Career Advancement

<<Back to professional development home page

Never too early… never too late.

In the midst of your graduate studies, your career may be at the forefront of your thinking, or it may feel very far away. You may be planning for a faculty career, envisioning an industry career path outside of academia, or both. Wherever you are in your program, now is the right time to carve out some space for career exploration and advancement.

Here, you will find opportunities from across the Institute that focus on career development, from experiential learning and internships to practical and informative workshops. As you engage, you will find ways to clarify your goals, build confidence, and develop skills that will serve you throughout your professional life:

  • Expand your disciplinary expertise, explore your options, and make a plan
  • Intentionally build a professional network of mentors and thought partners
  • Define yourself as a professional and create a professional brand
  • Engage with digital tools like Handshake, The MIT Alumni Advisors Hub, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms to join in professional conversations relevant to your interests and values
  • Recognize that your career is yours to manage and design

Career Advising Appointments

Meet with a CAPD advisor for a one-on-one career advising appointment to discuss a wide range of career topics including exploration and planning, job/internship searches, application materials, interviews, salary negotiations, and any other questions or concerns.

MIT Alumni Advisors’s Hub

The Alumni Advisors Hub is one of the most powerful ways there is to augment your technical training. There’s no better source of information and wisdom to inform your journey than the scholars and professionals who have been where you are now, and gone on to discover, teach, influence, and lead with excellence in the world beyond the Infinite Corridor.

Experiential Learning for Graduate Students

Even for graduate students, pivotal  learning experiences can happen outside of the boundaries of the classroom and the laboratory. Experiential learning opportunities invite graduate students to apply their growing expertise towards applied challenges, which in turn can inform their research questions and expand their networks.

Graduate Student Career Exploration Grants provide funding ($1,000 or $1,500) to help graduate students cover the cost of completing a one-month underfunded domestic internship over IAP in a career field they would like to explore further.
Example industry areas can include but are not limited to: non-profit, local government, startups, communication, creative fields, education or sustainability. Priority will be given to applications where the proposed opportunity extends beyond the scope of their current academic research trajectory and enables the applicant to make meaningful connections in industry. Learn more and apply here.

Micro-internships are short-term projects or internships offered by MIT alumni and other employers. These opportunities occur over the January Individual Activities Period (IAP) and are an excellent way for graduate students to try their skills in new contexts, explore career options and connect with the broader MIT network.

You can initiate small-scale experiential learning moments by seeking out informational interviews and job shadowing. In addition:

  • InterSECT enables PhD-level scientists and humanists to explore future career options through job simulations
  • Forage offers virtual work experience programs developed through company partners

The work you do as a graduate student is work! Notice and capture the elements of your research and teaching that are transferable and valuable in a range of contexts. Supplement your experiences by:

  • Joining students groups that partner with employers
  • Participating in hackathons, design, or engineering challenges.
  • Taking project-based classes

PhD Suggestions for Every Stage: Career Advancement

• Create an Individual Development Plan, or IDP
• Learn about grant applications from the Office of Graduate Fellowships
• Consider applying for the NSF GRFP (Graduate Research Fellowship Program)
• Take a research statement workshop at the writing center
• Learn how to use citation management tools for your research
• Meet with a career advisor
• Explore a certificate program to accompany your graduate degree

• Attend a conference
• Join professional associations
• Volunteer for departmental service
• Do a micro-internship
• Attend a career fair
• Engage in career exploration and try out some “career prototyping” by attending an industry Trek or company presentation
• Explore new applications of your work through social justice and public service opportunities

• Prepare your professional document portfolio for faculty jobs and jobs outside of academe
• Sign up for academic job wikis
• Conduct informational interviews

Faculty Job Search Series (FJSS)

The Faculty Job Search Series (FJSS) supports graduate students and postdocs who are preparing for the faculty job market.  The program brings together expertise from around the Institute, including faculty, CAPD, the Writing and Communication Center, the Teaching and Learning Lab, the OGE, and the Engineering Communication Labs. 

Build a strong application informed by experts across the Institute via overviews, faculty panels, deep dives, and hands-on-workshops aligned with the timeline of the faculty job search.

A person types on a laptop.

Application materials for PhDs and postdocs: Examples and how-to guides

These resources are designed for MIT PhDs and postdocs to serve as guides through the process of career document preparation. Whether you’re converting your CV into a resume for an industry role, refining your CV for an academic job search, or creating other documents, you’ll find examples, how-to guides, and strategies here.

A person walks past a moving, motion-blurred subway train.

Professional development certificates for PhDs and postdocs

MIT offers 2 new professional development certificates to help graduate students and postdocs fast track and focus their growth in two essential areas: mentoring and grant writing.

Sidebar

A successful inaugural year for CAPD Graduate Student Professional Development’s certificate programs

This spring, over 150 doctoral students and postdocs successfully completed CAPD’s new professional development certificate program. Two certificates—one in research mentoring and the other in grant writing—were launched last fall to help PhD students and postdocs advance their growth in …

By Julia Mongo
Julia Mongo Staff Writer and Advisor
Read more

2024 Path of Professorship builds up women in academia

On November 18-19, 2023 CAPD and the Office of Graduate Education (OGE) successfully organized the 18th annual Path of Professorship program. Path of Professorship is a 2-day workshop for women interested in pursuing academic careers. This revered tradition was created by Blanche …

By Elsie Otero
Elsie Otero Assistant Director, Graduate Student Professional Development
Read more

New Professional Development Certificates for PhDs and Postdocs

Applications are now open

We are excited to announce that applications are now open for two new professional development certificate programs for PhDs and postdocs for AY 2023-2024: the Research Mentoring Certificate and the Grant Writing Training Certificate. Applications for …

By Amanda Cornwall
Amanda Cornwall Graduate Student Professional Development
Read more

Graduate Certificate in Technical Leadership Workshop Series: Fall 2023

The Graduate Program in Engineering Leadership Program is pleased to announce the Graduate Certificate in Technical Leadership Workshop Series for Fall 2023.

We invite you to register and attend our series, which count toward satisfying requirements toward our certificate. The …

By Tara Thakurta
Tara Thakurta Graduate Community Fellow
Read more

Build Your Research Community – Free Course

Build Your Research Community is a FREE, 5-module course (with a bonus 6th module!) that will guide you through the steps of identifying mentors and building and maintaining mentoring relationships. Scientists from a variety of backgrounds give concrete steps and …

By Simona Rosu
Simona Rosu Senior Assistant Director, Postdoctoral Career and Professional Development
Read more

Featured Profiles

Meet Journee >
Meet Breanna >

Lily Liu

Student
  • PhD Student, gwaMIT Co-Chair
Meet Lily >
Meet Hannah >

Featured Resources

/

Survival Guide for Women of Color

How to protect your bright mind from the drain of everyday racism you may encounter in academic life.

Most people spend a third of their lives — or 90,000 hours — at work.

When all those hours include stress due …

Set up for success in a new job – 3 tips from MIT alums

Starting a new job can be exciting and overwhelming, particularly if it’s your first time working in industry. Two MIT …

Application materials for PhDs and Postdocs: Examples and how-to guides

These resources are designed for MIT PhDs and postdocs to serve as guides through the process of career document preparation. …

American Council of Learned Societies: Pathways to Non-Academic Careers for PhDs

Interested in non-academic career paths for humanities & social sciences PhDs? Watch the recording of the American Council of Learned …