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A well-written combination resume can be a powerful tool for promoting a professional image and getting a job interview. It can help candidates looking for a higher position and those who want to make a career change. It is also a good way to show strong skills for senior executive positions.

In this article, you will find an extensive guide to building a combination resume. Navigate through our free resume samples and templates and our resume builder, to help you create a compelling document.

What Is a Combination Resume?

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.

Combination Resume Versus Other Formats

There are three main types of resume formats:

Chronological

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.

  • Focal point
    A combination resume has a wider focal point. Think about how your work history resembles the job to which you are applying. If you want to start working in a somewhat different career field, it is a good idea to also emphasize your skills. In that case, a combination resume would be best for you.
  • Hierarchy of position
    If you want to apply to a higher position, a chronological resume might give the impression of insufficient experience. On the other hand, a combination resume will mention proficiency and accomplishments, which will make your document more appealing.
  • Repetition
    A common mistake in combination resumes is to list your skills and then list them again in the employment history section. Keep this in mind as you arrange your information.

Functional

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:

  • Focal point
    Since both formats mention your skills, the deciding factor is your work history. If your job duties and achievements are relevant to the job you are applying for, use a combination format. If you are making a radical career change, a functional format will work better.
  • Senior position
    A senior executive position has more specific requirements. Therefore, recruiters are often more thorough when selecting candidates for this kind of position. If this is the type of job you are applying to, use a combination format.

Combination Resume Examples

To see what a combination format looks like, browse through the following resume examples. You can use these for creating your own combination resume.

Entry-Level Combination Resume

Sales and Marketing Combination Resume

Entry-Level Accounting Combination Resume

Skills-Focused Combination Resume

Customer Service Resume

Combination Resume Templates

The following templates will help you write a combination resume from scratch. All of these templates are completely customizable. You can choose the layout that best suits your personality while maintaining a professional look.

How to Create a Combination Resume

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.

Combination Resume Outline

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.

Before Starting

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 are 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.

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.

  • Job-related skills
    These are technical skills, usually learned at work or through academic training. For example, for a web developer, job-related expertise might be HTML5, MySQL and Ruby.
  • Transferable skills
    These kind of skills are your best allies for a career change. While working in a certain position, you might have developed abilities you can apply to another field. For example, as a product developer, you might have coordinated a sales staff. This experience can be used to apply for a sales management position.
  • Adaptive or personal skills
    These are the personal characteristics that help you do your job. These may seem subjective, so it is important to support them with achievements. For example, you can support leadership abilities by mentioning that a team you lead received a company award for high performance.

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.

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.

Conclusion

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!

Using a Resume Builder

A resume builder is your secret to optimizing your combination resume. With customizable templates and pre-built margin parameters, you can focus on customizing your resume. We partner with My Perfect Resume to get you premium access to hundreds of pre-written text and job specific descriptions so that you can confidently submit your resume and increase your odds of landing your dream interview.