What have you negotiated for, professionally?

May 6, 2008
I was able to negotiate a signing bonus, but couldn't get them to budge on my salary. Until recently, I had no idea that you could negotiate other things (i.e. vacation days, continuing education money, etc.). I really wish I had known that!
I think I knew the other negotiables existed, but I didn't know how to ask for them. Now I try to ask questions and have the employer tell me what items they can negotiate on. Personally, I would be completely willing to accept a lower or average wage and get an extra week of vacation time!
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Sep 8, 2012
I didn't have anything like a presentation coach, but that class you described sounds both terrifying and extremely useful. The kind of thing you appreciate in hindsight!

Probably the most useful course I took in undergrad was called "Technical Writing". We also covered things like presentations. It was all about how to take technical knowledge and present it in a way so that it's clear and convincing for the average person. The stuff I learned there has probably been applicable to everything I've done since then.

Definitely recommend a course of that type to anyone who wants to improve their communication skills (written and spoken). EDIT: I guess this might be a no brainer for people who went through the liberal arts programs. However, in my experience, communication skills are not taught well enough to many engineers and scientists.
I would have to agree. I recently attended a conference where PhDs were presenting their papers. They may be very smart but they did not have the right presentation skills. Some of the knowledge might be wasted by not presenting very well.
May 6, 2008
^ good presentation is half the battle. Of course, no presentation can save a bad idea, but so many good ideas are undersold by bad presentation.

I was trying to think of what else I had learned during negotiations recently, and the main items would be:

- Be consistent. You should be able to present your expectations clearly and then be consistent. It's freaking confusing and extremely annoying if you indicate that you want X, then you get X, and then you say you were actually hoping for X+1 or in fact really wanted Y. Don't do that. It makes your negotiating partner feel like no matter what they conceded to, you'll never be satisfied. I've experienced a potential hire asking for 5% more, and when he easily got that, he asked for another 3%. It left an extremely bad impression on the hiring side because there's the feeling that he was testing us the first time and when he saw he could get what he wanted, he wanted more. Also, you never know what the hiring side has to do to get the approval for negotiated items. Imaging the PM has to ask the VP for the extra 5% for a new hire and then later has to ask again for the 3%. It's just painful for everyone involved.

- Manage expectations. If you know you're going to negotiate the offer, then keep a poker face during the initial interview process. If the interviewer mentions a number and says "this is the standard rate", don't nod or smile or do anything suggesting either a positive or negative impression. You're neither agreeing nor disagreeing. You're simply going to wait until you see an official offer.

TGIF and a happy long weekend to those in the US :smile:
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