, you can’t afford to waste valuable time and energy applying for payroll jobs that are wrong for you.
2. Refine your resumes. That’s right — plural. You know to customize cover letters for each position, but you should do the same with each resume. Scrutinize the job postings, noting what keywords they favor — such as “top Excel skills,” “Sarbanes-Oxley” or “multi-state payroll management” — and which payroll platform (Kronos, Lawson, Fusion, etc.) they use. Then incorporate those words naturally into your resume. Why? The applicant tracking systems many HR departments use to rank candidates during the first pass scan resumes for keywords, among other criteria.
3. Highlight credentials. Not all payroll job postings will list certifications as a required or preferred qualification. However, many hiring managers are impressed when they see that an applicant has attained a financial certification, such as the FPC (Fundamental Payroll Certification) or CPP (Certified Payroll Professional).
4. Be prepared for interviews. In addition to the standard interview questions, hiring managers will pose a few payroll-specific scenarios or questions. They may even throw you a few curveballs, such as “Who’s your favorite superhero?” or “What does the fox say?” to test how well you think on your feet. Role-play the job interview with a friend, so that you’re not only prepared for the questions, but confident and at ease when you meet the hiring manager. Initial impressions are critical, 60 percent of CFOs said in a recent Accountemps survey that they size up job candidates within the first 15 minutes of an interview.
5. Follow up after interviews. Not all candidates send a thank-you message after the interview, which is all the more reason you should. Stand out from the competition by emailing or mailing a short note within a day of the interview. After expressing your appreciation for their time, re-emphasize your biggest selling points as a payroll candidate and what you like specifically about the position. If you interviewed with several people, be sure to thank each person individually.
6. Turn to temporary work. One way to land a new job quickly is to work with a specialized recruitment firm. Many finance professionals have found full-time work by starting out as an interim worker, as employers frequently use temporary and temp-to-full-time positions to evaluate a candidate’s aptitude, job skills and fit with the workplace environment.
Preparation and planning are vital if you want to land a new job quickly. You can’t cut corners working in the payroll world, but with these tips, you can cut the time between jobs and get employed faster.
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has more than 325 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at roberthalf.com/accountemps.