Combination Resumes: Definition, How To Write One, and Example
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated November 11, 2022
Published September 7, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
When you're applying for a new position, it's important to submit a resume that showcases your skills, experience, and qualifications. Hiring managers often use the resumes they receive from candidates to determine who they want to invite for an interview. Depending on your education, work experience, and skills, you may choose to use a certain resume format so you can feature the attributes that fit the job description most.
In this article, we define combination resumes, explain when you may want to use this format, offer steps you can take to create one along with additional tips, and provide an example.
What are combination resumes?
Combination resumes are application documents that you can submit to an employer when you're applying for an open position. This type of resume format emphasizes both skills and accomplishments, along with recent work history. It often uses elements of the other two commonly used resume formats, including:
Functional resume format: With a functional resume, you usually list required, relevant, and transferable skills that differentiate you from other candidates.
Chronological resume format: This type of resume provides recent and relevant work history in reverse-chronological order, listing the most recent work experiences first in the professional history section.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide To Functional Resumes
When to use a combination resume
The combination resume format is usually a good choice if you're a junior or mid-level candidate with several important, relevant skills that match the job description. For example, this resume format may be beneficial once you have a few years of work experience after college. Using this format highlights the skills you've earned as an early career professional so you can connect those skills to your professional experience.
Consider using this kind of resume if any of these situations apply to you:
You're an early career professional with one to three years of job experience.
You've recently graduated from high school or college and have minimal work experience.
You're considering a change in your career or want to work in a different industry.
You've worked for only a few employers but have a consistent work history.
You have no gaps in your work history.
How to write a combination resume
While it's important to write a new resume for each position you apply for, ensuring you include relevant skills for that job posting, a combination resume format includes a skills section before a work history section. Follow these steps to create one that can impress a hiring manager:
1. Start with your name and contact information
Regardless of your resume format, beginning with your full name and contact information can make it easier for employers to communicate with you. Ensure that you're using recent and accurate information, including your current phone number and email address. You may even consider including a link to your online portfolio, especially if it's common practice in your industry, so a hiring manager can view your work as they review your application documents.
2. Write a summary
Include a brief summary near the top of your resume that quickly promotes your most relevant skills and experiences. It's best practice for your summary to be around two lines in length and written with active language to help hiring managers easily determine whether you're a good fit for their open position. Use a resume objective when you're new to the workforce and lack relevant experience, as this can show hiring managers how you're looking forward to building your career. A resume objective can be a simple statement that describes your short-term and long-term goals.
3. Include your skills and abilities
Following the summary, include your skills section. Before writing this section, review the job posting and look for keywords that the employer emphasized, usually in the required or preferred list of qualifications, so you can be sure to include them in your resume where appropriate. Including relevant skills can help get the employer's attention, and you may be able to bypass applicant tracking systems (ATS) too.
Share both your hard, or technical, skills and soft, or interpersonal skills. This type of resume is designed to help potential employers understand how your skills and professional experience relate, so you might consider including skills and abilities you've learned from previous employers as they relate to your next position.
4. Share your professional experience
If you're using a resume that combines the functional and chronological format, your professional experience likely supports your skills section. For example, if you're currently working in an entry-level position in sales, your skills section might include soft skills like collaboration and communication, along with hard skills like your knowledge of data analytics tools. Your professional experience can elaborate on how you've learned and applied these skills, so employers understand more about your work habits and strengths.
In this section, include the business name, date of employment, your job title, and the responsibilities you had in bulleted format. If you currently work at the company, use present-tense verbs when you're describing your present responsibilities. If you're currently between jobs, use past-tense language when writing about your prior work tasks. You can also include any specific accomplishments or accolades in this section.
Read more: How To Write Work Experience in Your Resume
5. Create a section for education
Educational history and experience vary in importance based on the employer and the position. Adding this section may help to supplement if you have a resume with little professional experience. For example, if you're a recent graduate, you may choose to focus more on your education section so a hiring manager can consider your school projects, accomplishments, and courses when assessing your qualifications for a position. You can also include your grade point average (GPA) and any extracurricular activities, such as leadership positions, volunteer opportunities, or club participation.
Tips for creating a combination resume
Review these tips to write a combination resume that can help you differentiate yourself from other candidates applying for the same position:
Prioritize specific skills. When reviewing the job description, note which skills appear at the top of the list of required qualifications. If you have these skills, consider including them at the beginning of your skills list so the hiring manager can notice them immediately.
Explain your skills in your work experience section. Rather than only building a skills section to share the relevant skills you possess, consider placing those skills within your work experience section to help an employer understand more how your skills helped your previous company succeed.
Include transferable skills. Especially if you're changing careers or choosing to work in a different industry, transferable skills can show an employer that you can excel in their workplace. These are the soft skills you can apply to nearly any position in any industry.
Write recognizable headings. Many employers use an applicant tracking system (ATS), which is a tool that automatically scans resumes and filters candidates' resumes that best fit a matched job description. Even if you're applying for a creative position, consider using typical resume headers that an ATS can read.
Use formatting. Formatting, like a bold header title or a simple box around your skills section, can help make this area of your resume more noticeable to a hiring manager. Consider using some formatting options that aren't too complicated so an ATS can still read your document.
Proofread your resume. It's important that you spend time reading your resume and supplemental documents before you submit them to an employer. By ensuring your resume is free of spelling and grammatical errors, you're able to show your professionalism and attention to detail to a hiring manager.
Combination resume example
Here is an example for an entry-level marketing coordinator position you can use for guidance in writing your own:
Strategic and passionate marketing professional with two years of experience as a marketing assistant seeking a position as a coordinator to broaden my knowledge and apply my skills to the workplace.
Collaboration and communication
Leblanc Marketing Solutions
12 July 2019–Present
Communicate with clients about marketing projects
Assist the marketing manager with securing leads and creating a strategy
Onboard new clients
Organize files and answer phone calls and emails
Take meeting notes
Rolling Hills University
Bachelor of Arts in marketing and advertising
Graduated: 2019 May with Magna Cum Laude designation
Relevant courses: Business Administration, Marketing Strategies, Introduction to Public Relations, Marketing Research, Sales Management, Graphic Design
Extracurriculars: Debate Team Captain, Exam Proctor, Tutor
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