RIASEC theory and the hexagonal model:
Matching personalities to occupations

The SDS is a direct product of a theory of personality types and environmental models developed by John Holland.

Holland’s theory posits that people can be categorized according to six personality types—Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional—known collectively as RIASEC. The hexagon graphic below illustrates the six RIASEC personality types and describes the kinds of occupations that are a good match for each type.  Hover your mouse over each letter to see the descriptions.

The SDS measures the degree to which you resemble each of the personality types, producing a three-letter Summary Code that expresses the complexity of your personality.

According to Holland’s theory, the same personality types—Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional—also apply to work environments, and each environment presents its own specific qualities and challenges.

Because both personalities and occupations can be classified using the same system, you can use your three-letter Summary Code to locate occupations (or fields of study, or leisure activities) that correspond best with your personality and thus are most likely to satisfy you.

  • Case study:


    Ariel is a senior in high school who visited the career center wanting career planning assistance and occupational...
    Continue reading
  • Case study:


    Martha is a 47-year-old woman who is unhappy in her current job as a management analyst for a state agency...
    Continue reading
  • Case study:


    Matt joined the military following high school. After two tours in the Middle East as an infantryman, he received an honorable...
    Continue reading