New SHRM Career Resources Pages Cure 'Paralysis by Analysis'

Specially designed online tools help you chart your course to success

By Alexander Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP December 7, 2017

​Do you ever have trouble figuring out what to do next? The problem can be as simple as taking too much time to pick a meal from a menu. Or it can be as momentous and sad as procrastinating until you miss out on something great. If you have this problem, it probably extends to your career choices. 

Tell me about it! I epitomized "paralysis by analysis" whenever I thought about my own career. I was being distracted by every shiny new career option, overanalyzing each one, wandering aimlessly through my potential choices and never getting on the right track. My behavior was so annoying that people compared me to the character of Dory in Finding Nemo, who had no short-term memory. "Stop swimming in circles and just pick something!" they told me in exasperation. 

My problem was that I needed guidance to help me decide what to do with my career. I was afraid to make a wrong decision, and my fears left me immobile. Would I choose to do something that would turn out to be a big waste of time? Would the consequences of another choice limit my future career prospects? Getting the right career guidance wasn't easy. 

Now, SHRM is here to help if you need guidance, like I did, to allay your doubts and fears about how to take your career to the next level. SHRM has just launched a set of specially designed online SHRM Career Resources to help SHRM members grow their careers. User-friendly interactive tools can assist you in identifying your developmental needs and the best ways to meet those needs—step by step, page by page: 

STEP 1. Where are you now? Take the Competency Self-Assessment. 

The first step in any developmental process, especially career development, is self-reflection. I always start with a self-SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunity, threat) analysis—absent the paralysis, of course. What areas am I not as strong in as I could be? Those are the areas I need to develop and improve in. If you're interested in continuous improvement as an HR professional, taking the 10-minute Competency Self-Assessment can help you identify your competency strengths and developmental needs. It's a fun exercise, plus it puts you on the path to recertifying your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP with 1 professional development credit (PDC) per year. 

STEP 2. What do you do next, and how do you get there? Use the Development Activity Wizard. 

The next step is to cross-reference the results of your self-assessment with your learning preferences. How do you like to learn? What are your opportunities for continued learning? Use the Development Activity Wizard to get tailored recommendations for activities that will help you build your HR expertise and competency proficiencies. The Wizard will help you think about the best ways for you to engage in learning activities that suit your needs. Better still, it will give you a customized list of recommended activities. 

STEP 3. How do you put your goals into action? Create a Competency Development Plan. 

Once you know the where/what/how, it's time to go! The third step of the developmental process for your career is to put your self-assessment and development goals into action. Make it happen by creating your Competency Development Plan. The SHRM Career Resources pages show you how to translate your results into an outline and a road map for your personalized career strategy. 

These new SHRM member benefits reflect our commitment to the mission of advancing the HR profession and serving HR professionals through continuous improvement. We recognize your commitment to, and investment in, developing your career and helping your organization. By assisting you in charting your best developmental path, SHRM's new Career Resource pages can focus your efforts. For more information, visit or call 1.703.548.3440, option 3. 

Alexander Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, is SHRM's senior vice president for knowledge development and certification.


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