- Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 March 2020
There are three styles of resumes in use today: combination, functional and chronological. Each style has its strengths and weaknesses. As its name implies, the combination resume borrows from the best features of the other two styles, and is most effective when the writer has a great deal of experience.
Each of the articles in this series has started out by reminding everyone the best resume style is the one that showcases the writer’s work experiences in the most marketable fashion. This means the best format highlights job skills as well as accomplishments.
Every resume format has a distinct set of advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right format comes down to two important factors:
- The amount, consistency, and depth of work experience accumulated so far in a career.
- How well the target job aligns with past work experience.
The Combination Resume
This format starts with a functional outline that allows the reader to see the skills, accomplishments, and qualifications of the job applicant. This is sometimes referred to as the “page one” format.
The second page of the combination resume is a reverse chronological ordering of work experiences. This arrangement first lets the reader see the experience related to the job opening, while the second page of the document lets the potential employer evaluate the job applicant’s work history.
Immediately below is a complete listing of each section appearing in a combination resume. At the end of this article, there are links to a sample document that can be downloaded for free.
Name / Contact Information
Like most resumes, this format starts off with a banner that includes the writer’s name and contact information such as street address, telephone number, and email address.
The next section contains a table of the writer’s educational background. Many job listings provide both the “required” and “desired” level of education. If this information is deemed important by the individuals screening each applicant, then it’s better to place it upfront in the document. The applicant is either qualified or not qualified for a job.
Honors / Certifications / Licenses Held
The third section in a combination resume contains a bulleted list of the certifications, educational honors, or professional licenses held. For example, a certified public accountant would include that accreditation in this section of the resume.
Careers Skills / Knowledge
The fourth section is a bulleted listing or table of the skills and knowledge accumulated over time. This section has a good deal of visibility on this document, so it’s important to take the time needed to make sure it accurately represents the knowledge possessed.
For example, if someone is looking for a sales position, they will want to emphasize skills such as sales training, P&L responsibilities, client development, and product management.
The next section of this resume should contain a bulleted listing of the most significant career accomplishments. Listing career achievements, skills, and knowledge upfront adds to the overall attractiveness of the combination format.
An example of a career achievement might look like:
Developed custom accounting application for use in startup business; reducing the number of accounting data reporting errors by 90%.
This sixth, and final, section contains a listing of prior work experience. This is identical to the section appearing in a chronological resume. Since this document is like a personal advertisement, it’s important to choose the style that showcases strengths and de-emphasizes weaknesses. The sample provided later on demonstrates this point.
The list below details some of the strengths of a combination resume:
- If the job applicant is a student with little work history, the combination resume format allows the writer to showcase their skills first before revealing a relatively short work history.
- If someone has worked for the same company for a long time, or held the same type of position, a combination resume allows the reader to see the skills accumulated while at work.
- If the writer is making a radical career change, once again, this format places emphasis on achievements and skills first, rather than pointing out a big change in career path.
The list below details the major weaknesses of a combination resume:
- If the job applicant has switched jobs frequently, the chronological portion of this format highlights the job changes as well as any gaps in employment history.
- If the writer has unrelated experience, or followed a career path that might seem illogical on the surface, the chronological portion of this resume will highlight that issue.
- Finally, if someone is trying to conceal their age, the combination resume format would give a potential employer enough information to get a rough idea of when the writer was born.
Combination Resume Sample
While the above information helps to explain the outline of this resume, it’s easier to illustrate how this information is applied with an example: Combination Resume Sample. This document can be used as a starting point, or template, when composing an actual resume.
Functional and Chronological Resumes
Anyone that’s still not sure the combination resume is the best approach to use can still choose from the two other formats. In fact, it’s a good idea to become familiar with both the functional and chronological resume formats before preparing or finalizing a resume.
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