The Pursuit of SHRM Certification and Lifelong Learning

A learning mindset and organizational resources helped me achieve my goal

By Allan Leung, SHRM-SCP November 14, 2019
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​Allan Leung, SHRM-SCP

In the relatively short time since I graduated from university and started my career as an HR professional, I have realized how quickly the world of work shifts and how a learning mindset is key to effectively adapt to changing needs. Early on, I joined SHRM for its invaluable resources and connections, which have helped me navigate through various challenges in the workplace and build my credibility with others. As I gained more HR experience, eventually I decided to obtain HR certification, so that I could continue to learn and be recognized in the field, and continue to demonstrate my value to the organization I serve.

My decision to choose the SHRM-SCP credential stemmed from a conversation I had with my former manager. I met the eligibility requirements for two different HR certification options, yet wasn't sure which one to pursue. My manager had her SPHR credential but advised me to pursue the SHRM-SCP because of its competency-based model and alignment with SHRM.

I am fortunate to currently be part of a company, HCSS, that encourages employees to be lifelong learners and gives them financial resources to do so. A Continuous Learning Fund provides $1,000 a year to cover any personal or professional learning-related activity, which I used to purchase my study materials, the SHRM Learning System and PocketPrep. I then looked into my employer's Educational Assistance Fund. This is a separate account to pay for exam fees, and the only stipulation was that I had to pass the exam to get reimbursed for the fees. With the SHRM-SCP average pass rate hovering between 50 and 58 percent, I knew it was not going to be easy, but I was ready for the challenge.

I also joined a Facebook study group to network and learn with other professionals pursuing HR certification.

The time I spent reviewing the material was a blur, but the content broadened my mind, as I learned about the behavioral competencies and HR knowledge needed to be an effective HR leader. I told myself that regardless of whether I passed or failed the exam, the insights I gained preparing for it would be applied in my role in my organization.

I stepped foot inside the testing center, looked at the computer screen in front of me, took a deep breath, watched the timer start to count down and began to answer questions. After I submitted the last exam question, I completed a brief survey about my experience and realized that my preliminary results would be on the next screen.

My heart was beating fast in anticipation. When I found out that I had passed the exam, I quietly screamed and then breathed a sigh of relief. All of my hard work led to success.

My learning didn't stop there, however. Being part of the SHRM family and obtaining SHRM certification are steps in my journey as a lifelong learner. Now I am pursuing recertification as part of that commitment. I will continue to learn and adapt to meet the evolving needs of the HR profession, in order to build a better workplace for all.

Allan Leung, SHRM-SCP, is lead talent acquisition advisor and HR partner for HCSS, a software company for the construction industry in Sugar Land, Texas.

For more information on SHRM Certification, and to register for the exam, please visit our website.

Already SHRM-certified? Be sure to maintain your credential by recertifying. Learn more about recertification activities here.

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