How to Choose a Career Based on Your Personality Type | Top Universities

How to Choose a Career Based on Your Personality Type

By Guest Writer

Updated April 13, 2021 Updated April 13, 2021

Having trouble choosing a career path? Love personality type theories? Try combining the two!

The Holland Codes, also known as RIASEC, claim to be able to sort every person into one of six personality types. Invented by American psychologist John L. Holland back in 1958-9, the test is designed to unveil the individual’s underlying talents, predispositions and motivations, and use these to select suitable career paths. After all, as Holland himself said: “The choice of an occupation is an expressive act which reflects the person’s motivation, knowledge, personality, and ability.” Important, then.

A person may resemble one, two or more of the personality types, but one is usually dominant. To discover which ‘type’ you fit, take the test. Then locate the relevant paragraph below, et voila! All your career choice problems sorted… or not, as the case may be.

Builders (AKA ‘realistic’)

Did you get the ‘builder’ personality type? You don’t have to go into construction. Builders, or ‘doers’, are no-nonsense individuals who prefer physical interaction with their environment to abstract work. Basically, they like using their hands.

Builders are often (but not always) male, and include most athletes, agricultural workers and carpenters. When mixed with other personality types, builders may pursue careers such as dancers (realistic/artistic), chefs (realistic/artistic/enterprising) or experimental scientists (realistic/investigative).

What’s the highest-earning job for a realistic type? Engineering is a pretty safe bet!

Thinkers (AKA ‘investigative’)

What do all the great scientists, researchers and academics have in common? A love of abstract ideas is the primary sign of a thinker, whether in the humanities, medicine or technology.

Thinkers enjoy tackling theoretical and logical tasks. They love a good problem and do not typically cross with builders – engineers being a notable exception. Originally labelled ‘intellectual’ by Holland, it has been noted that, though race typically has little effect on the test result, Asian candidates have tended to score higher on the investigative scale than others.

Thinkers make good doctors, psychologists and consultants, all of which have high income potential.

Creators (AKA ‘artistic’)

We all know at least one. Creators tend to shy from structured and constricting environments; desk jobs don’t often suit a high creative scorer. Instead, artistic types excel in accepting spaces where their originality, creativity and visualization skills can be allowed to run free.

It’s obvious which careers suit creators: musicians, dancers (builder/creator cross), painters, graphic designers (creator/thinker), editors, directors and so on. Unfortunately, most creatives are doomed to low salaries, especially at the beginning of their careers. Oh well...

Helpers (AKA ‘social’)

Helpers boast perhaps the greatest talent of all: compassion. Your stereotypical ‘social’ type is a people-person who enjoys teamwork and values relationships highly.

Helpers excel in high-cooperation, socially aware roles like counselling and teaching. They’re more often women than men, are the first choice for therapists and, when crossed with builders, excel at personal training. Nurses often score highly on this personality type too, and the best customer service/client-facing roles go to people who max the ‘social’ scale.

The best-paid social jobs are almost always going to be in sales or management. But really, anything that requires you to manage people is a winning situation!

Persuaders (AKA ‘enterprising’)

Ah yes, the persuaders! Like helpers, persuaders draw energy from teamwork and connecting with individuals. But while helpers are empathetic, persuaders enjoy the feeling of power and influence over others, achieving goals and risk-taking. They are, all in all, the perfect CEOs.

Persuaders excel in promotional, sales, development and organizational roles. Lawyers and politicians often boast high ‘enterprising’ scores, as do successful business people.

Found out you’re a persuader? You might think about a career in law, or setting up your own business!

Organizers (aka ‘conventional’)

‘Conventional’. Maybe not the adjective most people want to answer to. But there’s no more valuable skill in this world of uncertainty than the ability to file, systematize and streamline processes.

Organizers make up the bulk of the technician, actuarial and analyst workforce. They can work in a dizzying range of sectors, from the military to the legal and medical industries. They specialize in numbers and systems, but strong organization has more than a dash of creativity to it. And there’s nobody more dependable to whom businesses can turn in a crisis

The most profitable career path for an organizer? It would be hard to beat accounting.

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This article was originally published in November 2016 . It was last updated in April 2021

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