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Tuesday, September 05, 2006 11:03 PM by Jerry

What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: Shape Up Your Career Using Holland’s Codes

Understanding the Theory: Holland’s Codes

In the 1970’s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types:

1. Realistic (R):
These are people who like well-ordered activities, or enjoy working with objects, tools, and machines.

Realistic people:

  • see themselves as mechanically or athletically talented, but may not be good with people.
  • value concrete and tangible things like – money, power, and status.
  • avoid “social” activities, those that need interaction with other people.

Common traits:

  • Hard-headed, inflexible, persistent, materialistic, practical, and genuine…..

The Model

Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon organized according to people’s preference for working with different stimuli at work: people, data, things, and ideas. Holland’s theory is that people with different personality types prefer working with different work stimuli, and that the distance between work personalities indicates the degree of difference in interests between them. For example Artistic people are least like Conventional people and most like Social and Investigative people…..

How to Use the Holland’s Codes Career Model:

There are two good ways of using this model – either in helping you choose a career that suits you, or in helping you shape your existing job so that you maximize your fulfillment. To find your ideal career according to this approach, just complete steps i and ii below. To shape your job, use all of the steps we outline.

Using Holland’s Codes is a straightforward process, which is made all the easier by some useful online interest evaluation sites.

Part One Identify your Work Personality
Part Two: Analyze your job in terms of your interests
Part Three: Set Goals to Bring Your Interests and Responsibilities in line
Key Points

Holland’s Career Codes provides a useful framework for exploring your personal interests and the careers most likely to suit you.

Every occupation requires a particular set of characteristics. By identifying your particular interests you can quickly uncover the parts of your job that give your satisfaction. Likewise, you can identify areas of dissatisfaction and help you plan how to address these. This helps you develop your career in the right direction – one that will be a source of long-term

Holland’s conclusion was that for any personality type, the career most aligned with that type is most likely to be enjoyable and satisfying. For example, a Realistic person would be best suited for a Technical job and least suited for Social job. Jobs with Conventional or Operational characteristics would be the next best choices.

The way that this works in practice is that people people use a personality test to identify their three top personality types. This gives their Holland’s code (for example, ESA). This is then matched against the Holland’s codes of people typically found within particular careers.

Holland Occupational Themes

Based on the theory of John Holland, Ph.D., people with the same or similar interests are often found in the same work environments. To discover the work environments suited to your interests, abilities and personality, consider the following categories/themes.

Step 1: For each theme, check those items which describe you.

REALISTIC R Total =

Are You: Can You Like To:

Practical Fix electrical things Tinker with mechanics

Athletic Solve mechanical problems Work outdoors

Straight forward Pitch a tent Be physically active

Mechanically inclined Play a sport Use your hands

A nature lover Read a blueprint Build things

Operate tools and machinery Work on cars……

Step 2: Total the items checked for each theme/category. Identify the top 3 categories/themes which create the most accurate picture of you..

My Top 3 categories/themes are: ______, ______, ______.

Step 3: How accurately do you believe your (3) top themes describe your personality and interests?

REALISTIC people are characterized by competitive/assertive behavior and by interest in activities that require motor coordination, skill, and physical strength. People oriented toward this role prefer situations involving “action solutions” rather than tasks involving verbal or interpersonal skills. They like to take a concrete approach to problem-solving rather than relying on abstract theory. They tend to be interested in scientific or mechanical rather than cultural and aesthetic areas…..

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