Early Career Psychologists Should Resist the Urge to Jump at the First Job Offer they Get

Given the tight economy, early career psychologists may be tempted to jump at the first job offer they get. Resist that urge, said presenters at an APA convention session on the topic.

“Don’t respond to your amygdala; listen to your frontal lobe,” said Anne Marie Albano, PhD, of Columbia University Medical School. “Say, ‘Thank you very much. I’m very interested,’ and then ask for a formal job offer letter.”

You need to get the offer on paper because even if a department chair wants to hire you, funding can dry up or a position can be eliminated altogether, said the presenters. “Don’t be railroaded into saying yes to a verbal offer,” Albano emphasized.

Once you get that letter, it’s time to start negotiating. Some topics to bring up might include:

  • Your salary
  • Moving expenses
  • Maternity/paternity leave
  • Job opportunities for your partner
  • Lab facilities and office space
  • The number of classes you’ll be expected to teach
  • Other responsibilities, such as academic advising and serving on faculty committees

The most important thing, said presenters, is to be sure you’re not selling yourself short.

“Your first salary will set the stage for all your future salaries,” Albano said.

by Sadie Dingfelder


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