Extraordinary Combination Resumes: What are they?

The resume format you choose is important because it is the first thing the hiring manager will notice. Most job seekers use the reverse-chronological resume, which focuses on work experience, or the functional resume, which focuses on skills. These two resume formats seem to be the most acceptable even to hiring managers and are easy to make.
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The combination resume is not very common among job seekers, but if used properly, it can help you appear as a strong candidate for the position you want. It blends the best features of the reverse-chronological order and the functional resume format and showcases both your skills and professional experience.

While the combination resume format is not the easiest format to use, it has some great benefits if done right. Let’s help you get it right and write a resume that enables you to get your dream job using our guide and resume examples.

When to use a Combination Resume Format?

The combination resume, also known as a hybrid resume, allows you to put equal emphasis on your skills and your experience. Recruiters love a candidate with the perfect blend of skills and experience, so if you have both, the combination resume is a great option for you.

It is advisable to use this format if you have some experience. Otherwise, consider the skills-based resume or the reverse-chronological resume.

Some of the candidates who should consider using the combination resume include:

  • Experienced candidates – A senior-level candidate with years of experience in their field can use this format to help them highlight their top professional achievements.
  • Career changers – A candidate going through a career change but who has gained some key skills that are relevant to the job can also benefit from a well-written combination resume.
  • Candidates with employment gaps and need to show their potential employers their most impressive achievements. Some recruiters may not feel confident in you if they see a tendency to job hop in your work history. You can use the combination format to showcase your past achievements and prove to them you are the best candidate.
  • Candidates with only a few years of relevant experience – candidates can highlight their significant skills and give more substance to their resume.

What is in a Combination resume?

A hybrid resume, also known as a combination resume, contains many different sections. You will have your header, summary or objective statement, skills section, additional skills, work experience, and education section.

Advantages of using a combination resume format

The combination resume format has a couple of advantages which include:

  • It allows you to focus on both your skills and experience without having to compromise like you would if you chose any of the other formats.
  • It is perfect if you don’t have relevant experience because it gives you a chance to list any other experience and list any transferable skills relevant to the job.
  • Your top skills get priority on your resume ensuring that the hiring manager does not miss them.
💡Remember that the average recruiter takes less than ten seconds on each resume and needs to see what they require in that short time.

Disadvantages of using a combination resume format

Some of the disadvantages of the combination resume format include:

  • Your combination resume may be longer than other resumes since you want to squeeze in all your most relevant skills and experience. Hiring managers like a resume that’s one page long (maximum two pages only if absolutely necessary) and may even toss out resumes that are longer than that.
  • Your employment gaps are still visible when using this format, and some hiring managers may not be too forgiving. This can cause you to lose some amazing opportunities because they may feel like you are not a reliable candidate. However, it will still shift some focus away from these gaps by highlighting your skills.

When to use a Combination Resume?

As we mentioned earlier, every recruiting manager wants a candidate with the perfect blend of skills and professional experience. The hybrid resume is perfect if you are an experienced candidate with some years of experience in your field. For instance, if you have been in the same job for a number of years and want to also highlight your skills from other non-relevant positions in your work history, it is very useful. Senior-level professionals, employment gappers, and career changers are highly favored by this format and should consider using it to help their qualifications stand out.

It is also useful if you only have a few years of work history in the field. Rather than show an unfavorable, half-empty work experience section, it would be much better to show your skills alongside to give more substance to anyone glancing at your resume. This could avoid a hiring manager dismissing you as someone with not enough skills to do the job.

When not to use a Combination Resume

If you have strong, relevant work history for the position, this is incredibly valuable. Therefore, there is no need to use the combination resume format to shift focus away from your work history and onto your skills as you already have very relevant experience.

Also, if you are a recent graduate and don’t have any experience, the combination resume template is not for you. Instead, you can consider the functional format, which allows you to focus on your skills.

How to Structure Your Combination Resume

A proper layout is essential when trying to get a job because it makes it easy for the recruiting manager to read and understand your resume.

The combination resume format is divided into sections which include:

  • A header section
  • Resume summary
  • Work experience section
  • Skills section/skills summary
  • Additional skills
  • Education section

If you choose the combination resume format, you will start with the header section, resume summary, experience, skills, and education section.

Since the combination resume focuses on the experience and skills, these two sections will take up the most space on your resume to showcase your expertise.

Other types of resume formats

The two other resume formats are the reverse-chronological resume format and the functional resume format.

Reverse-chronological format

The reverse-chronological resume focuses on your professional experience and is perfect for candidates with years of relevant experience. Most candidates prefer this format because it is straightforward, easy to use, and a favorite of most hiring managers. It is also easy to scan on applicant tracking systems.

