The Holland Career Codes is a system to classify jobs and careers into categories, interest clusters or work personality environments. Developed in 1985 by Dr. John L. Holland, the system is a theory of vocational choice based on the following parameters:

    People fall into one of six personality types and will be attracted to careers and/or jobs that mirror their personalities. Therefore, like-minded people will be working together, creating optimal conditions for their professional success.

    A good match between an individual’s personality and a “job family” increases the probability of career success and satisfaction.

    The Six Holland Career Codes: Personalities, Job Types, Interest Clusters and Work Personality Environments

    Dr. Holland, and the many career coaches who utilize his methodology, believes that people in our culture fall into one of the following personality types:

    • R - Realistic – people who have athletic or mechanical ability, prefer to work with objects, machines, tools, plants or animals, or to be outdoors. Jobs types appealing to these people would include: computer science, architecture, fire-fighting, physical therapy, athletics, archaeology, gardening, music, and instructional technology.

    • I - Investigative – people who like to observe, learn, investigate, analyze, evaluate or solve problems. Job types appealing to these people would include: engineering, mathematics, psychology, medicine, computer science, and science.

    • A - Artistic – people who have artistic, innovating or intuition abilities and like to work in unstructured situations using their imagination and creativity. Job types appealing to these people would include: painting, music, dance, writing, performing arts, and therapy in music, dance or art.

    • S - Social – people who like to work with people to enlighten, inform, help, train, or cure them, or are skilled with words. Job types appealing to these people would include: counseling, education, nursing, theology, psychology, psychiatry, martial arts and industry training.

    • E - Enterprising – people who like to work with people, influencing, persuading, performing, leading or managing for organizational goals or economic gain. Job types appealing to these people would include: administration, communication, insurance, journalism, law, politics, marketing and advertising, publishing, public relations, stock brokerage, retail and real estate sales.

    • C - Conventional – people who like to work with data, have clerical or numerical ability, carry out tasks in detail or follow through on others’ instructions. Job types appealing to these people would include: financial management, academic administration, banking, general business, engineering, instructional technology, secretarial, library and information science, statistics and technical writing.

      In reality, most people are a combination of types, which explains the overlap in several of the job preferences. People generally refer to their Holland personality type by two or three letters, in order of their strength.

      The Holland Career Codes are frequently represented in the following hexagon:

      How Can I Find Out My Holland Career Code?

      Different Holland assessments provide information on the relationship between job personalities and key characteristics, college majors, hobbies, abilities and related careers. They come in a variety of formats (printed, CD-ROM or on-line) at reasonable costs and include:

      • Career and Life Explorer
      • Career Exploration Inventory
      • Career Explorers Guidance System
      • Career Interests Inventory
      • Career Planner
      • Make a Career Profile
      • Self-Directed Search (gives you a two- or three-letter Holland Code)
      • The Strong Interest Inventory (the most widely used career planning instrument, in use for 80 years)

        Holland Career Codes’
        Relevance for You Now

        As a new woman manager, you’ve already made the decisions the Holland Career Codes are designed to help you make. But individual members of your team will be looking to you for career guidance and support. These assessments will no doubt prove both relevant and helpful as you fulfill this management function.

        Return to PERSONALITY TYPE from Holland Career Codes