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A combination resume can help showcase your skills and relevant work achievements. How can you write a combination resume to land your next job?
There are three resume formats commonly used: chronological, functional, and combination. The combination resume format is one that can showcase your relevant skills more effectively, especially if you don’t have much professional experience. Here’s what you need to know about the combination resume format.
The combination resume, also referred to as a hybrid resume, is essentially a combination of the chronological and the functional resume formats. It showcases both your top skills and work history. A combination resume is very similar to a chronological resume, but places the skills section ahead of the work history section.
Understanding the combination resume often has to do with first understanding the chronological and functional resume formats. Here's what you need to know about all three.
The chronological resume is the most common resume format and emphasizes your work history. The chronological format is what a recruiter is typically going to expect, so if you're going to use a different format, you need to have a good reason for it.
A functional resume emphasizes your skill set and focuses less on the work history section, which may only include the job title and company name without much elaboration. Because of its reliance on skills and training, the functional resume format is a resume style that career changers and recent graduates use.
The combination resume is a mixture of the chronological and functional resume formats. Like the chronological resume, it gives your potential employer more information about your job history. However, like the functional resume, it features a more robust skills section than a chronological resume typically would.
Different resume formats work best for different individuals. Here are a few things that might indicate that a combination resume is the right one for you:
-You don't have a lot of work history-You have employment gaps of more than six months-You're trying for a career change-You’re staying in the same industry, but looking for a different job title
Generally, hiring managers are expecting a chronological resume. That means combination resumes are best when they serve an actual purpose. If your job search can benefit from a combination resume, use this resume format to find your new job.
The first section in a combination resume is your resume objective or resume summary. This professional summary, also called a qualifications summary, will highlight your key achievements and best certifications; an objective does that same, while also stating your career goal. An objective can be appropriate if you’re switching career fields and informing employees of your new career objectives. This section should feature the top few skills you excel at and your absolute best achievements.
Next is your skills section. Here, you’ll list soft skills, technical skills, and often certifications. You’ll typically list more key skills in a combination resume than you would in a chronological resume, often up to about a dozen skills. Look at resume samples written in the combination format to see how many skills other job seekers are including, and make sure you rely largely on transferable skills that you learned in other jobs.
After your skills section, you’ll include your work history section. This section is similar to a chronological resume, and includes listings of the jobs you worked at, dates of employment, and bullet points about your activities and your achievements for each job you’ve held. Write your work experience section in reverse-chronological order, with your most recent job first. You can also include internships in your work history section.
Typically, your education section is last. This section includes your college experience, or your high school experience, if you have no college experience. There’s no need to list your GPA, but it’s typically acceptable to list any awards you received for your education.
There’s no such thing as a single type of “best resume.” It’s all about what type of resume is best for you. You can create a professional resume with any resume format as long as you know how to present your top experiences and skills. If you don’t have much work history, your employment gaps are more than six months long, or you’re trying to change careers or job titles, a combination resume could fit your specific job search.
You should submit a cover letter for all job applications, even entry-level ones. However, it can be even more important to submit a cover letter with a combination resume. You really need to make a case as to why you’re the best person for this job opening, and a cover letter allows you to do that.
Aim for a single page for your combination resume. If you have a large amount of relevant achievements and work history, feel free to make your resume two pages.