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Tips from a University Career Advisor

We are all looking for ways to identify our interests, abilities, and goals. We read that career assessments and tests are helpful. Yet, taking a career assessment or test is just one of the five keys in the Career Planning Process.

Key One: Career Assessment and Awareness

We take career assessment or test to gain knowledge and understanding of our abilities, ambitions, aptitudes, identities, interests, life goals, resources, skills, and values. We learn different types of career assessments or tests –

  • Computerized
  • Online
  • Printed

Sometimes, we need assistance deciding which test is best!

Are we decided or undecided?

  • We can be decided yet we might need confirmation
  • We may lack the skills to implement our choices
  • We may also choose to avoid making a decision because we do not want to create a stressful situation.

Holland Code Career Tests

Career tests help us transition from indecision to decisiveness. Holland Code career tests are among one of
the most popular career tests. Holland Code career test are based upon the Holland Career Model.

Holland Career Model

Holland Career Model

Holland Career Model classifies jobs into job categories, interest clusters, and work environments.

In the Holland Career Model, people have interests in working in one of the six Holland Code areas

· People

· Things

· Data

· Ideas

· People and ideas

· Ideas and things

· Things and data

These Holland Career Model areas are matched to Holland Codes

Holland Career Model Areas

Holland Codes

Holland Code Letters




Ideas and things



People and ideas






People and data



Things and data



Holland Code career tests link vocational interests to job families.

The career test generates a three-letter or two-letter RIASEC or Holland code.

Different Holland Code assessments provide information on the relationship between these job personalities and key characteristics, college majors, hobbies, abilities, related careers.

Examples of Holland Code career tests are –

Comprehensive, Validated, Reliable Tests

Low Cost, Informal Tests

    Children, Limited Reading Ability, or Special Needs Tests

    Key Two: Educational and Occupational Exploration

    Once we take the career test, we become career explorers. We gather information about –

    • Educational choices
    • Benefits of educational achievement
    • Economy or labor market
    • Occupational choices
    • Specific occupations and programs of study
    • Training opportunities
    • Relationship between work and learning
    • Positive attitudes towards work and learning
    • Personal responsibility and good work habits
    • A typical working day for a specific occupation

    Career guidance systems, for example, MCP – My Career Profile or the Kuder Career Planning System have the educational and occupational exploration features built into the system. This reduces time spent locating information from different career web sites.

    Key Three: Problem solving

    Using the information from the career tests and websites, we solve career problems by –

    • Identifying educational and career planning obstacles
    • Creating solutions or courses of action
    • Setting achievable goals
    • Resolving conflict and tension
    • Making a commitment to reach our God-given potential

    As we solve problems, we take into consideration personal values, interests, skills, and financial resources. We break big problems down into smaller, more manageable steps. We set achievable goals result to produce new competencies, attitudes, and solutions. We consider new educational and training opportunities.

    Key Four: Goal Setting and Decision Making

    Goal setting is a very important key. During the goal setting process, we –

    • Clearly restate our vocational interests, abilities, and values
    • Set, formulate, prioritize, and rank goals
    • Derive plans or strategies to implement the solutions
    • Make a commitment to complete the plans
    • Understand decision-making processes
    • Evaluate the primary choice
    • Consider a secondary occupational choice, if necessary

    In executing decision-making processes, we –

    • Develop learning and career plans
    • Identify suitable occupations
    • Select appropriate educational programs
    • Figure the costs of educational training
    • Consider the impact of career decisions

    Key Five: Implementation

    After awareness, exploration, problem solving, and goal setting, we have to plan our plans in action. While implementing and executing our learning and career plans, we translate vocational interests, abilities, and skills into occupational possibilities. We do reality testing through interviewing current workers, job shadowing, part-time employment, full-time employment, and volunteer work. We obtain skill training, for example, social skills, resume writing, networking, and preparations for interviews.

    When we use all of the keys for successful career planning, we will develop our interests, achieve our goals, and find careers that utilize our potentials.

    Dr. Mary Askew specializes in career tests, websites, and books for students.  Students and adults need easy to use, yet comprehensive career resources. Find out how students and adults can reach their career potentials at http://www.hollandcodes.com. Contact Dr. Askew at learning4life.az@gmail.com.

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