Finding A Job In HR: Your Professional Belief System

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In a previous post I talked about why it’s important for HR job seekers to define their value proposition. This was so that candidates can more clearly articulate why an employer should select them over any number of other ones, based on how their previous experiences could be used in service to an organization and its members. A value proposition helps move HR job seekers away from generalities and emphasized specifics.


Taking it a step further, if you understand your value proposition, then you should also have a clearer understanding of your strengths and shortcomings as an employee. For example, when I speak with recent or upcoming college graduates, they seem to enjoy recruiting more so than other Human Resources activities they may have been exposed to. They enjoy the challenge of finding great people. Oftentimes, there’s a minimum amount of routine and boredom associated with it. They may get to travel to career fairs or similar events. All of these and more makes becoming a Recruiter a favorite pick amongst this group.

If you like fast paced, creative, non-routine types of roles, you’re probably not going to want to get into employee relations. Having worked as an ER Generalist for many years, I would disagree somewhat! Regardless, it’s important to first understand and embrace what you’re good at and what you’re not. This understanding helps to define which roles you may/may not be suitable for.

Regarding industries or companies, the same thought process applies. For myself, I enjoy being in the retail (and more recently, hospitality) industry. Taking this further, within the retail industry there are many types of retailers–fast fashion, luxury, Big Box–each with its own culture, processes, strengths, and challenges. They’re not the same and shouldn’t be treated as such. Within that are individual companies, each being as unique as the employees that work for them.


Now it’s time to further define your values, distilling it into what I’ll call your professional belief system (PBS). Your PBS is essentially how your profession values match up against the companies and roles you want to be a part of. It allows you to see more clearly which industries, companies, and positions may suit your unique mix of knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Part of my love for the retail industry is the fast pace and energy. While I can work in an office, I enjoy the energy of stores. Also, retail is an environment where I get to see the results of my work all around me. When I’m out in the world and see a store that I’ve helped staff that gives me a great sense of accomplishment. I thrive off of the energy that exists when companies are in the growth phase of their business cycle. Rapid growth tends to encourage creativity and collaboration, which are very important to me. I like to work with people, regardless of their job title, in order to accomplish organizational goals. I also don’t like to be pigeonholed into a predefined HR role. Therefore, even when I’m focused on a particular area (recruiting, employee relations, project management), I remain a Generalist at heart.

Energetic, results oriented, collaborative environments that allow me to be a Generalist are very important to me. This is my professional belief system.


Having a defined professional belief system allows HR job seekers to more clearly demonstrate their value proposition to prospective employers. It also removes distractions by eliminating those industries, companies, and roles that may not be aligned with it. Much like a personal belief system, having a professional one helps define how you conduct business, and whom you choose to interact with. That being said, beliefs change over time. Be sure to revisit and revise your professional belief system as needed.

What’s your professional belief system?

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