Interpersonal Skills

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In any field you decide to enter, in any capacity, professional success depends not only on your technical skills and talent but also on your ability to work effectively with others at different levels of your organization. When you develop strong and authentic interpersonal skills, you will be poised to build collaborative, genuine relationships and contribute to the teams you join, as you:

  • Interact, work with, and learn from others with diverse backgrounds and identities
  • Make positive contributions to the work of a team in various roles
  • Understand and effectively navigate cross-cultural norms
  • Negotiate, manage conflict, and problem solve within your professional life

Conflict Resolution

MIT Ombuds Office

is a confidential resource available to all MIT community members to help problem solve difficult situations you may experience. The Ombuds office provides resources and confidential support in various areas including communication, mediation, and group facilitation. Ombuds are available to strategize about challenges that are impacting your life at MIT. To utilize this resource, contact the Ombuds office to schedule an appointment.

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Institute-Wide Resources for Easing Friction and Stress

iREFS are graduate peers who are trained in conflict resolution. Students are available for confidential peer support in navigating challenging situations and can provide information on pertinent campus resources. dREFS are department specific and iREFS are available to support graduate students regardless of departmental affiliation.

Assessment Tools

MBTI and StrengthsQuest

Self-assessment and exploration are integral to developing strong interpersonal skills. It is useful to understand your individual preferences and behaviors; that information can serve as a starting point to understand others in your professional and academic environments.  To help achieve this, consider taking a self-guided assessment such as the MBTI and StrengthsQuest. To determine which self-assessment tool best meets your needs, make an appointment with a career counselor.

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Institute Community & Equity Office

MIT Institute Community & Equity Office

The MIT Institute Community and Equity Office (ICEO) leads the Institute’s efforts to build community with equity, inclusion, and diversity at the forefront. The ICEO organizes programs, activities and conversations to create an MIT where everyone feels welcomed and included.  The ICEO is a helpful resource for individuals seeking to strengthen their intercultural competence.   Please visit the events page for a calendar of diversity and inclusion themed programming.

PhDs: Suggestions for Every Stage

• Create your professional brand using social media: LinkedIn, Instagram, etc., with MIT Sloan’s Build Your Personal Brand
• Discover and define your own leadership style by scheduling a meeting with a CAPD career advisor.
• Dismantle the “Follower” Trope: Learn to articulate the power of being a “follower,” a good listener, an active participant, and a supporter of fellow peers. Schedule a meeting at CAPD!
• Learn to write cohesive, coherent, and concise professional emails with a tutor at the WCC.
• Learn how to foster a diverse community. Check out this MIT infographic on how to understand and implement diversity, equity, & inclusion
• Practice discussing important topics: Talk About Race, Race Matters: What Can I Do?, Talk About Crisis
• Join MIT Student Clubs with Engage@MIT
• Find your community: MIT’s WISDM: Women in Innovation and STEM Database and Graduate Womxn at MIT (GWAMIT). And check out other online resources: Ellevate: Invest in Women and a Network of Women Artists, Scientists, & Makers Women21stCentury

• Present at a professional conference.
• Expand your Professional Network & practice Intelligent Networking with MIT Sloan Career Advisors.
• Reach out to MIT Alumni for career advice, job opportunities, internships, and more! Visit the Association of MIT Alumnae Website and the MIT Alumni Association
• Take an MIT Online Course on Networking
• Conduct Informational Interviews

• Learn how to Negotiate Job Offers
• Practice Conflict Management


Redefine success, identify challenges, and flip failure this new year!

Life comes with its fair set of challenges. The goal of building resilience is to equip yourself to weather life’s challenges as they arise. Much of that work involves redefining what success and failure mean and finding ways to use …

By Tara Thakurta
Tara Thakurta Graduate Community Fellow
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
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“Spilling the Tea” for MIT Graduate Women

The “Spilling the Tea” series is back! At these small-scale, limited-enrollment events, join in a conversation with an alumna leader over (iced) tea and cookies. Each of the “Spilling the Tea” parties takes an important topic as its theme, such …

By Amanda Cornwall
Amanda Cornwall Graduate Student Professional Development
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One mentor isn’t enough. Here’s how I built a network of mentors

By Erika Moore

“Unfortunately, I don’t have the bandwidth for a mentorship relationship right now.” “I’m not sure I can help.” “Why are we meeting again?” Those are just a few of the responses I’ve received in my quest to …

By Simona Rosu
Simona Rosu Senior Assistant Director, Postdoctoral Career and Professional Development
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Working Against Racism Within Career Advising and Employer Recruitment

Career Advising and Professional Development (CAPD) has a responsibility to acknowledge and recognize the systematic processes that disadvantage our Black and African American students in the MIT student recruiting process.  #ShutDownAcademia on June 10th was the perfect time to say …

By Lydia Huth
Lydia Huth Communications Specialist
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Featured Resources


CAPD Podcast Playlist: Professional Development & Career Competencies

Check out CAPD’s ever-expanding playlist of podcasts offering insight into professional development & career competencies.

MIT Alumni Advisors Hub

Speak with people who have been there: get advice, insights, and prep from MIT alumni who are willing to share …

Resources for Intercultural Awareness

The MIT Intercultural Coordinating Committee provides access to various trainings to increase cultural competence and awareness. Please review the site …


You have put a lot of time and effort into pursuing your PhD degree.  Now it’s time to focus on how …


iREFS (institute-wide Resources for Easing Friction & Stress) are graduate students formally trained & certified in conflict management skills. They …

CAPD Videos

Whether you’re looking into programs, looking for networking tips, or just exploring, our video resources are always available to you. …