Salary negotiations are almost always tricky, and negotiating a salary is often the most uncomfortable part of a job interview or your annual review: You don’t want to undersell yourself, but you also don’t want to look like an entitled brat with an over-inflated sense of self-worth, either. As a result, a lot of times employees (statistically speaking, women especially) will accept less money than they deserve and less money to which they’re entitled. And that sucks.
There is a trick to salary negotiations, though, that will make employers see you as a standout employee or candidate, and it’s all in your phrasing. The magic words? “Not only … but also,” per Time.
They key is to highlight what sets you apart from your competitors and what makes you an asset to the company beyond their base requirements. The exact “secret formula” is as follows: “Not only do I have [all the standard requirements that everyone else has] + but I also possess [the following unique traits that make me a better candidate and worth more money].”
Finding that something “extra” can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. For example, if you’re a web producer who does the same sorts of tasks daily, but one standout piece got an insane amount of traffic, use that: “Not only do my galleries generate consistent traffic, but I also learned what makes viewers and readers really click, search for and share content, as evidenced by the pageviews on this.” If you’re a receptionist, you can say something along the lines of, “Not only do my organizational skills keep management running smoothly, but also my warm demeanor keeps clients calm and happy even when they’re being dealt bad news.”
One thing not to do? Use the magic salary negotiations formula to lower your price. You never, ever want to say, “Not only am I beyond capable of this job, but I also will do it for $10,000 less than what you’re offering.” You’re lowering your worth, which will only make you really, really unhappy once payday comes.