Join AARP and Foreign Policy on Wednesday for a webinar on human rights and older persons. Learn more and register here.
AARP, April 23, 2009
Are you a mid-life or older worker with a lot of work experience? And with special skills you want to emphasize? Try a combination resume for the best of both worlds.
A combination resume combines elements of the chronological and functional resumes. This resume style lets you highlight your skills and accomplishments, while providing a brief list of your work experience. It focuses on what you can do and how you can do it, rather than on when you did it and for whom.
The combination resume also enables you to select and focus on those skills, interests, and experiences that relate to the job that interests you and drop or minimize those items that don't.
Even if you are planning to stay in the same field, a combination resume may be the best way to present yourself to a new employer.
Sample Functional Areas
When writing your combination resume, group your experience and accomplishments into areas of expertise, also called functional areas. In this way, your resume will highlight your "transferable" skills, those skills you could use in a variety of settings. These can be skills you've gained through paid employment, homemaking, volunteer work, and hobbies.
This list of sample functional areas will help you in writing a combination resume. Choose 3-5 areas.
Organizational Development Planning
Product Presentation/ Demonstration
Customer and Client Relations/Service
Program Development/ Analysis
Data Collection/ Entry
Quality Control/ Assurance
Financial Research/ Planning/Analysis
Special Events Planning
Human Resources Management
Systems Analysis/ Design
Skills and Accomplishments
Under each functional area, choose your most important and relevant skills and accomplishments. State what you did, briefly and clearly, by using action verbs. Show the results or the impact of your achievements. Use numbers when possible.
Especially if you are switching jobs or job fields, write statements that show how your skills from one field apply to another.
For example, if you are a teacher and now want to get hired as a professional storyteller, you may choose "Facilitating," "Public Speaking," or "Special Events Planning" as a functional area:
Say you have been out of the workforce for a few years. You've held several offices on the operating team of a local religious group. Now you want to return to work, but not in your previous job field. You see an ad for a contract administrator. You could choose "Negotiation" as one of your functional areas. Then, you would describe how you successfully negotiated a contract between your church or temple and a printing firm that published the weekly bulletins.
Successfully negotiated a first-time, two-year contract with a printer. Contract saved over $30,000 and led to the organization's willingness to sign several other money-saving contracts.
Your work history, or related work experience, will take much less space on your resume than your accomplishments. Simply name your previous employers and your job titles. List the years you worked for each employer, or say, for example, "eight years."
Put your work-history list at the start or near the end of your combination resume.
Sample Combination Resumes
(Adobe Acrobat Required)
Sample combination resume #1
Sample combination resume# 2
Help With Your Resume and CV
The Riley Guide tells you about resume resources to use and tips to follow. Find resume samples, plus where to send your resume for proof-reading and a critique.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
Members save 20% on purchases or $20 when they spend $79.99 or more.
AARP Members get $2 off Audible’s monthly membership
25% off device and online privacy protection plans
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at