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John L. Holland's General Areas of Career Interest

Holland’s Theory
John Holland, professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins University, is a psychologist who devoted his professional life to researching issues related to career choice and satisfaction. He developed a well-known theory, and designed several assessments and supporting materials to assist people in making effective career choices. His theory and assessment tools have helped millions of people worldwide and are supported by hundreds of research studies.

Holland found that people needing help with career decisions can be supported by understanding their resemblance to the following six ideal vocational personality types:


Work settings can also be categorized by their resemblance to six similar model work environments. Because people search for environments that allow them to express their interests, skills, attitudes and values, and take on interesting problems and agreeable roles, work environments become populated by individuals with related occupational personality types.

Holland’s Six Personality Types
The descriptions of Holland’s personality types refer to idealized or pure types. Holland’s personality types are visually represented by a hexagonal model. The types closest to each other on the hexagon (Requires Adobe® Reader®) have the most characteristics in common. Those types that are furthest apart, i.e., opposites on the hexagon, have the least in common.

Review the six Holland Occupational Personality Types and estimate which of the types is most like you. The descriptions of “pure types” will rarely be an exact fit for any one person. Your personality will more likely combine several types to varying degrees. To get a better picture of how your interests and skills relate to the types and to identify your dominant type, see how many phrases in each description are true for you.

For an in-depth assessment of your Holland vocational personality type, please contact CMP to make a career counseling appointment. As part of the career counseling process, you will take the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) online and receive a personal interpretation of your results.

Or, for a nominal fee, you can take the Self-Directed Search (SDS) online at The SDS takes about 15 minutes, and you will receive an 8-16 page printable report that provides a list of the occupations and fields of study that most closely match your interests.

> Developing and Using a Holland Code

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