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Written by Charlotte GraingerCharlotte Grainger

Resume hybrid format: what it is and how can you use it

18 min read
Resume hybrid format: what it is and how can you use it
Artwork by:Yulia Mrachnenko
The resume hybrid format is ideal if you want to showcase your skills and experience. In the following guide, we reveal how to create one from scratch.

Before you apply for your dream job, you need to choose the perfect resume format for you. Spoiler: Hiring managers only spend seven seconds looking at each new resume. That’s not a lot of time to make the right first impression. It’s important to choose a structure that delivers them all of the information that they need in a short period. 

While there are many strong resume formats out there, might we suggest the resume hybrid format? If you’re a creative or work on a freelance basis, this structure will be a winning formula. Combining the functional and chronological formats, it showcases both your talents and experience in equal measure. It’s the best of both worlds. 

Blue resume hybrid format
Blue resume hybrid format

If you’re unsure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Resume.io, we have all of the information you need to support your ongoing job search. Should you be considering the resume hybrid format, you need to know what it’s all about. In the following guide, we will give you all of the details you need to get started, including these topics: 

  • An introduction to the resume hybrid format
  • How it is different from other resume formats out there
  • Why you should use the resume hybrid format (core benefits)
  • The sections that you need to include in this structure
  • The pros and cons of using the resume hybrid format
  • Advice on how to create an interview-winning resume.

New to the world of resume writing? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Check out our full resume writing guide and get the inside scoop on how to ace your next application. 

Resume hybrid format: an introduction

First things first, let’s talk about what the resume hybrid format is. Also known as a combination format, this structure highlights both your skills and your experience at the same time. That’s good news if you're indecisive. If you are unsure whether to use the functional or chronological format, you might find that this one is a happy medium. 

While various professionals can use the resume hybrid format, it is useful for freelancers or those working in the creative industry. If you tend to work on a project-by-project basis, rather than in full-time employment, your work is likely to be more sporadic. That means that using the standard, chronological format won’t do your professional history justice. 

Equally, as a creative professional, your skills are your biggest asset. You will want to showcase your talents to recruiters the moment that they glance at your resume. Since the hybrid resume format places your skills section above your work experience, it is a great fit for you. This approach emphasizes both what you can do and where you’ve worked. 

Of course, the resume hybrid format is not right for all job-seekers. If you are a recent graduate and you lack essential experience, you will want to go with the functional format. On the other hand, if you happen to work in a traditional profession and have decades under your belt, the chronological format is the way to go. Before you decide which opinion suits you, take a moment to consider what experience and skills you already have. 

Expert tip

Try out different resume formats!

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing your resume format, why not try out a few different options? The weight of your skills and experience will determine which option suits your needs the best. To help you get started, take a quick look at our tried and tested resume templates. You can start building your application right now.  

How does a resume hybrid format differ from other formats?

Now that you understand what the resume hybrid format is, let’s talk about how it differs from other options. The chronological format puts the spotlight on your experience — placing this section front and center. The functional format highlights your skills. If neither of those two options appeals to you, you may want to consider the hybrid option.

As the name suggests, the hybrid resume format combines elements from the other two structures. At the top of the page, you have the standard resume header and summary. However, the next section is your curated skills section where you list your core competencies. Directly below that, you include your experience and education too. 

When a recruiter takes a look at this type of resume, they first take note of your talents. However, a simple glance down the page also tells them what experience you have. This part of your resume may include ad-hoc jobs (such as one-off projects) or long-term employment positions. Since you have chosen a flexible format, the choice is yours. 

When should you use a resume hybrid format?

We’ve covered the basics of what a resume hybrid format is, let’s talk about why you may use this structure. Deciding which format suits your application can be tough. However, there are times when the hybrid option will be the obvious choice for you, as follows:

You’re switching to a new career or sector 

Are you a career hopper? If you’re looking to enter a new sector, you may find that the resume hybrid format is the way to go. This option allows you to show off your skills first and foremost but also include your work experience. Since the experience you have may not be directly applicable to the role at hand, this option will suit your application. In short, you will get a chance to showcase your transferable skills before your previous work. 

You work as a freelancer or creative professional 

Working on a freelance basis means that you move from gig to gig swiftly. That’s great news if you happen to thrive on variety. However, when it comes to applying for new jobs or gigs, it can be hard to illustrate the work you’ve done before now. The hybrid format allows you to get around that issue. In the skills section, you can share the talents that make you the right person for the job. That’s a huge draw for recruiters. Below that, you get the chance to talk about any projects you’ve completed or gigs you’ve previously had.

You plan to re-enter the job market now

Almost two-thirds of workers around the world have taken a career break at some point in their lives, according to a LinkedIn study. So, if you’ve taken some downtime for whatever reason, you’re not alone. There’s no problem with making this lifestyle choice. When you decide to re-enter the job market, chances are a chronological resume format won’t cut it.

The first thing recruiters will see when they look at your resume is that you’ve been out of work for a while. That may land your application straight on the “no way” pile. Using the resume hybrid format means that you can “wow” recruiters with your dazzling skill set before they even get to the work experience section. By the time they see you’ve had a short career break, they will already be enamored with your professional talents. 

You have some experience but want a step up 

Looking for a way to climb the career ladder? If you’re not certain that you have the experience to take the next step (but certainly have the talent!), the hybrid format is the way to go. As we have covered, it will show recruiters that you have what it takes to meet the job criteria in the first instance. When they are reviewing your professional resume, the skills section will catch their eye before anything else. Should you have a robust set of competencies, you should find that this particular option gives you the best chance. 

