The combination resume is a blend of the chronological and functional formats. The strength of the combination format is its ability to equally emphasize your skills and work experience.
- Like a chronological resume, it lists work experience in reverse-chronological order, starting with your current or most recent position and ending with your oldest.
- Like a functional resume, it displays your relevant and useful skills and accomplishments prominently.
Who Should Write One?
The combination resume is the perfect format for these types of job seekers:
Applicants who’ve worked at the same company for many years If you’ve worked at one company for an extended period of time, you may not have a diverse work history at first glance. But, you’ve probably progressed through several positions within the organization and expanded your skill set. A combination resume allows you to showcase these achievements to potential employers.
Candidates who want to focus equally on skills and work history A combination resume is good for junior- to mid-level job seekers who have notable skills or accomplishments. Showing the relation between the two is a great way to establish the trajectory of your professional growth.
Those with little work experience There is nothing wrong with having limited work history. If you’ve recently graduated or only held one position in your field, a combination resume allows you to display your experience while also emphasizing the skills you’ve gained.
How to Write One
You should always read the job description to understand what an employer expects to see in your resume. Doing so will help you present your most relevant qualifications, which increases the chances of landing an interview.
In crafting a combination resume, most of your attention should focus on perfecting your summary statement, skills and work history sections. Read on for specific guidance for writing each section.
This is a preview of what will appear throughout your resume: your goals, experience and qualifications. It usually mentions your career aspirations, how many years of experience you have and your top skills.
Insider Writing Tip: Take advantage of the summary
Your summary must be a concise, smartly written three sentences at most. Create a powerful opening sentence by mentioning your most significant qualification and/or accomplishment. You can often include your years of experience in that sentence. Follow it up with several sentences that speak directly to your ability to help the employer in the job you are seeking.
The skills section of your resume is equally as important as the work history in this format. You need to prove to potential employers that you can tackle the job tasks and excel in the position. Describe your skills as specifically as possible and back them up with examples and metrics from your work experience.
Insider Writing Tip: Identify the most relevant skills
A combination resume format offers a dedicated place to showcase your talents. The skills section is often placed above your work history. Make sure that the skills you list are particularly relevant and customized to the position you seek. Include keywords gleaned from the job description to make sure your resume makes it through automated tracking systems (ATS). These will be the skills that will attract the hiring manager’s attention.
It’s important to present your work history as effectively as your skills. We recommend doing so in reverse-chronological order, starting with your most recent role. Include dates of employment and most importantly descriptions of key accomplishments for each position.
Insider Writing Tip: Let your work history further showcase your skills
This is an opportunity for you to spin your career experience so employers see how your skills and impressive accomplishments will benefit them. Use industry-relevant metrics, but frame the achievements with the skills needed to meet the goals. Use action verbs to describe how the results were achieved.
Led, managed or planned a project that resulted in meeting all project deadlines.
Integrated, overhauled or centralized operations to improve company efficiencies.
Negotiated, secured or forged relationships to increase the company’s revenue.
Header and Education
The header of your resume is the first impression a recruiter will get, so it’s important to include your full name, a professional email address, the city and state where you reside, and a phone number where you can be reached. Outdated or unprofessional information will cost you an interview.
The education section, the last section of your combination resume, is where employers will look to make sure you have the required academic achievements for the position. Like the header, it can leave the employer with a positive or negative impression. You should list all relevant degrees and training for the position you are seeking.
The formatting is pretty straightforward: Start with the highest degree you have achieved, including the institution and date accomplished.
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Diagram of a Perfect Combination Resume
Contact Information Section
- Andover, Massachusetts
- (555) 555-5555
Customer-obsessed sales representative with three years’ experience increasing sales and developing a brand image. Awarded Top Sales Representative at Philips in Q3 of 2018. Exceeded sales goals by 10 percent or greater for two consecutive years earning the company more than $500,000 in revenue
Notice that the opening of Jacqueline’s summary statement effectively brands her as a passionate sales representative who is relatively new to her career. She then describes an award that she earned and ties tangible metrics to it. In doing so, Jacqueline crafted a strong introduction to her professional story that encourages hiring managers to learn more about her skill set.
- G Suite
- Spanish language
- Persuasive written and verbal communication
- Emotional IQ
- Time management
Jacqueline started with her crucial technical talents and closed with strong soft skills. A hiring manager reading this resume could easily understand how Jacqueline is qualified for the role and how her talents could benefit the team. We’ve explained the value of reviewing the job description before writing a resume, so it’s safe to assume that Jacqueline’s skills section is comprised of capabilities listed in the job description.
Sales Representative, Philips October 2017-Present
- Organize over 200 customer relationships using Salesforce
- Consistently meet and exceed sales goals by 10 percent or more, earning a spot as the first woman on the Sales MVP League
- Collaborate monthly with the 15-member team to further develop marketing strategies in Spanish and English, enhancing sales funnel
- Offer customer service in English and Spanish, increasing customer retention by 43 percent
Marketing Intern, Philips June 2017-August 2017
- Trained 10 team members on company systems and product catalog
- Assisted sales teams with daily operations, developing sales skills
- Helped plan and execute events and marketing programs that target Spanish speakers, producing 50 qualified leads
- Earned promotion to full-time sales representative after internship completion
Jacqueline does not have much experience yet, but her work history section tells a compelling story about her brief time as a sales representative. See how she leads each section with her job title, followed by the company’s name and her dates of employment. This simple organization alone answers hiring managers’ questions right off the bat.
When Jacqueline describes her work history, she leads with a strong action verb, such as “collaborate” and “organize.” This shows that she has command of her achievements. Speaking of achievements, she attached quantifiable metrics to prove that she gets results. When hiring managers see numbers, they understand the candidate’s potential and how that aligns with the team’s needs.
Jacqueline also expanded upon the capabilities she addressed in her skills section, such as her bilingual talents, and offered clear results. Remember, your work history and skills sections should support each other in a combination resume.
B.A., Marketing, 3.9 GPA
Awards: Magna Cum Laude, Dean’s List (2016, 2018)
Activities: Alpha Beta Gamma Treasurer (2016), Model United Nations (2016-2017)
Combination Resume FAQs
A combination resume format blends together the work history of a chronological resume with the skills of a functional resume. This resume format places the job seeker’s required, relevant and transferable skills at the top of the document, followed by a reverse-chronological work experience section.
What is the correct section order in a combination resume?A combination resume format should include the following sections, in this order:
- Contact information
- Summary statement
- Work history
What makes a combination resume different from a chronological resume?This format includes much of the same information as a chronological resume, but it emphasizes the skills section. The work history and skills sections are supposed to work together to tell your professional story.
What is the best resume format for a career change?This is one of the best resume formats for a career change. Because it emphasizes skills, this format will help you highlight your transferable skills as you transition to a new industry. Consider using the summary section to help explain what is motivating you to change careers and how your skills and accomplishments have prepared you for the change.
Which resume format will impress recruiters and hiring managers?The perfect resume format for you is the one that fits your strengths. A combination resume is ideal if you want to emphasize your skills and point to your continuous work history. However, a chronological or functional resume can also impress hiring managers and recruiters if the format plays to your strengths. My Perfect Resume’s Resume Builder lets you experiment with different resume types as you figure out which format best suits your experience.
How do I write a combination resume with no experience?To start, lengthen your skills section. Focus on abilities that you mastered in school, internships or part-time jobs. Write a shorter work history section that expands upon the talents you previously listed. You might think that it’s impossible to write a resume without any work experience, but with this resume template, it isn’t.