The Holland Inconsistent Personality Pattern and Its Advantages in Work and College

CK chart

Inconsistent Personality Patterns. Sometimes the six Holland personality types (Holland Codes) combine in unusual ways in people. For example, if you read the descriptions of the Investigative (I) and Enterprising (E) types, you would not expect a person to have them both as his or her two strongest personality types. Investigative people generally avoid leading, selling, or persuading people. Enterprising people, on the other hand, are just the opposite; they like these activities. And, there are two other "inconsistent" two-letter codes: Realistic-Social (RS or SR) and Conventional-Artistic (CA or AC).

Does your personality fit together in this unusual way? Then, you will be interested in the advice I gave to a person using my own inconsistent pattern as an example. I describe how it can work to your advantage.

"Inconsistent" Occupations & Majors. There are many occupations and college majors that attract, or are compatible, with persons having an inconsistent personality pattern, where they are advantaged:

Social-Realistic/Realistic-Social: Teachers of agriculture, forestry, career and technical education, and technology, Recreational Therapy, Bus Drivers, Physical Therapy, Athletic training and sports medicine, Occupational Therapy and the majors/training programs that prepare these workers.

(Advantage: You can imagine, for example, how a person with a SR or RS code might be attracted to becoming a Career and Technical Education Teacher. . . and excel in it!)

Enterprising-Investigative/Investigative-Enterprising: Sales Engineers, Urban and Regional Planners, Managers in engineering, mathematics, and natural sciences, Sociologists, Scientific reporters, Editors of technical or scientific publications, and the related majors.

(Advantage, example: In Investigative fields, like science and engineering, people who have an IE code can often more easily move into a management or leadership position or start a business, than Investigative people not having a strong Enterprising side to their personality.)


  • If your personality combines in an unusual way, keep in mind: You are not abnormal or an "inconsistent" person; we all have differing gifts; value your uniqueness.
  • Choosing a career or a college major is likely to be more challenging, but there are many for which you are uniquely qualified. And, once you are in a career, you will likely find opportunities to do tasks, or related jobs, that better fit you.
  • You may need to look for ways outside of work to satisfy the other side of your personality.
  • Professional career counselors are well qualified to help. You may want to seek the help of one.

Go to,
Holland's Theory