Choosing the Ideal Career

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by Teresa M. Brashear

Choosing a career path can seem daunting, especially when an economic recession complicates the process of finding work. Some people may be unsure about what they want to do, whereas others simply want to break free from tedious work and find a job that actually interests them. Fortunately, John Holland’s theory regarding career choice provides young adults with a framework for selecting a suitable vocational path.

Holland’s Career Choice Theory (RIASEC)

Holland was sure that career development involves the relationship between a person and his or her environment; he also believes that both biology and environmental influences, such as family and culture, play an important role in career interests. Furthermore, he has hypothesized that people develop an interest in certain jobs based on the stereotypes that surround them. A college student, for example, may be interested in becoming a doctor after learning about the six-figure salary and high level of respect typically associated with such a profession.

It may seem like stereotyping certain jobs can give harmful effect, but according to Dr. Colby Srsic, a counseling psychologist in Worthington, Ohio, the beliefs people hold about jobs can actually provide job-seekers with relevant information regarding certain career paths.

Holland’s Six “Person Types”

As people develop interests in certain jobs, they begin to represent one of Holland’s six person types. In fact, Holland believes that all people can be categorized by their resemblance to one of the following types: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional.

Each person typically has a primary “type,” which is the most powerful indicator of his or her interests. People must also consider their secondary “types.” A person may, for example, score high on the realistic scale, but also score relatively high on the enterprising scale. Both “types,” then, should be taken into consideration when he or she engages in career-planning.

A person who chooses a career that is compatible with his or her specific type(s) is more likely to be successful. In other words, a social person who is employed in social job will understandably be more motivated than a social person working in a job classified as conventional. Individuals in careers congruent with their interests are also more satisfied in their jobs, in addition to being higher-achieving and more stable than those whose jobs do not suit their interests, according to Srsic.

Characteristics of the Six “Types”

Each “type” is characterized by specific personality traits and has jobs corresponding.


Realistic people prefer jobs that involve physical skill, coordination and they like working outdoor. They tend to shy away from work that requires verbal communication, and they are often not fond of theory and research. They prefer to complete their work and solve hands-on problems. Farmers, builders, electricians, heavy equipment operators, mechanics, industrial arts teachers, pilots and coaches tend to be realistic.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, investigative individuals prefer analytical research, investigations, observing, logical problem-solving. They choose thinking in favor of acting, and they tend to have a strong interest in the sciences, including both biological and social sciences. The following jobs are considered to be investigative: chemical engineer, zoologist, college professor, pharmacist, marine scientist, and diet expert.

Artistic individuals are independent, and they value self-expression. They tend to be emotional and dislike structure, valuing creativity and aesthetics. Film editor, artist, journalist, illustrator, dancer, musician, interior and fashion designer, and photographer are artistic careers.

Similar to artistic people, social individuals are helping, kind, and empathetic toward others. They value close relationships and enjoy counselling, healing and curing, teaching, and giving advice. Examples of social jobs include social worker, guidance counselor, salesperson, speech pathologist, special education teacher, and minister.

Unlike social individuals, those who are classified as enterprising tend to be involved in the business world, they like leading and influencing others. They seek prestige and status and are typically assertive and persuasive. They are known as leaders, and may be interested in the following types of jobs: lawyer, accountant, marketing specialist, business executive, insurance agent, travel agent, and realtor.

Also found in the business world, conventional people tend to be orderly, detail-oriented and be accurate, and committed to their work. They prefer working with numbers and data. Completely unlike artistic people, those who are described as conventional often value structure, self-control, and organization. The following careers are suitable for conventional individuals: librarian, office worker, banker, actuary, secretary, mathematics teacher, and financial analyst.

Determining your Career Type

Many people can predict their “type” simply by reading descriptions, but for a more detailed analysis, individuals unsure about their ideal career can take a professional test such as the Strong Interest Inventory or visit a career counselling center on a college campus. Free career tests are also available on-line.

After determining their “type,” job-seekers may be interested in exploring career options in the following fields:

  • Psychology
  • Writing
  • Education
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts

If you have already identified your type you must make a perfect resume and cover letter, I suggest you to turn to online service ResumeBros, and they will create you qualitative resume and you will be able to get your dream job.


About Author: Teresa M. Brashear grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from California State University. She spent seven years working in Washington, D.C. in PR agency and moved back in LA. Now she is HR-manager in IT company, successful writer and mom. When she isn’t glued to a laptop screen, she spends time working in the garden, learning French and Chinese, and trying to be good volleyball player in amateur team. Here is her Linkedin profile.