Functional Resume

The functional resume is also called the skills-based resume because it focuses on your skills. It allows you to showcase your relevant skills to show your potential employer the value you bring to the company. The right skills on your resume can also help you get past the ATS systems. Functional resumes are perfect for recent graduates who do not have experience but may have gained some transferable skills in other positions that will be relevant in the new job.

📌Applicant tracking systems help hiring managers sort through resumes and filter out those that do not meet the minimum requirements.

The header section for a Combination Resume

The header is at the top of your resume and contains your full name, job title, contact information, and a link to your LinkedIn profile or career blog. Your contact information should have your phone number, professional email address, and location. It should be accurate to ensure the recruiting manager can reach you.

CORRECT EXAMPLE 👇
Nathaniel Barden
Customer Care Representative

765-844-356
[email protected]
Greensboro, NC
linkedin.com/in/nathanielbarden

INCORRECT EXAMPLE 👇
Nathaniel Barden
Customer Care Representative

765-844-356
[email protected]
linkedin.com/in/nathanielbarden
4396 Jones Avenue
Greensboro, NC
House number 15
Date of birth 04/04/1992

📌 It’s essential to keep your header section short and avoid adding too many personal details.

Professional Summary for a Combination Resume

A professional summary highlights and summarizes your top accomplishments and skills. It also introduces your resume to the recruiter, so it needs to be well-written to interest them in reading the rest of the resume. The summary is a short paragraph with two to three sentences, so you need to capture your major achievements to showcase your value proposition to your future employer.

CORRECT EXAMPLE 👇
Hard-working Customer care representative with seven years of experience in customer support. Highly skilled worker with the ability to communicate with customers to ensure an exceptional user experience. Consistently meets company’s quality standards, adheres to product and service updates and provides support to team members.
INCORRECT EXAMPLE 👇
Customer Service professional with the ability to exceed customer expectations and ensure customer satisfaction. Excellent at handling customer purchases and able to stay calm and composed in stressful situations.

Write a Winning Skills Section That Will Stand Out

Your skills are the star of your combination resume, so you want to ensure you present them in the best possible way. In your skills summary section, you will list your hard skills and soft skills to showcase your ability to perform your duties effectively and efficiently.

Once you list your skills, you can add three to five achievements that validate each skill to ensure your combination resume stands out and gets your future employer’s attention.

Your relevant skills section can also help you beat the applicant tracking system, which filters out any resumes that do not meet the requirements. You can check the job description for some of the relevant skills you need in your resume and add them to this section.

Examples of skills section that will stand out

Let’s look at an example of a project manager’s skills section.

Project management

  • Strong interpersonal and people management skills.
  • Developed clear and straightforward plans that stimulated my team of ten members to reach their full potential.
  • Dynamic Gantt chart creation and time management skills
  • Identified and evaluated potential risks to the project’s success and came up with ideas to help avoid the risks or minimize their impact.

Organizational skills

  • Arranged over 200 employee physical files in alphabetical order, stored them in cabinets for easy access, and updated all the information on the company database.
  • Planned and coordinated the annual conference attended by over 500 professionals in the business and finance industry.
  • Supervised the office cleaners and other subordinate staff to ensure all offices were clean, well-arranged, and ready to use.

Technical skills

  • Proficient in Microsoft Project, Trello, Liquid Planner and Teamwork Project software
  • Led a team of five developers in a database design and planning project, which made it easier to manage the company databases.
  • Increased the company’s market share and visibility by 28% by assessing trends in product marketing to develop effective and competitive strategies.
  • Kept a library of templates and reusable documents that could be used as guides and facilitated Business Intelligence (BI) procedures.

Additional skills

If you have any other skills that will help your resume stand out and you didn’t get a chance to list them in the relevant skills section, you will list them in this section. You can also check the job ad and add some of the required skills you did not add to your resume. 

Experience for Combination Resume

Your professional background is important in the combination resume as it showcases your previous work history. This section is another one that makes or breaks your combination resume, so it’s important to list your relevant work history to show the recruiting manager you have the experience and can do the job. Your employment history plays a huge role in showing the recruiting manager what you can do based on your previous experiences.

When listing your job history, you will start with your most recent job, and then the other jobs will follow. The name of the workplace, job title, and the years spent at each workplace are all essential to have in this section.

Under each job in your career history, you will add three to five job duties and responsibilities using bullet points and quantify the achievements with figures and facts.

