Now that you have obtained your Holland Interest Codes, it’s time to start Step 2: Create Your Occupations Roster.

  1. Open up the O*NET Interests Search page in a separate browser tab, enter your first Code (e.g., SI) using the “1st” and “2nd” drop down menus in the yellow box at the top of the page, and click the “Go” button.  (Ignore the 3rd box; let it say “None selected.”)  This will produce a list of occupations from the O*NET database that match the Holland Interest Code you entered.  Be sure to click on the blue “More occupations” hyperlink on the left side page located right below the words “You have chosen”.  This makes all the occupations matching that code appear, which we want.
  2. The occupations are ordered by “Job Zone,” which is the level of education/training typically required for the occupation.  Job Zone 3 means that this occupation usually requires having some education or experience beyond high school.  Job Zone 4 means that this occupation usually requires having a university bachelor’s (undergraduate) degree.  Job Zone 5 means that this occupation usually requires having a graduate degree (e.g., PhD) or a professional degree (e.g., MD, JD).  Depending on your life situation and educational aspirations, some of these Job Zones will or will not be relevant to you.  For example, if you are 100% certain that you don’t want to pursue an occupation that requires a graduate/professional degree, then you will ignore those occupations in the list that belong to Job Zone 5.  As another example, if you are 100% certain that you don’t want to pursue an occupation unless it requires at least a bachelor’s degree, then you will ignore those occupations in the list that belong to Job Zones 1, 2, and 3.  If you’re not 100% certain, I encourage you not to rule out occupations based on Job Zone… you can always rule them out later if you desire.
  3. Take out a sheet of paper or open a Microsoft Excel file, where you can create your Occupations Roster.
  4. Look at the first occupation on the O*NET list (ignoring occupations that don’t your Job Zone preferences, if applicable).
  5. If you (a) don’t recognize this occupation and/or (b) are not familiar with what tasks people working in that occupation do on a daily basis, then click on the name of that occupation to view the “Summary Report” page for that occupation.  
  6. Read the brief description at the top of that Summary Report page, then read the list of Tasks in the “Tasks” section.  Click on the little plus sign (“+”) so that you can see the full list of tasks.  Reading these two things will give you a basic understanding of what that occupation is about. 
  7. Don’t worry about the other sections in this Summary Report for now—we’ll come back to those sections later in the SCEA.  Trying to read all of the information from the other sections can lead to “information overload” and can make the process more stressful than it needs to be. 
  8. At this point in your life, you probably will not be familiar with the tasks involved in most of these occupations.  In fact, many times we think we know what an occupation involves only to find out upon closer inspection that we were wrong, so it’s a good idea to be careful and check out that occupation’s Summary Report anyways. 
  9. Having read the brief description and Tasks section, ask yourself, “Might this occupation possibly be a good fit for my career interests—might I enjoy working in this occupation?”
  10. If your answer is “yes”, then write the name of this occupation down on the first line of your Occupations Roster.
  11. Repeat Actions 5 through 10 for each of the remaining occupations on that O*NET list.
  12. Remember, whenever you come across an occupation that you don’t recognize, click on that occupation to learn about it so that you can make an informed decision about whether that occupation deserves to be added to your Occupations List.
  13. Once you have considered each of the remaining occupations on that O*NET list, enter the second Code on your list of Codes and repeat Actions 5 through 11 for this second code.  Repeat this process for all the remaining Codes you need to try.

Your objective is to add, ideally, about 10 to 25 occupations to your Occupations Roster. The goal of creating this Roster is to assemble all the possible occupations worth considering in one place, so that you can just concentrate on narrowing down this promising list of occupations, rather than continuing to wonder whether there are other occupations out there that you missed and that might have a been a great fit for you.

