Dr John Holland, an eminent U.S. vocational psychologist, developed the theory that people working in a particular occupation share similar personalities and interests. He classified these interests into six categories: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. Sometimes, different descriptors are used for the categories: Outdoor and Practical, Scientific, Creative, Business, Office and People Contact.

Try the Career Identity Exercise
This exercise is to get you thinking about the world of jobs and your preferences. It is the beginning point for exploration, and your Holland code preferences can be linked to your school subjects. You can then make sure you have chosen ones which provide a pathway for preferred study and career options.

Read the descriptions below carefully, and highlight key words which describe you best. Then rate yourself High, Medium or Low, on your attraction to each area.

Now ask yourself, how well does this describe me? Number the three groups which you have rated highest.

These three groups make up the work themes of your Career Identity. Remember that this is self-assessed and not tested, but it is designed to start you thinking. Consider also how you are a combination of these themes, characteristics and values, as careers are usually a mix of your top three, preferred themes.

Adapted 2010 from Making Vocational Choices, Third  Edition, 1997, Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.

To view the Career Identity Exercise please click here.

To view a short video clip explaining John Holland’s widely recognised theory of Career Categories please click here.


Try the Career Quest
Located on the New Zealand Career Services website, click here to access the Career Quest tool.


Senior students in Year 12 and 13 can access CareerWorks by Career Solutions, Australia. It's a comprehensive and integrated computer-aided career guidance, goals/planning and self-marketing tool comprising these sections:

  • Skills and strengths - select your skills, personal qualities, leisure interests and industry knowledge from a large database - the work interest measure can be used separately with or without career exploration.
  • Action plans and to-do lists.
  • Portfolio planner manager for interview preparation.
  • Self-marketing - resumes, letters, competency examples.
  • Job descriptions for thousands of career options.
  • Job task profiles for thousands of career options.

Complete the programme and for further guidance and support, make an appointment to see Mrs Carey.