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Wonder Woman makes it look so easy. She gets up
every morning, fights the good fight, calls it a day, and starts the whole
process all over again. This is the way most of us begin our workday. We work
hard, accomplish lots, and get up in the morning for an encore presentation.
From childhood we were told that if we put 110% into our careers that we
will be shoo-ins for promotions and raises. It sounded like an excellent plan
and one that you easily bought into—hard work equals a big return on investment.
Then one day you walk into your office only to discover that your
position has been eliminated. Not through any fault of your own, but because the
powers-that-be made an executive decision to reduce costs. At that moment, you
quickly realize that not everything comes from hard work, and you are
reluctantly thrown into the job search.
No matter how many awards you
received and no matter how impressive your career progression, the old adage is
true: “You’re only as good as your last sale.” And if you have been unemployed
for a while, hiring managers may view your experience as being outdated. To your
surprise, a search you were convinced would take only a few weeks turned into a
Since the resume is the first meeting between you and a prospective
employer, the way you position your skills is critically important. This is
especially true if you want the reader to overlook your unemployment gap and
focus their attention on your successes.
If your resume fails to cleverly tackle red
flags, the reader will eliminate your candidacy within seconds. With today’s job
market, it is rare to find a jobseeker who has a flawless work history, and a
traditional resume doesn’t always properly address the immediate concerns
jobseekers are facing today.
This is the reason why
professional resume writers recommend a combination resume for those a) who have
been unemployed for over a year and want to de-emphasize an unemployment gap and
b) those considering a career change who wish to highlight relevant marketable
and/or transferable skills.
A combination resume integrates the best features of the functional and
chronological resume formats. Similar to the functional resume, the combination
resume emphasizes skills; and just like the chronological resume, the
combination resume sequentially showcases your professional history.
OF A COMBINATION RESUME
The most basic format for a
combination resume includes the following sections: Introduction,
Accomplishments, Professional Experience, and Education. Below is a breakdown of
The opening of a resume serves
as a teaser and is called a Career Summary, Professional Profile, or Summary of
Qualifications. Whatever term you decide to use, the end result must sum up your
value to the hiring organization. Let’s take a look at an example:
tenacious sales and management professional demonstrating award-winning sales
record in highly competitive industries. Strong leader and team player;
excellent motivational skills to build and sustain forward growth momentum while
motivating peak individual performance from members. Experience in managing all
aspects of sales development cycle, from prospecting and cold calling through
detailed presentations and negotiation to closing follow-up activities.
Notice that the example above
provides the reader with a checklist of the candidate’s qualifications. From the
onset, the reader has a feel for what the candidate can bring to the table.
Since this section appears
immediately after the introduction, it must keep the momentum going. This is
your opportunity to showcase the fact that your experience is still relevant,
you’re still in the game, and you are a serious candidate. Let’s look at a
couple of accomplishment-based statements.
* Ranked consistently in top 5 company-wide for sales production among
staff of 600+ brokers, bringing in $3.5 million in gross commissions during
* Contributed to success of supervised brokers through hands-on training
and mentoring; led team that generated $13 million in commissions.
Notice that the statements are specific and target key achievements the
candidate is most proud of.
This section provides a
chronological history of your experience along with a brief summation of your
responsibilities. Here’s an example of how your professional history can
President, Bay Shore Financial, New York, NY, 2000–2004
team of 12 brokers in account prospecting and development activities. Conducted
in-depth research on stocks and related topics to provide best recommendations
for clients. Mentored team members and provided assistance with complex and
escalated client issues. Authorized sign-off on large transactions.
The education section can
include your college background, technical training, and/or professional
Bachelor of Arts,
Accounting—LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY,
OF BOTH WORLDS
A combination resume will allow
you to highlight your impressive accomplishments and grab the reader’s interest
right at the beginning while also providing the chronological work history
employers are looking for.
Recognized as a career expert, Linda Matias brings a wealth of experience
to the career services field. She has been sought out for her knowledge of the
employment market, outplacement, job search strategies, interview preparation,
and resume writing, quoted a number of times in The Wall Street Journal, New
York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com. She is President of CareerStrides
and the National Resume Writers’ Association. Visit her website at