What's a combination resume, and when should you use one? A combination resume is ideal for people who want to emphasize their skills over their work history.
Combination resumes can be used to show an employer your most relevant skills, qualifications, and experience, while still documenting your work history. This resume format is also a good way of answering the reader’s questions about career changes, employment gaps, and other potential red flags.
Perhaps you’ve recently changed occupations, and much of your job history no longer reflects your career direction. Professionals are changing career fields now at an unprecedented rate, seeking pay raises, better benefits, or increased job security.
A combination resume enables you to emphasize the skills you’ve acquired without calling attention to your pivot.
You might also find yourself looking for a job while unemployed, or with a long gap in employment on your resume. In this case, a combination resume will enable you to highlight what you can now do, not what you’ve done in the past. This can help you overcome employers’ general bias against hiring workers with employment gaps.
What Is a Combination Resume?
A combination resume lists your skills and qualifications first. Your employment history is listed next, in reverse chronological order (beginning with your current or most recent job and then working back through earlier positions).
When you use a combination resume, you canshowcase the skills you have that are relevant to the job for which you’re applying, while also providing the work history that employers have requested.
When to Use a Combination Resume
This format often offers the best of both worlds for job seekers who might prefer to present their resume in a functional format, emphasizing their skills and qualifications, but who have been instructed by the employer to include a work history. For those who wish to avoid a traditional chronological resume—either because of unrelated jobs or employment gaps— this format is a good compromise.
What to Include in a Combination Resume
The combination resume is typically sectioned into two parts:
- The first part is similar to a functional resume in that it highlights skills, achievements, and qualifications.
- The second part depicts the timeline of one’s work experience.
The layout first captures the attention of the employer or recruiter by highlighting the key skills and capabilities of the applicant in a “qualifications summary,” and then supports this introductory section with an account of prior work experience.
The qualifications summary is also a good place to include resume keywords that will help your resume get past its initial review by an automated applicant tracking system and in front of the human eye of a hiring manager.
It can be especially effective, in this format, to divide the descriptions of your work experience into “Related Work Experience” and “Additional Professional Experience” sections. This allows you to focus your reader’s attention on your most relevant experience while at the same time providing a complete work history.
If you have recent professional training that’s relevant to your career change, consider positioning the “Education” section of your resume on page one, immediately after the qualifications summary and before your work history.
Review an Example and Download a Template
Review an example of a combination resume, and download a template you can use to create your own resume.
Combination Resume Example (Text Version)
123 Main Street • Oakland, CA 12345 • (123) 456-7890 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Effectively managing staffs in both the blood bank and business arenas
Results-oriented, high-energy, hands-on professional with 10+ years’ experience and a successful record of accomplishments in the blood banking, training, and communication transmission industries.
Key skills include:
- Experience in Quality Assurance and Customer Service in Two Industries.
- Excellent Communication Skills
- Team Building & Leadership
- Internal & External Communications
- Experience in Training and Payroll
AMERICAN RED CROSS, Oakland, Calif.
EDUCATION MANAGER / EDUCATION COORDINATOR (February 2013 – Present)
Facilitated successful educational project over the past five years for Northern California blood centers, with FDA regulated manufacturing equipment, as pertaining to CGMP, CFRs, Calif. State and American Association of Blood Bank (AABB) regulations.
- Provide daily operational review/quality control of educational accountability to meet regulations.
- Responsible for assuring uncompromised compliance with 23 organizational quality systems.
CORE COMMUNICATION INC., Sunnyvale, Calif.
CABLE TELEVISION SUPERVISOR (May 2008 – February 2013)
Supervised contract support for six AT&T Broadband systems located in the Bay Area.
- Provided customer support/resolution, training in telephony and customer care.
- Handled quality control, payroll, special projects/plant extensions, and staff evaluations.
EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS
SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY, San Jose, Calif.
Bachelor of Science (GPA; 3.8; Major: Administration of Justice; Graduated Cum Laude), May 2008
NCCT Phlebotomy Technician Certification • NCCT Certified • CATV System Technician
Information Technology Skills
Microsoft Office Suite • ADP / Workforce Now • Proficient in Various Payroll Software Systems