Combination Resume Guide: Template and Tips

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn about combination resumes, when to use this format, and some sections you may want to include.

[Featured Image]:  Job applicant working on combination resume.

A combination resume, also called a hybrid resume, exists between the traditional chronological resume and the more modern functional resume. Job applicants tend to use the combination format when neither the chronological nor functional formats fully convey their professional capabilities.

Combination resume template

Use this free combination resume template to start formatting your resume today. Simply log into your Google account and hit the “Make a copy” button to start.


What is a combination resume?

A combination resume takes some elements of a chronological resume and some elements of a functional resume to create a custom format. Recall that with your chronological resume, you build your resume around your work history, while with your functional resume, your skills are the star.

Often, this means detailing your work experience and the specific skills you’ve developed throughout your career. However, there are several ways to present this information. This flexible format entirely depends on the story you’re trying to tell.

Learn more: Types of Resumes: Choosing the Right Format For Your Needs

When to use a combination resume

A combination resume can be a good option if you want a resume that emphasizes your skills and is formatted for automatic tracking system (ATS) scanning. 

You may want to emphasize your skills on your resume if the position you want doesn’t perfectly align with the job titles you’ve held. For example, you may consider creating a combination resume if you are:

  • Seeking an entry-level position

  • Transitioning into a new field or industry

  • Pursuing a career advancement

Of course, you can (and should!) incorporate your skills and achievements into your work experience section, but a dedicated skills section can help demonstrate that you have successfully used the high-level skills employers are looking for in ways that exceeded your previous job responsibilities.

As for the second criteria, unless you submit your resume directly to a recruiter, you typically want to use an ATS-friendly format. Generally, when applying for jobs through a company’s website, it’s safe to assume that an ATS will “read” your resume before a human recruiter will.

Most ATS are programmed to read chronological resumes, scanning documents for key information about work history, job titles, and keywords associated with the open role. Functional resumes tend to lack the work history details that many ATS look for, so the ATS may interpret candidates who submit functional resumes as lacking the work history required for a role.

With your combination resume, however, you’ll typically format your work history in a way that aligns with ATS best practices while still offering additional context about your enhanced skill set for the human recruiter who will read your resume after it passes the ATS scan.

Combination resume format

The combination resume is a flexible format but should contain at least the following sections:

Additional optional sections may include:

Before you decide which sections to include and how to order them, think about the story you’re trying to tell and the critical information you need to share to tell it. From there, you can piece together the format that makes the most sense for your story.

Let’s take a closer look at the two most prominent sections, skills, and work experience.

Skills section

A resume skills section can look several different ways. Some people choose to simply list out their most job-relevant skills, while others expand on their skills with bullet points detailing specific projects, outcomes, and impacts—not unlike the skills section common in functional resumes.

If you opt for an expanded skills section, be sure to avoid repeating the information that appears in your work experience section. You have limited space on your resume, so you want to ensure every line adds value.

Instead, highlight how you’ve demonstrated your skills beyond the scope of your work tasks. For example, perhaps you’ve demonstrated essential skills through volunteer work, side hustles, or work projects that you completed outside of your immediate responsibilities.

Work experience

For each role in an ATS-friendly work experience section, include your:

  • Company name

  • Job title

  • Dates of employment

  • Core responsibilities and successes

List your experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position. Here, you want to represent a timeline of your career path, showing how you’ve progressed from your earliest roles to where you are now with your unique series of job changes and promotions.

Remember to emphasize your impact as you detail your responsibilities. For example, “Analyzed web traffic data to develop search engine optimization (SEO) best practices guide, resulting in a 50% increase in total web visitors,” is more compelling than, “Analyzed web traffic data,” even though both bullet points address the same responsibility.

A quick formula for writing resume bullets that show impact is: Did [task] in order to [outcome], which resulted in [impact].

If you don’t have an extensive work history, you may want to consider expanding other sections, such as your education or credentials. Learn more about how to make a resume for your first job.


Getting started

Keep learning with Coursera. Draft your resume with guidance from the SUNY’s project-centered course How to Write a Resume, or map your desired career journey with the University System of Georgia’s Career Discovery Specialization.

You can also develop job-specific skills with a Professional Certificate from industry leaders like Google, Meta, and IBM. Check out Career Academy to learn more about entry-level pathways in marketing, data analytics, software engineering, business, and more.

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