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When To Use a Combination Resume

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    • You have some experience and are looking to move up.
      A combination resume is good for junior- to mid-level job seekers who have notable skills or accomplishments. This format will show how you’ve already acquired important skills, and used them effectively in your career thus far.
  • Switch Over
    • You’re switching over from a different career field.
      Maybe you don’t have a lot of experience in your new job field, but the combination format will help you feature transferable skills and work experiences from other jobs that show you can handle the demands of your new career.
  • Job Market Enter
    • You’re reentering the job market.
      If you’re returning from time off or have employment gaps in your career, a combination resume will emphasize skills and training you already have, as well as previous job experiences that relate to the new job you’re looking for.

What’s the Difference Between Combination Resumes and Other Resume Formats?

Combination Format

  • Features both work history and skills
  • Presents your most relevant abilities and job accomplishments
  • Focuses on career highlights rather than providing a comprehensive overview of every job you’ve had

Chronological Format

  • Features comprehensive overview of your work history
  • Emphasizes job experiences and career growth
  • Includes rundown of key skills
  • More chronological format tips

Functional Format

  • Presents your top qualifications in detail
  • Skills are broken out in important subcategories
  • Includes related training and non-professional activities
  • More functional format tips

5 Tips for Making the Most of the Combination Format

1.  Focus on Your Best Skills and Experiences in Your Summary.

Create a powerful first impression by mentioning your most significant qualifications and previous accomplishments in your summary statement. Make sure these highlights fit what the job is looking for. For example, if you’re applying for a business analyst job that requires managing an operating budget for a large retail company, you could write: “Accomplished analyst with experience managing budget for 5 retail chain stores.”

Combination Summary

2. Categorize Your Skills.

When listing your skills and qualifications, take note of what’s needed for the job you’re applying to, and feature abilities that match these requirements. For example, if you’re looking at a medical assistant job, you could create categories for related skills such as “Medical Skills” (which could include knowledge of First Aid and CPR, as well as more specialized knowledge of certain procedures and medical equipment), and “Soft Skills” (which could include intangible abilities that are key to the job, such as good communication skills and a patient-focused attitude).

Combination Skills

3. Feature Relevant Achievements in Your Work History.

In your work experience section, list jobs in reverse-chronological order (current or most recent job first), and include the name of the company, the dates you’ve worked there and titles of the jobs you’ve held. Focus on accomplishments that can “transfer” to the new job you’re interested in. For instance, if you worked on a security management team but are now applying to a customer service representative position, highlight examples from your security work which show you can work well with managers and clients (e.g., “Handled client requests and queries in 400-employee office site in professional, efficient manner.”)

Combination Work History

4. Feature Training and Certifications As well as Education.

In addition to your academic credentials (such as a high school diploma or education degree), use your education section to display any additional education or training that aligns with the job you’re interested in. For example, if you’re applying to a job that lists “knowledge of Microsoft Office” as a requirement, feature any courses or certifications you have in the software, e.g., Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification.

Combination Education

5. Feature the Right Qualifications and Experiences.

The primary advantage of a combination resume is that it features your most relevant skills and work experiences. To that end, only feature skills and work accomplishments that speak directly to the job you want. If the position calls for expertise with invoicing, highlight experiences you’ve had in this area, or skills with invoicing programs. Every qualification and experience you present should answer one critical question: why you’re the right fit for the job.

Combination Exp

Combination Resume Examples for Different Job Fields

Administrative: Executive Assistant

Stress your organizational and administrative skills, as well as previous experiences where you’ve collaborated effectively with others. Mention crucial soft skills such as attention to detail and time management.

Fitness: Personal Trainer

Provide details on any work you’ve undertaken involving physical fitness, and feature any work where you’ve had a positive impact on others through mentorship and collaboration. Don’t forget to include diet and nutrition knowledge.

Healthcare: Phlebotomist

Feature any work you’ve had which has involved interacting with others, using health and safety protocols, and note your familiarity with medical terminology and equipment.

Legal: Paralegal

Show off your organization and administrative skills, and emphasize job experiences you’ve had in which you’ve handled legal documents such as briefs, wills, contracts, pleadings or appeals.

Marketing: Product Manager

Outline any successes you’ve had in positioning and developing products, and running campaigns that improve sales. Don’t forget key skills like communication ability, teamwork and copywriting skills.

Mechanical Engineering: Mechanical Engineer

Note any experiences you’ve had in increasing team production and efficiency, your knowledge of blueprints and technical drawings, and your proficiency in necessary software such as Microsoft Office and AutoCAD.

Nursing: Caregiver

Provide details on work experiences you’ve had in which you’ve proven yourself to be capable of caring and attending for others, and list any specialized medical knowledge you have in your skills section.

Pharmaceutical: Pharmacist

Highlight both your client-facing skills (such as good communication abilities and commitment to great patient service) as well as your knowledge of pharmacy processes and related software.

Real Estate: Property Manager

Use your skills section to emphasize both your financial acumen (e.g., balancing maintenance budgets or managing accounts), and feature work accomplishments that speak to your ability to manage both tenants and properties.

Retail: Retail Manager

Show off your familiarity with point-of-sales systems and apps, your ability to manage employees and store processes, and examples where you’ve successfully managed employees and provided sterling customer service.

Social Services: Case Manager

Feature your skills and experiences in areas that are important for case manager work, such as interviews, assessments and record keeping, as well as intangible abilities like interpersonal skills.

Teaching: Teacher

In addition to soft skills such as good communication and time management, provide work experience examples of managing and mentoring groups of people, as well as your abilities in putting together both classroom and online lesson plans.

For even more resume examples for all types of jobs and industries, visit our resume examples section.

Combination Resume FAQ

1. What is the correct section order in a combination resume?

After the summary statement up top, a combination resume features your top skills, categorized by topic (e.g., Technical Skills, Soft Skills). Then follow up with your work history section, where you should feature the job experiences you’ve had that match up with the new job you’re applying to. Last comes your education section, where you can also include any specialized training or certifications that fit with the job. Just use the resume examples on this page as a guide to build your own.

2. What is the advantage of a combination resume?

The combination resume mixes the top attributes of a functional resume and a chronological resume. Like a functional resume, it showcases your best, most relevant skills, and like a chronological resume, it also features work history highlights that show you have experience in what the job needs. This blend of skills and work achievements fits jobs that require a few years of experience, as you can emphasize crucial skills and accomplishments from previous jobs.

3. What is the best resume format for a career change?

The combination format is an excellent choice if you’re going through a career change. Because it emphasizes skills, this format will help you highlight your transferable skills as you transition to a new industry. Use 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.

4. When should you avoid using a combination resume?

If you’re a first-time job seeker and/or lack professional experience, a combination resume isn’t the best choice, since you won’t have much you can contribute to a work history section. Use a functional format, instead, which zeroes-in on your skills and training. Conversely, if you have a record of long, continuous career growth in one industry, a chronological resume, with its more extensive work history section, will be a better fit.

5. What makes a combination resume different from a chronological resume?

A chronological resume devotes most of its space to work history — this is particularly helpful if you’re applying for a job in an industry in which you have tons of experience and work accomplishments you can point to. A combination resume presents work highlights, but it also gives you room to elaborate on your skill set, which is particularly useful if you’re not a long-time professional, or want to feature a larger number of skills that can help you get the job you’re looking for.

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