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The typological model of Holland and its function in professional orientation

The typological model of Holland and its function in professional orientation

May 25, 2024

Personality is the general pattern of behavior, perception and thinking that each one of us has, being our individual configuration unique and distinctive in comparison to that of others. However, the traits that form this personality are more or less the same, although we possess them in a different degree within a continuum.

The great differences between the two make it possible to integrate knowledge about the personality in different currents of thought, generating different personality models and possessing some of them with a specific objective. An example of this is Holland's typological model , which proposes a series of basic personality patterns which are used mainly in the field of vocational guidance.

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The typological model of Holland

Holland's typological model is a personality model proposal that arises from the author's intention to generate an explanatory theory regarding the choice of a professional occupation, linking different characteristics and traits to the correct performance and taste for certain tasks and areas labor For the author, we tend to want to find a high level of congruence between our personality and the type of task we perform .

For Holland the choice of a specific career or profession will depend on the development of the set of elements and features that make up the personality, being more competent and feeling more satisfaction in the person in his work depending on the harmony between his personality and the type of task you do.

With the aim of contributing to help in vocational guidance, the author generated a hexagonal model with six main personality types, which links with certain types of environments and interests. This does not mean that we can not perform a task that does not correspond to our personality type, simply that based on the fact that we are looking for a job where we can develop our main skills we will tend to look for and feel more comfortable in certain areas. It would try to find jobs for which we could feel vocation , even though we may end up exercising tasks that do not correspond to it.

The relationship between profession and personality is bidirectional: it is not only that certain professions require certain skills and ways of doing, but it also derives from the fact that the type of task attracts people with a specific personality. As a result, a large number of the professionals in a given sector tend to have relatively similar personality characteristics if they are pursuing said employment by vocation and not by mere necessity.

The assignment to a certain personality type or the choice of one career or another is not better or worse, all of which are equally positive and necessary. Also, we must bear in mind that hardly a person will be fully reflected with a unique personality type : we all have different traits that make us complex beings and that can make us fit into different profiles. In these cases the professional choice may seem more complicated, although in general, some characteristics or interests prevail over others.

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The different personality types

As we have said, Holland's model establishes, based on the predominant characteristics of each individual, the belonging to or possession of one of the six personality types which facilitate orientation towards certain types of professions . The six types are the following.

1. Realistic

The realistic personality refers to that pattern of behavior and thought that tends to see the world as an objective and concrete whole. They take the world as it comes. They tend to be realistic, dynamic, material, and although they are not asocial, contact with others is not the highest priority for them. They are also usually patient and constant.

These types of personalities tend to feel more comfortable doing direct jobs, with strong practical components that require certain motor skills and systematized use of elements . They tend to stand out in the use of mechanical instruments and in need of manual precision. Fields such as agriculture and livestock, architecture or engineering would be conducive to this type of personality.

2. Intellectual

This type of personality tends more to the observation and analysis of the world, often in an abstract way and trying to make associations and find relationships between the phenomena that occur in it. These are curious, analytical personalities, with a tendency to introspection and the use of reason over emotion. They are not especially sociable and tend to have a rather theoretical approach to the world , not interested so much the practice.

This personality corresponds to tasks mainly based on research. Physics, chemistry, economics or biology are some of the areas in which these types of personalities are more often observed.

3. Social

The most remarkable aspect of people with this type of personality is the need or desire to help others through dealing with them, and his high need for human interaction . Usually they are very empathetic and idealistic people, highly communicative and have a certain ease or pleasure for relationships and cooperation.

The type of tasks in which this type of personality is usually found are all those that involve a direct deal with other people and in which such interaction exists as an objective the idea of ​​giving support to the other. Psychologists, doctors, nurses, teachers or social workers often have characteristics of this personality type. More mechanical tasks are not usually to your liking.

4. Artistic

Creativity and the use of materials in search of expression are some of the main elements that characterize the artistic personality. It is not uncommon for people to be impulsive, idealistic and highly emotive and intuitive . Aesthetics and being able to project their feelings to the world is important for them, and they tend to be independent people. Although they also try to see the world from the abstraction, they tend to focus more on emotion and tend to dislike the merely intellectual, possessing the need to elaborate and create.

Painters, sculptors or musicians are some of the professionals that tend to this type of personality. Also dancers and actors, writers and journalists.

5. Entrepreneur

The persuasive capacity and the communicative ability are typical aspects of the enterprising personality. A certain level of dominance and pursuit of achievement and power are common in this type of person, as well as value and risk capacity. They are usually people with social skills and highly extraverted , with leadership ability and a high level of energy.

Professions in which this type of people prevail are the world of banking and business. Commercial and businessmen usually also have features of this personality type.

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6. Conventional

We are facing a type of personality that is characterized by a taste for order without the need to introduce major changes in it. Neither do they require a great social contact at work level. They tend to be highly organized, orderly, disciplined and formal people. A tendency to conform is not uncommon, given that they identify with the organization already established . They are usually agile and logical.

Within this type of personalities we find people with vocation for aspects such as accounting, work in office, secretariat, librarians ... in general with a tendency to seek order.


Holland's typological model, despite having limitations and having been criticized for many reasons (for example, it is not possible to predict whether one position or another may be more advisable within the same type of occupational environment, and it is also worth considering that there will be people whose characteristics overlap with more than one of the types), is still today one of the most relevant in professional orientation .

It is widely known the test that Holland created based on this model, the Inventory of Vocational Preferences, which has also served as a basis for the creation of other questionnaires and models that offer a better approach to the relationship between personality characteristics and adequacy to certain professional fields.

Bibliographic references:

  • Holland, J. (1978). The vocational choice. Theory of careers Editorial Trillas: Mexico.
  • Martínez, J.M .; Valls, F. (2008). Application of Holland's theory to the classification of occupations. Adaptation of the Classification of Occupations Inventory (ICO). Revista Mexicana de Psicología, 25 (1): 151-164. Mexican Society of Psychology, Mexico.

Holland's Career Choice Theory (May 2024).

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