How Do I Choose A Career?

Have you ever heard of The Holland Codes or Holland’s Theory of Vocational Choice? I hadn’t until recently, but it’s apparently one of the most used theories for career development.

Based on the information I found at careerkey.org and career.iresearchnet.com, Holland’s theory is based, in part, on an assumption that most people fit into one of six personality types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, or Conventional. Each personality type has certain characteristics. If you can match your personal characteristics to a job type and work environment you will be happier in your job and more successful.

In reality, most people will be a combination of two or more of these personality types, but understanding yourself – what you are good at and what you enjoy doing – should help you choose a career, and which program you should study in college.

For example, the Realistic personality type is described as someone who likes physical work, taking action to solve problems, and someone who usually avoids tasks that require interpersonal and verbal skills. Careers in farming, automobile repair or manufacturing, where the person can be very hands-on, build things, grow plants, work with animals, or use tools and machines might be a good match.

Female student operating robotic arm.

On the other hand, someone who fits into the Social category prefers interacting with other people, has strong verbal skills and finds satisfaction in helping people. For people who fit into this category, careers in areas such as teaching, nursing, or counseling should probably be considered.

The key to using Holland’s theory or any other personality self-assessment is to be honest with yourself about what your skill sets are and the types of environments you enjoy. The results may not be 100 percent correct, but if it helps point you in the right direction it’s worth doing.

There’s a lot of information out there about choosing a career. It’s a big decision, whether you are in high school or you have been in the work force for years and want to make a change. Take some time to do a little research.

Another resource where you may find helpful information on planning and preparing for a career is the North Carolina Career Clusters Guide.

Once you have an idea which careers you would like to explore, visit clevelandcc.edu and check out our programs and courses. If you have questions about getting started at CCC contact us at admissions@clevelandcc.edu or 704-669-4081.


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