Sometimes referred to as a hybrid resume, a combination resume contains the most important elements of the chronological resume, as well as the best elements of the functional resume. In a combination resume, skill clusters containing your professional accomplishments are listed first, followed by a compressed work history section. Is a combination resume the right one for you? Let’s take a closer look.
The Best of Both Worlds
If you’re considering a combination resume, it’s likely that you’ve had a bit of difficulty choosing between a functional resume and a chronological resume. Perhaps you like the fact that a functional resume allows you to showcase your skills, but you want a way to let potential employers know about your successful work history so you’re considering a chronological resume instead.
The combination resume incorporates the best details from both the chronological and functional resume formats. It typically opens with a description of your skills and qualifications and is followed by a concise reverse-chronological work history.
A combination resume offers two primary advantages: It allows you to catch a potential employer’s attention by stating your most relevant qualifications, plus it pleases hiring managers by providing a quick employment timeline.
If you have any gaps in employment, or if you’ve hopped from one job to another in the recent past, the combination resume won’t downplay these like the functional resume will. It also puts those with mostly irrelevant experience at a disadvantage.
When to Use a Combination Resume
Because a combination resume includes a career summary while highlighting skills and credentials, it is an excellent choice for many job seekers. Consider using a combination resume if you fall into any of the following groups:
- Entry-level job seeker, new graduate, or student: If you have a fairly short work history, you’ll find the combination resume ideal. It emphasizes skill and shows employers that you’ve held jobs in the past.
- Worker with a consistent job history: If you are someone who has always held a steady job, the combination resume allows you to showcase consistency while placing an emphasis on the most valuable skills you have to offer. Because it is concise and because the qualifications summary matches your credentials with a specific job objective, this type of resume makes it easy for hiring managers to see whether you’re a good match for the position being offered.
- Someone who is reentering the job market: When you’ve been unemployed for a while, it can be tough to convince employers that you are suitable for a position. The combination resume can be formatted so it emphasizes skills rather than highlighting a substantial gap in employment.
- Someone who is making a career change: Changing careers can be a real challenge, but the odds are good that you’re up to it. Use a combination resume to shine the spotlight on the skills you’ve got to offer while pointing to a steady employment history. There’s one exception: If you are making a radical career change, weigh your options. A functional resume may serve you better.
- An older worker: If you’re an older worker who has held many different jobs throughout your lifetime, use a combination resume to showcase your skills while including a summary section that focuses on your most important employment experiences.
Key Elements of a Combination Resume
One of the primary advantages of the combination resume is that it can be structured in a flexible way that places an emphasis on the elements that are most important while downplaying anything that may reduce your chances of being hired.
Open with a career summary that places an emphasis on key qualifications for the job you have in mind. By highlighting your credentials, you persuade hiring managers to continue reading your resume rather than set it aside. Incorporate the following details into your career summary, placing the most emphasis on those that are most relevant:
- Job objective
- Significant skills
- Relevant training
- Area of expertise
Follow up with a concise reverse chronological employment history that starts with your current position or the most recent job you held and works its way back in time. Focus on key accomplishments rather than job duties in this section, and avoid mentioning tasks not related to your career goal, if possible.
Additional sections may be added to a combination resume, depending on your experience and the position you are hoping to obtain. These include:
- Additional relevant information