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Changing Careers During a Pandemic: Magriet Roos

Divina Paredes

About over 2 years ago By Divina Paredes

Magriet Roos Website

​The pandemic has upended organisational strategies across industries and geographies. For a lot of business technology and digital leaders, the lockdowns over the past year and a half also meant a change, a transition, to a new role and even a major career shift. So what prompts ICT leaders to take this major step? What lessons can they share with people who are rethinking priorities in life and work? More so, how can one build a career during a time of constant change? I talked to five leaders who applied their experiences in leading ICT-enabled transformation programmes to a more personal area - their career:

- Dr Elinor Swery of Rookout
- Richard Raj of Knights Move Consulting
- Magriet Roos of Downer Group
- Priti Ambani of Tata Consultancy Services
- Christine Yip of C Why International

Magriet Roos of Downer Group shares key questions to ask before switching industries

Following a respite from full-time work, Magriet Roos joined Downer Group in June 2021 for the new role of GM of business engagement.

Prior to this, Roos worked for six months as an independent consultant and strategic advisor. She came from Gartner, where she was a senior executive firm first in South Africa, and then in New Zealand for nearly six years. She has also held a succession of business technology roles, including the equivalent of a CIO.

“I had the opportunity to take a bit of time off before I joined Downer in my new role and it was the best thing I could have done,” says Roos. “It gave me time to reflect on my past roles and what I really wanted for my future role and what is really important to me,”

“I took the time to really focus on my why, what is important to me and what I enjoy doing. Doing that reflection and understanding your why and the things that are important to you, makes it easy to map your own journey and understand what roles you want to target, what you are looking for in your new employer and if a career change is really something you want to do.”

“I have always been a firm believer of continuous learning and a growth mindset – but I do feel that we often fall into the trap of being so busy with doing that we forget our own personal development and how important it is to make sure we do continuous learning and build our own skills,” she says.

“We should make sure that we are adding to our skills on an annual basis and not just when we are changing roles or looking for a new career. Also, build into your reflection time the question of what new skills and capabilities have you added to your resume in the last year and make sure you are including soft skills and not just technical skills.”

“Often, technical people are not great at marketing themselves. Have someone review your resume and LinkedIn profiles to ensure you bring forward the qualities and value related to the new role you are targeting, else you might not be successful in being considered for the roles you are targeting and be clear on the value you bring to the table.”

“What differentiates you from others will be really important when you change direction. I think it is important to remember that what made you successful in the past, might not be what makes you successful in your new role but the skills, experience and lessons learned all help you to navigate and adapt in your new role.”

Planning is integral when moving to a new role. “It is really important to think about your 90-day plan that should build on listening, asking questions and getting to know the organisation, the people and the culture and what will make you successful in your new role.”

For Roos, this reflection also highlights another important issue for today’s employees, as they go through various iterations in the work environment. “We are often so focused on the next task and the endless to-do list that I think we often forget to enjoy the journey,” she says. “Enjoy every day as each new day brings new experience, new people we meet, new lessons we learn and the ability to maybe make a difference in someone’s life.”

This is the third of a five-part series on switching careers in a rapidly changing landscape. See other blogs in the series below:

1. Changing Careers During a Pandemic: Elinor Swery

2. Changing Careers During a Pandemic: Richard Raj

Divina Paredes is a New Zealand-based writer interested in #ICTTrends #Tech4Good #DigitalWorkplace #Data4Good #Sustainability #CivilSociety #SpecialNeedsCommunity #SocialEnterprises

Reach her on Twitter: @divinap