How to sell the gaps in your CV

Tips on harnessing career breaks for professional growth

By Alana Mackay


Tips on harnessing career breaks for professional growth

By Alana Mackay

In a competitive job market, effectively presenting yourself when you have gaps in your resume requires a strategic approach – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

It all starts with your mindset. Instead of viewing gaps as obstacles, consider them as stepping stones that have uniquely shaped your skills and character. They are features of your career that set you apart, and once you understand that, they can become a valuable selling point when you are hunting for a job.

From there, all you need to do is learn to communicate that to a potential employer.

Here are my top four tips on how to do just that:


Be honest and earnest

Trying to avoid discussing employment gaps will only make you stressed and anxious. Address questions with confidence and explain the reasons for your time away from work briefly and positively. Whether it was for personal development, family commitments or pursuing additional education, framing these moments as opportunities for growth demonstrates resilience.


Craft a compelling narrative

Your life beyond paid work is full of valuable experiences, plenty of which can help you hone professional skills. If you are asked about gaps in your CV, emphasise how volunteer work or personal projects you engaged in during those intervals enriched your expertise. This showcases your abilities and highlights your proactive approach to continuous improvement.


Keep your details updated

With so many professional platforms available to us, sharing inconsistent employment information is a common issue. Be sure to keep your LinkedIn up to date with your resume in case a potential employer reviews your profile. You can take this a step further by tailoring your resume for each application, focusing on achievements and transferable skills rather than job titles and dates.


Always seek to upskill

Investing in ongoing learning demonstrates a commitment to your professional development that offsets any gaps in your resume. Highlight courses, workshops or certifications you acquired during career breaks, and consider applying for programs that support your transition back into the workforce.

Westpac’s EmPOWERUP Tech Returnship supports women as they re-enter the workforce and grow their careers in the fast-moving world of technology. The program offers a comprehensive 24-week program that goes beyond conventional support, providing participants with tailored training, mentorship, webinars, coaching and skill development.

As Australia continues to face a talent gap in the tech industry, Westpac recognises that closing the gap requires nontraditional pathways to attract and retain individuals from diverse backgrounds. With a proud history of supporting female economic empowerment – having the first female bank teller, branch manager and CEO – Westpac is striving to continue backing women in tech through its various partnerships, policies and initiatives.

Watch this short video and visit the EmPOWERUP website to learn more.

About Alana Mackay

Alana Mackay is Westpac’s Senior Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Technology. She has worked at Westpac for over 20 years, running strategic projects and leadership programs across multiple divisions. In her spare time, she is on sports duty with her son’s cricket team and is also a mum to five pets.

Work In Progress is an FW series in which people we admire turn their specialist knowledge and leadership wisdom into practical, accessible advice that you can tap into.