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Career Development Center
Holland Hexagon

Holland Hexagon 

John Holland's theory of career choice explains work-related behavior – such as, which career choices are likely to lead to job success and satisfaction. This useful tool helps you understand what type of career will suit you best!

R for Realistic S for Social
I for Investigative E for Enterprising
A for Artistic
C for Conventional

Your Holland theme code will generally consist of three letters that correspond to your first, second, and third strongest
preferences or interests.

The following table describes people and work environments according to Holland's theory of Careers and Basic types:

(based on John Holland's Career Theory)

Types People Work Environments


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

Structured; clear goals and lines of authority; work with hands, machines, or tools; casual dress; focus on tangible results; engineering, military, skilled trades
Investigative Strong problem solving and analytical skills; mathematically inclined; like to observe, learn, and evaluate; prefer working alone; reserved; idea generators Nonstructured; research oriented; intellectual; discover, collect, and analyze ideas/data; science, math, medicine, and computer related; labs, universities, high tech, hospitals.


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

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


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

Harmonious; congenial; work on people-related problems/issues; inform train, develop, cure, or enlighten others; team oriented; human resources; training, education, social service, hospitality, health care, nonprofit


Confident; assertive; sociable; speaking and leadership abilities; like 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

One way to identify and probe your career type is illustrated with a hexagon. A hexagon can be used to represent the similarities
and differences of characteristics among people, among jobs, and between people and jobs.

Most people’s interests combine several types to some degree. The six types can be arranged around a hexagon.  Types that
are next to one another on the hexagon are most closely related. Types that are opposite one another on the hexagon are the most dissimilar. For example, the Realistic and Investigative types are similar, while the Realistic and Social types are often dissimilar.

Learning what your type is and how the types are related to each other is important to your successful career decision-making process.