Determining your Career Goal: Using the Occupational Themes

By Diana Florence, Case Manager @ Regina Work Preparation Centre

                There are many factors to consider in determining your career goal such your interests, values, personality type, aptitudes and skills.  A theory developed by psychologist John Holland can be used to identify interests and help determine career options.  He proposed that people who choose to work in environments that are similar to their own personality type are more likely to experience success and satisfaction.  Holland identified six personality types or themes which match six work environments: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional (known as RIASEC). 

Most people have interests that are a combination of two or more types or themes.

The Realistic type refers to people who like to work with their hands, focusing on things in the physical world and using physical skills.  They like to repair and make things using their hands, tools, and machines.  They are interested in action and prefer solving concrete problems.  Realistic people prefer working outdoors.  Some realistic occupations include mechanic, engineer, plumber, carpenter, electrician, machinist, forester, and the military.

The Investigative type tends to focus on ideas.  They collect and analyze data and information and solve problems through thinking. The Investigative type are task oriented and prefer to rely on themselves in their work rather than work in groups.  They tend to prefer a loosely structured work environment and with minimal rules or regulations.  Some Investigative occupations are physician, chemist, psychologist, dentist, medical technician, vet, geologist, and science teacher.  

The Artistic type or theme are the most creative of all the types and tend to focus on self expression – writing, creating artwork, working independently, acting, performing, and playing musical instruments, decorating or designing.  They are able to see possibilities in various settings and are not afraid to experiment with their ideas. Some artistic occupations are author, artist, musician, actor, interior designer, and advertising.   

The Social type likes to work with people through helping, caring for others, and teaching and instructing.  They enjoy working with groups or individuals, using empathy and an ability to identify and solve problems.  They may also enjoy working with people through leading, directing and persuading.  Some Social occupations include teacher, social worker, child care provider, nurse, counselor, and speech pathologist.

The Enterprising theme are people who are goal and results oriented.  They look for positions of leadership, power and status.  They enjoy working with people and leading them toward organizational goals and economic success.  Enterprising people are often in sales, purchasing, politics, or business owners. 

The Conventional type likes activities that require attention to detail and prefer to work with data in the numerical, statistical and record keeping areas. They have a great sense of responsibility, follow the rules, and want to know exactly what is expected of them.  Some Conventional occupations include banking customer service rep., secretary, accountant, banker, and administrative assistant. 

Work Prep can assist you in identifying which themes and occupations are most suited to you.  Contact our office at 306.757.9096 for more information, or view the following link: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/fac_development/documents/lisa_heiser_faculty_development_handout.pdf

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