Make Your Summer Reading Count

Gain big payoffs in knowledge, skills and PDCs

By Paul Young, SHRM-SCP July 24, 2018
Make Your Summer Reading Count

​Are you a summertime reader, like I am? Do you have a go-to author or genre? For me, it's usually Stephen King or John Scalzi.

As long as you're reading this summer, let me propose something: that you read with a purpose. That is, read for learning, not merely for entertainment. 

It might be easy for you to respond with a dismissive "Sure, Paul," much as you would reply to the dental hygienist who advises you to floss more or that old acquaintance you bump into who insists you get together and catch up soon. 

But trust me—you'll want to get up to speed on reading with a purpose, because it can pay off for you in at least two ways: 

  • You'll gain new knowledge and skills from the material.
  • You'll earn professional development credits (PDCs) toward recertification of your SHRM credential.
What's that? You already tried this a while back and weren't satisfied? Believe me, I once shared your frustration. But things have changed! 

How Does It Work Now? 

  • SHRM identifies books eligible for PDCs.
  • You select and read an eligible book, pass a quiz and earn 3.0 PDCs.
  • Earn up to 30 PDCs in a three-year recertification cycle.

Step 1: Select and Obtain a Book

SHRM has identified 100 books eligible for recertification credit. Go to and click on "Certification" and then "Books Approved for Credit."

Select the topics you want to learn about. What knowledge will be of help to you in your workplace? What skills do you need for your next role or for tackling your next awesome project?

You don't need to buy the book from SHRM. In fact, you don't need to buy the book at all. Check it out from your local library. Or borrow it from a friend. Or ask your employer to cover the cost as part of your professional development.

Step 2: Read the Book

Complete the book at your own pace. Slow reader? Your only risk is that the book is removed from the list of eligible books. Still, don't put it off. Remember, you're reading with a purpose.

Step 3: Take the Quiz

When you're ready, take and pass a free quiz based on the book you selected. The quiz is located on SHRM's eLearning platform.

The easiest way to register for the quiz is at the SHRMStore website. Select the book and scroll to the bottom of its description. Click on "Register for the Quiz" and follow the prompts from there.

Once you register for the quiz, you have one year to take and pass it.

And once you pass the quiz, you can view and print a completion certificate with an Activity ID to enter the PDCs into your record on the SHRM recertification portal.

My Experience

The book I selected was HR Transformation: Building Human Resources from the Outside In, by Ulrich, Allen, Brockbank, Younger and Nyman (McGraw-Hill Education, 2009). Here's what I experienced with my quiz (your mileage may vary): 

  • 10 true/false questions.
  • You must get 70 percent correct to pass.
  • Results shown online immediately following the quiz.
  • No time limit to finish the quiz once I started, but I did need to complete it in one sitting; there was no option to save and return.
  • Passed on the first attempt (but I could have had up to 10 attempts at passing).

Other Ideas

Reading provides you with some great possibilities for getting involved and developing your network and resources:
  • Form or join a book club.
  • Turn the book you've selected to read into a learning project. Find other chapter members or co-workers to partner with on this.
  • Connect with the author directly via social media. Many authors invite questions and comments from their readers.

So set aside some time this summer to read with a purpose. You'll like how it pays off.

Paul Young, SHRM-SCP, is HR manager at the American Association of Endodontists and certification committee chair for Chicago SHRM.


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