How should you create and format your resume? Many people choose the traditional, chronological layout, while others opt for different types and styles. If you’re new to an industry (or the working world in general) or have particular expertise you want to highlight, a combination resume could be the way to go.
Rather than focusing on your work history and experience, the combination resume emphasizes your skills and qualifications first and employment history second. You’ll still be providing hiring managers and recruiters with a timeline of your work experience, but you’ll be able to showcase the abilities that make you stand out upfront — demonstrating why you’re qualified for the job in question.
So, what exactly is a combination resume, what does it look like and how do you create one? Here’s our rundown.
What’s a combination resume, and who should have one?
A combination resume starts with your skills and qualifications, emphasizing these features to demonstrate expertise relevant to the job at hand. This type of resume also stresses employment history and other information, as with more traditional formats such as the chronological resume, but it appears secondary to your qualifications and can help employers identify whether a candidate is a potential match more quickly.
Job seekers who can benefit from using this type of resume include:
• Seasoned workers with extensive qualifications and expertise in their industry
• Entry-level candidates and students who don’t have significant work experience and want to highlight their skills instead
• People who have employment gaps (this will de-emphasize work history, although it will still appear on your resume)
• People changing careers
4 types of resumes
There are several different types of resumes. Four major categories include:
This is your traditional format. It presents your work history in reverse chronological order, beginning with your most recent or current job. It also includes the dates you worked, giving hiring managers a timeline of your experience.
Ideal for people with less work experience or significant employment gaps, a functional resume stresses skills over experience. Your skills and qualifications appear at the top, followed by other information such as your education. Your employment history appears at or near the bottom, giving it much less weight than other considerations.
As is implied by their name, targeted resumes are customized to the job you’re seeking. You’ll tailor your skills, qualifications, experience, objective and other aspects of your resume to the job description for the position to which you’re applying.
As we’ve discussed, a combination resume highlights both your skills and experience — a combination of the chronological and functional resumes.
How to write a combination resume
So, how do you create a combination resume, and what should you include? Here’s the rundown:
• Qualifications summary
Your summary of qualifications will highlight your most important skills, credentials and accomplishments. These qualifications should align with the requirements of the job you’re seeking. Make sure to include plenty of relevant keywords so application tracking systems will pick them up.
• Work history
Here, you’ll list your experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent role. Since you’re also including a qualifications summary, you’ll need to be concise in your descriptions of your roles, emphasizing the most important information. Also, as with any type of resume, you should focus on your accomplishments and achievements in your roles over duties.
• Other information
Below your work history, you should include any other relevant information, such as your education and/or certifications. Of course, you should always put your contact information at the top of the document.
Combination resume templates
Example #1: Experienced worker
1234 Park Drive • New York, NY 11217 • (212) 123-4567 • [email protected]
• Marketing professional with over 10 years of experience and a proven track record
• Results-oriented and highly motivated
• Exceptional research, critical thinking, communication and analytical skills
• Extensive leadership experience, including managing a team of 7 employees
• Highly proficient in software and technologies include Adobe Suite
Marketing Manager (January 2015–present)
• Devised social media and brand campaigns that lead to a 50 percent growth in sales
• Managed a team of seven employees
Assistant Marketing Manager (February 2012–January 2015)
• Developed marketing campaigns in conjunction with the marketing manager and served as the marketing lead on 6-7 projects per season
• Responsible for tracking marketing analytics; saw a 40 percent increase in sales after project X for Y product
Marketing Assistant (March 2009–February 2012)
• Responsible for assisting staff with all marketing efforts
• Lead two campaigns per year with strong results, including a social media campaign that yielded X CTR
Bachelor of Arts in English, 2009
Example #2: Recent graduate
1234 University Parkway • Baltimore, Maryland 21218 • (410) 123-4567
Summary of Qualifications
Hardworking, driven college graduate with leadership, collaboration, oral and written communication and analytical skills seeking a position in software sales. Experience interning in software sales with exemplary performance reviews. Versed in CRM software.
Sales Intern (March 2017–September 2017)
• Learned about industry standards and gained experience under the guidance of the sales manager
• Assisted with drafting sales reports and observed client meetings
Camp Counselor (June 2017–August 2017)
• Supervised 10 middle-school-aged children
• Help resolve conflicts and facilitated recreational activities
Bachelor of Arts in Communication, 2018
Wake Forest University
Dean’s List (2014–2018), president of student government, tutoring club volunteer
Should you use a combination resume?
A combination resume is a great way to make yourself stand out as the right candidate for the job. Not only are you showing employers what you’ve done already, but you’re demonstrating what skills you have to accomplish more in the future. All the resume types have their merits, but the combination resume is especially ideal for certain types of job seekers, such as those with employment history gaps and people new to the working world.