Find a Good Fit

One way to explore majors and careers is to consider how personalities relate to work environments. A career theory created by Dr. John Holland indicates that people and careers can usually be classified into six basic types. Knowing about these types can help you identify major and career options to explore.


People in the realistic category often prefer to work with objects and things. They are likely to enjoy creating things with their hands and using tools and machines. Some prefer large, powerful machines like tractors and cranes; others prefer precision machinery such as X-ray or electronic equipment. Realistic types often prefer to work outdoors.


People in the investigative category often have a strong desire to understand cause and effect and solve puzzles and problems. They often work in jobs that are scientific in nature. They often have jobs that include laboratory work. Their work often involves the analysis of data, using formulas, graphs, and numbers. Investigative types typically prefer to work independently and with minimum supervision.


People in the artistic category prefer to be expressive. They like the opportunity to create new things and be innovative. They typically don't like structure or conformity. They prefer to use their imagination and be creative.


People in the social category prefer to work with others in a supportive way. They tend to be highly verbal, express themselves well, and get along well in groups. Social types typically prefer the team approach to problem solving. People in the social category often describe themselves as cooperative, friendly and understanding. They receive rewards from helping others.


People in the enterprising category often prefer activities selling and promoting. They enjoy influencing others and being in a leadership position. They often use their skills to influence others. They often like competitive activities and are typically self-confident, talkative, and energetic.


People in the conventional category often prefer orderly, systematic work—typically with data. Work tasks often include keeping records and organizing written and numerical materials according to a plan. They like to see things run efficiently and smoothly, which means they will pay attention to administrative details required to make complex organizations function on a day-to-day basis.

This model of occupations is the copyrighted work of Dr. John Holland, and his publisher, Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc. (PAR).