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What Are Your Career Interests?

One of the most important keys to successful career management is knowing how your career interests match up with the real working world.

Careers and Six Basic “Types”

John Holland, a career psychologist, developed a theory that people and careers can be characterized by six basic "types."  These types, or Holland Codes, are commonly referred to as RIASEC to reflect the first letter in each of the themes. Each type and corresponding preferred work environment are listed and explained below.

R for Realistic

S for Social

I for Investigative

E for Enterprising

A for Artistic

C for Conventional

Your Holland Code will generally consist of three letters that correspond to your first, second, and third strongest preferences or interests.  The hexagon below demonstrates the placement of each “type” in a visual manner and can be explained further by meeting with a career counselor.


Preferred Work Environment


Strong mechanical, psychomotor, and athletic abilities; honest; loyal; likes the outdoors; prefers working with machines, tools, plants, and animals.

Structured; clear goals and lines of authority; works with hands, machines, or tools; casual dress; focuses on tangible results; engineering, military, skilled trades.


Strong problem-solving and analytical skills; mathematically inclined; likes to observe, learn, and evaluate; prefers working alone; reserved; idea generator.

Unstructured; research oriented; intellectual; discovers, collects, and analyzes ideas/data; science, math, medicine, and computer-related; labs, universities, high tech, hospitals.


Creative; complex; emotional; intuitive; idealistic; flair for communicating ideas; prefers working independently; likes to sing, write, act, paint, think creatively.

Unstructured; creative; flexible; rewards unconventional and aesthetic values; creates products and ideas; arts organizations, films/TV, publishing, advertising, museums, theater, galleries


Friendly; outgoing; finds fulfillment in helping others; strong verbal and personal skills; teaching abilities; impulsive.

Harmonious; congenial; works on people-related problems/issues; informs, trains, develops, cures, or enlightens others; team oriented; human resources; training, education, social service, hospitality, health care, nonprofit.


Confident; assertive; sociable; speaking and leadership abilities; likes to use influence; strong interpersonal skills; status conscious.

True business environment; results oriented; driven; high-quality service and product orientation; entrepreneurial; high prestige; power focused; sales, management, politics, finance, retail, leadership.

Dependable; disciplined; precise; persistent; orderly; efficient; practical; detail oriented; clerical and numerical abilities.Orderly; clear rules and policies; systematized manipulation and organization of data; control and handling of money; high income potential; accounting, business, finance, administration.
From: Real People Real Jobs, by David H. Montross, Zandy B. Leibowitz, and Christopher J. Shinkman.

Learning what your type is and how the types are related to each other is important to your successful career planning process.  Counseling and Career Services uses the Strong Interest Inventory, a computerized career assessment tool, to assist you in identifying your "type," or Holland Code. Stop in or call CCS at 443-518-1340 to find out more about this helpful career tool . See below for a visual of Holland's types.

                                         The Holland Hexagon

Picture of Holland Model

Counseling and Career Services RCF 302
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