Holland codes are a way of classifying people according to their interests so that they can be matched with appropriate careers. The system was developed by Dr. John L. Holland, an academic psychologist. His theory is also known as the RIASEC system.
Dr. Holland's theory proposes that there are six broad areas into which all careers can be classified. These same six areas can be used to describe people, their personalities and interests. For instance, Building careers are those that involve working with tools or machinery (e.g. carpenter, mechanic, or airline pilot). People with Building interests are typically practical types who like working with their hands and creating a tangible product.
To find the ideal career for an individual, the individual's interest level in the six areas must first be determined; then, those interest scores can be used to find matching careers.
The 6 Interest Areas
Each of the 6 interest areas describes a broad field of similar work tasks and activities. Interest areas are also descriptive of people: their values, motivations, and preferences. For each interest area, there is a collection of typical job tasks, as well as a description of the type of person who would be interested in doing those sorts of tasks.
Most professional career advisors are familiar with the system of Holland codes or RIASEC. RIASEC is an acronym for Holland's original 6 types. Because the names of Holland's 6 types may not be obvious to non-professionals, we use a slightly different terminology which is more self-explanatory.
About this Area
Building jobs involve the use of tools, machines, or physical skill. Builders like working with their hands and bodies, working with plants and animals, and working outdoors.
Thinking jobs involve theory, research, and intellectual inquiry. Thinkers like working with ideas and concepts, and enjoy science, technology, and academia.
Creating jobs involve art, design, language, and self-expression. Creators like working in unstructured environments and producing something unique.
Helping jobs involve assisting, teaching, coaching, and serving other people. Helpers like working in cooperative environments to improve the lives of others.
Persuading jobs involve leading, motivating, and influencing others. Persuaders like working in positions of power to make decisions and carry out projects.
Organizing jobs involve managing data, information, and processes. Organizers like to work in structured environments to complete tasks with precision and accuracy.
How to Find Careers Using Holland Codes
The easiest way to use Holland codes in your career planning is to take a career interest inventory. Career interest tests work by determining your specific profile of interests and then matching that profile with potential careers.
Most interest inventories will ask you to rate your interest in a variety of activities, such as "build a stone wall" or "counsel a patient with a drug addiction." Your interest level in each area is then calculated by summing up all your ratings for the appropriate activities. Once your interest profile has been determined, that profile is used to select careers that are a match for your interests.