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What’s the Difference Between Combination Resumes and Other Resume Formats?
- 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
- Features comprehensive overview of your work history
- Emphasizes job experiences and career growth
- Includes rundown of key skills
- More chronological 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.”
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).
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.”)
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 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.