Here is some important advice about building your Occupations Roster:

  • Take your time.  It is important not to rush this part of the process.  When you carefully review all the occupations that match your Codes, you maximize your chances of discovering occupations that could be a great fit for you.  When you rush, you risk missing important occupations, which may make the rest of the SCEA more difficult and less satisfying.
  • It can be annoying, anxiety-provoking, and/or tiring to have to carefully review these occupations.  It certainly was for me, when I went through this myself many years ago.  However, like many important things in life, it is necessary to experience some discomfort in order to achieve something great.  Think about this process as an important investment in your future, one that will of course come with some difficult emotions and challenge.  You can sit side by side with these feelings… they are not pleasant feelings, but you have the strength to make room for them, so to speak.  Let them hang out, not because you like them, but because you’re willing to have them if that helps you create a great Occupations Roster.  And if you find that you’re having trouble managing these feelings during this process, I recommend getting support from trustworthy people in your life.  We can also enhance our ability to handle these feelings by learning mindfulness, doing self-help regimens, learning to use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques, working with a qualified mental health professionaland/or consulting with a qualified career exploration specialist who also has expertise in mental health.
  • If you think it will be helpful to you to add some key information to your Roster about each occupation on your Roster, you can do so.  However, if this will just make the process more stressful than it needs to be, I recommend against making this task more complex.  You will have a chance, once your Roster is completed, to go back and add information like this.
  • Because we’re focused on exploring occupations rather than specific jobs within a given occupation, it’s important to think at the broader occupation level.  It is absolutely true that there can be different types of jobs within the same occupation and that certain jobs within the occupation can be a great fit for you while other jobs within that occupation can be a poor fit.  For example, some counseling psychologists have a job as a university professor (they may conduct research, teach students, and provide service to the community) while other counseling psychologists have a job as a disability assessor (they administer psychological tests to people and write up reports describing their findings).  I love being a university professor but I would dislike being a disability assessor.  However, despite this diversity of jobs within the same occupation, these jobs tend to have significant overlap in terms of the tasks involved.  So, when working through the SCEA, remind yourself that you are making decisions at the occupation level rather than the specific job level.  Later on in the process, you can narrow your search from the occupation level to the job level.

Common Questions & Answers Regarding Roster Creation

  • Q: What if my Roster ends up with fewer than 10 occupations on it?

    A: This can mean a few different things.  On one hand, your criteria for inclusion might be too strict.  Remember, the purpose of this Roster is to create a rough draft list of potential occupations.  We want to include any occupations that have a reasonable chance of being interesting to you.  So, you may want to lower the bar a little bit so that at least 10 occupations get on the Roster.

    On the other hand, this may be a sign that the way you classified your types may not be the best representation of what your career interests really are, so you may consider going back to that step and reconsidering your classifications (which can lead to getting new Codes if your classifications change).

    It’s also possible that you may be experiencing difficulties related to mental health that are making it difficult to complete this process (this is not uncommon).  In this case, I recommend finding a qualified mental health professional who can help you address these difficulties.

  • Q: What if my Roster ends up with more than 25 occupations on it?

    A: Your inclusion criteria may be too broad.  If you find that you’ve already written down 25 occupations and still have more Code lists to search through, you may want to become more strict about including occupations on your Roster.  You can ask yourself “Does this occupation I’m looking at have a decent chance of being a top occupation for me?”  If not, you can avoid adding it.  You can go back through the occupations on your Roster and remove those occupations that you can already tell are less of a good fit for your interests.  If some occupations are a good fit for your interests and some are a great fit, you can eliminate the occupations that are merely a good fit in order to make room for additional great fitting occupations on your Roster.  Again, you don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to narrow down your list at this point (that comes in Step 3), but we’re just trying to find a way to make sure you don’t end up with more than 25 occupations on your Roster.  We want to keep things manageable for you.

  • Once you have gone through all of your Codes and created an Occupations Roster with between about 10 and 25 occupations on it, you are ready to finalize your Roster.

    Here’s a video walkthrough of how to build and finalize your Roster: