Writing Combination Resume

Combination format resumes are growing in popularity thanks to their unrestrictive style. These resumes are easily customized for a specific position, making them a good choice for applicants of all levels of experience.
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Who Would Benefit from a Combination Format Resume?

A combination format resume is perfect for an applicant who has solid work experience but is looking for a position in a new industry.

How Do Combination Resumes Differ From Other Resume Formats?

A combination resume maintains the dates and order made popular by chronological resumes, while emphasizing the job seeker’s skills and achievements.

The order of elements in a combination resume is determined by the applicant, not the resume format.

Do Employers Like Combination Resumes?

Many employers appreciate combination resumes because they contain the best of both worlds.

The employer or HR professional can get a snapshot of the applicant’s employment history while getting a clearer picture of his or her career-specific and functional skills.

Writing Combination Resume

Unlike functional resumes, which can turn off employers because of the lack of dates, combination format resumes allow employers to see the applicant’s work history as a timeline.

Can I Really Pick and Choose Which Elements to Include in My Combination Format Resume?

Yes. Applicants can select which elements to include and the order in which to list them. The following six elements are the most common sections found in a resume.

  • Contact information
    • Name, address, telephone numbers, e-mail address, and website
  • Career objective
  • Employment history
    • Employer name and location, job title, dates of employment
    • Responsibilities and assignments completed on the job
    • Achievements, awards, or recognition earned in the position
  • Education
    • College, university, trade or technical school name and location
    • Degree earned
    • Highlights, achievements, or honors
  • Professional development
    • Additional career-specific training, certifications, bonding, coursework, or licensure earned or completed
  • Skills
    • Career-specific skills (i.e. specific software, machinery, or procedure skills)
    • Functional skills (i.e. communication, teamwork, or leadership skills)

In a combination format resume, the resume writer chooses which elements are most important for the specific job he or she is applying for, and which combination of elements will best showcase their qualifications for the position.
For instance, the resume writer might layout his or her resume like this:

    • Contact Information
      • Name, address, telephone, e-mail address
    • Employment history
      • Employer name, job summary, employment dates
      • Highlights, achievements, and honors
    • Skills
      • Career specific and functional skills
    • Education
      • School name and location, degree earned
      • Highlights, achievements, and honors

As you can see, the combination format offers resume writers the greatest degree of flexibility. The applicant above opted to omit the career objective and professional development sections.

The applicant also emphasized the highlights, achievements, and honors in the employment history and education sections, rather than listing specific details about his or her duties and responsibilities on the job.

How Do I Write a Combination Format Resume?

Step 1: Create your professional biography.

      • Create a list of every position that you’ve held in the previous ten years.
      • Fill in as much information as possible for each position
        • Company name, job title, employment dates, job description, specific duties, achievements, awards, or recognition
        • Outline general notes about the position: Did you like the job? What would your boss say about you?

Step 2: Identify your skills and abilities.

Skills fall into two categories: functional and career-specific. Functional skills are those skills that can easily be transferred from one position or industry to another. Functional skills are also known as cross-career skills. These skills are obtained from all of your work and life experiences.

Career specific skills are learned through specific education and work experience. These skills are directly related to a specific position or industry, and are sometimes listed in the qualifications section of a job description.

Step 3: Evaluate your biography and skills list.

The last step is to review your biography and skills and ability list and determine which items are most relevant to the position you are applying for.

Space limitations will prevent you from listing every item on your bio and skill list on your resume, so be selective and choose the information that presents you in the best light.

Finally, select the order of elements to display on your resume. Do you want to lead with your skills and abilities before presenting a brief chronological history of your employment? Would you prefer to list your employment history first, but emphasize skills and achievements rather than specific responsibilities? Your decisions on the order of your resume should be based on two things:

      • The strength of your skills and experience
      • The specific position for which you are applying

For example, if your employment history is lacking but you have exceptional career specific and functional skills, you may wish to start your resume with information about your skills.

If you have exceptional work history, but your skills are not directly relevant to the industry you are applying for, you may wish to start with your work history.
Once you’ve evaluated the strength of your skills and experience, look at the specific position for which you are applying. Does the employer emphasize the need for an applicant with a specific work history and educational background or do they seem more focused on finding someone with the skills to do the job?

By basing your decision on the employer’s needs and your strengths, you should be able to determine which information to highlight on your resume.