Holland Codes – Career Classification

Selection of the right career

Selection of the right career has a long term impact on your well being and happiness. Connversely, wrong career choice can lead to regret and depression over a period of time.

Careers have to be selected based on a combination of your personality profile and available opportunities. Yes, opportunities also include the approximate monetary consideration also, since money forms one of the most important componect in career choice.

Hence, too much of subdivision of personality would do no good, as it would greatly reduce the number of career options. On the other hand, if suitable classification is not made it would lead to inappropriate career choices.

Holland Codes – Classification of careers

John Holland’s theories of career choice or in other words vocation can be traced to an article long back in the Journal of Applied Psychology. John Holland identified six different categories of careers and named them as Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

His ‘Hexagonal’ model is popularly called the ‘RIASEC’ model named after the first letter of Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional career types. It is obvious that people seek out and flourish in career environments as per their personality profile.

Realistic Careers

Realistic or building careers revolve around the use of tools, machines, or other types of physically skilful activities. In other words building careers involve working with their hands like performing a surgery. It would also comprise careers which involve use of their whole body movement like in the case of a sports player. Any career which depends on physical skill for excellence would fall under this category. Read more about realistic careers

Investigative Careers

Investigative or thinking careers involve a lot of theory, research, and intellectual inquiry. To put it in other words, thinking careers involve working with ideas and concepts, something which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Generally, you would find a lot of thinking careers in science, technology, research and academics. Read more about investigative careers

Artistic Careers

Artistic or creative careers involve a unique mindset of creating something new which may be an art work or fresh designs. Creative careers could also be found in fluent and poetic language and expression in the form of other creative writing. Generally you could find a lot of creative careers in arts, design, performance, music, writing, and languages. Read more about artistic careers

Social Careers

Social or helping careers depend on a unique mindset of helping people and enriching others lives. These helping type of careers involve assisting, teaching, coaching, and serving other people. Helpers like working in cooperative environments to improve the lives of others. Read more about social careers

Enterprising Careers

Enterprising or persuading careers revolve around the interest and ability to influence people and their actions. These persuading careers involve leading and motivating teams to achieve the group aims. Persuaders like working in positions of power to influence decisions and bring projects to their logical conclusion. Read more about enterprising careers

Conventional Careers

Conventional or organising careers revolve around the ability to be methodical, consistent and precise in the tasks. These organizing careers involve managing information and processes consistently. Structured environments which enable task completion precision and accuracy are essential for conventional careers. Read more about conventional careers

Career Placement

Holland’s six categories are not independent of each other but are related to each other in sequence. The six categories are not placed at random but in a sequence of gradual change. That is to say that each category has some resemblance to categories on either side of them on the hexagon. To give an example Investigative and Realistic have some amount of resemblance to each other. In a similar manner Investigative and Artistic careers also have some resemblance to each other.

As a corollary to the above stated theory categories which are placed exactly on the opposite side of the hexagon have very less resemblance to each other. For example, Investigative and Enterprising careers have very little in common. Similarly, pairs of career which are Conventional and Artistic or Realistic and Social have very less resemblance to each other.

Advantage of Holland Codes

Holland’s model serves as a starting point for classification of careers based on its requirements. However, to enable the best career fit for each of these categories it is essential to read this in conjunction with the temperament. The personality profile of a person can be accurately assessed by the research carried out by various other eminent psychologists like Keirsey. A combination of Hollands codes with the personality assessment by Keirsey would provide fairly valuable inputs in selecting your career.

Holland Codes – Classification of careers

John Holland’s theories of career choice or in other words vocation can be traced to an article long back in the Journal of Applied Psychology. John Holland identified six different categories of careers and named them as Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

His ‘Hexagonal’ model is popularly called the ‘RIASEC’ model named after the first letter of Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional career types. It is obvious that people seek out and flourish in career environments as per their personality profile.

Holland’s six categories are not independent of each other but are related to each other in sequence. The six categories are not placed at random but in a sequence of gradual change. That is to say that each category has some resemblance to categories on either side of them on the hexagon. To give an example Investigative and Realistic have some amount of resemblance to each other. In a similar manner Investigative and Artistic careers also have some resemblance to each other.

As a corollary to the above stated theory categories which are placed exactly on the opposite side of the hexagon have very less resemblance to each other. For example, Investigative and Enterprising careers have very little in common. Similarly, pairs of career which are Conventional and Artistic or Realistic and Social have very less resemblance to each other.

Let’s understand the salient attributes of career categorization based on Holland codes or Hexagonal model comprising of Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional careers.

