May 26, 2017

Did you miss last week’s professional development webinar, “Getting to Yes: Learning to Negotiate More Effectively”?

Posted by AGU Career Center

On 18 May, we hosted a webinar on job offer negotiations presented by one of our On the Job contributors Lisa Balbes.  Lisa is a freelance technical writer and editor at Balbes Consultants for the past 25 years and is the author of Nontraditional Careers for Chemists:  New Formulas for Chemistry Careers. 

If you couldn’t make it during the live session, you can now view a recording of the webinar.  A link to the recording can be found on our AGU Webinars page.  Additionally, you can read more about job offer negotiations in Lisa’s corresponding blog post from this month, Salary Negotiations: The First Steps.


Highlights of the Presentation

In the webinar, Lisa highlights calculating your market value by assessing your qualifications and experiences. Defining your market value and needs can help establish how your employer should gauge commensurate salary and benefits. She provides justification strategies for negotiables as well as resources to help you research the value of the position and value of your skills. Balbes also discusses non-salary negotiables such as telework, start-up packages, flexible hours, transportation costs (parking, metro), and many more as points of discussion and consideration when weighing options for new employment.

Lisa emphasizes entering negotiations with not only knowing what your requests are, but being able to justify them with your value (skills, experience, certifications, etc.).  Her advice includes preparing a range of potential salaries and being assertive but flexible in your negotiations.


Question & Answer Session

At the end of the webinar, we held an extensive Q&A session with the audience. Below you’ll find a summary of a few of the many questions that were covered.

Is it better to begin negotiations at higher or lower ends of potential salary ranges?

Lisa suggests that after doing research on the market value of the position, carefully evaluate what your personal range is based off this value. The lower number should be what you would fully accept, and the higher number should be reasonable enough given your experience, qualifications, and meeting the requirements of the job. Start negotiations at a reasonable salary based off market values and consideration of what you personally can bring to the job.

How should recent graduates ensure that an offer from a potential employer has a commensurate salary to market rates?

Balbes notes that students tend to underestimate the salary they value themselves at considering they are entering the job market right out of school, therefore she suggests that recent grads err on the higher side of what they think they would value themselves at. Entering negotiations with research on what the market value of the position is can be helpful both in establishing a general idea of what the job is worth but also in showing the potential employer the active investment and desire for the job.

What else is negotiable for a government position if the salary and job title have already been stated?

Lisa advises that a notable point of negotiations for some government positions would be to move to a different step level. Moving levels can come with a higher salary, therefore negotiating reclassifying the position instead of specifically a salary increase can achieve the same goal.

To further increase your communication skills, register for the next webinar, “Plainspoken Science.” This webinar will provide you with ways to effectively communicate your research to the general public and will air on 8 June from 2pm-3pm.  This webinar will be conducted by Jana Goldman of Press Here.  Register for it today by visiting

Cecilia Hurtado is a summer intern at the American Geophysical Union.  She recently graduated from the Department of Geology at the College of William and Mary.