Is the Combination Resume Format Right for You?

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Sometimes called the hybrid resume, the combination format features both a thorough list of the job seeker’s most relevant skills and a job history section to show off your employment experience.

This allows job applicants to list their greatest strengths and qualifications upfront while also including their work history in detail. However, this resume format isn’t for everyone. Here we outline everything you need to know about a combination resume format to help you decide if it’s right for you.

The structure of a chronological resume

Combination Format Resume Example
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • Header

    Include your name, email address, phone number and location. If applicable, midcareer applicants should consider adding links to their LinkedIn profiles, professional website or online portfolio.

  • Professional summary

    Your professional summary should be two to five sentences that highlight the most impressive skills and experience you have cultivated up to this point in your career.

  • Summary of qualifications

    Your summary of qualifications should include information about your degrees, relevant training, academic achievements and a high-level overview of your professional skills.

  • Key skills

    Study the job ad to determine the most critical hard and soft skills for the role. Then, add in any other relevant skills and training that will make you stand out. Since a combination resume focuses on skills and experience, feel free to make this a comprehensive list.

  • Work history

    List your work experience in this section in reverse-chronological order, with your most recent job at the top of the list. This section should be detailed, so be sure to include any metrics that will highlight your professional successes.

  • Education

    List your advanced degrees in reverse-chronological order. If you don’t have a college degree, list your high school diploma or GED in this section. Otherwise, leave it off.

Who should use a Combination
Resume Format?

If you fall into one of the following categories, using a combination format might do the best job of showcasing your skills and experience:

  • Executive-level job seekers.

    If you’ve been in your industry for years and have a solid career trajectory and an admirable skill set, the combination resume can help you flaunt all of your assets in a single document.

  • Job seekers who have risen through the ranks at a single company.

    If you’ve been in the workforce for years but have remained with the same employer through several promotions, consider using a combination resume. This format works well to highlight career progress, especially for those who have held various roles at the same company.

  • People re-entering the workforce.

    The combination format is an excellent choice for those looking to return to work after a break. Its focus on relevant skills and professional experience will show off your credentials, even if you have been out of the workforce for years.

  • Applicants who are making a career change.

    If you have a solid work history but are looking to make a professional change, this format will help you show off both your solid employment record and your transferable skills and training.

  • Early to mid-career job seekers.

    If you’re a couple of years into your career but don’t have a long list of past roles to detail, the combination resume format is a great choice. With a past job or two, and a relevant internship or apprenticeship to boot, the combination resume format will allow you to showcase both your skills and your professional experience.

When to Consider a Different Format

If you don’t fit into any of the scenarios above, then you might want to consider a functional or chronological resume format. A combination resume isn’t appropriate to use if:

  • You have gaps in your employment history.

    If you have numerous gaps in employment, these will be evident in a combination format. To emphasize skills over employment history, consider a functional resume format.

  • You have little or no experience.

    For those new to the workforce, a functional resume may be best for highlighting transferable skills while placing less emphasis on work history.

Learn more about resume formats

Learn more

Resume Success Stories

5 Combination Resume
Format Examples

If you’re an executive-level job seeker:

Those seeking executive-level roles want to show off both their stellar work history and their impressive skill sets, which makes the combination resume format a great choice. In this example, a recruiter can see at a glance that this applicant has lengthy experience in his field and that he’s made a linear progression from role to role.
It’s also easy to see that this candidate has an impactful skill set and a solid educational foundation, which will make him a viable choice for the role he seeks.
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If you worked for years at a single company in various roles:

Retention is key to a company’s success, and recruiters love to see loyalty to an employer on a resume. However, job seekers sometimes get confused about how to show their promotions and career progression when they’ve worked for the same company for many years.
This combination resume example does it well. The job seeker shows off her impressive skill set, while clearly demonstrating that she was promoted during her tenure with Kaiser.
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If you are reentering the workforce:

There are many reasons people take breaks from full-time work. Travel, illness or the desire to raise children are all reasons workers might step away for months or years at a time. When you are ready to get back to work, using a combination resume is a great choice since this format places equal emphasis on work history and your relevant skills.
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If you are making a career change:

For those applicants who are looking to make a career change, a combination resume format offers a way to show off all of your assets in a single document. In the professional summary you have a chance to explain your intentions. In this case, the job seeker is looking to apply her education and professional experience to a role as a legal assistant.
With ample space in the detailed work history, skills and education sections, there is plenty of room to outline your transferable skills and training to show off what you’ll bring to the table.
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If you are early in your career:

Employers don’t expect recent graduates to have significant work experience, but the combination resume format will show off what experience you do have in the best light possible. In this resume, the applicant has combined his highly relevant internships into his work history section to plump it up, while summarizing his skills and qualifications at the top of the document.
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Combination Resume Format FAQ

How should you order information on a combination resume?

Every resume should contain the same primary five sections. Still, with skills-based resumes like the combination and functional formats, you can modify and expand the sections; even add extra skills or accomplishments to better showcase your unique work experience. For more information about how to layout a combination resume, see the diagram on our resume formats page.

When should a combination resume be used?

A combination resume format is typically recommended for mid-career professionals, applicants who have several years of relevant work experience, and a robust set of transferable skills. There are other scenarios in which this format is helpful, including for professionals who’s career consists of rising through the ranks at a single company or who are making a career change. Check our outline of all the scenarios for using this resume format above.

What is the advantage of a combination resume?

The combination resume format offers you the best elements of the chronological resume format and the functional resume format. It allows you to provide detailed information about your work experience and specific skill set, making it an excellent option for many different job seekers.

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