Realistic or Building Careers

Realistic careers revolve around the use of tools, machines, or other types of physically skilful activities. In other words building careers involve working with their hands like performing a surgery. It would also comprise careers which involve use of their whole body movement like in the case of a sports player. Any career which depends on physical skill for excellence would fall under this category.

Most of these careers are outdoor careers where you spend most of your time outside the office environment. Naturally, you would find such careers in outdoor industries which deal with plants and animals. You can also find realistic or building careers in mechanical, construction and manufacturing industries. Some of the other realistic careers would include law enforcement, military, and athletics.

The core quality of realistic careers is those of building or repairing using machines and tools. Another important attribute of realistic career is that of taking immediate action and reacting to emergencies. These careers revolve around practicality and productivity using physical skills. The personality traits of people who prefer building careers are focus on realistic objects in front of them, mechanically inclined and conformists.

Investigative or Thinking Careers

Investigative careers involve a lot of theory, research, and intellectual inquiry. To put it in other words, thinking careers involve working with ideas and concepts, something which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Generally, you would find a lot of thinking careers in science, technology, research and academics.

Most of the thinking careers are done indoors in laboratories or using computers. Important attributes of these types of careers involve researching, experimenting, theorizing, analyzing, and problem-solving. You could find thinking careers in almost any industry but the number of people involved in those careers would be slightly limited.

The core qualities of investigative careers are understanding and logic. These careers require independence and intellectual mind dealing with activities which do not produce instant results. The personality traits of people who prefer investigative careers are those of intellectual curiosity with a highly analytical mind of scholarly disposition.

Artistic or Creative Careers

Artistic careers involve a unique mindset of creating something new which may be an art work or fresh designs. Creative careers could also be found in fluent and poetic language and expression in the form of other creative writing. Generally you could find a lot of creative careers in arts, design, performance, music, writing, and languages.

Most of the creative careers require freedom and unstructured environments to thrive. The attributes of these types of careers involve originality and freedom. Therefore, these careers depend on individuality and flexibility provided in the industry. Creative careers are found in many fields; however these careers are not so structured.

The core qualities required in these careers involve aesthetic tastes and originality of creation. The personality traits of people who prefer artistic careers revolve around independence and imagination. They need to have an intuitive and sensitive mind along with a spontaneous power of expression in either art form. You could find creative careers in creative arts, media and broadcasting fields.

Social or Helping Careers

Social careers depend on a unique mindset of helping people and enriching others lives. These helping type of careers involve assisting, teaching, coaching, and serving other people. Helpers like working in cooperative environments to improve the lives of others.

Most of the helping careers are found in certain industries where the prime motive is not profit but welfare of others. The main attributes of these careers involve providing service and advisory in nature. The attributes of these careers are an ability to teach, assist and counsel people.

The key abilities for social jobs are the ability to empathise and connect with people. People who aspire to take up social careers need to be compassionate, patient, helpful and friendly with others. You could find a lot of social careers in fields of health care, social service, counseling, human resources and personal care.

Enterprising or Persuading Careers

Enterprising careers revolve around the interest and ability to influence people and their actions. These persuading careers involve leading and motivating teams to achieve the group aims. Persuaders like working in positions of power to influence decisions and bring projects to their logical conclusion.

Generally persuading careers are seen in industries where the motivation is to compete and succeed. The main attributes of these careers are selling, motivating and managing people. You would find plenty of enterprising careers in fields of business, management, sales or politics.

The main abilities for performing in enterprising careers are the abilities to take initiative and influence. These careers also need people to take risks and lead teams to achieve success. These enterprising careers are best suited for ambitious, assertive and energetic persons.

Conventional or Organizing Careers

Conventional careers revolve around the ability to be methodical, consistent and precise in the tasks. These organizing careers involve managing information and processes consistently. Structured environments which enable task completion precision and accuracy are essential for conventional careers.

Very often you would find plenty of conventional careers in administration, accounting and office management. The core values required from people taking up organizing careers are that of clarity, precision, attention to details. The tasks would involve filing, calculating, processing, systematizing and following procedures.

The main personality traits required for these careers are being conservative and thorough in day to day routine activities. These conventional careers are best suited for orderly, precise and detail-oriented persons.

Bottom Line

This model serves as a starting point for classification of careers based on its requirements. However, to enable the best career fit for each of these categories it is essential to read this in conjunction with the temperament. The personality profile of a person can be accurately assessed by the research carried out by various other eminent psychologists like Keirsey. A combination of Hollands codes with the personality assessment by Keirsey would provide fairly valuable inputs in selecting your career.

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