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.

The theory posits that all people can be categorized into six personality types:

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
    AIS

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

    Martha
    SAE

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

    Matt
    RIS

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