A combination resume is a format that marries the best aspects of a chronological resume format and a functional resume format. A chronological resume focuses on the candidate’s work experience; a functional resume on skills. A combination resume uses both work history and skills to capture the employer’s attention.
Make sure you consider the two other resume formats to determine if a combination resume best suits your needs. As previously mentioned, the combination format serves a dual purpose. Read on to find out how the other resume formats differ and if they are more appropriate for you.
A chronological format emphasizes the work experience and duties of each position, the same as a combination resume format does, except the latter also underlines skills. Learn what to consider beforehand in order to choose the resume format that will work for you.
The functional format focuses on skills but de-emphasizes work history. The combination format has equal emphasis on skills and professional experience. The following differences will help you decide whether a combination or a functional resume is best for you:
To see what a combination format looks like, browse through the following resume examples. You can use these for creating your own combination resume.
This hybrid resume from Eastern Illinois University blends skills and education focused on public relations with a limited experience timeline. This resume style works best for new job seekers or those looking for entry-level positions — the timeline isn’t hidden, but isn’t given the same prominence as in some of our other templates. At the same time, listing multiple activities that occurred in the same year gives the impression of a longer timeline, and also shows that this applicant is self-motivated.
In this example, the applicant is applying to positions that will make use of her new degree and limited but relevant experience.
From Central Carolina Community College, this transferable skills resume focuses on sets of abilities gained through similar job types. The expertise listed, which focus on sales, marketing, and communication, showcase a broad knowledge of the field. Listed qualifications are thematic and tell potential employers that she has had past success working with the public, and wants to continue to do so.
In this example, the applicant has been a self-employed importer and an office manager and is hoping to leverage those experiences to gain employment in sales. This template works best for people who have a good employment history and extensive knowledge of the job’s needs.
Sales and Marketing
This resume sample gives equal measure to education, job history and professional skills. The document is organized to show how all three qualifications relate to the accounting profession. The limited work experience is fleshed out with descriptions of extra duties which are both relevant to the field and show that this applicant is motivated to move up in a company.
In this example, a recently earned degree and experience as an assistant to an accountant are showcased for the applicant to earn a job in accounting with a company that offers internal advancement.
This combination resume from Missouri State University is a smart presentation for a nursing applicant with a career-appropriate education and only entry-level experience. By top-loading education and giving roughly equal weight to capabilities and experience, the applicant can present a document that is well-rounded even when their experience is limited. This structure favors entry-level job seekers or journeymen in trades that involve apprenticeships.
This minimally styled template from California State University, Fullerton is a great example of a resume for people who aren’t looking for careers. By listing first a limited availability, the applicant is showing that this is meant to be a part-time, or perhaps second, job. Experience is given in a manner that will show knowledge in the field of customer service, without giving a full work history. The list of skills and personal qualities round out a resume focused on entry-level customer service.
In this example, the applicant has a degree and probably pursued a career in a different field. This application is great for showcasing relevant skills and experiences while not coming on too strong and being labeled as over-qualified. This style of resume is also good for students looking for summer or weekend jobs.
The following custom templates will help you write a combination resume from scratch. All of these builder-made templates are completely customizable. You can choose a design that best suits your personality while maintaining a professional look.
The tools you have gained at this point will help you create a compelling combination resume. The following instructions will give you a detailed guide to writing each section.
These are the elements every combination resume should cover:
In a combination resume, the relevant skills section also includes achievements.
After these sections, you may add extra information that is not completely relevant to the job you want but can boost the impact of your resume. Some examples are foreign languages, volunteer programs, professional affiliations, etc.
It is better not to include hobbies or references. Including them is an outdated practice and does not give valuable information about your professional capability.
The process of writing your combination resume will be easier if you know beforehand what information you will include. Most of the document will be based on your skills and your employment history, so let’s start from there.
Go back to the job description and identify what expertise is important for the position. List your abilities and accomplishments using the same keywords used in the description. Keep your list relevant to the position. Ask yourself the following questions to get ideas for the relevant skills section:
For the work experience section, think about the activities you have done that apply to the position you want. To help you identify these elements, ask yourself the following questions:
Once you finish, make sure you’re using the same keywords you saw in the job ad. For example, if you wrote “implemented workshops to strengthen leadership,” but the job ad says “training on soft skills, such as leadership,” add the terms “training” and “soft skills.” The message might be the same, but remember that your document may be filtered initially by an applicant tracking system (ATS). Using the same keywords as the job description will help get your resume past this stage. Later, we will revisit the know-how and work history you listed in this step.
Only include essential information: your complete name, address, email, and phone number.
