The combination resume is ideal if you have strong skills but minimal work experience, or are changing your career field. The key to writing an effective resume in this format is linking your skills, experiences, and career aims together to tell employers a compelling story about who you are and your goals. Follow our tips and the resume examples below to write your own job-winning resume.
How to Write the Most Important 3 Sections of a Combination Resume
A combination resume differs from other resumes in that both your skills and work history sections are given heavy weight. Here's some pointers on how to write them, as well as your summary statement:
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In just a couple of sentences, explain your strongest skills and experience to show the hiring manager why you'd be a valuable asset. Try to match the skills the employer is looking for in the job description, and provide concrete examples of your successes.
Concentrate on your most relevant and marketable abilities that directly apply to the new job. If you aren't sure what to include, study the job description for any qualifications that match your strengths.
Make useful connections between your skills and your experience. Focus on accomplishments instead of job duties. Strengthen your resume by using action verbs to describe each achievement.
Top 5 Tips
Tell a story with your skills and experience.
The goal of a combination resume is to convince a hiring manager that you have the ability to excel in the job, even if you don’t have extensive experience. To achieve this, use every section of your resume to demonstrate how you have learned skills from previous positions, and used them to achieve success. Link your summary, skills and work history together to tell a story about what you can do, and what you can achieve in the new role.
Avoid using the same resume for every job you apply to.
Look at each specific job description and tailor your summary and skills sections to be relevant to the job in question. Employers respond most positively to resumes that directly speak to the job requirements. Our Resume Builder can help you create different variations on your resume, and save or download them.
Focus on transferable qualifications.
Are you switching careers and feeling confused about which skills and achievements you should include in your resume? Consult the job description, and create a list of skills and qualifications the job requires. Think of this list as questions that your own work history and abilities should answer. Find examples from your experience, as well as skills you’ve picked up that may not have been required by a previous job but are transferable to the new job.
For example, if you’re a graphic designer seeking a management gig, give details on the times you led teams and projects to positive, measurable results, rather than focusing on specific designs you created.
Always add keywords or phrases from the job description.
Adding the right keywords from the job description (i.e., job tasks and specific skills) will help you in two ways: It will signal to employers that you understand the position and have the talent to match what it requires, and it’ll help you get past applicant tracking systems (ATS) that scan resumes for these keywords.
Include any relevant achievements.
If you have minimal experience in your field or are starting fresh in a new career, you should mention any relevant achievements, awards, honors or professional affiliations you might have. Even volunteer experience or internships in your new field are useful to list. Either put these in your work history and education sections, or give them a section of their own.
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Combination Resume Samples by Experience
Check out some of our best combination resume samples below to guide you when writing your own.
This resume avoids redundancy, and instead informs the reader about the candidate’s capabilities. The summary, skills and experience sections use detailed language such as “strong problem-solver” and “prepared, compiled and filed documents.” The more precise your writing, the better the chance that your document captures the attention of a recruiter.
It’s important to demonstrate proven experience in a resume, and the experience section in this one is top-notch. Although the two jobs listed have only three bullet points each, they’re crafted to showcase the candidate’s strengths. They describe the tasks completed in a job as well as their intention. “Maintained open and effective communications with project teams to increase productivity,” for example, is clear and concise.
The format of a resume matters, especially for creative professions. The combination format in this example has eye-catching spacing to make the information pop from the page. Choosing your resume format carefully to match your profession is a good strategy to make your document stand apart from the pack.
Recommended Samples by Job Title
Resume-Now has compiled some of the best resume examples in a variety of industries. Reference these samples to sharpen your writing, and understand industry expectations.
This example showcases only three roles with gaps between each job, but with its compelling summary statement and skillset, it shows how you can “sell” yourself to anyone. Notice how the candidate focuses on more than just acting skills, stressing attractive attributes such as adaptability and ability to work well under pressure.
It’s always a great idea to upsell your education qualifications, even if it’s at the bottom of your document. This example mentions a bartending certification in addition to a high school diploma. Certifications are generally more affordable to obtain than a degree and are useful for job seekers looking to develop their resume.
Customer Service Representative
Tangible, quantifiable accomplishments are always a positive. This example mentions specific numbers that emphasize the job seeker's customer service skills. Including stats such as “answered 50+ inbound calls a day” gives recruiters a better idea of your performance than simply stating you have phone experience.
Technical positions require showing off your proficiency in software programs and other technology-related knowledge. As seen in this sample, make sure to type out the full names of software along with acronyms. Using such keywords is a great way to show your mastery and makes your resume more ATS-friendly.
Since parents can be picky about who they hire to care for their kids, showing that you’re good with young children in this resume is crucial. The candidate mentions that she engages her clients with books and games, for example, instead of television and phones, to indicate her dedication to developing children's minds.
Internships are often as valuable as jobs, as in this example, in which the candidate includes her internship experience, along with two full-time employment positions. Even if your internship isn’t directly related, consider listing it if it has transferable skills that would help you fulfill the duties of the position at hand.
Combination Resume FAQ
What is a combination resume format?A combination resume devotes its focus to your skills and work accomplishments. While this format typically includes an education section, you should pay particular attention to creating robust skills and work experience sections, with your employment history and summary explaining how you’ve used your skills to make a positive impact.
What makes a combination resume different from other formats?It’s a matter of emphasis. While the combination format spotlights both your skills and job history, a chronological resume focuses on work experience, and a functional format concentrates on relevant skills.
Who should use a combination resume?The combination resume format is well-suited for mid-career job candidates who might not have senior-level experience, but can showcase career progression as well as important skills. If you’re changing careers or industries, a combination resume is also a good choice, as it highlights how your skills and professional accomplishments are interlinked.
How do you write a combination resume?When using this format, focus on your skills and work experience sections. Read through the job description, pick out key skills that fit your own abilities, and add them to your own resume. Be sure to also use these keywords when describing your work accomplishments. You can also list transferable skills from previous jobs as well as activities (such as volunteer work) that are relevant to the position you want.
What kind of resume do employers prefer?Whether your resume follows a combination, chronological or functional format, employers will appreciate those that clearly and accurately present the candidate’s employment history and abilities. Your resume should also indicate that you’ve taken the time to read up on the employer and the job, and have matched your talents to what the job requires. Use a well-designed template to present your information, and make use of our writing tips to create a well-written, compelling resume.