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Holland Occupational Themes

Holland Occupational Themes

Discover your codes and match them to careers

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Holland Occupational Theme Codes (theme codes) are used to classify people and work environments to assist in finding a career that fits who you are. Both careers and people can be described by combining six different theme codes. Discover your codes, then find occupations with the same codes to ensure your future career taps into your interests, values, strengths, and work personality.

Pick your top three theme codes.

Once you've selected your codes, use the link to see sample careers and majors for each:

  • Realistic: The Doers (Use your hands-on skills to produce a tangible result.)
  • Investigative: The Thinkers (Analyze information to probe your intellectual curiosity.)
  • Artistic: The Creators (Express yourself by creating or appreciating art.)
  • Social: The Helpers (Help people grow, change, heal, and get along for humanity.)
  • Enterprising: The Persuaders (Sell people on your idea or products; manage people for economic gain.)
  • Conventional: The Organizers (Organize information to bring order to data/things that help others make decisions.)

Take assessments to find your Theme Codes

In addition to picking theme codes that interest you based on the video and descriptions above, you may want to take a formal assessment. Answer questions about your likes and dislikes to uncover your top theme codes and the careers that match.

Choose an option to start:

  • Career Coach Assessment: Take a free 30- or 60-question assessment online at ECC’s Career Coach Website.
  • FOCUS 2: Use the Spartan access code to register for a free account through EECC’s FOCUS 2 Website. Then, take the “Work Interest Assessment,” which will give you a side-by-side comparison of how your theme codes link to careers.
  • Career Assessment Package (CAP): Sign up to find your Holland Occupational Theme Codes and more. The Strong Interest Inventory assessment will rank your theme codes and compare you to people with similar themes in careers they enjoy. Meet with a Career Development Specialist to help you interpret your results.

How can ECC help you discover and use your Theme Codes?

Meet one-on-one with a Career Development Specialist to guide you in identifying your Holland Occupational Theme Codes and/or review your assessment results. Knowing your top three theme codes will help you partner with your Specialist to:

  • Create your career vision
  • Identify careers and majors that most naturally fit you
  • Learn the day-to-day job responsibilities/tasks for different careers
  • Choose a career and major with confidence

Find more careers that match your top occupational themes.

  • Click on the Holland Occupational Theme Codes at the top of the page to see a sample of careers for each code.
  • Find careers that combine multiple theme codes. O*Net is a career research site from the U.S. Department of Labor that allows you to search nearly 1,000 different careers and their corresponding theme code (which they call “Interests”).
    1. Search O*Net careers
    2. Click on your highest theme code to see a list of careers that match.
    3. Enter a second or even third code (remember that three theme codes will reduce the number of career options significantly).
    4. View results sorted by level of education needed.
    5. Click on individual careers to learn more.
    6. Also, use the search box in the upper right to find a career and see its code in the “Interest” section.
  • Visit other career research sites to see the tasks, skills required, salary pay range, education, etc., in the Career Exploration and Planning page.

FAQ’s about Holland Occupational Theme Codes

Holland Occupational Themes were developed by a psychologist named Dr. John Holland in the 1970s to match people to their best-fit work environments. This model continues to be one of the most widely used today. It goes by many names and is often referred to as the RIASEC model. The initials represent the six theme codes: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

There are three main ways for you to discover your three-letter Theme Code:

  1. Watch the video and read the detailed description of each code at the top of the page. Pick your top three theme codes, in rank order, with the most important ranked highest.
  2. Take an assessment. Three different assessments can give you your top theme codes based on your unique answers to questions about your likes and dislikes.
  3. Schedule a Career Counseling appointment, and we will guide you step by step.

At the top of this page, click on your theme codes to reveal a list of careers and majors, or use O*Net’s “Interest” search to find more careers; combine multiple theme codes to narrow your search.

Some people find something interesting in all six theme codes, and some may only relate to one. Most people, however, find they are attracted to 2 to 3 theme codes. Explore your top three theme codes and consider how you can build your work environment around these things to fulfill your interests, strengths, values, and work personality. Your Holland Theme codes that ranked lowest can also help you see what you don’t like and be helpful when considering majors and careers. Use the career research site O*Net to explore careers that combine multiple theme codes.

That can happen. Remember, assessments aren’t magic. Only you can decide what the best fit for you is. If your assessment results are different from what you chose on your own, ask yourself why.

A career development specialist can also help you explore why. Think about which theme codes represent you best—your assessment, self-estimate, or combination. Sometimes, people answer assessment questions with “shoulds.” Should I like this, or shouldn’t I do that? The “shoulds” can come from pressures—from family, society, and yourself to make more money or take fewer risks.

Remember, when you think about who you are—what you like and your work personality—make sure you allow yourself the freedom to pick what’s best for you. When you evaluate majors and careers, you will be considering many different factors before you choose, but for now, follow your interests to see where they may lead.

And if you’re not sure, you can schedule an appointment with Career Development Services to help.

Choose your top three themes

Watch this video to help you choose your Holland Occupational Theme Codes.

Learn more about the CAP

Get started with CAP

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Career Development Services

Building B, Room B120
Fax: 847-622-3055

Schedule an Appointment

Monday through Thursday: 8 am to 5 pm
Friday: 8 am to 4 pm

*Evening hours are available upon request.