💡It is essential to add relevant work experience. However, if you don’t have the relevant work experience, you can add any other experience or volunteer work and talk about the transferable skills you gained relevant to the job.

Work Experience Example

Teracloud LLC
Project Manager
August 2017-December 2020
  • Completed five projects annually, consistently meeting deadlines and budget constraints.
  • Communicated with project teams openly and effectively, increasing productivity by 20%.
  • Supervised schedules of all the monthly projects and managed resources needed according to specifications given by stakeholders and owners. 

Education for Combination Resume

Your combination resume education section will come last, but that does not mean it’s not important. It can help you stand out and beat the competition if you are tied on all the other qualifications. You can consider our resume templates to help you structure your resume and ensure you do not leave out any important sections.

Your education section should have all your relevant educational qualifications, and you will start with the name of the course taken, the name of the school, location, and the years spent in school. You don’t have to add your GPA, but if it’s noteworthy and will make your resume stand out, you can include it.

If your college degree is not relevant to the position, you should still add it and show off transferable skills from your coursework.

Education Example for Combination Resume

B.A. in Education
North Carolina State University
May 2016

Combination Resume Examples

Jenniffer Brown
Brand Manager

894-754-662
[email protected]
Dallas, Texas
linkedin.com/in/jennifferbrown

Professional Summary
Marketing Leader with expertise in brand management and implementing marketing initiatives in domestic and international markets. Able to drive market awareness and take advantage of quality leads and resourceful in cost-effective branding and positioning products with effective messaging.

Skills Summary Section

Social Media Marketing

  • Proficient with Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest strategies
  • Revamped the social media strategy and increased website traffic by 35%.
  • Collaborated with the social media director and developed strategies that increased the sale of our products by 25%.
  • Managed and allocated budgets of up to $1.1M to the marketing department to ensure all campaigns run smoothly.

Communication skills

  • Produced communication strategies to meet client’s KPIs, which increased the loyalty base by 28%.
  • Wrote various communication materials and press releases to increase business’ public awareness.
  • Worked with sales and marketing directors to create and advertise public relations campaigns.

Market Research

  • Researched the needs and goals of the company, developed marketing strategies and researched competitors and industry trends to provide information for planning and presenting public relations information.
  • Implemented strategies to engage and influence the general public to accomplish business objectives and increase revenues.
  • Controlled social media accounts, communicated with followers, researched trends, composed content, and kept track of activities.

Additional Skills

  • Partnership Marketing
  • Event Planning and Execution
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Lead Development
  • Creative Problem Solving

Work Experience
BuzzShift
Brand Manager
April 2016-Date

  • Introduced new products after supervising marketing initiatives to gather descriptions, photographs, and copy for publication and digital media platforms.
  • Used informational databases, developed communication campaigns, and produced promotional materials to advertise brand products and maximize the company’s outreach to the Asian market.
  • Conducted testing on organic and paid acquisition channels, promoted events advertised on social media platforms, implemented pay-per-click programs, created new content, and instigated lead generation campaigns.
  • Created the best pricing of goods to enable the company to meet its profit goals, address company goals, and retain customer satisfaction.

Integer Group
Marketing Executive
June 2014-March 2016

  • Assisted sales representatives in increasing sales and customer satisfaction by consulting with customers.
  • Determined the benefits of existing and new products and how they would increase customer retention rates by conducting research.
  • Assessed market trends, business goals, and costs to implement strategies to improve market sales.
  • Set product pricing and implemented market strategies to balance company goals and customer needs.

Education
MSc in Brand Management
Duke University
September 2014

Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Communications
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
September 2013

Key Takeaways

  1. The right resume format is key and determines whether the recruiter reads the rest of your resume.
  2. You can consider using a resume template or resume builder to help you write a resume that gets your potential employer’s attention.
  3. Link your skills to professional achievements and awards to showcase your value proposition.
  4. Check the job description and add some of the skills the hiring manager requires to beat the ATS systems.
  5. Add all the necessary sections, including the header, resume summary, skills summary, additional skills, work experience, and education.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should use a combination resume?

Seasoned professionals, employment gappers, and career changers can use the combination resume because it best represents their experience and skills.

What is the advantage of a combination resume?

  • It gives you a chance to focus on both your skills and experience instead of focusing on one.
  • It allows you to list your top qualifications first, making it easy for the recruiting manager to see them.

When should you avoid using a combinational resume?

If you are a recent graduate who doesn’t have much experience, you should consider the functional/skill-based resume format, which will allow you to showcase your skills.

What is a hybrid resume?

It’s another name for the combination resume, which blends the best features of the reverse-chronological and functional formats.

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