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Alumna advises career flexibility

Alicia Smith | Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The ability to adjust to a variety of opportunities is important when searching for a job, a Saint Mary’s alumna and human resources executive said Monday.

Margaret Taylor, a 1978 graduate, spoke with students in the Student Center Lounge about the steps involved with finding a career, from choosing a major to job hunting.

“Majors change, that’s OK,” Taylor said. “If you’re in a major you’re not so comfortable with, don’t be afraid to say, ‘hey, this isn’t the right one.’

“You have to do something that you have passion in.”

Taylor said she originally intended on becoming an education major at Saint Mary’s. She has since worked for 20 years as a human resources representative and currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Biomet Inc. in Warsaw, Ind.

After changing her major to Communication Studies, she soon discovered a love for Humanistic Studies as well and decided she wanted to work in the broadcasting industry.

“I really spent most of my time interning over at WNDU, which was a great experience,” Taylor said. “I had a great audition tape by the time I was done with my internship, but I knew by the end of my internship that I knew that I wasn’t sure that that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

After an internship with a local broadcasting company, Taylor had reservations about a career in broadcast journalism and began her search for a new career path. Taylor stressed the importance of internships and recommended all students pursue them.

“Get your internships and get them early,” she said. “In some regard, it doesn’t matter what you intern in, especially at this stage, or where, but then you get the experience and it will tell you as much about what you don’t want to do as what you want to do.”

Taylor said students must remember to be flexible when searching for a post-graduation profession, and she used a personal anecdote to illustrate her point.

While working at a drugstore, Taylor said her boss submitted her name for a human resources position within the organization — and that’s how she get her start in the area she has now worked in for two decades, she said.

While she was working as a human resources representative for the first time, Taylor said she realized that she knew more than she thought she did.

She reminded students to have confidence in their capabilities, as well as to be willing to learn new things.

“There are so many things you are learning here today that you don’t realize,” she said.
Taylor said she credits much of her success to her undergraduate studies at an all-female institution.

She said gender has the potential to play a role in the makeup of the workforce but said women do have a place in corporate America. She reminded students to forget about gender and instead focus on their own capabilities.