John Holland, an American psychologist, developed a theory that can be used to identify and clarify your interests as well as to help you identify career options. Holland identified six occupational themes that he labeled: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. People have differing interest in each of these six themes. Some people have primary interest in only one theme while other people’s interests are spread out across four or more themes. There are all kinds of patterns of interests. Identifying your pattern can help you identify career options that make sense for you.
Identifying Your Interests using Holland Codes
- Read description of the Holland Code (PDF) theme areas and identify which themes fit you best. Think of your overall life interests and activities during this activity.
- Go through this checklist (PDF) for each Holland Code to estimate your interests.
- Look at a list of a couple hundred occupations (PDF) that are grouped using Holland Codes.
- Try a free, on-line tool to identify your Holland Code:
- Go to MyNextMove.org and click on “Start” in the “Tell us what you like to do” box on the right side of the screen.
- Read through the instructions carefully and proceed by clicking the “Next” button on the bottom right-hand corner of the box.
- Read each question and decide how much you would like or dislike doing each activity.
- Do not think about money or job market, or if you have the education or training. Only consider how you feel about the task, i.e. Would I like to do this? Would I find this interesting?
- Print out your results page.
- Take the Strong Interest Inventory (SII). The SII is perhaps the most valid and accurate way to identify your Holland Code. The SII will not only evaluate your career interests – it will also suggest specific occupations for your consideration. To take the SII, register at the Career Services front desk. There is a $35.00 fee for this inventory.