When Do I Use a Combination Format?

The Perfect Blend

Combination resumes are a great way to show off both your skills and your work history.

 When developed and used properly, a combination resume can produce great results for you.

Candace Davies is a professional resume writer, career coach, electronic career coach and employment interview professional. Many people believe this is the most attractive and impressive resume format, she says.

What It Is

The combination resume uses features of both the chronological and functional resume.

It features a functional section that highlights skills, accomplishments and experience and combines this with a chronological listing of employment and education, says Laura Jensen. She is the marketing and communications specialist for the City of Calgary Youth Employment Center.

The combination resume may start with a qualification summary and a list of skills or expertise. Kim Isaacs, director of ResumePower.com, says this allows you to put your most desirable credentials right at the top.

When to Use It

Combination resume styles work very well in most cases, says Isaacs. They are suitable for entry-level candidates, students, seasoned workers and career changers.

Have you had a similar job in the past? Jensen says this might be good situation to use the combination format.

The combination resume format is very well received by hiring authorities, "says Davies." This powerful presentation shows relevant skills and accomplishments, and is later supported by a strong employment section.

She says you should consider using the combination resume when:

1) You have had several different kinds of jobs, and none of them displays all the skills you require for the position sought -- they look more impressive when put together

2) You have a solid and progressive work history

3) You want to highlight impressive accomplishments and marketable skills from several previous positions and a chronological format is expected

4) You are developing a focused, targeted resume and need an effective way to match your skills to the position requirements

5) You need to condense many years of professional experience, such as in the case of seasoned professionals and ex-military personnel

So Why Not Use It?

There are some disadvantages to using the combination resume. For example: some prospective employers may not warm up to the idea of having to read a longer resume.

Isaacs thinks this is true. The summary also adds length to the resume, so other sections may need to be edited down to keep the resume concise, she says.

Some recruiters have reported that they would prefer the resume to lead with the work history, rather than a profile or summary statement.

Is It For You?

Do you have less than a year of work history? The combination resume might prove helpful when trying to get an interview.

If your experience has been gained in less than one year, this resume demonstrates up front that you have developed useful skills and abilities that will be valuable to the employer in the position you are seeking, says Davies.

If you think your job history might not look so good to your targeted employer, Isaacs notes you might want to consider going with a functional resume instead.

Job seekers who would not benefit from a combination resume include those with no work history related to their goal, extensive periods of unemployment or numerous instances of job-hopping, says Isaacs. In those cases, functional resumes usually work best.


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733