Keep it simple. There is no need to add a subheading. You can add the address of your professional website, portfolio or LinkedIn profile if you have them.
Your name should be visible at a quick glance. You can ensure this by centering it at the top of the document and placing it in a larger font size.
Use a general location, like the name of your city. Avoid a complete address as some recruiters will reject your resume if they consider you too far away to commute. You can add “Willing to relocate” if the position requires moving to another city.
It is important to provide a mobile number. This way recruiters will be able to contact you faster. Use an email address that has your first and last names, not nicknames.
A professional profile, also known as a qualifications summary, provides a quick account of your professional background, relevant abilities and achievements. Its main goal is to grab the reader’s attention by portraying you as the kind of professional the position requires.
The professional profile should be a brief paragraph of around 50 words, and it should usually begin with your degree or job title and the number of years’ experience you have in the field. Then, mention your most relevant skills and support them with achievements. You can list certificates, recognition or accomplishments with quantified information.
To illustrate this, let’s look at two professional profiles. The first one is not well-written and the second one is. This is the professional profile of a credit analyst:
Some of the information is subjective. There is nothing that tells the recruiter this description is accurate.
In contrast, the following professional profile gives more valuable information:
Both profiles belong to the same professional, but the second one will grab the recruiter’s attention more effectively because it includes quantified information and objective facts, such as a performance indicator and an award.
Knowing about your accomplishments will help the recruiter picture you doing the same for their company.
Here you will use the list of abilities and accomplishments you wrote before starting the resume. It will be easier to understand what you can bring to the table if you classify your expertise in categories.
Skills can belong to one of three categories:
Arrange your own prowess in categories of four or five subsections and organize them in order of relevance. The most important skill for the job you are applying to should go first.
Use action-oriented verbs that highlight measured information to define the accomplishments and projects you have been involved with.
A straightforward way to write down your achievements is to use this formula: Your action + Who benefitted + Measured result. For example, “Designed a program for retention of talent when onboarding employees, which resulted in a 30 percent decrease in turnover after three months.”
It is preferable to list your skills and achievements in bullet points. This keeps the sections brief and easy to read.
This section is for listing your job positions and main duties. To create this section, use the list of activities you compiled before starting the resume. It is not necessary to mention your achievements in each position. In a combination format, achievements go in the relevant skills section.
For each position, indicate the employer, job title, duties and dates. Generally, you should only include paid jobs. However, if you don’t have enough experience, you can add volunteer work or university internships. Adding unpaid work can also help if the activities relate to the job you want.
Your current or latest job should be listed first. Continue in reverse-chronological order. Recent roles should be described in detail. It is more important for recruiters to know what you can do now. Older roles can be summarized.
Describe the daily tasks and general goals of each position. For example, a sales executive may have the daily task of cold calling potential clients and a goal to grow the number of clients in a specific market. Adapt these items according to the responsibilities listed in the job ad and the keywords used.
Also, remember to organize your duties so the most relevant to the job position appears first. You may need to tailor the order in which you list activities for each job application so your resume is appealing to your target employer.
If you held more than one position for the same employer, make sure to list each position separately so your career growth is more noticeable.
If your career history is not as strong as your skills, you can use the education section to give extra support to those skills. Just remember to keep it relevant and brief.
You should include the name and location of your university or educational institution, your major and the type of degree obtained. If you recently graduated, you can add your GPA if it is 3.5 or above.
Include relevant seminars, workshops and courses if they validate a skill.
Normally, you should include dates in this section, but it is not mandatory. You can leave them out if ageism is a concern.
If your resume is longer than two pages, go through it and see what you can cut out. Look for repetition or long sentences. Editing your layout might help you optimize space, but be sure to keep the document as uncluttered as possible.
A combination resume has the strong advantage of showing the best of your skills and work experience. When written the right way, it can be an effective tool for landing an interview for your desired job.
Let’s revisit the most important steps for writing a compelling combination resume:
Follow these instructions to build an outstanding resume. Now, you can get ready to interview for the job you want!
A resume builder is your secret to optimizing your combination resume. We’re excited to share our builder with you. This online tool ! is stocked with dozens of customizable templates, optimized color schemes and pre-built margin parameters so that you can focus on writing your resume and increase your odds of landing your dream job.
Our templates default to the combination template, so you don’t have to worry about shuffling any resume sections around. Simply pick your favorite template and decide how to emphasize your work history and six relevant skills. If you find yourself at a loss for what to include, our builder suggests job-related skills and job tasks for you. Remember that our suggestions are just that; suggestions. You’ll need to edit and personalize each recommended sentence to reflect your professional experience and the jobs you're interested in.