When trying to decide on the best format for your resume, consider the combination resume, also known as a chrono-functional or hybrid resume. The combination resume format borrows from two standard formats: chronological and functional.
Chronological resumes consist of a more traditional style that lists employment history by time, beginning with most recent experience and working backward. Functional resumes focus on skills, often in clusters, and in their purest forms do not include any dates of employment.
A combination resume includes elements of both and can be useful for job seekers who wish to highlight their skills and experience while downplaying gaps in employment or recent employment that didn't fully utilize their skills.
What to Include in a Combination Resume
A summary section is a good way to start your combination resume. Here, you will provide a few strong statements about your general abilities and work achievements. It introduces you as an employee and can help establish a focus on how you can be an asset.
Because the combination resume format places a relatively high value on function, consider a skills section. You will list any areas of your expertise that relate to the field in which you're applying, with special attention paid to any skills the employer has advertised as desired. A bulleted list with one- or two-word descriptions of skills works well, and if you have good number of skills, you can include a lot of them without appearing excessively wordy.
Consider also including an experience section that describes past jobs and their duties in order of relevance to the job you're applying for. Alternatively, list those jobs by level of responsibility.
You will also want to include your chronological list of past employment somewhere in the resume, but because you are emphasizing skills and experience over when those jobs occurred and for how long, you will likely want to place this section farther down the page. It's important that you do include a chronology to avoid suspicions about your work history, but it can be de-emphasized with strategic location, in favor of highlighting your skills.
The Strengths of a Combination Resume Format
One of the best aspects of a combination resume is its flexibility. There really is no set of rules about how to construct a combination resume, so you can feel free to experiment with changing elements around to place the reader's focus where you most want it to be. If you have a lot of experience in a particular field but worry that it's a bit dated, you can create a section toward the beginning of the resume that describes that experience and the types of duties you performed. Include your dates of employment later in the resume, with a chronological list of positions held.
Experimenting With the Combination Resume Format
Use the flexibility of the combination resume to your advantage. In addition to moving sections around to see how they look, you can integrate your descriptions of experience into the chronological list of past employment. This makes your resume more traditional while the emphasis provided in the skills section keeps the focus on function.
Your experimentation doesn't have to be limited to your own opinion either. Send out a version to employers and see if it generates interest. If it doesn't, try a different way. Keep in mind that the combination resume format lends itself to tweaking for best results.
There are plenty of ways to arrange a combination resume, and it can be fun to experiment with different layouts. For even more resume formats, many job seekers look to LiveCareer for ideas on how to create resumes that emphasize their strongest qualities.