Format of a hybrid resume: a breakdown

Let’s say you’ve settled on the idea of writing a hybrid resume. Great stuff! So, what happens next? Well, you’re going to need to know where to start. To help you along the way, here’s a quick breakdown of the resume hybrid format: 

  1. Resume header (name and contact details)
  2. Professional summary (an introduction to you professionally)
  3. Skills section (your transferable and core competencies)
  4. Work experience (either full-time jobs or projects)
  5. Education section (brief summary of your qualifications)
  6. Optional extras (additional training or awards)

Now, it’s important to recognize that the layout of your resume hybrid format may differ depending on the template you use. You may, for example, have two skills sections — one of core skills and one of transferable skills. Equally, you might decide to have your education and certification sections to the right or left of the body of the document in a column. Regardless of the specific layout that you choose, the resume should use this structure.

Sections to include on your hybrid resume

Do you have a case of writer’s block? If you want to use the hybrid resume format but don’t know how to write each section, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a quick summary of the content you should include in each of the core sections of your resume.

Resume header

First up, it’s the resume header. Formerly known as the letterhead, this section is at the top of your resume. It includes details about you — your name, location, and contact details — that the recruiter needs to know. You shouldn’t do anything fancy here. Simply make sure that the information is clear and easy for the reader to understand at a glance.

Professional summary 

Next up, it’s your summary. This section consists of three-to-four lines that describe you as a professional. Ahead of putting figurative pen to paper, consider what your unique selling point is. What are you bringing to the table that no other candidate has in their arsenal? Your summary needs to be short but also pack a major punch. The more high-value information you are able to sneak into the section, the better your chances of success. 

Skills section 

The resume hybrid format emphasizes your top skills. Don’t waste this opportunity to show recruiters that you have what it takes to excel in the advertised position. Choose 8 to 10 skills that you want to bullet-point in this section. Keep in mind that the competencies you choose need to align with the job at hand. It may be worth taking a look at your transferable skills and matching them to the job advert before you begin. 

Work experience

Here’s where you spell out any full-time work or gigs you’ve had. Your work experience section should be in reverse chronological order. That means that you should start with your most recent position or project at the top and then work your way back in time. That way, when an employer looks at this section, they can quickly see your most recent posts. 

Beneath the job/project title and details, you can include 3 to 5 bullet points. These can be short sentences that cover what you did during the work experience. You may want to include the core duties of the role, the killer results that you achieved, or the awards you received. When you’re writing these, consider what it tells the hiring manager about you. 

Education section

When you’re using the resume hybrid format, you will notice that the education section doesn’t take up much room. That’s because it’s not the main focus — your skills and experiences are instead. However, you should still include any certifications that you have. Keep things brief: simply state the name of the certificate, the institute, and the dates. You can position this section at the side of your resume or at the very bottom of the page. 

Optional extras 

Want to add more to your resume hybrid format? Okay, there are some options. While you don’t want to cram the page with too much information (TMI), you can include a short section for additional training or awards. Make sure that these sections don’t take up too much space — they are not (and should not be) the main focus of your application. 

Pros and cons of using a hybrid resume format

Are you thinking about using a hybrid resume format? If you’re still on the fence, we have some points that you may want to consider. Here are the pros and cons to keep in mind: 

Pros  Cons
  • An excellent option for freelancers or people in the creative sphere
  • Emphasizes your skill set and your work experience in equal measure
  • Strengthens your existing resume if you lack enough work experience
  • Not as appropriate for professionals with traditional job positions
  • May make you look like you’re early in your career when you’re not
  • Can be difficult to find the right balance between the sections

Tips for creating the best resume hybrid format

Since you’re well-versed in what a hybrid resume is and how to use one, there’s only one more thing left to think about. How are you going to create your next application? To give you a competitive edge, we’ve put together some expert tips here: 

  • Be selective when choosing your skills. The skills section is the star of your hybrid resume. When you’re deciding which talents to include, be as selective as possible. As a general rule, you should include a few transferable skills, a few core skills, and then a couple of skills that apply directly to the job opening. You may want to get started with a long list and then whittle it down to the final selection.
  • Play around with the layout. We have already covered how a hybrid resume should be structured. There are a couple of sections that will be smaller than the rest. These are your education section and, potentially, any extra training. These take up a lot of space at the bottom of the page, so you can put them in a sidebar.
  • Always edit your resume first. If you are struggling to fit everyone onto one page, don’t make the mistake of changing the font size. Instead, you need to edit the content. Take out any unnecessary words. You can also move various sections to the side or bottom of the page. The more flexible you are here, the better.
  • Use premade templates. Few of us are pros when it comes to design. Don’t let that hold you back. Want to take all of the trouble out of designing your resume? One of the most effective approaches is to use a field-test template. You can play around with a variety of layouts until you find the one that suits your needs.

Key takeaways 

  • The resume hybrid format shows off your skills and experience. If you want a structure that is the “best of both worlds,” go for this one.
  • The structure of this type of resume differs from others, placing the skills section neatly above the work experience and education.
  • Make sure you have a robust set of talents before you choose this format.
  • Follow our simple structure if you decide to use this format. You can also use our easy resume builder to take all of the hassles out of this job.
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